…ieri…the month that was…
August…the end of Summer. And for those of us not inured to the climate of Florence in the Summer…Fall can not come quick enough. Its not that I don’t like or appreciate mosquitoes (zanzare)…I’m sure in some arcane way they have a place in the order of things (http://insects.about.com/od/flies/f/what-good-are-mosquitoes.htm). There just seems to be too many of them and they are very sneaky…screens are a rarity and I really dislike having to spray my body with chemicals every day.
And then there was (and still is) the 90 degree plus temperatures that embrace the small topographic ‘bowl’ in which Firenze sits. Certainly Spring was unusually cool and rainy, as we’ve been told by our local friends. And then on the first day of Summer…June 21st in case you have forgotten…a switch someplace in Tuscany was flipped and the days and nights have become…toasty… (New discovery for staying cool in the summer heat…caffe shakeratos…espresso, sugar, lots of ice…and a cocktail shaker)
So we went away…like most of the locals do.
First we went to beautiful Wiesbaden near Frankfurt in central Germany to visit RoJean’s sister, Denise and her spouse, Brian. Wiesbaden was in fact mostly cooler and virtually bug free. It was also playing host to the largest Riesling wine festival in Europe. We were there for 5 of the ten festival days, as were many thousands of wine (and beer) enthusiasts from the European Union and beyond. Food…music…fun…and wine. For our many wine loving friends from northern California we highly recommend you visit this signature festival in Wiesbaden.
Besides the wine festival there were many good photo ops during our time in Germany. We did manage to explore outside of Wiesbaden and it was great to visit with a part of our family we do not often get to see. For more photos from this trip to Wiesbaden check out this DropBox link https://www.dropbox.com/sh/te8x2ldrdsoyzp5/AAAFlqVYhoNQHl-eYXNC-LGqa?dl=0
…oggi…Hot City…Cool Seaside…
Sun baked Florence was awaiting our return…and as we learned…Americas continuing political theatrics. It seems as the political stage has devolved now to just two contestants we are asked more often for our thoughts and comments. This was interesting and amusing for us coming from the richly, comical San Francisco and the ever precarious Left Coast of America. So we discussed the little we know and what we’ve read about what’s rumbling across the United States. However, the most interesting piece of political information we have learned is from conversations with our Italian friends. These are people just like us who have lived their own political nightmare in the recent past. And the similarities are ‘in your face’ scary…have a read of this short article…about Mr. Silvio Berlusconi… http://www.thelocal.it/20160801/think-trump-would-be-a-disaster-just-ask-the-italians After reading this article we raced to the American Consulate and applied for absentee ballots.
We managed to last only 10 days in the City surrounded by hills before we surrendered to the siren call of the Mediterranean and the ‘seaside’.
The most popular section of the Tuscan coast runs from Carrara on the north to Viareggio at the southern end…a distance of about 30 kilometers or 20 miles. Our ‘base’ was the Bagna Stella beach club in the Pietrasanta Marina area. Here is a photo from some marketing piece that shows there are MANY beach clubs on this 20 miles of silky, white sand beach.
Over this long weekend we visited the delightful town of Pietrasanta noted for its many art galleries and art installations in public piazzas. The town of Forte di Marmi is midway along the shore with its exclusive shops and boutiques frequented by the rich and famous…by both private yachts and helicopters. For us commoners there is the flea weekly market…a bit of a misnomer, as there were no insects to be seen. There were however endless stalls of things to buy and eat…household utensils…clothes…foods both savory and sweet.
Saturday night was ‘date night’ and we double dated with Francesco and Silvia for dinner in the small, end of the road, hill-town of Pruno (‘thorn’ in Italian). Dinner on a mountain terrace with a darkening sky and good friends.
I should have mentioned earlier that dinner our first night at the Gambi home was a cookout. On a grille with real charcoal we cooked local Italian sweet sausage and bratwurst we brought from Wiesbaden…along with sauerkraut and several kinds of mustard. The meal was completed with gelato and watermelon (cucomero). Wonderfully different food on the Italian coast.
Alas, our last night at the ‘seaside’ was devoted to Francesco’s maniacal devotion to all things ‘tordelli’. For those of you not fluent with local Italian cuisine…tordelli are wonderful…they are also large or small, al dente pasta pillows filled with savory ground beef served in a meaty tomato sauce (ragu) sprinkled with a sharp Parmesan cheese. The photo says it all…except that the image can not deliver the uniquely diving aroma and taste. I am now a convert to Francesco’s tordelli cult.
For More images of our Seaside adventure check out this gallery https://joemessina.smugmug.com/PrivateGalleries/Italy/Seaside/
Scurry…scurry…so much for the life of leisure for the weary retiree…as soon as I post this blog I need to pack for our first trip to Greece. A week long photo trip to a few of the southern Greek islands…Rhodes…Santorini…Anafi and Ios with friend and professional photographer, Glenn Steiner. http://www.greekislandphotography.com/
And looking ahead into October…there will be a birthday to celebrate…in costume!