Published: April 29th 2011April 29th 2011
The boat to Napoli was big and fancy I was not quit sure what to do with myself so I went on deck in the fresh air, where I always feel more comfortable. I started eating my panino and not long after was invited to drink wine with a group of people from Palermo. They all work together in the fashion business but where not snoody as I would have guessed, they were down to earth and having a blast. Then they invited me along to eat dinner with them, I said yes because they were cool and I had no other big plans. We went down to this fancy restaurant on the boat, me with my hippie clothes and my huge backpack. There were only a few people quietly eating in the restaurant but when we came, the silence was broken and the meal began. It was so fun and cheerful. When the meal was over, they were trying to pay with credit card but they were not taking American Express so we ran out of the restaurant and talked to the people in charge, me awkwardly trailing behind trying to help out with the bill, which was out
of the question and the least of their worries. I hung out with them for a while more then went to bed. Which was a fold back chair. I didn’t sleep well and got up at 6:30 when the boat arrived to Napoli. I got lost a few times and a bit Closter phobic trying to get out of the boat but finally made it on land, than asked someone how the heck to get to the main part of town.
I walked along the water and sat by the rocks, watching the fisherman getting ready for the day and writing in my journal. It was a special experience to be up at this time sitting by the water in Napoli, which is my favorite city in Italy. The city is like no other, it is loud, rude and dirty, trash is literally piled up along almost every street. But it is also a city filled with character. The food is amazing, the people crazy, there is music in the piazza’s, and there are small alleyways winding all over. So I am sitting on these rocks waiting to meet up with my friends later. And old guy after old
guy are coming in, walking on the rocks and setting up there tanning spots along the rocks. Some of them are also diving to collect muscles, crab and small octopi. I decide to wonder over and check out the scene. I changed into my suit and jumped in the water, freezing but fun. Then I laid on the rocks and got a lesson of how to properly tan by these guys. I stayed there for hours and eventually got convinced to have lunch at one of their houses. I don’t know what it is about me and these old guys, I just cant get enough of them I guess. So we went to his little house and he showed me how to clean all of the fresh seafood that was freshly caught that morning and he made a pasta with sea food and pomodoro. We ate and listened to old music. Then it was definitely time for me to make my exit. So he walked me downtown and we said goodbye. He gave me some of this jewelry that he makes in his free time and this very special hat that I will tell about later.
I sat in
the grass and waited to meet my friends. These are the friends I made when I volunteered at the park. We all met up and walked around the city. We went by a pasticceria and they treated me to my first Sfogliatella, AKA my new favorite dolce in Italia, I cant even explain it is simply amazing. We sat around and talked and ate. Then walked around more on small streets and cute shops with hand made typical Napolitano figurines. When it got later we ate pizza! So good. I had a lot of fun with them, we only had a short amount of time but it was sweet and great to see them. They walked me to the station then we said goodbye.
Katie’s train was later than we had thought coming into Napoli so I took the train alone to Caserta, a town nearby where our friend Simona lives. Her, her sister and her sisters boyfriend picked me up and got me settled in at the house while they went to get Katie when she got in. I took a bath and felt so wonderful and clean finally. When Katie got in she jumped on the bed,
it was so good to see each other and we had so much to catch up on.
The next morning we had breakfast with the family. Simona, her sisters, the baby of one of her sisters and her mom are so sweet and such a loving female atmosphere. It was a little strange because no one seemed to talk to the dad and Simona’s boyfriend and her sisters boyfriend seemed like they were only in the picture to drive them places and pay for things. But really I have no idea what the situation is so I should shut my mouth now. Anyway Simona’s boyfriend drove us and her mom to the old city of Casterta, then we had a picnic with pizza the mom had made the night before, thinking we would be there. Then we went to Reggia di Caserta which is a palace the second to Versailles. Bottom line, it was huge. The inside was cool but stuffy. The gardens were amazing. There were grass and trees for miles, and in the center a long fountain leading up to a waterfall. We sat by the waterfall and Katie dared me to jump in but I we
compromised and I put my face in instead. Then we walked to these other gardens called the English Gardens. It was all man made but still beautiful.
We went back home and rested for a while and when we got up and walked into the kitchen the fragrance was amazing. There was vegetarian lasagna in process, as well as Tiramisu made with strawberries and we were preparing to make pizza. The mom gave us a special lesson, which we videotaped. Since she made pizza the other day, she used the same dough we could use for pizza and made calzoni and pizzelle with it. The dinner was amazing as you can imagine and it was fun to get a little lesson. The next day we drove into Napoli, when her sisters boyfriend drove. We went by a pasticceria and loaded up on a platter full of typical Napolitano desserts. Then drove around while listening to musica di Napoli, it was so fun. We drove to this park up on the hill with a view of everything. Of the city, of Ischia, Capri, the Amalfi coast, of everything. We sat and ate yummy things then walked around the park. We
got back in the car and listened to our CD again. We drove into the city, the mom bought us our last pizza and sent us off on our bus to Pescara.
The bus ride was three hours but we made it fun. The hat that the old guy gave me and I tried so hard to get rid of was still in our bag so we turned it into a game. We wrote “cappello della buffa” on it, which really doesn’t make sense but we thought translated as clown hat. Then we wrote the story of how it was born and decided we have to wear it when we embarrass the other.
My cousin Chiara picked us up from the bus station. We drove by Wanda’s house and I got to meet her husband and her sister who I didn’t meet three years ago. Wanda is my Grandfathers first cousin which makes Chiara my third cousin I think. It was great to be able to communicate with her. We talked about family and how we are all related which just confused me. They told me stories of how my grandfather used to visit when he was living
in Germany with my grandmother. They told me how they met my grandmother when she was pregnant with my Aunt and how they remember how much she loved gelato and bought a huge tub of it. I like this story because it reminded me of my mom and how much she loved gelato when she came and got a tub with five flavors than another cone with two. Who am I kidding, it reminded me of how I love gelato, who doesn’t like gelato. But it was sweet to hear stories of my grandparents.
We went to Chiara’s house and I got to meet her dad again, her mom, sister and other grandma. I met her dad before but was not able to speak to him so it was cool to be able to communicate. We had a mellow night. Katie, Chiara and I just hung out and talked. The next day we prepared for Pasqua (Easter).
First thing was first, Katie and I woke up and had a baby tomato hunt because they don’t do easter hunts here and we didn’t have eggs. We went to church in the morning, although I think we were only going because
I kept asking about it, assuming that it is tradition to go. But it was only Chiara, her boyfriend, sister and me and Katie, the parents sending us off and probably wondering why the heck we wanted to go to church. I was wondering the same thing while standing there for an hour “che palle”. I liked the singing though. When we got back Katie and I tried to help with lunch and the grandma said “well, it’s not easy”, meaning, I don’t want amateur American hands on my Easter brunch. She did let me lift the bread off the pan and joked with me, “this is the first lesson”. We did get to help a bit and set up the table.
The lunch was fun. There were about 14 in total, aunts uncles cousins, most of them were on the other side of the family. Wanda came too although her health is not in the best shape. I sat next to her and we talked a bit although she intimidates me a bit. But as we started filling up with food and drink we talked more. She pulled out some really old photos and some relatively new ones
of my first aunts, uncles and cousins although still dated for sure. I liked the old ones the best, there were some of my granddad and grandma when they visited. It was funny that she has a whole stash of pictures of my family, I am sure Donna is to thank for that. Than she pulled out an old letter from my grandfather to her. She read it to me and I was able to understand most of it, which meant the world to me to be able to understand a letter from my grandfather in Italian.
Towards the end of lunch all of the kids got big chocolate easter eggs, which is the tradition here and Katie and I got one to share, they are so cool. After lunch we went downtown, walked around and went to a bar to meat up with Andrea, Chiara’s boyfriends friends.
The next day we went on a run in the park then came back home and prepared for Pasquetta, which is the day after Easter and usually spent with friends. In fact, the Grandma went to her own lunch, the parents went to theirs and Chiara had her friends over. So
we helped set up and then her boyfriend and her four best guys friends showed up. I would just like to take this moment to say that all of the cute Italian boys have been hiding in Pescara. Everyone, even the girls seem taller there and everyone if pretty. Also all of her friends are jocks, which I have a weakness, although I have realized that jocks are the same in all countries. And it is so funny, her boyfriend plays water pollo and her and the rest of her friends play basketball. Like If they were not speaking Italian I would have thought I was in America. The lunch was fun. I made Katie where the Buffa hat because she embarrassed me the night before. Everyone loved it and ended up taking turns wearing it. We pretty much drank from 2 to about 8 that day, which just made me tired and Katie was about keeling over next to me, I will blame it on the fact she didn’t have coffee. One of the cuties brought a guitar and we all sang Ligabue songs together. We also played flip cup and some soccer and volleyball, I swear I was
When we left the house it was dark and we went to this little club/bar on the beach, it was a cool place but Katie and I couldn’t resist running away, onto the beach and touching the water. Then she dared me to jump in, so I did, then we danced on the beach. Eventually we came back and they were all worried about us. Then we said goodbye and headed home. Katie and I went downstairs and listened to our CD from Napoli and danced like freaks with the Buffa hat on. Then I fell asleep eating the chocolate egg.
We woke up early, said goodbye to the family and went by Wanda’s house to say goodbye. Then we got on the bus and were on our way back to Rome.
I am really glad that I got to see my family and got to see Napoli again. It was a fun trip, and sort of mine and Katie’s last hurrah. It is good to be back though and enjoying my last days in Viterbo with the fam and my friends.
Love to all,
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