Observations on a windy day
09.06.2012 - 23.06.2012 22 °C
A brisk wind off the Adriatic has prevented our daily beach visit, so to fill in the time whilst Lisa home schools Gabi, a few random thoughts :
Cycling - at least in Northern Italy - appears to be very popular amongst the rank-and-file. Any temptation to titter at the Cadel Evans inspired lycra outfits quickly disappears when they achieve Alberto Contador like speeds on the local roads.
A day visit yesterday to the regional capital Lecce confirmed its' very high rating amongst the various tour guides and travel commentators. Beautifully maintained baroque city that should be on everyone's southern Italian itinerary.
Dealings with our 3 landlords to date have been very smooth, somewhat to my surprise. In Moltrasio, our flat was handled by Rachel, an expat Pom who married a local many years ago. The gregarious Denni (short for Danielle) looked after Menaggio. When I asked why her email name was Maria Rossi, she said that it made her sound more Italian ... go figure. I organised our current apartment via Google Translate as Pino the owner is a non parli inglese speaker. I thought I'd done a pretty handy job of crossing the language divide, but Pino saw through my ruse and dragged along his very amicable nephew Luca to translate upon arrival!
The language barrier has undoubtedly prevented us from striking up any meaningful relationships to date, but we are getting by with our handy (Lisa) and mangled (Dan) Italian so far. We will improve with classes in Bologna, but it should be said the locals are very forgiving of those willing to give it a dash.
One very pleasant surprise to emerge thus far has been the cost of many products, from the supermarket shelf through to fancy restaurants. Lisa has already mentioned the memorable meal in Como - four people happily fed to a very high standard and watered for under $50. Other obvious examples are the morning cappuccino and 'cornetto con crema' - irresistable at $2.80; six beautifully fresh rolls for $2.20; perfectly drinkable bottle of local white wine for $4.50; and the list goes on.