God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Thunder and Lightening

Yep, that’s what we have here this Sunday morning at Lake Como. We are looking out steamy windows at grounded tour boats, grey capped mountains and bedraggled sheep and feeling sorry for those in tents at the nearby camp grounds—particularly those who must pack up and leave today in time for tomorrow’s work. It can’t be fun!

Frustrating for me is that we don’t have an internet connection; in fact, it seems that the age of internet dependency hasn’t reached here yet—maybe a blessing?. From what I gather, private connections are rare and there are no internet cafés or hotspots. So, Casey and I write our entries and save them until we can upload at some point. The result? By the time they are posted, we are already on to another place, another experience.

We have discovered that, in spite of the beauty, we are not enamored with the lake region of Italy and probably will not return. If for some reason we do, we would not follow the “slow travel” mode of several days in one location but would move quickly from place to place—seeing specific things and moving on.

Many years ago Ken and I were here and remember Bellagio as totally charming, romantic and quiet. In the intervening years it has, not surprisingly, dissolved into a tourist mecca with a surplus of shops, restaurants, hotels and B and B’s. I wonder if the glitz of the Bellagio in Las Vegas has had anything to do with this. Maybe? Probably? I suspect so.

Interestingly, when we stayed in Bellagio, we ate at a restaurant recommended by our hotel and it was good. Coming this time, I had a recommendation from a fellow traveler which we decided to follow. As we meandered up the attractive outside stairway, we were surprised when we stepped into the same place and it was still good. And, as is true with all of our experiences this year, once it was discovered that Casey is quite fluent in Italian, they were charmed and attention to our needs became a priority.

We are so pleased the way that Casey has continued to become bolder and bolder with his language skill as the weeks have progressed. It’s fun to watch the expression on faces when he starts speaking—first surprise and then big grins and then long, convoluted discussions with him as is so, so Italian. He matches them word for word. He never neglects to inform whomever that his nonni do not speak italiano—just him.

One day we tripped to Lake Lugano and into Switzerland--the highlight for Casey being the visit to the Alprose Chocolate factory which produces candy for many of the famous Swiss labels. He plans to write his blog about that trip so I’ll leave most of the details to him.

On the way back here, as we were meandering the alleys and byways of Gandria, a charming tiny village running directly into the lake,

a mountain storm hit which sent us scurrying back up the hill to our car. By the time we reached it, we were drenched. The drive back through the mountain passes was quite an adventure which Casey has claimed the right to tell—giant hail and all.

Of course, we have eaten well here—where in Italy is that not true? The pleasure for me has been the break from the pasta which I love in favor of delicious lake fish. It is prepared simply and is soooo really good—along with patate fritte or fresh vegetables. Now, soon it will be time for pranzo (lunch)—think it will be pizza and save the fish for dinner. Wish that some of you could join us!

Tomorrow we’re off to Milan and a hotel stay where, for a hefty price, Casey and I can upload and read our mail. I guess that’s good. Casey will be able to share his impression of Da Vinci’s Last Supper—the reason for our willingness to brave the big city. However, at this point, he is telling us he would much rather return to Viticcio and Camilla—not a surprise coming from a 10 year old. If you have time and haven’t already done so, you may want to read about his disastrous double digit birthday day.

Now, off to pranzo in the rain and thunder and lightening—how fun--I really mean that!


Jerry said...

I cna just imagine Casey in the chocolate store - 'kid in a candy store indeed'! Lucky him.

Chiocciola said...

"He never neglects to inform whomever that his nonni do not speak italiano—just him." That really made me laugh, Jane! Thanks for sharing. Wish I could be there chatting with you over some tasty fish!

Jane said...

Yes, Jerry, Casey was in his element! Erin, thanks for the very kind words on ST. They made my day. I'd love to share a meal with you.

Anonymous said...

I love the image of Casey informing folks of your language limitations!


Anne in Oxfordshire said...

I am very surprised that you were not enamoured with the lake region....We stayed on the lake at Argegno for 10 days and thought it was great...and as for Bellagio we thought it was beautiful....in fact the whole area from Como upwards ....and we went to Switzerland for the day...We went in November last year, and the weather was warm (not hot)..couldn;t of asked for a better holiday.

Jane said...

Anne, I know that many people love the lakes and I totally understand why. They are beautiful and quiet and a great place to relax and enjoy.