First Days in Italy


June 6, 2017 Boston, MA

I woke at 3am this morning. All nervous about missing my alarm. The last bit of cell phone data for a few months was the first temptation, and I checked on the usual things; the Red Sox score from last night, the latest news on the terrorist strike in London and check in with Facebook etc. Tammy drove us to the Airport through Winthrop and East Boston. We stayed in the area last night and it was delightful. My family is from East Boston, which was primarily an Italian neighborhood. In some respects, it remains so. Quite appropriate considering we are about to spend the next few months in Italy. We ate a good dinner at a Italian Restaurant nearby the boutique hotel we reserved. Growing up Italian, I love the food, but I rarely enjoy Italian restaurants. I’m very picky about my Italian food and I suppose I like things just as my mother prepared it. In my home, Lasagna is sloppy, eggplant is peeled and sliced thin, and marinara is light, fresh and bright. Fire engine red, not brown. This restaurant was surprisingly good and I think Rosie and Tammy enjoyed it as well.

It was very hard to say goodbye to Tammy today. Oh, the pain to leave behind your partner in life. Every thought I have is with her in mind. We are spiritually tied at the hip. I have got to watch her baby these next few months. Rosie sits beside me on the plane, non plussed. I’m nervous as can be. Always am on planes. I gotta pee, but I don’t like to be that guy who gets up and interrupts people. I hate the attention, as Tupac said “All eyes on me”.

It’s a waiting game to start our hike. Everything we have for the next several months is lying in our backpacks in the compartment above. I’m wearing the only shirt I have. The pack contains a two person tent, one extra pair of socks, a sleeping bag, a battery, a headlamp, a foam pad to sleep on, and two jackets. One is a down puffy one with a hood, and the other a rain jacket. I pack very little and comfortably so. In my long treks I have found this works for me. I will smell, there is no avoiding that. No amount of spare clothes is gonna change that.

Italians are famously fashion conscious. I hope they don’t evict me for crimes against their senses. Rosie has packed even lighter. She has more backup clothes, but they are so small the whole clothes bag weighs less than a pound.

We arrived in Milan safely, and despite Rosie losing her passport for a spell, we are doing ok. Long day. Start the hike early tommorrow.


Day 2

We got almost no sleep before we had to get moving today. Quick train ride out to Aosta and we began our hike. After a significant drop in elevation at the outset of the hike we were shocked at a couple of quick, steep climbs. I was gassed and Rosie lost energy quick. We struggled through that and made our way through a few villages. We never saw suitable camping so we ended up stopping very late at a family hotel. (really just a big house, with rented, sparse bunks).

The terrain was a mix of road and path, one indiscernible from another. The roads when they aren’t cobblestone or brick were of early 20th century vintage, with loose stones and potholes with room for one car and barely a pedestrian. When cars are going both directions, your life is in danger. The path was rocks and grass and steep. Grape vineyards and family planted gardens lined the trail and scaled up the side of the mountains. As we dropped deeper into the valley it got hotter and hotter.

Rose was tough to get focused. Basically, she drove me crazy. Non stop talking and touching things. I’m going to have find a way to keep her brain active and productive. This is my real test.

Food today:
Coletzione- crossiant
Pranzo- montadara (fried dough/ fritter style small pizza item)
Merenda-fresh currants
Cena-meat ravioli cooked in olive oil, basil and tomatoes. Tasty.

got to go to bed.

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