We left the villa this morning, knowing that it may be a long time before we are back in the beautiful Italian province of Abruzzo. Thanks again to Paul and his family who rent out a beautiful little villa up the mountain. Our last afternoon in Castelli (population: not many, main industry: painting ceramics) we enjoyed some traditional pasta at Pepe’s tiny second-floor restaurant. Delicious! Not knowing that you don’t really tip here, I left the waiter a nice one, and he tried to refuse. I refused his refusal, and he insisted on taking a little shot of some kind of alcohol with me before we left. Nice!
We took a quick trip to the water for another (and last) dip in the Adriatic. The waves were huge, and tiring, and I thought of my brother Dan as we swam – that guy loves waves!
Castelli was celebrating a wine festival all week, and we had heard the music and laughter across the valley in the villa, so Shana and Chris decided to take in some of the festivities before leaving. After communicating with the lady in charge (thankfully she spoke French and Italian, and Chris can fake it in French), we purchased a little ceramic cup each for 5 Euros, and we wandered around getting it filled with the local wines from different growers. Salute!
In the morning, we left at a decent time, our goal was Paris. Knowing it was a 13 drive, we knew we wouldn’t get all the way. And, we had a stop to make: Pisa. After driving through Florence and Genoa (more cities to put on the to-do next list) we stopped at Pisa’s city center. What a very beautiful Piazza! A church built in the 13 century is no less beautiful than the tower, but the little 7-story little belfry does steal the show. Only slightly off kilter as a matter of degrees, it’s hard to believe that the thing hasn’t fallen over. There were more tourists here than we’d seen anywhere so far on the trip (surprise!) and Shana was delighted to hear so much English spoken. It seemed like every tourist was getting their picture ‘holding’ up the tower, and yes we did too. The souvenirs were tacky, (leaning shot glasses anyone?) and it was hot, a perfect day for gelato!
It was a quick stop, so we jumped back in the van and continued. Not knowing where we’d spend the night, but knowing we’d find a place, we kept driving. Torino happened to be on the way, so we stopped. I didn’t know it was a city of over a million people. We found a hotel, and holed up for the night. WiFi was available, so we also were able to book our rooms (yeah Ibis!) in Paris for the next four nights.
We have been so well provided for on this trip, and for that we are thankful. Spencer’s last little words before bed were, “Maybe Jesus brought us to Torino so we could see his shroud!” Well that’s what we’re doing in the morning, and I don’t disagree 🙂