#1 Italy, June 1, 2017

#1 Italy, June 1, 2017

Dear Everybody,

Once again Burt and I have flown across the pond to stay in Partina, the village where my son- in-law grew up. This time, in deference to our age, we spent the first night in thehotel connected to the airport in Rome. Having slept well, we drove to Partina (3-hour drive) the next day in perfect weather, Tuscany showing off beautifully!

We stopped at Bibbiena to stock up on some groceries, then finished the drive here and opened the house. The fig tree in the backyard and the olive tree inthe front yard have been trimmed back; the sage and rosemary that we planted last year are thriving. We had to have a little help from a neighbor to get the electricity and water turned on, and the hot water heater lit. Now all is well.

Our first night Burt cooked monkfish, that he had bought in Bibbiena, along with zucchini with blossoms and a potato. Of course it all went with a good bottle of Orvieto wine, which we had bought last year when we visited Orvieto.

Burt wound up with a cold from traveling, so the first few days we took it pretty easy. Luckily he finds cooking relaxing, so that went ahead full steam. The second day Burt bought an ensemble of pork products and made delicious pork chops, cooking them with pancetta and a little pork sausage. This, with juices, was served over a slice of Toscana bread, along with fennel and some good wine.

The next day we had veal with a tuna sauce and globe artichokes. And yes, the roses are from the front yard. Burt thinks they are “Beverly Sills” roses. How lucky we are to have access to all this good food. We were listing all the meats/dishes that we want to make while we’re here—-I’m not sure we’ll have time to eat in a restaurant.

Each morning we go to Soci (2 km away) to have a cappuccino and croissant at the ‘Big Ben Coffee Shop.’ They have wifi, which we used all the time last year, but for some reason Burt’s computer isn’t able to connect with this year, although mine works. Weird! Then I have a new debit card from my new bank account which wouldn’t give any money from the first four ATMs I tried. Luckily on the 5th one, it worked. I remember once a friend of mine who came here with me had an ATM card from another credit union and she had the same story—-it finally worked after she tried several.

We have had some ‘wildlife’ vignettes! When I swept the stairs going down to the basement from the terrace, there was what I thought was a big rock there. Not so——it was a huge green frog or toad! I was pretty surprised when it moved! Then in the middle of the night Burt saw a firefly light up against a window. Also when we look out at the streetlight at night, many insects are reflected buzzing about there, and occasionally a bat darts through them all and scoops up a few!

Burt calls our car the ‘Mafia Car,’ as it is kind of funny- looking and has very dark back windows. As usual, yesterday, we drove it to the Coop (Supermarket) in Bibbiena, where we ran into Roberto’s sister and brother-in-law. We told them we would be inviting them over for pranso 
(lunch) the weekend after next.

 

 

In the Coop we tasted some ‘pig head’ that they were selling, all cooked.  Then we made a stop at our favorite cheese shop in Bibbiena, too.

 

 

We bought 65 euro ($70) worth of cheese, salumi, and a few other specialty items. They gave us a half- kilo of penne (pasta) as a gift. How nice!

 

 

We’re both feeling just fine, now, although traveling is kind of
 hard work! I hope you’re all fine——we’re having lots of fun!

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