Everything Old Is New Again

It’s always fun to have visitors to our second home here in Viterbo because it makes us see things new again, through their eyes. Our latest guest is Adam, Owen’s friend from home. He is of Italian descent and is apparently very good in their Italian class.

Owen and I left around 1:00 for the 1 1/2- to 2-hour drive to Fiumicino (where the airport is). We had an hour to kill once we got to the airport, but we wanted to be safe. We would have had more time to kill had we driven the way we meant to drive. Instead, we crawled up the coast, town by town. It was stress free, though, because we knew we’d be there in time.

Waiting is always better with cappuccino, even though coffee
with milk after noon is a dead giveaway tourist move.

He came out of the doors and we were united. It’s funny that a world-class tourist destination city can have an airport that you can stand at and look at every single face that comes out of the gates. Leonardo da Vinci airport is somehow small. No frills. The antithesis of slick.

On the way home, we took an exit at Civitavecchia, the port town where all the cruise ships come in, grabbed a parking spot and were on a beach in about 90 seconds. Now Adam can say he’s been in the Mediterranean.  

Funny how these last two seem to be panoramas. Life is an adventure when you're
over 50 living in a new world of technology! You never know what you're gonna get!

Back on the highway in ten minutes, we were home by 7. The boys had a snack and chilled on the balcony, while I joined Fred at the school buffet and artist talk. The boys then went to Piazza Gesu for pizza, came home and fell asleep for 12 hours.

Sweet neighbor dog. His owner is a Fred Mertz stunt double.

Sad bizarre guy who wears a million coats and sits on a stoop nearby
and smiles all day. At least he smiles. That's a leopard fur coat. :(

Adam’s First Full Day in Italy

The next day, Owen had a short class in Bagnaia, two towns over, in their sculptured gardens, called Villa Lante. I took him over and did some work in the café there, drove him home, and soon took off with the boys for Lake Bolsena in Capodimonte. We stopped at the terme on the way—a terme being a hot, smelly, sulphur spring where people go for the curative powers of the water. At Capodimonte, the boys rented a paddle boat with a slide (the five-seater!) and spent an hour and a half peddling/paddling and diving or sliding off the top. After they turned that in, they swam another hour and a half. I kept scanning the water for their heads—one pale, one darker—while I worked from a café on the beach. Cafés line the beach. Tons of German tourists. One guy with a Wharton school t-shirt. Maybe American, but I couldn’t hear.

The sky began to darken and the wind picked up. Before you knew it, we were getting to the car as fast as we could. Pieces of bark and huge leaves from these weird trees were whipping at our faces—flying debris really putting our eyelashes to the test. Aren’t they supposed to keep stuff out of your eyes?  

This is one of the trees. I said to Owen, Doesn't it look like camouflage?
And he said, Yeah, I didn't even see it!  Hahaha....

I was pretty nervous on the way home because of the intense wind, and the fact that Venice had a damaging tornedo two weeks ago, which prompted a Google search on my part, where I learned these are not at all uncommon in Italy. Lots of big lightning on the 30- to 40-minute drive home. We stopped at the mall for Adam to get a chip for his phone so he can be on line less expensively. (We’ll be back there today because, naturally, it didn’t work. Never does on the first try. It will take up to four men, several phone calls, several scans of some documents, moving from one computer to another, much head shaking and joking, to get it working.) Then we picked up dinner supplies at this same mall because it has a big supermarket. Got home before any rain, and it never really did rain after all!

Owen & Adam at the supermarket inspecting the melons.
 I'm not sure they've ever had their picture taken at the supermarket before!
Everything's fun in a foreign country. Or at least an adventure.

Kelley came to dinner, which is always fun. We had drinks and cheese and crackers on the balcony, dinner in the kitchen, followed by ice cream cones back on the balcony (from Kelly).

The first full day for Adam was a good one!

Post script:  When we went back to the phone store the next day, the two guys working there saw me. One said to the other, “Yeah, she’s back because the chip we sold her yesterday doesn’t work because she has too many cell phones associated with her passport.”  Who knew this could be an issue? And why didn’t they use one of the many ways they have of reaching me to tell me? Long story short, I put this “chiavetta” wifi thing into my laptop, both of which I had WITH me for God knows what reason, emailed them a photocopy of Owen’s passport, and they used that to register Adam’s phone. It was working in under an hour.