Starry Wisdom

Entropic Words from Neilathotep

Friday, February 27, 2009

Prima Donna

So, yesterday we went to Montefalco, a tiny hill town known for its vineyards. We pulled in to the town’s parking lot blasting the Numa Numa song, in order to obey local customs. We then wandered in to the 100mx100m or so walled city. We found the town square and a wine and oil shop. Joan’s French jacked us in to the proprietor and we got a tasting of local wines at the attached bar. It was some genuinely good stuff and we all ended up buying some wine, on the assurance that the town post office would help us ship it.

Oops, the post office was closed!

We ate a lunch of paninis that we bought at the small grocer on the square, and rested of the wine before heading back down to Spoleto. We reckoned the post office im Spoleto would be opened and would help us get our goods shipped – but nope. One was closed and the other had no boxes. We looked up Mailboxes Etc via the power of Chris’ Blackberry and found there was one in Perugia, figuring we would go later.

But I get ahead of myself. On the way out of town we stopped at a place advertising THIS YEAR’S OLIVE OIL. The proprietor was glad to practice his English with us, as he was currently transitioning form the oil business to an oil and wine business, and was building a tasting room near the current building. The oil itself was very good, and we had a good time talking to him about the area, and his plans for the tasting room. We all bought some oil, Chris and Joan investing in a 5 liter can!

In Spoleto, our main activity was to visit the town fortress/prison – Rocca Albornoziana – a genuin castle. This afforded as a good view of the Ponte delle Torri aqueduct, and a lot of other COOL STUFF – an echoey well, pot cubbies, daily life frescoes, just good stuff. They were also closing the castle down as we were walking through, dropping the portcullis as soon as we left the courtyard!

On the way to the car we saw a town dog who was friendly and funny. We also ran in to a very friendly cat, whos owner called her, justly, a Prima Donna.

We then headed back north, intent on Iper Coop for some port and smores materials. We noticed more and more fires as we were driving, more fires than any of the other days. We decided that Thursday must be “burn your Garbage” day in Umbria. According to Chris, the air quality level rivaled India on a good day. It bugged us all, giving Fred a headache.

At Iper we found reasonable facsimiles of marshmallows and graham crackers, as well as some Valrhona chocolate. The marshmallows were in the kid’s candy section, and we got some dolce-salato crackers, but more on that later. We also got some port and some passitos, as well as some jarred truffles to bring home. In the checkout lane we were behind some woman who had 1/3 too much stuff, and had to put her excess in to our empty basket before paying with her Italian equivalent of EBT. It was pretty weird. But we made it out of the store with our goods.

We then drove off to find the Mailboxes Etc. They were just closing the gate as we pulled up, but Joan (WOOT!) asked them if they could help us, to which they cheerfully agreed. Fred and I got our stuff shipped to the US (via a slow boat evidently, but that’s OK), but they were not able to ship wine to Canada. They did sell Chris and Joan packing material so they could bring their goods on the plane, so it was good all around, save for Fred’s headache, which was only getting worse.

Instead of going out we decided to eat in, so Fred could rest. Also, we had to finish the rest of the half of pig we bought from the pigmonger the other day. We did make a reservation for Friday, however. We had a good dinner, and then dessert. Gelato and port, followed up by the passitos (dessert wine made from raisins) with ersatz smores. The Valrhona chocolate was a bit much, but the SALTY (duh) dolce-salato crackers were quite nice for smores, and the weird marshmallows were close enough to the real thing. The Nestle biting chocolate worked a little better.

We stayed up until 2AM, burning the rest of the wood, the right wing newspaper we had bought, and drinking the rest of the passitos. Chris unbent the iron andiron, making it look almost as good as new. If we would have made the potato bot, that would have been the time to assign him to cook himself, but alas, we did not.



posted by neil at 9:45 am
under Italy,travel,Umbria 2009  

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