The nearly most perfect House Guests, a cousin and her family in from Denver, CO USA, came to Il Poggiolo and have since gone away to the Scottish shores of Saint Andrews… to play golf, for crying out loud!!! It is NOT raining there like it did here the two out of the six days of My Denver Cousin’s visit. They loved it though. They could sleep in, even during the noisy thunderstorms at 4 in the morning. London apparently did them in.
Why perfect? Well how can you beat having a guest/guests clean, cook, serve and treat you to meals & rides for services as Team Leader, Guide, Translator? None of this had I dreamed of. No. In fact, I had with its opposite. So, I was unprepared for the visit to be so effortless, so pleasant, so unstressed EXCEPT… well, except in the choice of their rental car… a Lancia Ypsilon… Yes? What’s that? A dip-compact from Our State Supported Friends over at FIAT… and the manner in which they sought to drive it. Tactically avoiding any admission of a lack of real experience with a manual drive car, the Cousins complained instead of a severe lack of power with the car. It’s not like our cars at home! Fine. But, have you ever been in a car driven in the 2nd gear on a highway with the speed limit set at 120 kph? An amazingly gear grinding experience. One not to be repeated for the car. I would gently suggest, perhaps, maybe, possibly of changing to the 3rd or, Hey! How about putting it in 4th? only to be thwarted, while the designated-Cousin-as-driver maneuvered the screeching Ypsilon around, through… AND NEARLY OVER!!!… trucks, buses and other passenger cars sharing the lanes of the autostrada with us. Another interesting trick was for driving-Cousin to slam down upon the accelerator in 5th gear, frustrated to the max for the lack of POWER, gripping the steering wheel to WILL THE CAR PAST a semi-truck near a curve on a narrow state road with oncoming traffic. I prayed to live till My Next White Wine. Thankfully, God had Mercy upon me. And, in reflecting during the God-granted Cocktail Hour, alone while others showered and cleaned themselves up after a solid day of tourism, I wondered why people who have ENORMOUS SUVs with PUSH-THE-DAMN-BUTTON AUTOMATIC DRIVE transmissions and living in a HUGE 4.7 million metropolis with streets straighter than straight clicked the box for a manual-drive Lancia Ypsilon on the car rental website. Because it’s going to be Italy? Beyond my ability to find a suitable answer.
Between these automobile excursions, I had difficulty tearing the Cousins away from the Loggia of La Casa Grande. Piping hot caffe’ & fresh brioches tempted them during the morning hours. Arctically chilled vino bianco, salami, formaggi e pane nero did the same job in the evening. In between, we all four were at our laptops & smart-phones going full-tilt during our off-days from mass tourism. You know, the Americans work 24/7 even on vacation. Of course, our collective wi-fi participation slowed the reception down a bit. In between facebook, emails and the Wall Street Journal, the cousins adapted quickly to the key element of experiencing Italy… eating and drinking. Finalmente, ci siamo. We toured the local ristoranti.
Then, we pretty much had to venture out to a few Tourist Spots… Florence on a Tuesday and Le 5 Terre on the Thursday after. I was shocked… WE WERE SHOCKED… over the style & quality of tourists seen in The 5 Lands. Here’s what we saw…
hiking boots and ghastly thick multi-colored socks covering hairy legs… micro-shorts… short-shorts with unattractive cleavages… A-shirts for men & women… any AND all visible bra straps… women with visible cellulite over-dose, thanks to their A-shirts & micro-shorts… men with thick, wonky calves… men with pumped to the hilt chests and chicken legs for contrast, we supposed… and a stupid woman who dove into the sea only to be taken to the Guardia Medica for stitches of severe cuts incurred from barnacles encountered as she awkwardly climbed out of the sea. The First Law of Sea Swimming is to ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS think first… How do I get out… safely? Oh! And there was one American hunk of the pumped chest & reedy legs variety and devoid of any sense to cover himself… self-publicity for the investment in a gym, I supposed… who I saw devouring an entire pizza, then an ice-cream cone… and followed by, and now get this… another entire pizza 10 minutes after that gelato!!! How dare he eat and have pecs & abs of tactical temptation!!! We left the glories of one & all with their grotesque tourist fashion sense and headed for the Loggia al Poggiolo for a much needed white wine, etc. Gads.