Saturday, September 11, 2010

What a lovely first week I've had here. I'm so relaxed I feel like a wet noodle. I've realized I don't have a single key about my person. At home I carry two large keyrings full and here I don't have a single one. My pockets are empty. And my cell phone doesn't work either.

The day goes by in a very leisurly fashion. Breakfast is pretty set, from 8-9 am, continental style, coffee, tea, juice, toast, cereal, yogurt, a soft boiled egg. Then on out to tour a local town, usually with a little break for coffee at mid-morning. John is a great tour guide, he knows all the best ice cream and coffee shops, as well as all sorts of local history. He has taken us to see some amazing art and architecture in the area.

Then painting or drawing until 1:00 when we go for lunch. Italian lunches may last a couple of hours and have several courses. We've been trying to have pizza and beer for lunch for several days but no luck. The locals tell us pizza is not for lunch, but for dinner. Here lunch is the big meal of the and dinner is more of a snack.

Then back to painting until late afternoon when we wend our way back through the mountains to The Retreat. Enough time for a 'lie down' as my new Australian friend Elise calls it, though if we are back early enough there will be cake and coffee. Then dinner at 7 or 7:30.

This little valley has a lot of agriculture, but not like in the US. Here every farmer has just a few acres, with corn, sunflowers or hay, a few grapevines and a garden patch. There is a co-op for wine making and one for olive pressing. At the local wine co-op you can take your own bottles and get your wine for about €1 a litre. That is something like about $6 a gallon. And very nice wine it is, served with lunch and dinner. To night's desert was a dish a bit like jello made with a sparkling wine and with fresh picked blackberries in the bottom of the glass.

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