Monday, July 09, 2007

Can I sum up Lori and Kent's visit quickly?

Let's see... It was everything from earthshaking to mountain climbing to chillin’ at the beach. I do mean literally earth-shaking because we were all in the same room when Kent said, “Did you feel that?” I thought it was just me until his comment. We all agreed that the chair or bed felt “wobbly” for short time. We checked out an earthquake website and sure enough there was a small shudder centered near Corfu (5.5 on the Rictor Scale). We filled out an online report to document the experience.
Mountain Climbing: As I mentioned in the other blog one of the really cool things we did was to go down to the Basilicata-Calabria border to visit the Parco Nazionale di Pollino. I loved our hike and now I understand a few Italian things more clearly. One is the love for mountain spring water. We found a spring of cold refreshing wonderful water that came out of the ground at about 2000 meters above sea level. That’s amazing considering the highest point around us was 2200 meters. Also in the park we saw cows grazing around freely. Its no wonder Italians are so proud of their cheese. The biggest problem for these cows was annoying hikers between them and their spring water. Pesticides, hormones, stalls, no way! They were living “La Dolce Vita” of the cow world. Then when we hit the summit we were treated to some beautiful vistas from a place called “La Grande Porta di Monte Pollino”. Kent and I even got close enough to a several hundred-foot cliff to get my fear of falling going (it’s not the height that’s bad, it’s the fall!).

Chillin' out: Then on the other end of the spectrum, we spent several days chillin’ at the beach. The first day was by far the best. Calm seas, nearly empty beach, and on the last snorkel of the day Lori and I saw my first real octopus. I say “real” because it was the first time I caught one out moving about. Usually they dart into a hole and hide and then all you see is a little part, usually an eye peering back at you from the hole. If you want to eat them you just stick your hand in, or use a stick, and pull it out. I wanted a photograph without torturing the animal to death! This particular octopus was in the perfect position to get photos without harassment. It was funny because every time I swam down too close to him he would change to white and puff up to scare me off. I gave him his space (I’m not Jeff Corwin after all) but I knew that later I would wish I tried a few more photos. Video, I should have made a video! I always forget! The other days were a little windy and not good for underwater photography or snorkelling. However, the wind couldn’t stop us from throwing the Frisbee and I can honestly say in 3 days at the beach not one innocent bystander was maimed, knocked out, or even hit. Hey we’re professionals. Other sporting news on the beach is that Kent is starting to become a legend in Bocce. I knew he would have the touch necessary for the game but wisely Marco and Gianluca didn’t allow him to warm up so Kent and I lost our first match. Later when Kent matched up with Gianluca they beat the pants off of people. Kent was pretty consistent while Gianluca was just plain lucky! Admit it Gianluca!

Other sights, sounds, and tastes we took in… We had a great lunch with my Uncle Joe, Ruth and the Girls at the Penny Restaurant. I have to thank Ugo’s uncle for staying open to accommodate us. For taste buds there was also the Sagra del Pesce at Porto Cesareo. The biggest sagra I have been to with the least amount of food! The fish was good but I want more variety at THE Sagra del Pesce. Throw in a visit to Gallipoli, Polignano a Mare, and Monopoli and I think it was a pretty complete trip. We had thought about a ferry to Greece or Albanian but with Lori and Kent we always seem to have plenty to do in this area.
See Lori and Kent’s blog for other photos and stories. If our stories don’t match up then I’m pretty sure I’m right and they’re wrong. I’ll try not to duplicate photos but I see my sister has already used my best picture of the octopus but that’s ok because I’m sure I’ll use a few of Kent’s photos.


Johnaesthetica said...

Sounds like you three had some good times. Where is that Parco Nazionale? I'd love to see some wildlife while I'm here.

Whenever you want to come to Lecce for the Tour de Gelato, just let me know. We can work something out.

Jeff Gromen said...

The park would be almost due west from you but on the other side of the Ionian Sea (about a 2 hours drive).
Thursday night is calcetto night but other than that my plans are flexible and I'm always ready to eat gelato!