Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Ok, I’ve been whining a lot again. Time to get back to good stuff. There are some things I like about winter and Italy. One is the new wines (that’s a given) but along with the vino novello there’s roast chestnuts. Here they go together like peanut butter and jelly (which by the way, don’t go together here in Italy!!) Now we’ve all heard in that Christmas tune “chestnuts roasting on a open fire” but I’m pretty sure that I’ve never had them until I arrived in Italy. Now everyday (from October until sometime in January) I pass the contraption you see in the photo. The veggie place has this super excellent chestnut-roasting machine made by Rosalba’s husband. It has a drum (with little fins) that rotates like a washing machine only slower and over flames that cook every castagna to perfection. I’ve never even tried to roast my own chestnuts and why should I with this thing just a few hundred feet from my front door? So many times I’m coming back from shopping or the gym and I catch that smoky sweet smell. It’s all over and I have to get at least 2 euros worth to snack on. Then at home I proceed to throw one of the shells on the floor to the delight of the cats. They bat it around until it either gets under something where they can’t reach it or I’m walking around and not paying attention and suddenly I hear a loud CRUNCH under my foot. Once they actually managed to push the shell under the throw rug in the hall. I almost fell on my ass at the surprise of stepping on a rug that crunched.
I may have mentioned it before but another thing I love is having the shudders open. The sun is our friend again. I would like to have the shudders open year round but I learned from the locals that in the summer that’s just not a good idea. Your apartment gets hot quickly and it won’t cool down. This time of year I get to welcome the sun in to try to warm the place up.
Another thing I love is how green the countryside is this time of year. For a couple months there in the summer it’s so dry and brown but now it’s nice and wet and green and it will be like that until May or June. It’s like Ireland. Ok maybe not that green but it’s all backwards to what I’m used to. In the Midwest by now all the trees are bare it’s looking bleak and winter like. You’re hoping for a snow to make the cold weather worthwhile. Here there are a few trees that loose their leaves so there are some trees that are bare like it’s winter but everything else is too green for me to accept that it’s winter. I mentioned how a large part of the park Torre Gauceto burned in August with the hot, dry summer we had but if you go out there now you can’t tell. Sure it doesn’t have the taller trees and some bushes it had but I think it will recover quicker than people are predicting. I also think the Gargano area will recover quickly too. I would like to drive up there to see. I bet the natural areas are recovering faster than the man made houses and businesses that burned. Mother nature is good like that.
This photo below is of an interesting sunset we had Sunday night. It was really low in the sky so it was almost hidden by the other buildings around me. The clouds were thick and just had this one hole that allowed sun through for about 5 or 10 minutes. Then right in the middle was this one palm tree that sticks up above the buildings. I’m taking this photo from the 4th floor (5th to you Americans) and that tree is about the same level as my apartment.