If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

09 September 2006

Baby's just a little bit tired of the city,

Billboards and bullshit got her down
Seems like you need a little hill country,
a little back roads driving, a little bit of that ole' top down.
Everybody's gotta get away sometime.
Forget about yourself for a while
Seems to be that all you need is a ragtop car and a ride with me ...

Those are the lyrics to one of my very favorite driving songs (Carry On, Pat Green).
And damn if life sometimes just gives ya what you need when you need it. Back in what now feels like the olden days (before BiteWeek 2006), there were The Roadtrips.

Yes, two of my very favorite friends, The Benders (Barky & Bimbo), have a new convertible. And they loved me enough to spend two consecutive weekends trying valiantly to pull me out of my funk. By putting me in the back of their car and driving until I could no longer feel my face nor my broken heart anymore. And of course, filling me with copious amounts of wine. And laughing while I sported the cancer-patient-evoking back-seat-of-the-convertible head scarf look (then again, some of my very best friends are cancer patients, so IMHO the look is VERY chic and stylish).

There were Tuscan hilltop towns and windy roads filled with vines and cypresses.

There was Opera. Because it's Italy. Because it was the Puccini Festival. Because it was Tosca, one of the most famous and tragic of all operas. (Spoiler Alert!): Everyone dies in the end, big-ly and tragically and dramatically. Go see it. Really, especially when you're depressed. Instant upper: how bad does your life NOT suck by comparison?!

There was a Sagra. Apparently the word "sagra" means, loosely, festival. Party. And this time of year, there's one in pretty much every town. Each generally revolves around a gastronomic specialty of the area: we've seen sagras for steak, sagras for pork, sagras for wild boar, sagras for bruschetta... you get the idea. This one, sporting what must be the world's largest frying pan, celebrated the local delicacy, the porcini mushroom. And, OMG, it was heavenly. Sitting at one of hundreds of red-checkered tableclothed tables, under the midsummernights'dream evoking canopy of trees in the public park in Cortona, listening to bad Italian deejays and the harmony of the fountain, making friends with the family at the next table.

There was a visit to one of our favorite wineries, Collosorbo, to restock our dwindling cellars.

There was Jack Johnson on the car stereo. There was the sunset. There were the lazy, devoid of purpose wanderings of a trio, traveling with the luxury of time to see and do nothing other than enjoy the windy roads and fresh air ... a sharp contrast to the agenda-laden travel of those here on holiday, cramming it all in. The benefits of living here: it'll be here, next weekend. And the one after, and the one after that, if we don't get there today.

There was attendance at a contrada (neighborhood) dinner in Montepulciano, in a giant circular brick room with gorgeous vaulted ceilings, where we sat at long, communal tables, ate amazing penne al fumo, and watched as the proud locals drank a heck of a lot of wine and then chanted what must be the equivalent of "fight songs" between tables. The contrade are a way of life here, the neighborhood in the town that you live in. A small town like Montepulciano has eight, I think.
Each has its own flag, a crest of sorts, and during town celebrations like this everyone sports their 'colors' proudly in scarves and shirts. Barky and Bimbo commented that they wanted to go back to a different contrada next time around until we've done them all, but I'm already feeling loyal to the red-and-black of Voltaia ... golly, I already have the scarf!

There was much sangria bianca e rossa. And outdoor dancing in a crowd under the stars, to a cheezy italian duo singing, among other things, bad Lionel Richie ("all night long": oh, MY.) and Gloria Gaynor. There was much embarrassment about what America exports to the world, as we listened to the crowd of Italians singing along.

Sometimes you've gotta grab the world with your own two hands,
set it spinning off on a course all your own.
Take yourself a big bag for your shoulder,
find yourself some good times, and bring 'em on back home.

Good times, fun people, and souvenir scarf to remember it all by: found.
And stuffed into the big bag on the traveler's shoulder.

You only get one life to live, and if you live it right, one should be enough.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss Italy. I fell in love with the Wild Boar and ravioli stuffed with Nettles.
You are definitely living life girl! I am jealous so I will live vicariously through you.


*your site won't leave a comment under my blogger account so I am commenting as anonymous.

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it definitely sounds like your living and living right. Just enjoy it as it comes!!DS

*it won't let me log in and publish either??

11:42 PM  
Blogger Viaggiatore said...

PROBLEMS WITH THE COMMENTS: aaaah, damn the progress-not-yet-quite completed in the world. Apparently Blogger and Google have created some sort of a marriage, but in the meantime, accounts that have "switched" to the new system (like mine) can't accept comments well from those of you in the "other" system. I'm sure it will get worked out eventually. In the meantime, comment anonymously and just sign your name. There's always a Plan B. xoxo, V.

12:23 AM  
Blogger Umbrian said...

Google and Blogger have always been in bed together, it is the beta that is causing the trouble. There's a whole user newsgroup dedicated to it.
This is Judith in Umbria, in case it doesn't like me either.
I really like that scarf! Is it in nice fabric? Or cheesy?

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are out of your funk, V...wish I could be there with ya! (Just a Girl...a.k.a. N.Winkust).

3:18 AM  

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