Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When in Rome...Or the General Vicinity

I really like a good plan, but when traveling it's best not to get too attached to one.

Our little jaunt from Sorrento to Brindisi (in yellow) to catch a ferry for Greece was disrupted by trouble in North Africa. The new plan was to drive north across the Apennine Mountains to Ancona (in pink) to catch one, making the drive a bit longer and doubling the length of the ferry ride.

We are not talking Staten Island Ferry here by the way but as my daughter put it "a baby cruise ship."  More on that soon from Mr. Suitcase.

I had the original route of this trip etched in my mind, but with the changes I now had no idea where we were. I asked around to see if anyone had a map of Italy. No one did. Someone had purchased a souvenir magnet with a map...too small. Another student had picked up an apron for her mom with a map of Italy on it, several of us used that to get our bearings.

One must improvise.  

All of this making things up as we went along and rush, rush, rushing meant that on the day of this drive lunch was at an Italian gas station, not unlike American ones that include a hot lunch only instead of fried chicken or a ham sandwich, you can get a panino (panini is plural) or pasta.

I roamed around looking at the line of Italian construction workers who were, naturally overjoyed at having a busload of tourists invade at the exact moment of their lunch break. I always feel the same way when that happens to me at Cracker Barrel. I had a lot of trouble making a decision. I finally settled on something that I'm pretty sure qualifies as an Italian Lunchable. I spied a bottle of wine for 25% off. That excited me. In my state you can't buy wine at the gas station. I wondered if they would open it for me. As I paid I asked the cashier if that was possible. She instantly handed it to her coworker who took a corkscrew out of his apron, opened it, and handed it to me.

 I love Italy.

 I realized just in the nick of time that I had nothing to drink it out of and asked for a couple of cups. Outside while the bus driver finished his cigarette I sat on the curb and ate my gourmet convenience store lunch. Can you imagine how this would look at home? Can you imagine if I hadn't thought to ask for the cups and had to drink my discounted wine out of the bottle?

The Housewife, sitting on the curb at a truck stop, drinking wine out of a bottle in the middle of the day.

Oh, that would have gone over big at home.

"Hey Dad, look what Mom was doing in Italy!"

You can see I was trying to look as dignified as possible (not easy) on the curb with my bottle. The plastic cups were a nice touch, don't you think?

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