Finally summer has arrived! It has at least in Bell’Italia, the place where I will be for the remaining few weeks of this tour. Since arriving here two weeks ago, I have made it a point never to complain about the heat. My only challenge is with transportation when my legs stick to the plastic seats of the metro’ and ever-so-intimate moments with strangers on overcrowded buses full of odors that are all but romantic. But, as they say here, “fa niente”: I am living in a post card and loving every minute of it.
Since arriving I have made it my mission to stuff myself with mozzarella di Bufala, seafood, shellfish, cafone bread and all the fruits and vegetables that I love so much like friarielli or apricots. And the coffee! Naples is famous for its caffe’ because of the way that it is prepared with machines that are calibrated only for this city, the kind of roast and beans, the sea air and the water that they use. And the wine…Lacryma Cristi and Falanghina are my favorites, grown at the foot of Vesuvius’ fertile landscape. Did I mention the gelato that I feel myself obligated to have nearly every day?
Although Neapolitan cuisine is full of wondrous abundance and variety, it is not known for its’ cocktails. Drinking in bars has only recently become trendy and since I am not here to drink alcohol that I could get anywhere in the States, I am not disappointed to forgo the occasional Mojito. I generally stick to wine, limoncello or grappa when it comes to sipping alcohol here in this 40-degree centigrade city.
However, there is an Italian cocktail made famous in Venice that is diffused all over Italy and also popular here. It is called spritz and it made with Aperol or Campari, prosecco or white wine and a slice of orange. It isn’t incredibly alcoholic but if you happen to drink one at 7 p.m. at the train station after being outside all day and sweating profusely and not eating anything but gelato, then be ready to be tipsy! It is refreshing and a bit bitter, something perfect for hot weather and for a pre-dinner drink.
What I miss today is a place that is top on my list to visit when I come home: The Granary. Every time I go it turns out to be romantic or majestic or memorable or just a great time with a friend. I feel special when I am there and always feel like dressing up even though the atmosphere is completely come as you are. Here I am in a city where you have to fight for a view of the Costiera Amalfitana or Vesuvius-you have to earn the right to enjoy the gifts of this explosive city.Yet, once you see these panoramas, especially at sunset with the lights of a million households shining at you, you are instantly enchanted.
No less spectacular is the view from the Granary which you don’t have to conquer but you do have to plan. It is not a place you just end up; it is special and something to savor once you are there. As I write this I hear the continual buzz of motorini and cars and imagine myself walking into the Granary, hearing nothing but the wind in the trees. And the spicy margarita…it is not sweet, perfectly mixed and I love the glass that it is served in with plenty of ice. Like the spritz, it is refreshing without relying on a high sugar content and makes for a perfect accompaniment to a sunset.
Things are busy and bustling here, and I am happy to be able to work here amidst the chaos. I will admit as I am close to hitting the three month mark since leaving Jackson, I am beginning to truly miss and moreover need the peace and solitude that the Valley allows. Sitting at the chromed bar at the Granary with the peach sun hitting the mountains will be a welcome evening experience when I return to the place I enjoy calling home.