I woke up early today, around 5, quietly tip-toed out of the bedroom so as not to wake Bob, walked into the living/dining room, pulled up the shutters and stepped out onto the cool balcony. The stars were still visible overheard and the sky was a deep blue. Now it's almost 6 and it's getting brighter outside and so peaceful and quiet. There are no other lights on in the houses around us so I guess everyone is still asleep. There are no cars driving by at all and just that gentle breeze that comes at sunrise. I have always been an early riser (if I don't stay up too late the night before!) and enjoy these quiet morning hours. Usually I have a cup of coffee by my side. I have just put some on to brew and I'm waiting to hear the familiar bubbling sound telling me the coffee is done. Since we have been in Italy, and even before we left the states many mornings, we use a Moka pot to make our morning espresso. That's the kind where you put the water in the bottom, the coffee in the strainer in the middle and screw the top on. When the water boils, it bubbles up through the middle and into the part of top. We have a little manual frother also that we purchased in Perugia (one of our few possessions here and almost everything else belongs with the apartment) so we can make some foam and have our cappuccinos every day. For breakfast we usually have some bread and butter or jam, I might have some cereal or, if we can find it at the Erboristeria, a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit. Occasionally I make a frittata or some fried or scrambled eggs, but usually it's a simple affair.
We finally had some great rain! It was raining the last day I wrote here and it rained on and off for most of the day. It was so cool and lovely! I wrote and pulled photos and sat in front of the computer and looked out the window, still in my pajamas until well after lunch! Then Bob went off to run and errand and came back telling me we had to go out and walk around Verona. That it was gorgeous out, too nice to be in the house. So off we went. He was right. The sky was a gorgeous blue with lots of drama as the clouds were still swirling around and the temperatures had dropped from the previous hot days. We parked near the Castelvecchio on Corso Cavour and walked along the river, enjoying the views of the bridges and the views from the other side of the river, looking towards the historic center. A river flows through Verona, in a serpentine shape and it is said that the city of Verona is "on a bend of the River Adige." And because of this, every bend reveals another panorama or ancient bridge. We find ourselves falling in love with this city as we come to know it better and we always enjoy just walking along the river, attracted as we always are, to the water and the reflections and the colors of the buildings, the many beautiful churches and tall bell towers that rise above them. The sky up until now has been disappointing and hazy and we haven't felt that it has enhanced our photos but this day was an exception and Bob went off to photograph my himself while I stopped to do a watercolor sketch of one of the bridge views I like especially.
After a while it became obvious that the clouds were building and, concerned that I would get caught in a downpour, quickly wrapped up my painting, putting my watercolor block into a plastic bag I keep in my cloth bag and pulling out the little umbrella I had stuffed in it earlier. Just as I was doing all of that hurriedly, Bob phoned me to say that he was heading for the car. As we were by now in different parts of the city, it was decided that we should both just head for the car and meet there. I walked back quickly along the river, turning onto Punta Vittoria and back towards Castelvecchio, passing the old Roman gate and onto Corso Cavour, where the little plaque points out to passersby that this is the spot where Tybalt was killed by Romeo (as if this was an actual event!) and passed the sweet little church of San Lorenzo, meeting Bob next to our car, just up the street. Verona seemed larger to me when we arrived and it was all new. The more times we go there, the more intimate it feels and the closer things seem to each other.
Today Giorgio (our landlord and friend) is taking Bob (and our car) to his auto mechanic for a check up. We are planning a trip to Switzerland and France at the end of August and wanted to be sure the car had a tune up and all the necessary oil changes etc. He asked Giorgio for a suggestion of where to take it and Giorgio said he had a friend who did this and he would take him there. Once again we find ourselves in a fortunate position, with landlords willing to help us with whatever we need, generously taking time from their busy schedules and we appreciate this so much. Laura (Giorgio's wife) recently found a doctor for me to see for my thyroid condition (the dottoressa came to my apartment!), have my blood drawn and go for an ultrasound (everything is fine) and faxed all the reports to the doctor for me. She and I are going to the Roman Arena tonight to see "Madama Butterfly" together while the guys (I told you I didn't think I could get Bob to go with me again to the opera!) will go have a pizza and a beer!
Life is good. We can't complain one tiny bit. We hope it's good for you too, wherever you are.