Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ciao Borgo Roma and Verona 10.31.06

Today is literally our last day in Borgo Roma. Tomorrow we head south, stopping in Perugia to see some friends and pause in our journey south. It's about an 8 or 9 hour drive and we didn't want to do it all in one day. We will spend a couple of nights there and plan to arrive Friday or Saturday in Vietri. We are filled with expectation and excitement at what we will find there and all the places we want to visit. We spent a few hours yesterday morning packing and now only have the computer stuff and all the last minute things to throw together. I cooked lunch in the apartment, finishing off the last of the eggs and the onions, mixing in some broccoli and cleaning out the cupboards. We're just about ready to go. Bob wants to spend some time today organizing his photos and I will probably take the bus into Verona for one last spin around and give him a few hours to himself, without me interrupting every ten minutes!

Last night we went out with Laura and Giorgio to a concerto. This was the first time we had been in the Teatro Filarmonico and it is a gorgeous old theatre with fancy gold detailing on the tiered balconies and elaborate burgundy and gold trimmed curtain. The group was from Russia, and included young kids dancing the typical Russian folk dances, some similar to the ones we had seen at the festival in Agrigento, during the Blooming Almond Tree festival last February. Some of these dancers could not have been older than 7 or 8 and they were incredible. The speed at which these Russians move is truly remarkable. They also did that dance where the women seem to be floating on air, they move so smoothly and their dresses are so long you cannot see their feet. It is really something.

Afterwards we went out for a pizza with them and two of their friends and drank wine and beer and the conversation was lively. One of their friends spoke English so we were able to converse in both languages and it was really fun.

We will really miss Laura and Giorgio. The way they opened up their hearts to us is something we will never forget and we do hope they will visit us in the states (or even in Vietri!) in the future. We hope they will enjoy the watercolor of Piazza Bra I made just for them and that it will serve to remind them of us.

Giorgio took us on another outing yesterday afternoon to visit an aviary (I don't think that is quite the right word but it's the best I can do). A friend of his is a landscape architect for the city of Verona but has this passion for birds. He is constructing a habitat and bird sanctuary - he raises rare and endangered birds, cranes and flamingos, in Italian, these are called gru (cranes) and fenicotteri (flamingos). He said that some countries, particularly Holland and the United States are doing much to prevent these birds from going extinct but that in Italy this is not the case. He raises these birds from the egg and sells them to zoos and other nature reserves. They were absolutely gorgeous, many different varieties, in shades of white and black, soft grays and browns, with interesting markings and broad wingspans. They are shy and timid but made a big racket after we passed. Tough guys when we were no longer nearby! It's incredible the work of this one person, to create this habitat and nursery really for these delicate, threatened birds and we wish him well in his endeavor to keep this species alive.

This week we also took a trip to Milano for an evening spin around the city. The Duomo there is on our list of favorites. This must be one of the most spectacular cathedrals in the world. Or at least among those we have seen and at this point we have seen a lot of churches! It was fun just to go to Milan at the spur of the moment and we were glad we made the trip - only an hour and a half from here. Since we had been to Milan before it was not urgent to do a lot of sightseeing and we just wandered around Piazza Duomo, ate gelato and looked in the elegant shops in the Galleria and the elegant shopping street nearby.

On Sunday we drove up to Treviso, north of Venice and then on to Belluno, in the Dolomites. It was a gorgeous day and the views of the mountains were truly breathtaking, with some clouds and a brilliant blue sky.

We have seen and done so much here. We have come to the end of our 3rd quarter and on to the final one now. Vietri awaits. The Amalfi Coast is calling our names. We long to be by the sea again and cannot wait to put our toes in the water.

We'll let you know when we arrive and send photos of our new home for the next five months. Wish us luck!

Arrivederci Borgo Roma e Verona!
Ciao Laura e Giorgio! Vi mancheremo (Not sure I spelled this Italian phrase right, but what I mean to say is: We will miss you!)
Rosemary e Robert

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