We recently met Emma, a lovely young woman who works at one of the ceramics shops here in Vietri. It's the one with the lovely tiles in the window we have passed many times near the Pasticceria Russo. We love some of the tiles in the window, that are a natural colored terra cotta contrasted with delicate designs in painted, glazed ceramic. Finally one day a few weeks ago before we went to Puglia, we found it open and met Emma. Her English is wonderful and we enjoyed talking with her about the area, about ceramics, language, the Italian people and life in general. We suggested we should go out for drink some time and asked her about the possibility of taking a ceramics lesson. She promised to get back in touch with us as she was not going to be available for a few weeks and neither were we.
We stopped in there the other day and she invited us to go on a hike with her in the hills above Vietri, near where she lives in the town of Alessi, high above Vietri and the Bay of Salerno. We also scheduled a day for a ceramics lesson. On Saturday around 2 in the afternoon she picked us up at our apartment and drove us to her home where she lives currently with her parents. She parked the car and we walked - mostly uphill - to the most wonderful viewpoint, with Vietri and the whole coast of Salerno and the Bay spread below us! It was breathtaking.
We learned that Emma is married to an American, a lucky young guy named Wes and that they are trying to work out where to live, whether in the states or in Italy and apparently they have many options open to them. She told us how difficult it is in this area to find work and she felt there would be more opportunities in America for her and Wes, who works for the government. But it could be that he can work in Europe, Italy or otherwise but at the moment he is in Washington D.C. We are hoping to visit with them when she comes to the states this fall.
After our hike in the mountains we went back to Emma's house where she literally threw together a lovely meal of sausages, potatoes and broccoli rabe that was fantastic and served with bread called pane grano that her parents made. A very interesting bread that is baked, then dried in the oven, and stored in plastic bags. When they want to eat it, they dip it in water for a few seconds, not so it gets soggy, but it adds moisture to it and you can break off pieces. It was very tasty and quite unusual for us.
She drove us back home with a stop at the Bombola shop to make sure they were going to deliver a replacement gas bottle to our apartment. Earlier in the day I had received a phone call from our landlady trying to arrange delivery (since we had run out of gas during the cooking of the pasta during our dinner party the night before!). Emma helped us out by talking with our landlady and helping to coordinate the whole thing, then drove us there and back to our house where the gas bottle arrived just moments after we did! We invited her in for a glass of wine and more conversation, getting to know each other better. After a while it was evident we were all pretty tired from our hike and she said Buona Notte and left us.
Exhausted, I went straight to bed! Bob stayed up a bit longer but soon followed.
This morning after breakfast I made one of my chocolate cakes for Emma to thank her for such a lovely day yesterday and we brought it up to her. On Sundays she works at a different ceramics shop and we are considering buying some of the plates they make to take home, memories of our time in Vietri.
Tomorrow she promised to pick us up around 11am to take us for our ceramics lesson. We are looking forward to it very much as well as getting to know this really bright and interesting young woman.
Rosemary and Bob