Day 93 - Abruzzo

14 March 2022

Pepe woke me up at 5.00 am. He meowed at our door, padded upstairs, meowed there, padded down to our door. Repeat. He either got what he wanted or I fell asleep. There is something pleasant about being woken by an animal.

Breakfast provided. A feast for ten. It is just the two of us. I do my best to eat for ten. Tomatoes with goats cheese, salt, dried oregano. Fruit salad, which I avoid. Salami, cheese, ham. Cannoli.

Cannoli is my current tiramisu. I have eaten cannoli before, not great. These cannoli, homemade, are incredible. The ricotta filling, with sugar, lemon, and chocolate; I can’t get enough. The filling is different from yesterday. Sheep milk today. These cannoli are delicious. I eat most of Shell’s.

We hit the road. Direct route. If we take the scenic drive it is over five hours. We are heading toward the mountain village of Perillis. High in the snow-capped mountains of Abruzzo.

We work our way out of Sorrento. These seaside towns on the Amalfi Coast are busy. The coastline is stunning, the roads and traffic not so much. Given the choice, mountains over the coast for me.

“A sip of wine, a cigarette,

And then it’s time to go.

I tidied up the kitchenette;

I tuned the old banjo.

I’m wanted at the traffic-jam.

They’re saving me a seat.”

― Leonard Cohen

We are soon off the freeway and winding our way into the mountains. It is easy driving. Snow builds up on every side. On the edge of the roads, it is almost as tall as I am. These mountains are majestic. I can’t even imagine what it must be like crossing the Alps into Germany.

We listen to more podcasts. The more I understand the more I realise just how much history I do not fully understand. One thing is certain, everything the US has a hand in turns to shit. Take the Russian oligarchy the US are now baying for, created by the US twenty-five years ago to ensure Yeltsin was elected. The billions in oligarchy wealth, US dollars.

“The self-righteous scream judgments against others to hide the noise of skeletons dancing in their own closets.” ― John Mark Green

It is getting close to lunch and we start looking for a place to eat. Shell finds a spot just outside of the tiny village Aielle Stazione. The only person who speaks English is Monica, owner of Ristorante Al Castello. Born in Germany, she moved to Australia, where she lived for twenty years. Monica married an Italian. Ten years later she moved to Italy. That was in 1974.

She talks us through the menu. Her English has an Australian accent. We talk to her for a while. The food comes. Local, fresh-made pasta and steaks of a charcoal grill. The food is excellent. The steaks are finished with rocket and olive oil. Very good.

We head to our accommodation. Perillis is high up in the mountains. We take the scenic drive. Winding higher and higher. Crossing a pine forest. The snow is a thick carpet here, even in spring. When we arrive in Perillis there is snow on the streets.

“I think a lot of snowflakes are alike...and I think a lot of people are alike too.” ― Bret Easton Ellis

Our accommodation is a renovated old villa. It is stunning. Postcard stuff. A bath in the bedroom that overlooks the snow-covered mountains. Fireplace.  The day is sunny, no wind.

We light the fire and open a bottle of wine as the sun sets over the mountains. Fires are hypnotic. The ultimate meditation. They make you drowsy and capture your attention. Bring you completely into the present moment.

“Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden.” ― Cormac McCarthy

This is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.

And happy birthday Thomas.


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