Posts Tagged With: wine

The Way of St. Francis: Surprises lead our way

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A castle tower caught our eye today, but this sculpture made us wonder why it was standing in this trailside field.

Intermittent showers followed us Tuesday on the Way of St. Francis from Montelibretti to Monterotondo, a busy city of 41,000 that makes us feel like we leaped forward hundreds of years.

It is how we got here that is the day’s story. About noon, we turned from a lazy, tree-canopied lane onto a busy two-lane highway where cars zoomed by at motorway speeds. It was a shock after several hours of countryside trekking. Then the rain decided to fall faster too.

A loud noise snapped us back to the future further. Through the drips from our hats, we saw the source: a motorway filled with speeding vehicles. How do we get to the other side, where our apartment awaits? Harder rain confused us until we spotted a yellow stripe painted uphill on a pole to our right. Is that where St. Francis went? It must have been, because after climbing through knee-high weeds over a berm, along a strip of aging asphalt under tree branches that we ducked under, we found bent grasses that told us someone had walked this way.

Down we went until the motorway blocked us again. More bent grass led us down a steep slope along a fence to a rickety, five-foot-long, 18-inch-wide wooden walkway with no railings that crossed a concrete culvert. The rain followed us across, then down farther to a road — and an underpass!

As we walked on a soggy path to Monterontondo, we paused for a selfie. A few twists and crosswalks brought us to salvation: an Italian bar, where a young man and woman made us tall cups of coffee to go with our flaky-crusted berry torte. They worked so hard to make us feel welcome, a trait that helps make this country great in our eyes.

Now I sit in our modern one-bedroom apartment. I hear faint sounds of Italian voices from the apartment above. I sip a glass of wine as Sue prepares our dinner.

The Way of St. Francis is full of surprises. That’s one reason why I want it to last forever.

 

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The Way of St. Francis: Are We There Yet?

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The dawn of a new day found us three days out from our last rest day in Rieti, with just three more days to walk until we reach Rome, our final destination.  Our feet are tired, our hips are sore and barking dogs are getting on our nerves.

But we’re still doing it…uphill and down, along miles of ribbon-thin trails through wet thigh-high grass, trails of sticky, gooey mud and trails so steep they must be paved to keep from washing away…and we are having the time of our lives!

But, there are still miles to go and much to see before we’ll feel lucky enough to relax and truly celebrate.

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The Way of St. Francis: Trattoria Favorita is a Favorite

B & B Piazza Cavour in Rieti has been a perfect place to rest our packs as we ready ourselves for the last 6 days to Rome.  Our corner balcony (one down from the top) overlooked the piazza and was just a short walk across the river to the Historic City Center.

We discovered a great little place to eat this evening, just across the square from our place. It could have been the family atmosphere, but we felt the folks at the aptly named Trattoria Favorita served us one of the best pasta meals of the trip.

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As usual, we were the first to be seated for an early (by Italian standards) evening meal, but Mariannina (left) greeted us warmly, and with limited English, made us feel right at home.  Francesca (a daughter?) was every bit as warm and welcoming and we had a wonderful time pantomiming our conversations.  Lots of smiles, nodding and laughter!  If you have the chance, Trattoria Favorita on Piazza Cavour offers good food, a warm welcome and a comfortable atmosphere.

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The Way of St. Francis: Mountaintop surprise

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Three carryoncouple posts in one day, you ask? Probably too many, but please forgive our enthusiasm. The Way of St. Francis just gave us another reason to celebrate.

After yet another climb, we reached our accommodation Saturday afternoon on an isolated mountaintop with sweeping views of Umbrian valleys. We were welcomed to the Casalotto Francescano like family. Our en suite room is part of a building below the two-story main house.

We tidied up and shared a bottle of very nice white wine from our kitchen while sitting outside, watching clouds march by and trees bend in the breeze. We took turns telling about our favorite parts of the trek and the biggest surprises.

Soon it was time for dinner. Our host, Luca, a firefighting helicopter pilot who has traveled the world, delivered his mama’s finest.  Zucchini and eggs never tasted so good. Salad, marinara penne pasta, parmesan, superb red wine, and fresh strawberries. All marched down from the main house, just for the two of us.

Luca was celebrating (we hope), too, because he said we are the first Americans to stay here. Tomorrow, we face a particularly difficult trekking day to Valfabbrica. But the gratitude we pack will lighten our load.

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The Way of St. Francis: Bargains in Italy

The euro may cost about $1.22, but lower prices make Italy a bargain for Americans. Our accommodations, all clean, comfy and with full bathrooms, have been from $70 to $100 a night, all but one including breakfast.

We bought breakfast once: four yummy, fresh baked items, four Americanos and two sandwiches for lunch. Yep, that was 11,40 euro, about $14, for everything!

Last night in Gubbio, a litre of good white wine with hot appetizers, was 6 euro, less than $8. Our wine at LAX cost $16…per glass!

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Backroads Across America: Drive-Thru Cocktails

IMG_0393A two-day search for wine in markets and convenience stores in Louisiana and Mississippi had proven fruitless, other than Boone’s Farm and some with mold on the bottle. Then we found this store today. Not only did it offer a good selection of our favorite Chardonnay, it sold drive-thru drinks to go. We couldn’t believe our eyes, but it is true. As long as the lid is not punctured by an open straw, you can buy a variety of cocktails from your car in Louisiana. Just no “bottom’s up” until you get home!

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