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We Didn't Drink ALL the Vino! Maitaitom's Italy Uncensored

We Didn't Drink ALL the Vino! Maitaitom's Italy Uncensored

Oct 13th, 2005, 07:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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What a treat to sit down and read this, have some laughs and know there is more to come.
Welcome back Tom and Thank you
Scarlett is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 07:49 PM
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Enjoying your adventures! Waiting for more.

MichelleY is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 08:20 PM
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Laughing my way through your report!!

"the guy was driving on the wrong side of the road" - Don't you know it's not the wrong side of the road in London? It may be not the "right" side but this is the "correct" side
FainaAgain is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 09:02 PM
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It was tongue in cheek Faina!!
LoveItaly is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 09:17 PM
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This is my first maitaitom trip report. Loving it - keep up the good reporting.
cobbie is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 11:17 PM
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Hi Cobbie, doesn't Tom's report make you want to go rushing back to Italy, even if one has to sit in coach, LOL.
I can hardly wait for the next segment of this report, including the trashed rental car (oh my) and the camera at the bottom of the canal in Venice. Take care.
LoveItaly is offline  
Oct 14th, 2005, 04:47 AM
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Joining the crowd waiting for the next installment. Here's hoping Italy has calmed down since the return of Maitaitom for the sake of the rest of us travelers Deborah
DeborahAnn is offline  
Oct 14th, 2005, 07:20 AM
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Drumming my fingers impatiently beside the keyboard waiting for the next installment to appear. This is a priceless trip report. Thanks, Tom!
Betsy is offline  
Oct 14th, 2005, 07:21 AM
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More please
sfowler is offline  
Oct 14th, 2005, 07:41 AM
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At one point, Tracy, Kim and Mary actually tried to push the car backwards into the parking space

Absolutely hilarious! I nearly spit out my coffee... Picturing it made me laugh out loud!!!

I can't wait for the next installment!

mv_rd is offline  
Oct 14th, 2005, 08:25 AM
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Tom, your raising my blood pressure. I don't think all this suspense is good for me! Welcome back and please hurry with the rest of the report! I was sitting here only yesterday thinking it was far too long since we'd been to Italy...
Kavey is offline  
Oct 14th, 2005, 08:38 AM
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Great report, we have the "hill towns" on our list of places to go, so I'm looking forward to the rest of your report. The "reverse" thing happened to me when I rented a car in Germany many moons ago. Drove all the way to the hotel, then had to back up to park and couldn't, for the life of me figure out how, no one spoke English in the hotel, it was quite comical, especially being jet lagged and all. The lesson I learned, when we rent cars now in Europe I always ask them to show me how to put the car in reverse!

owlwoman is offline  
Oct 14th, 2005, 12:47 PM
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This is great, Tom. Looking forward to more!
SusanP is offline  
Oct 14th, 2005, 01:21 PM
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Hey! We share the reverse difficulty too--
We spend half of our second day in Italy driving to Perugia to the closed rental car office (we were staying in Chiusi) to have someone look at the "problem" with our car...only to have the gal easily pop it in reverse. With egg on our faces we then asked how she did that....

Now we ALL know. (And the 1st day we had purposely parked where we would be able to pull out )
LadyOLeisure is offline  
Oct 14th, 2005, 04:18 PM
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After breakfast at the PB, we were off on the road to Spoleto (the forgotten Hope-Crosby movie). On the way, we stopped to take pictures of a cute hill town we thought (by the signage nearby) was Foligno. The girl at the desk had told us there would be a wine festival in Foligno that night, and we decided we would check it out later on the way back.

We drove to the old town of Spoleto (well, I guess they are ALL old towns) and parked. We hiked up to the top of town (our first inkling of how our feet were to feel for the next 19 days). If we had so chosen, we could have paid 20 Euros apiece to join in the Spoleto Wine Festival, which consisted of taking your glass to various venues and consuming mass quantities of wine. Since it was only 10:30 in the morning, we determined that could be a huge tactical mistake.

We just missed the tour at Rocca Albornoziana, the place where Lucrezia Borgia was sent to get away from her second husband (I guess she was tired of those wacky orgies she had with her own father and brother). Instead we walked to the Ponte delle Torri, a bridge built on an old Roman aqueduct. The views from here of the valley behind Spoleto were spectacular.

After spending some time taking in the natural wonders, we headed toward Spoleto’s Duomo. They were just ending Sunday Mass, so we waited nicely and quietly in the back. A woman showed up inside the Duomo with a wine glass tied around her neck (obviously part of the wine tour, at least I hoped so). Suddenly the phrase “drinking Mass quantities of wine” took on quite another connotation.

In the process of departing Spoleto, and for the first time since I had picked up the car, I drove the wrong way on a one-way street. Obviously the Spoletons had been warned of our arrival, and fortunately there was no carnage.

Speaking of wine (and, if you remember, I was), we headed toward Montefalco, the home of Sagrantino and Sagrantino Passito, its famous wines. We were told that the Sagrantino grape (from which these wines are made) is a grape found in the Montefalco region only, and that Syrian monks might have introduced it in the 7th century. Since we were hungry, I didn’t question whether that was true or not.

We dined at a local haunt (at least it seemed like a haunt) called Il Falisco. It had gotten chilly and foggy outside, so the respite was nice, and we lunched on a couple of risottos, a spaghetti dish, and some noodles with wild asparagus. There was a cool fireplace (hmm, is that an oxymoron) where they grilled meats. Even though I had just learned about Sagrantino, we decided on the House Red (a 2002 Roccadi Fabn’ Montefalco Rosso) for 12 Euros.

After lunch, we walked to Santa Chiara, the church where Montefalco’s patron saint, Clare, lies in a transparent casket. The church was dark and quiet, and we were the only people inside. We saw Clare’s body, and I told the group we could knock on the door, and, according to something I read, the nuns could show us the remains of her heart, three of her gallstones (which represent the Trinity) and the scissors that were used to cut out her heart. Since we had just finished lunch, they decided to let the remainder of Clare rest in peace.

The “Walking Brits” from the Palazzo Bocci had told us not to miss the little town of Bevagna, because it was “special.” So we went there next.

Bevagna was a definitely a cute town. On the town’s Piazza Silvestri are two gigantic churches. We went into the Basilica di San Silvestro, built in 1195. I had read that Prince Charles had been stumping to get money to help restore the church, but there was no sign of him.

Since it was late afternoon, we thought it might be fun to drive to the charming town we believed to be Foligno. Once we got inside the city limits of Foligno, we realized this was definitely not the charming town on the hill, but a bigger city that was getting us more lost by the moment. Well, I was actually getting us lost, but when I can blame an entire town, I do.

Just when we thought we were lost for sure, Tracy saw the sign for the road to our hometown of Spello. We hightailed it back to the Bocci wondering what the heck was the name of that mysterious hill town we had photographed earlier in the day, but decided that two more bottles of wine on the patio would make that a moot question.

We had come to the conclusion we would like to try La Cantina Ristorante in Spello for dinner, which had been recommended to us. The welcome was lukewarm at best, and we just did not feel a good vibe in the place. It was very, very quiet with lots of long, drawn-out faces (perhaps they were just a bunch of people who couldn’t figure out how to get their cars in reverse, I thought). Anyway, after a few minutes we made a quick group decision and headed back to Il Molino. Heck, it would be new to Mary (who had been Ambien-free for more than 24 hours), and we were very happy with our meal the previous evening.

(One correction from the first night report…that great honeydew melon was actually in a Zuppa de Frutta, a fantastic dessert of honeydew, grapes, kiwi and peaches in a mint-type sauce)

On this night, the spectacular dish was a Filet with caramelized balsamic that Kim and I ordered. It was spectacular. Tracy had another steak she deemed too rare, and Kim (Mr. Chivalry) changed dishes with her (I would have been chivalrous had I not already eaten my entire steak). It was complemented nicely by a 2003 Montefalco Rosso Scacciadiavoloi (which took us less time to drink than to spell) for 13 Euros.

After I received a lecture on chivalry, we got to bed early because the next day our feet were going to get their first real test on the hilly streets of Assisi.


maitaitom is offline  
Oct 14th, 2005, 05:19 PM
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Such an enjoyable read on a rainy Friday evening!
seetheworld is offline  
Oct 14th, 2005, 05:44 PM
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I am just sitting here like a crazy person laughing. It must be an American thing with stick shifts. Same thing happened to us in Ireland. And the First Class, no better way to go. All those business trips my hubby takes, sweet man, I just never want to sit in "chicken or beef" again. Looking foward to the rest of your report. Italy here I come in November for my third trip in 3 years. I realize I need to win the lottery.
kadurk49 is offline  
Oct 14th, 2005, 06:17 PM
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I am loving this – thank you!

I am so sorry I was not here to answer your question about finding the hotel in Spello. I have been so busy at work, and traveling also, that I have been off the board for some time.

OK: re finding reverse on a FIAT: THAT I could have helped you with. I had the same problem the very first time I rented a car in Europe (in France). After 15 minutes of blind panic, I consulted the manual in the glove compartment and was able to figure it out through the pictures and my high-school French. What I learned from this and other car misadventures (and there have been MANY): I NEVER leave the car rental place without first being able to reverse, adjust mirrors, use the headlights, open the gas-tank …

Looking forward to more.

Regards Ger
OReilly is offline  
Oct 15th, 2005, 08:02 AM
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"I consulted the manual in the glove compartment and was able to figure it out."

GER, I figured you were really busy. Ah, if we'd only had a manual in the car.

Well, we're nearly to the death of the car. Tracy said that after Day 6, I should combine areas where we stayed, or this report would last longer than our vacation. More later.
maitaitom is offline  
Oct 15th, 2005, 08:38 AM
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I for one don't mind it if your report lasts for as long or longer than your vacation.

"Speaking of wine (and, if you remember, I was)"

We know that if you're not actually "speaking of wine" you're certainly thinking of wine!
Barbara is offline  

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