So in my last post, we left off with me feeling relief at seeing lights up ahead. But that would make things too easy on me, right?? Once I got to the village, I was faced with this - a village of vacant, poorly-lit streets:
See, the hotel didn't actually have a street number - its address was just "Via Castello", or Castello Street. Meaning my hotel was one of those dark and sign-less buildings above. But which one??
The lone passer-by took pity on me. As he neared me, my first thoughts after so many years in France were "Sh*t, is he going to mug me? There will be no witnesses! Or is he just going to ask for a cigarette??". Instead he just spoke to me in some rapid-fire Italian, and between hand gestures and my pitiful Italian, I managed to convey that I was looking for a hotel. He brought me over to it, but it was closed (obviously) and there was a sign on the door with a phone number saying what I'm assuming was "Call when you arrive".
After some trouble dialing the phone number, I finally got a hold of them, and they came to let me in. As I was the only one staying in the hotel, it was fairly dark and slightly creepy. Here was the entrance into my hallway:Which we got to after crossing this beautiful but eerie salle de fête:And then the owner took me out to a small bar where I had what was quite possibly the most disgusting plate of pasta ever. Seriously. It was over-cooked spiral pasta with some tomato paste plopped on top.
Luckily it was made up for the following night, when I ate at the hotel and had this plate of perfectly-cooked gnocchi with fresh tomato sauce, basil-infused olive oil and parmesan shavings. It was heaven on a plate and I did not want the meal to end:Unfortunately it was about the only decent meal I had in Italy, which was a far cry from when I taught English there several years back and stayed in a horrible little hotel whose only saving grace was the master chef who went out of his way to produce five-star food for my three daily meals. That food was the only highlight of my trip - the job was terrible and I remember being depressed because there was no internet in the village, which severely limited my communications with Fab (no one spoke English, so every time he tried to call the hotel, they ended up hanging up on him). I'd always wanted to go back though....France and I have come to terms with one another, but something about Italy has always spoken to me. And now I'm more determined than ever to go back and do some more exploring. (But next time, with a true automatic car - I have never been as happy to give a car back as I was that day!!)