I, um... left the cord that transfers my photos from my camera to my computer in Italy. Inside the house whose balcony was the staging grounds for the above photo. Don't tell my husband- I'm hoping he won't notice that the temporary cord I just ordered is small and grey and the old one is long and black. Anyhow, the people whose apartment we stayed in will be returning to their lovely home in a couple weeks and might be inspired to ship me the one that's resting on their computer desk. Or in the kitchen. Or under their bed? So, although I was hoping share oodles of pictures and Italy stories with you, I won't be doing so for a while. Until then, I'll distract you with a wine pairing story relating to cars in Italy.
We drove in Italy. Well, my mom drove in Italy. I was useless because I can't drive stick. And the "automatic" cars in Italy, they aren't really automatic like we have the states. While they don't have clutches, they still shift sticks that need to be vigorously jiggled when driving.
After driving for hours in Italy, we got lost in Florence. In the future, when I learn how to drive stick, I'd happily drive in the Italian countryside. It's gorgeous (see below) and serene. But I will never drive in an Italian city. Nor would I sit in the passenger seat of a car steered by a foreigner who is simultaneously trying to navigate the city's signs, one way streets, blockades, and considering whether the many honking cars around her mean anything besides, "i have a horn!"
The driving situation in Florence was intense. So was asking directions in extremely limited Italian in the very outskirts of Florence at night while wearing a skirt and looking lost. The medieval town of Siena, on the other hand, was relatively calm and compact and there weren't as many bridges to cross. This made for easier navigation once you got outside the city walls, as cars aren't allowed inside the huge, bricked walled of the inner Siena fortress.
Anyhow, if one ever gets lost while trying to drive in Florence then waits for a taxi for an hour that doesn't come and then has to park in an underground station because they can't find the rental car return garage, they should have a wine and food pairing experience to help them through the rest of the night.
I suggest salami, prosciutto, crostini with pate or liver, olives, and wine. At this point, any type of wine will do, but one should go in either of two directions when pairing on this night. First, if you want to gently relax, choose a regional red of the area that you are visiting, such as a Chianti, and enjoy a glass with your charcuterie. Or, if one would rather drink with the aim of forgetting the entire night, and quickly, choose a high alcohol Zinfandel that you packed in your suitcase just for this occasion, pour the wine in plastic cups provided by your hotel, and consume. Then turn down your bed, because after quaffing two glasses or three glasses of the high-octane jammy juice, you'll sleep like a baby. Then return your car in the morning.
More photos to come.