Note: this post has been migrated from my former blog “Parliamo dell’Italia – una ragazza fortunata a Perugia.”
I have to say that I welcomed the moment I found my family parked in the main piazza of Mola with a bittersweet feeling. I was beyond ecstatic to see them (I didn’t sleep for at least 2 nights prior), but I was also extremely sad to see my program in Mola come to an end. However, as you can probably gather from everything mentioned by Jimbo, I didn’t really have a lot of time to be sad about anything. We were in The Amazing Race version of Christmas Break, the million-dollar prize being that we didn’t all kill each other by the end. Spoiler alert: each member of the immediate DeNapoli family is safe and sound.
Sorrento welcomed us with a downpour, consequently forcing me (the “restaurant Nazi”) to resign quickly and accept dinner at a restaurant in the middle of the main square of Sorrento. I have spent the last 4 months here trying to find the sketchy, back-alley restaurants; they are always better & cheaper, but when The General is the one with the credit card, who am I to complain where we eat? The food was fine, but the dinner was memorable solely because of the 90E bill (outrageous for 4 pizzas) and the twerpy little waiter who literally begged for a tip at the end of the meal and then scowled at us as we walked out without giving him even more money.
From Sorrento we drove around the coast over to Herculaneum where we were guided through the ruins by Giuseppe, an Italian man who spoke English with an Italian-British accent. The man was a genius and I loved him because every time Jimbo dared to ask the beyond stupid question “is this the original?” he simply replied, “yeah, ok” and kept walking. Herculaneum was beautiful and the history there is astounding, but I have to say that the real highlight of the day was watching my father transform into an Italian driver. Once he realized that the Peugeot was in fact bigger than 3 SmartCars and a Vespa combined he just started laying on the horn and busting through intersections. This was accompanied by The General gripping any surface she could reach while gasping dramatically and Nick and me laughing in the back seat. Needless to say, it was entertaining.
A long and windy road brought us to Montalcino: town of beauty, Brunello, and monks ringing church bells every 29 seconds. Nick ate wild boar (manly), but the next evening sipped on a Bellini (chick drink); Jimbo slept in the crack between our 2 beds every night for a few hours after a few glasses of wine; and The General enjoyed the quiet, calm of its quaint atmosphere … all while knitting a pair of socks. After a few nights there and some good, hearty, Tuscan food (bye bye fish), we had to leave, but not without a minor crisis when some members of the family felt that the Peugeot was going to blow up… don’t worry, it didn’t.
Finally, we made it to Perugia. The final leg. I think Nick and I definitely received the better end of the deal on this one – just ask Jimbo about his “crack room.” Upon arriving here, Nick and I checked into our little apartment that we have until the 8th. J + G asked for a room in the same hotel and were placed across the hall from us. In a smoker room. On a cot bed. On their 25th anniversary. I could see the problem, but I am still scarred by the horror that was the Sunflower Hostel in Rimini, so I am not really a fair commentator. However, I think that a 60E a night, run down, smelly room, was probably not their ideal way to spend their final night in Italy. Unfortunately, nothing of much excitement happened while we were all here together; it poured rain from the sky, from the ground, and from sideways and when it finally stopped the fog was so heavy that we couldn’t see much of anything.
The time went by too fast and when Nick and I shut the doors on our beloved Peugeot from the outside and watched as they drove away I think everyone was a little bit sad. But at this point Jimbo is back in Littleton, working his crazy hours and probably trying to figure out his new espresso maker, while The General is most likely recovering from the stress of it all … by knitting (ps. Mom – Nick & I love the slippers you made us).
So not only did we complete the race, but we also won the prize – everyone made it out alive. Well, “baby Nicky” as Jimbo likes to refer to him as, is actually still in Perugia, soaking up his last few days of legal drinking, lazing around, and just in general being a 17 year old in Italy, but he will be home soon enough. I think our survival though wasn’t really the best thing that came out of all this. I think it was the fact that I was lucky enough to spend my 20th Christmas in Italy with my family. But that’s just me talking.