Tuesday June 9th – Civita Di Bagnoregio
Before I delve into the beauty and enchantment of this town I must tell you about the night prior. So on my way back from the funicular to my apartment I had this inkling that I should stop at my now favorite spot to grab a glass of my now favorite wine – Oriveto Classico. I ended up chatting with some girls next to me that were straight up Opera singers traveling through Italy and performing. I’m sorry, what? Talk about AMAZING. I was totally enchanted by their stories and where they had been and the politics of stage life. They were so incredibly nice. It’s amazing what happens when you step out of your comfort zone and just say hello.
After the girls departed, I was left sipping my white wine and watching the world pass me by. I decided I wanted to use the internet but for some reason it wasn’t working so I asked the couple next to me. Conveniently they spoke English. It turns out that they are from Canada and spend 6 months out of the year in Orvieto (they are both retired). Now when I say that this was the CUTEST couple I have ever seen, I more than 100% mean it. The way they looked at each other, the way they held hands, the way he lovingly held onto the back of her neck, the way they talked to each other. Gosh, I could just feel the love. I told myself, “Someday Kara, you will find that too.”
Anyways, we got on the topic of dinner and they suggested this place called Corsi D’Orvieto (I think). Wonderful food, wonderful atmosphere and it was great because it was off the beaten path. I walk in and I am the only one there. To make matters more interesting, they didn’t speak english. When it came down to ordering, I had no idea what to order so the chef, who was no older than 25, came out with broken english and recommended some dishes. And HOT DAMN were they phenomenal! Probably my best meal the entire trip.
Bruschetta with zucchini and tomato and shredded Parmesan as an appetizer and it was absolutely amazing. I ate all of it.
Fettuccine with grappa and some cheese I can’t remember right now. It was equally as delicious and of course with no carb left behind, I ate all of it. I am still baffled at how I never felt full while I was there. Oh and I ordered house red wine which ended up being 3 glasses. Now on top of the two glasses of white wine I had, I was pretty buzzed.
Now being that I was the only person there for most of the dinner (a party of 4 showed up later), I began to attempt to chat with the manager who was about 24 years old. I noticed he kept going to his computer so I walked myself right over and sat myself down right next to him with my glass of wine and for the next half hour (or hour, I lost all track of time), we chatted via Google Translate.
His name is Almir and he is from Skopje, Macedonia. He told me that he is adopted and that he lives just outside of Orvieto with his adoptive parents. I asked where his parents were and this is where I got a bit sad. His father is in prison and he doesn’t know where his mom is. Hearing that made me really sad. I asked him if he liked being in Orvieto. He said that he didn’t because there isn’t much job opportunity here. We chatted briefly about the economic crisis and how bad it truly is. He said there really aren’t any jobs in Italy but his parents own the restaurant so he works there but he doesn’t want to be there. It made me realize just how fortunate I am with my family, my life, my job and my country.
He went on to ask why I would travel alone instead of with friends. Before I left for Italy a friend of mine told me that Italians wont understand why I would travel alone. She was right. I told him that I travel alone simply because I can. He didn’t understand. He asked why I wouldn’t travel with friends. I told him because it’s difficult in life to travel alone as you get older and I can always do that with friends in the future but for me to travel alone now is very spiritual and freeing. He still didn’t really get it and this ties into some emotions that hit me the following day.
Now because I was up pretty late and got pretty drunk, a 7:22 am train to Florence just didn’t happen. So, I went to Civita di Bagnoregio which is a very small town on top of a hill that is getting smaller and smaller because it’s eroding. It won’t be around much longer, so I’m told. It’s funny how everyone says to go to Rome and Florence which again, I will but I’m more interested in the smaller cities and towns in the Tuscan region. There’s more intimacy and more meaning in them.
Here on are excerpts from my journal while I was there…
I have throughly enjoyed my trip so far and I am doing it exactly how I wanted and how I envisioned it would be. Did I want to go to Florence today? Yes. But I also enjoyed last night and that wouldn’t have happened had I not run into Jay and Lance (the couple I met) and had I not chatted with the kid from the restaurant and wouldn’t have happened if I had kept to my plan and gone to bed early so I could get up early and go to Florence. I am grateful for both of those interactions.
But it’s kind of starting to suck being alone. Maybe I should have brought friends. The language barrier is hard. Not knowing where I am going is hard. Stepping outside my comfort zone is hard. It would be so much easier and comfortable with a friend. Isn’t that what this is all about though? My solo Italian journey to, in a sense, find myself. To be uncomfortable, to learn to navigate on my own, to learn about myself, to teach myself to be more social and to be more welcoming of the unknown. My life is so black and white (or at least I try for it to be but fail usually) and thats comfortable. The unknown is scary and going into Italy, there was a lot of unknown on how I would feel, what I would do, where I would be, etc.
I was also kind of of bummed I didn’t make it to Florence. But I guess that’s part of all of this. Living and learning. I did have a lot of fun last night and I wouldn’t take back meeting Lance and Jay and Almir and having that absolutely delectable dinner. But something just feels off and I don’t like it. I’ve been so happy and up this entire trip, so at ease, so peaceful, so just…I don’t even know how to explain it. But now that feeling is gone. Maybe it has to do with the fact that my journey will end soon. I don’t want to leave. But I know that in a few days I will be leaving and who knows when my next Italian journey will take place.
Finally found Civita di Bagnoregio. It took an hour bus ride and a 35 minute walk, partially because we had no idea where we were going. But it is totally worth it. This place is magical. Jasmina was right. Pictures will not do it justice. It is another town on a cliff except these cliffs are deteriorating. Who knows how long it will be here for.
This entire trip I have been going blind. Like I wrote about yesterday, I am learning a lot about myself and how to handle the complete and utter unknown. I would not have been able to do this even a year ago. I would have freaked out constantly. Not saying I haven’t on this trip because I have but I’ve managed to always bring it back together and find out where I am.
I have just sat down to lunch. It’s crazy how infrequently I eat here (I ate at 9 am. It is now nearly 2 pm). I don’t get that hungry for hours. I think part of it has to do with the fact that I am so nervous I lose my appetite, like I was on my way here. Every time I sit down to eat I have some wine.
The house red is beyond delicious. And a heavy pour. Just how I like it. 🙂
Just got my bruschetta. And oh my god. The bread. No words. So fresh and full of flavor. I do not know what the spreads are but they are delicious. I ate them all.
Then came my gnocchi. The sauce. Oh the sauce. So fresh. Homemade. A little bit spicy. Full of flavor. I haven’t had gnocchi this good since the last time I was in Italy 10 years ago.
And to finish is espresso of course!
Civita Di Bangoregio – pictures do it no justice. You have to see this place before it’s gone.
So yeah, thats a cliff right there. You go over those fences, you die. Just to give you an idea of how crazy this place is.
Waiting for the bus….
This has been the biggest adventure of my life. There have been many times I thought I’ve been lost and I just had to go with it, many times I’ve been worrying something bad is going to happen and many times I’ve been absolutely fine. It has really tested my ability to trust myself. I’ve been so scared that I can’t eat, worrying that I will miss a train or miss a bus, especially this one back to Orvieto.
I made it home safely.
Tomorrow I travel to Florence, but not before having a delectable dinner of seafood risotto and CANNOLI!!!!