The tale of how Bad Ass Aria, never takes no for an answer, when it comes to reaching a Roma Lover. Well let me back up, let me start by saying, I got my train to Roma. Finally. It was quite an ordeal to get here. On the train that is. I have been challenged with an insane transition back into the real world from my peaceful countryside retreat in Noci. Away from food, wine, espresso, drama, computers, phones, language barriers, crowds of people, obstacles….Ahhhhhhhhh….
So…this is what happened…
The train station is in Bari, about an hour away from Noci. The van dropped me off, with 40 minutes to purchase my ticket, get some water, relax and slowly meander onto the train. I went to the self-serve computer to purchase my ticket but was having trouble. Hmmmmm, what was the problem…. well…the problem was the train seemed to be… sold out. Huh? SOLD OUT?? WTF?
My anxiety immediately started to build. I didn’t even think to buy my ticket in blissed out Noci.! Huh. Okay, pull yaself together. Talk to the authorities. So, I stood in the long ass line to talk to the Italian ticket guy. My turn comes, 25 minutes later. ‘I gotta get on that train. To Roma now.’ I demand. Not only does this guy not speak any English, he didn’t seem to give a shit and he just kept shaking his head, NO.
Well, mister grumpy Italia, I am not gonna take NO for an answer. My lack of speaking this beautiful language will not stop me either from convincing whom ever I need to convince that I gotta get on that f-ing train!!!
My cooking school has ended and now I have a few free days before I go back to Roma to meet my sister who will be joining me for the last two weeks of my Italian journey. Hmmmmmmm…what do I wanna do after a decadent week of abundant food and wine and socializing and lack of sleep…how about a silent retreat and f-ing cleanse! Ha.
I was looking on line at a bunch of different towns and hotels and then, after many searches, I found it: Abate Masseria Resort in the town of Noci. This place sung to me through the computer. I asked Silvestro what he thought about Noci (which means Walnut in Italian) and he said, “Noci? Why would you want to go there? It’s a farm town in the countryside and there is nothing to do.” Perfecto. That’s exactly what I want. Nowhere to be, nothing to see, no one around, no espresso, no wine, not a lot of food, just the sound of birds singing, wind blowing, farmers working, ahhhhhhh… bliss. So I took the train from Lecce north to a town called Bari, got into a cab and drove 45 minutes into the mountains, arriving at Abate Masseria Resort in peaceful Noci.
If my life in Italy wasn’t envious enough for you… and me for that matter …I’m gonna break down my days here in Lecce. Around 10am we all meet at the café for our morning espresso drink of our individual choosing. I first started out with an Americano but since it is so freaking hot here I have moved onto the iced espresso with the almond milk I talked about in my previous post. Oh and since I am being so honest with you all, I must admit, my one shot of espresso has moved onto two! It’s a pretty molto bene way to start the day, I gotta say.
So, after we all slowly enjoy each other’s company mixed with the gentle kick from the caffeine, we walk down the road to the famers market and buy all of our fresh produce and ingredients for lunch and dinner. After shopping we walk back to school in the hot summer sun and start our prep to cook lunch. Also, if we are making pasta, we will make 2 different shapes and we’ll enjoy one shape for lunch and the other for dinner.
This is the first time in a long time I have enjoyed eating pasta. It’s fresh and dense and chewy and light and hearty all the same time so less is more, which means you don’t need to eat a mound of it to feel nourished and get satisfied. And since it’s a blend of unprocessed whole grain barley and semolina flours, it gives it tons of fiber, which makes for lovely regularity for this traveler. Sorry…I’m just saying…
Ummmm…before I mention what we prepared, I just want to give a shout out to a very special particular G Monkie who informed me that I am the first and only one blogging on this site who is writing about non-vegan dishes. Thank you for allowing me to share my non-vegan ways!
Well, I am here. In Lecce. The most quaint, glorious, Italian town I have ever experienced. Yes, I know this is the first time I have ever been to this country but I am still gonna stand by a statement like that. Lecce is everything I ever fanaticized an Italian town, along the coast would be. The friendly locals, the simple and rustic cuisine, the landscape, the vino and the…the…the (forbidden) ESPRESSO! Yep, my friends you read that right, I said it. I am proudly drinking it. It’s some good shit. I must say. I have missed you my espresso!
The espresso over here is totally different than in the states. Even the imported stuff doesn’t compare. I was talking to a local today about that and she says it has to do with the water here, which is loaded minerals and especially has lots of Iron. She says it balances the acidity in the espresso. And boy oh boy does it ever. Yum. Smooth, bitter, perfectly astringent and most importantly, it hasn’t given me the crazy cracked out feeling that I often get when I drink the stuff back home. This espresso just a nice little kick. A warm Italian embrace to get your day started out right. And while I am here in Lecce, or in Italy for that matter, I do believe I am gonna get into it. Well…I guess I already have.
As the saying goes, you have to repeat your actions, your issues, over and over and f-ing over again until you finally get IT. Until IT, the lesson, sinks into your being fully and completely and you have your AH HA moment. And it’s not until that moment of awakening you realize, all those moments before…the struggling…the suffering…was worth it. Was worth it because now you know. Now you FINALLY know what you want and what you don’t ever want to repeat again. And all those struggles, painful as they may be, make the awakening that much sweeter.
The ever changing, ever present, ever lasting obstacles of life deliciously presented to us all the time. Knocking on our doors to see if we see them, hear them and if so how we react to them. To see if we have changed, grown or need another repeating. And make sure you don’t get too comfortable in your accomplishments of conquering challenges cause the next challenge is right around the corner so you better be ready. Makes life interesting, though. Always exciting. Always shifting. That is, if you choose to see it. Explore it. Embrace it. I am doing just that these days. Have been really for the past 4 months. Embracing with fearless courage and excitement and sometimes patience (I’m working on that one…heee heee) my obstacle rich journey. Finally, interested in excavating why and how and what I do over and over and over again. And ultimately, realizing I have a choice if I want to continue doing what ever it is I choose to continue or not.
Last day of cooking school. If I was rocking more sleep (4 hrs last night) these days I would be feeling a bit better but I have not been able to get my beauty sleep this past week. And I am not one to have trouble sleeping soundly. Normally I am out like a light within minutes from my head touching that pillow. But, unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case here. It must be a combination of the haunted B&B I am staying at, the fact that the air conditioning unit in my room is right above my bed so the condensation from the heat f-ing drips on my head when I finally do fall asleep waking my ass back up, the insane amount of mosquito bites all around my right angle, the espressos (yes that is plural!), eating late and drinking like a f-ing alky. Ha! I wouldn’t change a thing though. It’s been wonderfully imbalanced and oh so wonderfully perfect. It’s important to shake things up a bit.
And so today we, of course, are ending this glorious week with a….FISH LUNCH! Oh yeah. Bring back those ‘shit’ eaters. I’m ready…Huh.
We go to the fish market and get the fish. Sticky. Fish markets are very very very stinky! But Silverstro reassures me that the fish were just caught and killed within the hour. ‘Great’, I say with a smile, ‘I’m gonna wait outside’.