101 Public Toilets. Flushing a toilet can be a hide-and-seek game at times. If it isn’t obvious, just stand back and look around. It can be a lone button on the wall, maybe plastic or an antique brass looking thing that you might pick up in a flea market and wonder what it was for. It can be a chain hanging from the ceiling, a foot pedal, a sleek plastic, flush surfaced button that isn’t even noticeable at first glance. Like I said, just keep looking around and you’ll figure it out. Years ago in Madrid, I went into a restaurant bathroom, a cavernous room with a lone toilet. A light switch turned on automatically when I opened the door. I sat down and in only enough time to say out loud, I wish I had eaten some prunes, a timer turned off the light and I was thrown into total darkness. I spent the next few minutes feeling walls trying to find a light switch.
It’s all in the name. Or at least one must wonder why a group of ancient people named their town Bastardo. We passed the sign on one of our road trips, which started a slew of questions. What do you call someone from Bastardo? Bastardos or Bastardas? What do they call the mascot of their soccer team? Sons of bitches? Do they skip over the security question “what city were you born?”, simply because it causes too many problems? Of course, none of these questions were obviously important enough for us to turn around and check out the town of Bastardo.
A gorgeous drive. Originally, we were going to drive to nearby Todi, another charming hill town close to Orvieto. Along the way, we decided to pass on Todi and head over to Spoleto to a restaurant specializing in truffle dishes. The drive through the Martani Mountains, with occasional glimpses of a meandering river, was inspiring. We took turns driving so we each had a chance to gaze out the window and enjoy the scenery. The road is as curly and winding as my hair on a humid day but we both enjoyed ourselves tremendously, despite the tendency for Italian drivers to have issues with space. Specifically, wanting to be in our space.
On the way back, we stopped at a typical country restaurant that had a view of the river and vineyards below. We were the only tourists there. Loved that little place. I got a bottle of Prosecco that cost what a glass of same costs in the States.
Oh, and one other obscure little thing that puzzles me. There isn’t a word in the Italian language for “hangover”. The closest thing they have is “postumi di sbornia”, which means the aftermath of drunkenness. Doesn’t that seem odd to you? I will admit I never saw anyone drunk in Italy, but there must have been a tourist somewhere on a beach nursing a splitting head, cursing the light of day, and swearing off grappa for the rest of their life, or at least until happy hour. In spite of all the wonderful wine (and beer) Dean and I sampled, I am happy to report that during our entire trip, we never had a postumi di sbornia.