So we were prepared for the disaster that would be our daughters this morning. They fell asleep around midnight and woke up hyper and nutty at 7:30. So much for that red eye flight making the jet lag thing easy. Friday is market day in Tuscania so we headed out to load up on fresh produce and what I envisioned as stall after stall of meats, cheeses, fish, pasta, everything that the local Italian farmers would have to offer. I was wrong. There were two lone produce stands, and the rest was a Florida Bubbe’s flea market bazaar. Table after table of cheap clothes, shoes, bras and hats. Not the Italian movable feast I had imagined. But, we got our tomatoes, peppers, peaches and plums and felt like at least we now knew what to expect from market day.
My daughters also decided that this was the day that they HAD to make some Italian friends. They each packed a little Italian phrase book in their small purses and dragged us to the playground. The playground is a sort of 1970s style Central Park playground. Metal equipment that’s not totally bolted to the ground, two hard flat wooden swings, a basic jungle gym and a slide. What makes this not so 1970s NYC is the huge gelateria and bar in the center equipped with video games and all of those toy dispenser machines. The girls LOVE this place. You’d think they’d never seen a playground before let alone live one block away from a spectacular one. But…
We trudged into the playground and the girls took off, immediately casing the place and looking for some kids who might want a New York friend. It took about ten minutes for the girls to realize that its just as hard to break into a group of kids who all know each other as it is in New York, and the language barrier makes it more difficult. Finally, with some key phrases under their belts, Mi chiamo (my name is), No parlo Italiano (a favorite) and Sono di New York (sure to impress) they managed to mingle enough to feel like they made a friendly dent and we managed to pry them away to get lunch.
We made it to the restaurant that we had thought we were going to yesterday, Da Alfreda, underneath the Torre de Lavello. With no visible sign and no menu. Again we were served incredible food that we weren’t quite expecting and we were happy to see our daughters starting to try everything. Sophia has even discovered that she loves radicchio. Anytime I can get my kids to add a new vegetable to their diet I think its a meal worth any price. (this however, was also very reasonable)
In the scorching heat of the afternoon and pretty much ready to kill our kids if they complained one more time about being hot and tired, we decided that our idea of a “riposo” (the Italian siesta) was to head for some beach and swimming so we drove 20 minutes north to Lake Bolsena. The entire drive is through Etruscan farmland, fields of sunflowers, grape vines, olive trees and grazing sheep and cattle. Then you arrive at the first town of Marta, built high upon the hill overlooking the lake, and then in Capodimonte where the clear blue volcanic lake spreads out surrounded by hills and towns. The beach is my kind of beach, meaning serious shade provided by trees and a long grassy lawn that turns to sand further down. Seriously, grass and shade what more could a whiter than white sunscreen covered girl want? And the water is like glass so I don’t have to worry about my daughters being sucked in by some undertow or knocked over by a wave. (Is it obvious that I hate the ocean??)
After 2 hours of swimming, followed by gelato of course, we headed back home for dinner and bed. This day did the trick and our daughters were out before I finished reading to them. What more could you want from a summer day?
Gelato Scoops of the day (at Lake Bolsena)
Isabel: creme caramel,cocco
Sophia: frutti di bosco, limone
This is an original beccarama.com post