HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO US
06.10.2015 - 06.10.2015 80 °F
Today is the 48th anniversary of the day I met my beautiful wife at Kip's in Berkeley!
Turns out that Margaret did not like sleeping in our trippy room and we asked the concierge if we could make a change. He was more than gracious and accommodating, and moved us to a 3rd floor suite with a large terrace overlooking the rooftops of Ragusa and the Church across the street...we are now in the Magnolia room.
My day again began very early (3am) with the Warriors live telecast of Game 3 of the NBA champi0nships. I reported after the last game that I thought the Dubs were in trouble and this was confirmed in the third quarter when Cleveland went up by 20 (after a 3 point first half by MVP Steph Curry). Sleep deprivation was no longer justified and I turned the game off. Somehow I fell asleep but managed to reawaken and checked the score on my phone and saw that the Dubs had cut the lead to 6 or 7 with a couple minutes left...so I turned it back on only to see Steph, who brought his team back, turn the ball over three times in the last minute...and LeBron sealed the deal at the free throw line. But...I digress!
I inquired of the concierge about a possible guided tour around Ragusa which is a city that does not have any spectacular attractions, but it is divided into two distinct sections, Ible (old) Ragusa and the newer Ragusa that looks down literally upon the old city. The concierge got back to me with a proposal. He had a guide that would provide a four hour tour for 100 euro...provided I drove my car during the tour...Margaret found that to be quite humorous, indeed, hilarious, and I respectfully declined. Driving here is hard enough without having the distraction of someone pointing out all the important sites as we go.
So, we set off on a little walking tour of our neck of the woods which has a large cathedral immediately across the street. Our Michelin guide told us that there was a place nearby where we could get some spectacular views of the city and Old Ragusa. As we moved in that direction, we came upon a Salumeria and wandered inside for a look. We decided to buy a loaf of good looking fresh bread and, in the process, started speaking our broken Italian to the proprietor and who I assumed to be his daughter, about prosciutto. Next thing we knew, the loaf of bread we selected had been sliced in two and the prosciutto was being sliced on the meat slicer. A sandwich was being born without ever asking for it. Next he asked if we would like some "formaggio" (cheese) and of course I pointed to the nice looking block of Provolone in the meat case and nodded, "Si, si, si."
I said to Margaret that the mortadella with pistachios looked nice and the man behind the counter nodded approvingly and asked, "Vuole mortadella?"...to which I responded, "Why not!"...and the sandwich was wrapped for 2.5 euro...a bargain at twice the price!
We walked a few more blocks to an area that was perfect for our unplanned picnic...benches perched behind a cast iron wall with spectacular views of the valley and the town below. We pulled out the sandwich and our two orange Fantas and had our own private little feast.
It was a beautiful, sunny day, about 80 degrees. We walked around for a little bit after our picnic and then decided to take a ride to the coast. We had read about Marina de Ragusa and knew that there were some wonderful restaurants there, but did not know much else about it. Our concierge told us it was and "easy" 20 minute drive...turn left out of the hotel, go down to the end of the road, turn right and go across the bridge and follow the signs. We never saw the bridge and got lost for a good half hour when we resorted back to Kate the Navigator who finally got us to our destination. There was not much to see other than a number of beautiful villas looking over the water and a fairly nice stretch of beach where we found a little beachfront trattoria to have a lemonade.
We made our way back to Ragusa and the hotel in much easier fashion, but the promised 20 minute easy drive still took 45 minutes without getting lost. The next challenge we had to face was where to have dinner and I found a restaurant on TA that looked good and was in the Ible (old) part of town....La Taverna del Lupo.
However, before we left for dinner, the most amusing story to me since the ice at Villa Athena, occurred. Margaret, I guarantee, will not be and was not amused. When we changed rooms, there was no shower in our bathroom as there had not been in our previous "trippy" room. The concierge was again very accommodating, indicating that we could use the shower in the hotel spa. So, while I was sitting outside on the terrace, enjoying a cocktail and working on this blog, as I am now a day later, she went down to the spa to use the shower. The way all the hotels we have stayed in on this trip work (except for Casa Gregorio), is that you get a single plastic card key which you hold over a magical device at the front door and the door unlocks. When you gain entry to the room, you put the key into a slot which then activates all the electricity in the room and the A/C. Margaret left the door ajar (that oxymoron again) when she went down to the spa. I had gotten up to refresh my cocktail and checked that the front door was still ajar (well...it was still a front door as well)...and it was.
As I was furiously (at my pace) typing away, I was getting a little concerned that Margaret was taking so much time. Suddenly, she appeared on the terrace where I was working so hard to keep my vast reading public informed of our most interesting travels, and, in a word, she was "PISSED"! "I have been standing at the front door for 30 minutes, ringing and pounding and yelling...I even went up to the 4th floor terrace and tried to yell for you..." She was in her bathrobe and was not inclined to go to the front desk and ask for help...but here is the beauty of it all...SHE USED THE BOTTOM OF HER PLASTIC SHAMPOO TUBE AND INSERTED IT INTO THE DOOR JAMB AND THE DOOR MIRACULOUSLY OPENED. I forget where she said she learned that trick, you will have to ask her. And when she tried to demonstrate it for me the next day, it did not work.
So, we barely made it to our 8pm dinner reservation and the dinner was wonderful. The owner greets and seats you and he is the menu. We were provided with complimentary glasses of Prosecco and some little toasty appetizers and he then told us what we could have the kitchen make, both for a pasta prima piatti and secondi piatti. I had my first Bolognese sauce of the trip which was fabulous, followed by veal that was rolled into strips, breaded and deep fried. It came on two skewers, three little veal numbers per skewer. Margaret had a pasta with the tiniest clam shells I had ever seen, and loved it. She had another fish for her entrée which was also very good. It was enhanced by a nice bottle of local Syrah and a very nice crème brulee for dessert.
We returned home for a game of doms on the terrace under a cute little solar powered light on the outside table. Marg eked out a victory and we are now pretty even on this trip.