The rain is pouring down in torrents...the likes of which I have only seen one time before, in Fiji, in a monsoon. We are in the Lake Como area of northern Italy and just arrived by ferry to the little town of Tremezzo. We have to be picked up and driven to our apartment in town because it would be much too far to walk in these conditions. A baby provides a brilliant excuse, for Italians will not refuse you anything when a baby is involved. So we are driving with absolute sheets of rain, and hail is echoing down on the windshield of the car. The hail sounds like continuous tapping. It is ricocheting off the windshield like quarters spewing out of a slot machine. Tap, tap, chick chick, chat chat clack. It is as if someone is taking aim at the car and chipping golf balls on the roof. The baby is soaked. And we are all simultaneously drenched and still smoldering from the hot sticky weather from an hour ago. There is steam rising off of my skin like a boiled chicken. I want to sit in the rain but the baby needs a nap. And we need to get our things to our villa and unpack and prepare dinner. After this trip, rote things like making dinner or reservations for a weekend away will seem like the easiest possible tasks. The small things here can be a challenge always. Where to find food, is it open, what supplies will the house have when we get there, what time is the boat or train, how do I get there from here...
I cannot remember the last time a place spoke to me when I walked in the door. Most of them here immediately offend, then slowly grow on me like a slow creeping vine. There are always problems. A light switch doesn't work. The air conditioning is broken, or the internet isn't connected. There is no coffeemaker, the window won't open, the stove won't light, the TV won't turn on. I am beginning to think they make a game of this, wondering who will actually notice that something is broken. For instance I walk in and one of teh doors of glass has a big crack, so I ask the guy, do you know this is here? oh yes, he says. OK. He is not concerned. I open the cabinets in the kitchen to start cooking for Bodhi and I notice there is not a single pan or pot or food preparing item. (I call and they bring them). I can more or less remember the places we have stayed by the mishaps...Oh, that was the place we never got the internet to work..that was the place we switched rooms twice because the TV wouldn't turn on. I know they are thinking, those picky Americans! And I am thinking, oi! A little attention to detail would go a long way here. The detail-oriented editing part of my brain wants to come here and evaluate the whole system, making notes of improvement along the way. Another part of me goes, eh, give it another few months and you won't even notice, you will become immune. Either that, or it will kill you. Like a relationship. Either those quirks become your lifelong friends, for better or worse, or they drive you to madness. Best to find out early. So two months in Italy now, and I think I need a little time off. We are going to head to a greener, cooler Northern town in the Alps of Switzerland or France. It remains to be decided, and we are trying to make a plan for our next few weeks so we don't have to spend all of this time in indecision. I know when I leave, I will either miss this place like crazy or not look back. Or both.
One thing I still cannot figure out is the single versus double room rate in Europe. It is the same room. But if one, two or three persons use it, it is a different cost. Perhaps it is more fair, if you split it per person ,and if you consider those persons traveling alone and perhaps requiring less. But to me, it is still the exact same room, for different costs. So, laundering an extra towel costs ten euro more? I am still baffled. But it definitely can work in your favor. For instance: The place we are currently staying is a five bedroom villa. If you used all the rooms, it would cost nearly triple what it costs the two of us adults to stay here...and use one room. But it is a ton of space for just the three of us and completely affordable because they charge per person, so it works out to be less than staying in a double room at the corresponding hotel. This I do not comprehend, but I am definitely happy and reaping the benefits. Sweet. We have views out every window of the gorgeous lake, and the green wooded mountains beyond. It feels like we are in Switzerland or the Alps, but it is warmer. The landscape is magnificent. The sun is out and the day is cooler, and now that I have had a little time to cool off and dry out, this is a wonderful place.