Friday, July 22, 2011

Adventure in Bernalda

I think it is going to rain today, which after several weeks of constant sunshine , you might think would be welcome, but apparently after 40 years of Scottish weather I have not the slightest desire to experience any more rain - ever! Besides everything looks prettier in the sunshine and more welcoming.

But last night it was gorgeous when we went to Bernalda to do a few errands and sit and watch the world go by for an hour or so.

Bernalda is bigger and seems more cosmopolitan than Pisticci. It has a long wide main street with large trees all along it and a large variety of small shops and a lot of cafes.

I needed mounts for my prints so went to Maria Grazia Tarulli 's shop where she sells her own paintings, prints and other related objects and also does framing. I love going in there because its so colourful and friendly. As she was not busy we sat and chatted for a while . She has just started an art organisation of which I am a member. There are a lot of local artists and it is nice to belong somewhere, even if I don't understand exactly what is going on some of the time.

I had already been to the chemist (farmacia) and was feeling good because I didn't have to repeat myself . Don't think that just knowing the right word will be enough. I have had to write down things like "paracetamolo" because no one understood my pronunciation. Even though the person repeating it back to me seemed to be saying just what I had said.

This particular farmacia was like a gallery with bricked arches and curved ceilings. Sometimes I find that the shop itself is more interesting than the stock.

So I strolled along the street having one of those I can't believe I get to live here moments and sat down outside the "Tea Room".

I ordered a prosecco and it arrived with a long plate of various small snacks, and dishes of peanuts, crisps and olives. (3 euros). And then we sat there for the next hour or so watching people go by. It's so casual. People on cycles (often with one or 2 children in small seats) , scooters, (also with children, one in front and one behind), cars driving slowly past shouting greetings to friends ,and lots of people on the pavement in no hurry to get anywhere. We thought that perhaps the appeal of this kind of lifestyle was because we could both remember 40 years ago a similar style of living in Scotland where life seemed more friendly and not in such a hurry. ( Even the weather seemed to be better than now , but that might just be nostalgia.)

So eventually we strolled off to the car, where it was discovered that the car keys were missing. (notice I am not saying who was responsible!)

Oops! This was a bit of a problem as there were no spare keys and we could not walk home. Is difficult to maintain a relaxed attitude in these circumstances . As is usual no one is at home or answering their phones when you need them . So having retraced our steps and no sign of the keys we headed for the carabinieri. Only had to ask 4 or 5 people on the way and as no keys had been handed in there was nothing they could do anyways. Luckily I had the phone number of the only taxi that I knew of in the area so we would get home.(Unless he wasn't answering his phone too.)

On the way back to the car for another check, a woman stopped me to ask if we had found the carabinieri. (one of the 4 or 5 people we had asked for directions). Then we met the jeweller ,where sometimes we have had things repaired. He was on his cycle, but offered to give us a lift home so while J. went to have one last look at the car I went with the jeweller while he got his car keys.

Five minutes later J. arrived brandishing his car keys. He had reached the car where he said two women shouted down from balcony telling him that a man opposite had his keys. Then a man came running out and showed him the note ,on the window of the car ,he had written saying that he had found the keys in the door and had taken them into his house for safe keeping.

So after thanks all round we walked back to the car past lots of groups of people sitting outside their houses chatting .

(I have not emphasised the catastrophic , disastrous, end of the world, blah blah, feelings around the possible results of losing the keys and who was responsible, but it is enough to say we were very greatly relieved.)

We opened the car door and the smell of cooking garbage hit us! Looking around for a bin may have led to leaving the key in the door , but now we were just mortified as the kindly gentleman arrived to make sure all was smell, sorry well. After more thanks we headed straight for the bins at the end of town and were able to breathe again.

That's what I love about life here. It moves from bliss to disaster, from suspicion to great kindness, from beauty to bad smell, and from adventure to comedy all in the space of a few hours.

(couldn't find a good photo of the main street in Bernalda so just put one of my new paintings and a pic of my 3 euros worth up. Just sold 2 paintings which are to go in a "famous" restaurant in Rome called the Dai Toscani, via forli. If anyone goes there and sees my paintings, one of my studio (on this blog)and another of streets in Pisticci, will be happy to post them a free small painting. You would need to send me a photo.)

1 comment:

  1. On my next trip to Rome, I'll be sure to visit 'your' restaurant and report back! I'm enjoying your vignettes from your Italian life...Thanks for sharing!