Pissing In strange places

As I sit here, about to head home after 6 weeks away, I’m reflecting on two common themes from this trip: pissing in weird places and sleeping in weird places.

I have pissed:
-in a hotel room sink in Vernazza
-in Tupperware in London
-In a cashew jar in London
-on the lawn of a fancy hotel, Guerilla style, in Milan
-in a drinking glass that I periodically dumped into the grass outside my sleeping quarters in London
-in a home made tin foil funnel feeding into a kombucha bottle in the back of a four runner in a train station parking lot (attempted, but failed)

I have slept:
-on a futon in Brooklyn
-on a bed in Manchester
-on a boat floating on the Thames river
-on a sectional couch in Greenwich
-in a loft bed in Rome
-in a 300 year old stone wall apartment in Tuscany
-on a foam pad in Copenhagen
-a futon identical to mine in Germany
-in a “tool shed” in London
-on a sofa bed nest in new haven

We have experienced such amazing things on this trip, the most important and memorable being all of the relationships we formed, and the open arm welcomes we got everywhere we stayed. It was very humbling. The kindness we received is unforgettable.

Huge thanks to all of the people who made this trip possible – it was a group effort!

-Todd, for taking us to the airport
-Matt, for letting us crash at his apartment in NYC
-James, for giving us his bed and showing us the best time ever in Manchester
-Sally, for letting us couch surf in London
-Alexandra and Paolo, for taking us in like family in Tuscany
-Klaus and Viktor for showing us around Copenhagen and housing us
-Our beautiful German friends for pampering us in Wettenburg
-Sarah, for giving us her bed in Stockholm, sharing her box of wine, and giving us her bus pass
-Melissa, for the nest, the great company, and the naughty professor Tumblr page
-Prikryl, for driving us to Boston, for finding Twisted Fork, for the book, and for being all around the most delightful, genuine person ever.
-Marissa and Anthony for taking us in on our last night!
-roomies for taking care of the birdies
-Denise, for taking us home from the airport
-Stacie, for picking up and starting a placenta for me!

Just regular old tomatoes, de-fucking-hydrated

Day 14 – Saturday, September 21 – Breakfast in Rome, Dinner in Tuscany

It’s funny – I had goodle’d “best breakfast in Rome” because I forgot that Italian’s don’t actually eat breakfast. They drink espresso and have a pastry. So that’s exactly what we did.

Just a few blocks from where we were staying there was a little cafe called “Friends” where we had (aside from that French cafe run by the German couple on Kaua’i) the best lattes of our entire lives. I realized that the test of a great latte is that it can be served in a glass without a handle because it’s the proper temperature. The milk should not be so hot that you can’t grab the glass with your bare hand, and not so hot that you can’t drink it immediately. The espresso should be smooth, not bitter tasting or burnt. And there should be there perfect layer of thick creamy foam on top. We have been so conditioned to drink shit coffee and think that’s just how it is. No wonder I always needed to put loads cream and sugar in anything I ever drank.

We savored that shit, along with our two croissants, which were filled with the most delightful lemon cream.

Shortly after we headed back to the train station and easily found our train. It was super new and comfy and we had a table in our little nook.

After a quick 90 minute ride we got off in Grosetto and bought bus tickets inside the train station. We were told the bus stop was just outside to the right. But we didn’t exactly know what bus to get on. So I just started poking my head in to each bus that pulled up and asking “Montenero?”, figuring someone had to say yes eventually.

The fourth or fifth bus did, but the driver said something in Italian about the town of Paganico. I gathered it was that we needed to change buses in Paganico. The bus ride was stunning – weaving through tiny little roads through the hills of the Tuscan valley. We got off in Paganico, as did two other girls. The driver was saying something to all of us in Italian. I had absolutely no idea what he was saying so we just followed the other girls hoping we were all going to the same place. The girls walked along the back of a building, through a parking lot and to another random bus stop. Thankfully there was a bus already waiting there and the driver said yes to Montenero. That was another beautiful bus ride. The driver let us out at the one stop for Montenero and guestered up the hill at the town.

My phone wasn’t working so we couldn’t call the Paolo at the naked farm. We saw a sign for Teranera (the farm) that pointed up the hill towards the town. So we started huffin it up the fucking hill. At the top of the hill it pointed down a path for Teranera. We followed the path and continued following the signs, which led us on a fucking hike

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Finally, we arrived, two miles of uphill later, and everything was just as it should be.

When we first got there I didn’t see Alexandra (the girl that worked there when I was here 3 summers ago), but she popped out a few minutes later and I was glad she was as excited to see me as I was to see her. We went into the kitchen and chatted for a bit and then she showed us where we’d be staying. There weren’t any guests at the moment, aside from Paolo’s friends from Russia, so we were lucky and got to stay in the the small apartment all by ourselves. How nice! I was expecting to be in a tent like I was before. We showered and got unpacked and by the time we were done, Paolo had surfaced. He is such a cute old guy. He is pushing 70 and is still so sharp and in such great physical shape.

While Alexandra made us dinner, Kris and I took a walk around to see everything. There are two swimming pools, a tennis court, outdoor showers, 5 horses, 6 geese, 6 puppies, a couple of big vegetable gardens, the olive trees, the grape vines, and the other houses on the property.

As we were walking back to the main house the dog, Tommy, ran up to us and was growling a little bit (maybe because the girls had just brought the little puppies inside for the evening? And Tommy was feel protective?) but it didn’t seem like any big deal. But he ran right up to me and bit the holy shit out of my leg! I’ve never been bitten by a dog before. It was so lame.

Alexandra saw the whole thing and felt so bad. She brought me inside and gave me disinfectant spray and bandages and an ice pack. It hurt like a bitch the whole rest of the night, but it seems like I’m going to live.

Alexandra made us dinner which she apologized was just leftovers. The leftovers were delicious – pasta with tuna, cous cous and vegetable salad, another salad of fresh greens from the garden, and wine. It was so yummy.

They had jars of sun dried tomatoes curing in the kitchen that had been dried in their brand new dehydrator. For the first time in my life it occurred to me that sun dried tomatoes are just dehydrated tomatoes. Is that not the stupidest thing ever? My whole life I have loved sun dried tomatoes but never imagined what the secret recipe was to make them. And this whole fucking time they were just regular old tomatoes de-fucking-hydrated. It almost topped my “I can’t believe it’s not butter” revelation.