Tales of a wandering lesbian


This post has been entered into the Grantourismo and HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition.

The sea stirs me.  As a child I heard stories from the mouth of my grandfather.  Of the beauty of the sea.  Of swimming in the open ocean, and deep-sea diving.  He was a Navy man.  Part of a submarine rescue crew.   The sea meant adventure, danger, death.  For him, a man who had seen and survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, it also somehow meant peace.


My trips to Italy have been beautiful, discovery-filled experiences.  Great stretches of self-reflection punctuated by moments with new friends.  During a stay in the beautiful city of Lucca, a new friend suggested that we drive to Viareggio, a coastal city frequented by VIPs. This cloudy, off-season day, it had the feel of Coney Island in the movie “Big.” Many shops were closed, the beach vacant, and even the dark-skinned vendors that usually harass passers-by with their counterfeit goods seemed unconcerned with us, busy contemplating the vast, empty beauty of this place.

We made our way to the harbor and walked along the great jetty that extends from the city out into the water.  Fishing boats lined the way, their masts standing tall against the grey backdrop and giving rise to a stark picture.

The Madonna stood atop a pedestal in the harbor, high above all, eternally blessing those who venture out, welcoming those who return.

I took a moment to think of my Grandfather.  A man who had returned.

Yes.  The sea stirs me.

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June 28, 2010   2 Comments

Food of the gods

There’s one God at the Vatican, but lots of gods in Rome.  I think that’s why there are so many pizza shops.  I’m guessing it takes a lot to feed all those gods, and I’m sure they eat pizza.

It seems everywhere I go I talk about how it’s the best pizza I’ve ever had.  But at a shop around the corner from the Pantheon I truly had some of the best pizza – ever.  Yes, ever.

After a long trip into the eternal city from my home base in Tuscany, I was hungry.  It was the feast of the Immaculate Conception, which meant a lot of places were closed.  I consulted my handy guidebook and made a plan of attack for the evening – starting with food.  Pizza Zaza stood out as a shop in the vicinity of things I wanted to see.  It was worth a shot.

I traversed the city, and was ecstatic that I could find the shop, and ecstatic that it was open.  After going through the motions with the girl behind the counter:  “what doesn’t have meat, I’m a vegetarian, yes I eat cheese,” I picked out a piece with “sola potata” (she seemed worried that I’d be disappointed with only potato), and one with what I thought was onions or leeks or something similar (I just pointed and she confirmed that it was meatless).

Eyes wide, I walked my pizza to the little outdoor sitting area in the piazza overlooked by several churches.

It was a lot of pizza.  I was really hungry.  With the first bite, I realized this wasn’t like anything I’d had before.  The crust was crispy, but thick.  The potato pizza had big, thin slices baked right into a thin layer of cheese, and fresh rosemary.  Only potato, my ass.  It was heavenly.

I finished up my potato pieces and reached for the other.  I took a bite without really looking at it.  WOW!  It almost tasted like cheddar – which I hadn’t tasted in a while – but it was cleaner.  It had a rich, yellow-orange flavor that caught me completely off-guard.  I knew what this was – squash-blossom.  Fantastic!  I was eating squash-blossom pizza in a piazza in Rome on the feast of the Immaculate Conception with an accordion celebrating in the background.

It was so good that, as it began to rain, I sat staring at my pizza until it was so wet that I had to move.  Still staring and eating, I just scooted myself up to the table of ladies next to me, who were under the only umbrella in the little sitting area.  I don’t think I even looked up.

I’d planned on that being my lunch, but, along with the excellent gelato I had about 20 minutes later, and the hot chestnuts eaten on the steps of the Trevi fountain, it also served as my dinner.  Come to think of it, the gods might eat gelato and chestnuts on the steps of the Trevi fountain, too.

“This post has been entered into the Grantourismo and HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition”

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May 28, 2010   Comments Off on Food of the gods