The last days of a trip are always strange for me. My mind turns toward home. I am mentally packing and beginning to think about what needs to be done at home instead of what I should be enjoying here.
So I decided to be proactive today. Make a plan. Get moving. Get up and down the stairs between the spurts of pouring rain.
I started sorting out what I’m not going to use so that I can disseminate it among my friends.
Since I have learned the secret of visiting the Byzantine Affreschi (VIII century, Joanne) I headed up to the old Capella this morning. It is a crumbling building just down from the upper Chiesa. When I arrived, there was a note on the door saying to ask for the Famiglia Grisolia. Hmmmm. I had been told that someone would always come out as the saw you pass except at siesta time. (I had inadvertently been there at the wrong time before.) When I went back to the last house and asked, they waved and immediately a woman came out with the key and opened the door for me.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about these historical frescos is their lack of any formal care and guarding. I was free to walk around and take photos (I didn’t use my flash). I offered a donation for the privilege, but the miracle of these having survived may be due to the fact that they could escape notice by more
people than not. It isn’t listed on the highlight map of Scalea. There is a sign down by the lower church pointing vaguely up to “Affreschi Byzantini” and another by the upper church, but there is no announcement on the building. BTW, it isn’t just the frescos. There is an exposed tomb and a collection of bones from the monks. Also, in the 1800’s (I think) the building was used as a mill and the old grinding stone is still there.
I loved the private showing of the view overlooking the sea when I was invited back to the casa of the Famiglia Grisoglia, too.
Next, I attempted to keep my word. Yesterday, Teresa’s caregiver invited me in for a cup of coffee. It was 5pm and I told her that I couldn’t drink coffee that late and she said to come back at mezzogiorno today. Obviously I was too literal when I went at noon today. With a bag of mushrooms in hand I knocked at the door. Visibly disgruntled the caregiver asked me in. Teresa was thrilled to see me.
I offered them the funghi and began trying to understand and answer the questions: When did I buy them? How much did I pay? What did I want? I was confused. Were they too old to use? Did they not like mushrooms? I explained repeatedly that I had too many in my house because I am leaving on Wednesday and that I just wanted to give them to them.
In the meantime, Teresa is insisting that I sit down and have lunch with her. I told her that I had lunch ready at home. I cited the menu: Pasta, chicken, greens, and salad. I offered to sit with her at the table. A plate with short, fat pasta with garbanzo beans was placed in front of her and she filled a spoon and began blowing on it to cool it. Always the insistence, “Mangia, mangia.” I refused as nicely as I could. She stuck the spoon in my face and expected me to taste it. “Piace?” Do you like it? Yum, I gestured. She waved at the caregiver to give me a plate.
The upshot is that I was served lunch. Teresa was happy. The caregiver, Vittoria, agreed that I had come at a terrible time. And I am now so full that I have to lie down. No wonder they take a siesta. Ce Ce (pronounced che che), prosciutto, fried red (picante) peppers with black olives, bread, melon, figs, cannoli, apple bread and a glass of beer. And when Teresa thought I hadn’t eaten enough of something she simply dished more up on my plate and waved at me while continuing to chew and reach for more for herself.
BTW, Teresa was telling me how happy Miss Cranky is with the earrings and the caregiver wanted to know how much I charged her. Americans must have a reputation.
Teresa thought it was pretty funny that I can have a copy of the earrings made by Karen. I don’t know if I would have willingly given them up if it weren’t possible.
Anyway, I still have a refrigerator full of food, a dinner date for pizza with Jessica tonight and lunch plans for tomorrow to meet Pete and Jeni’s son. And I just bought an eggplant to try to replicate what I get at the deli. Sigh…
As I post this, I have spent a half hour with Teresa and Vittoria on a bench in the Piazza. I am forgiven, I guess, because Vittoria wants to see my apartment and offered me a pomodoro. Just what I need, more to eat at my house. I reciprocated and took them a pear (which I bought from a poor old woman who looked desperate) and a nectarine.
Had dinner with Jessica and we visited some of her friends in the country. Beautiful house and lovely Italians.
To see the Frescos, follow signs to Chiesa del’Episcopio. With the church steps on your right you will see the sign pointing. There is a house on the right with a terrace overlooking the canyon. This is the Famiglia Grisolia. Don’t go between the hours of 1 pm and 4:30pm.