The day spent in the mountain town via bus trip up the hill was beautiful.....I wonder if the people who live there are aware of how beautiful it is....I know they appreciate the landscape. Flowers everywhere allowed to grow from every possible container. They have built tunnels through the mountains rather than roads and side rails of steel and asphalt to clutter the scenery. Did I mention the amount of bird activity here? There is an abundance of natural food for all the feathered flocks and I've yet to see a single bird feeder anywhere. Also, they don't have wind chimes here, the landlord has never seen one before. We did see a vendor selling some cheesy metal small chimes from a cart so they are available here but when Son hung his wooden chimes from the balcony the landlord was quite interested so when we return back home I'm going to send him one to enjoy at his house. Ok, lets' talk about some things I've noticed here.....they like to put hard boiled eggs on their pizzas here. They drive better than any people I've ever seen....they only get upset when they get involved in an accident. Picture pouring a steady stream of water from a pitcher down over a wheel with spokes laying flat on the ground....the spokes are like fingers going out in different directions. The water as you pour continues to flow, never stopping, flowing down each spoke and around the center of the wheel......that's exactly what driving here is like. Small cars and scooters in a constant motion of forward....never stopping, perhaps slowing but always moving forward. There are two traffic lights (neither working) in this small mountain town and a couple of stop signs but nobody pays any attention. Several roundabouts are common in towns to keep the traffic moving and the trick seems to be to avoid all eye contact with drivers entering the roundabouts....eye contact communicates to the other driver that you are allowing him to cut in front of you which would cause you to slow thus slowing the traffic behind you.....resulting in slow traffic which disrupts the "flow"....as the entering driver you are expected to "flow" within INCHES of the other traffic without hitting cars or scooters....in the event you do hit someone they become angry because you are expected to know how their system of driving works and be skilled enough to maneuver the narrow crowded roadways. It would be far too stressful for me to drive anywhere other than the very nearby streets of this house. VERY NEAR...The cars are super cute and if I did drive here I'd get the tiniest one I could find and paint it the brightest color they make. We saw a couple of scooters collide the other day and saw the second passenger go rolling off into the street with cars inches from driving over him...several cars stopped to check on the condition of the road bump and he stood up, brushed himself off, climbed back on behind his buddy and prepared to continue the journey. Now here's the kicker.....both were grown men....neither had a helmet on. It is common place to see adults and children alike zooming along through traffic with either no helmet or....this is even better...the helmets hanging off the side of the handlebars. Now I like my friends mind you....but if any of them dumped me off the back end of their scooter after cutting in front of a full sized van I'd say "thanks for the lift but I'll walk from here". They walk in front of on coming traffic with children in tow holding their hands....strollers pushed in front of the mothers into the streets with little more than an arms reach from the front end of moving traffic. It's unlike anything I've ever seen elsewhere. They cut in front of each other everywhere. Lines for food, lines at Ikea, lines at gas stations but never seem to be annoyed by this practice. They honk their car horns to communicate to other drivers that they're coming through, if you honk in irritation to them they seemed puzzled as to why you honked....it's all very interesting and I've enjoyed seeing the different cultural practices. Son has mastered the roads here and has a great sense of direction since street signs are never seen and only arrows pointing to distant towns are used. Lots of history everywhere....it's a strange feeling really. I think I've watched one too many war movies because I have a thought that runs through my mind as we weave through the narrow roadways and alleys.......I half expect to see a tank rumbling down the passageway. There are pill boxes (used during the war to shoot at enemy troops) left in ruins...not removed, just left as a reminder? Statues here are seen headless....heads removed by past rulers now removed by current generations to send a message they will no longer be ruled other than by a democratic society. Old building and bridges crumbling from decay from past wars, no signs or monuments to those lost, only structures that are giving way to overgrowth and the elements of time.
Really, no cheese??? As the waitress set the plate in front of me Son said "oh ya, I forgot about that,,,,rustico means without cheese"....there was tomato sauce,,,I'm good with that,,,,there were olives...oh ya, I'm totally good with that too.....a couple of other unidentifiable items spread on top....ok, we'll give that a try....I'm hungry, how can a "rustico" pizza at 10:00 at night with my very own name on it not be heavenly??? So the knife wasted no time in hacking off a large twisted wedge and into the wide open mouth....funny smell??.....maybe the olives....."don't worry about it and continue eating your Own Personal Pizza You Hungry Girl"....the taste buds on the other hand said "What have you just shoved into your mouth WOMAN????? Oh God..What Ever It Is you have just put in here is SO BAD....SO BAD".... it was all I could do not to spit it directly back onto the plate....the fishy smell was on My Pizza..how could that be?? Those two unidentifiable objects on the pizza were the largest capers I've ever seen and the other mushy mounds could only have been cat food from a can in the kitchen.....It was beyond horrible....Son was nervous that the waitress would see or hear that I didn't like the pizza so Leah quickly offered up a slice of her pizza and I quickly passed a large slice of my disappointment on to Son's plate for his tasting pleasure......he took a bite and didn't ask for seconds......I picked off a couple of olives but they were so salty I passed on finishing anymore. Leah was brave and took a small bite to satisfy her curiosity and agreed it was not something to be eaten by Mankind. Offers were made to eat the other pizzas and we finished the dinner with Man In Black offering up a glass of soda to kill the taste, interesting side note; while we were eating dinner the family working at the restaurant were all at a table inside the kitchen with their small children enjoying their evening meal. We left the restaurant, walked out to the car, climbed inside and only AFTER the doors were securely closed did both Son & Leah shouted out how horrible my pizza was laughing....Son said that he was certain even with the language differences that they would have understood "yuck,,,,:" and didn't want to offend them so we made it a point to ask for a "to go box" to enjoy the pizza later at home. The pizza was destined to go to the dogs....not the family dogs mind you.....the stray dogs that live at the dumpsters (that's a very common sight here, dozens of stray dogs, very sad, very hard to see, we'll talk about that at a later time). We all had a good laugh and the next pizza I order will only have the words tomato, cheese, olive oil .......or, if Man In Black's plate looks better (or anyone else's at the table for that matter) I'm changing plates with them. Enjoy the pics,,,,hope all is well with you.....next pizza you order think of me and enjoy every bite because you'll know what you're eating - I'm sure there's a cat somewhere that missed out on it's dinner because it was baked on top of a rustico pizza....see you tomorrow.