our wave function collapsed eating olive ascolano + raw fish on the spur of the boot w/ a Vieste vista


12/13/22 | Ascoli Piceno > Our bedder-½ got tenure this morning, so our decision is pretty much made for us... hard to turn down a tenured professor gig @ Columbia, in a city we love. Probably the hardest decision of our lives, at least for our bedder-½, but just couldn't envision us staying in D.C or living in Italy ... it would be 1 thing if we hadn't already lived here. They heard checking their emails at breakfast in Ravenna, then we drove, our rather, a Lancia Ypsilon drove us, ~3 hours south in the rain + a bit inland to a town called Ascoli Piceno in Marche, near the border of Abruzzo... as the crow flies not far (50 km) from Norcia, where we went in 2010, before it got destroyed by an earthquake in 2016. Again, had to do some weird parking drill where (after having to call them to figure out where to go) driving to the parking garage that was 7 km away, but walking back only about ½ a click. Ate lunch at Ristorante Vittoria, had fried porcini, cheeses + of course had olive ascolane (stuffed + then deep-fried olives), which Ascoli Piceno is famous far, along with anisetta. Ate dinner at Osteria Nonna Nina, had strozzapretti w/ porcini + truffles.

Ascoli Piceno



old Roman bridge of Solestà built in B.C. times (w/ cars still going across it!)





1 of 100 towers (Ascoli Piceno used to have 200 but many were destroyed)


crypt of the main church






1 of many manger scenes




12/14 | Vieste, Puglia> Woke up in Ascoli Piceno, ate breakfast + walked to the parking garage ... the last 3-4 towns all starting to blend together, the hotel rooms, wake up in the middle of the night, where's the bathroom? How do U work this shower contraption? Leave the hotel wondering where are we? Where did we park the car? Past the depressed sleepy high school kids into an elevator down across pedestrian bridge across a creek w/ waterfall to the parking garage. 4 hour drive south in pouring rain. The first 3 hours on the autostrada, seems at least ½ of the highways in Italy are under construction... constantly diverting through sketchy interchanges into oncoming lanes without much warning, stuck behind trucks + typical Italians tailgating 1 foot behind U or that wait til the last second to pass going 200 km 1 inch away from U when they have plenty of room in their own lane ... really unpleasant driving. Then onto smaller windy narrow roads around the spur of the boot of Italy. We went to the spur in 2011, but drove up over the top instead of all the way around. This time we went all the way to the tip, Vieste. Fiasco again trying to figure out what to do w/ the car, despite them claiming "parking available". Couldn't even double-park to call her, driving around in circles in pouring rain while she gave us directions to a street address of a supposed parking garage that wasn't where she said it was + then finally found it, a gated abandoned lot w/ broken bottles + no signs + then she gave us a ride back to the hotel (if U could call it that, more like an apartment building w/ air bnb units) + then since she discovered a parking spot closer to the bnb back to our car + her giving directions while fielding calls (she seemed an agent of sorts, toting a Louis Vitton bag) back to the spot she found to take her place, all in Italian of course + relentless rain + cars always on our tail honking to get past... really unpleasant, can't imagine how a foreigner not knowing Italian or unskilled in Italian driving would find this place. Despite their being tons of traffic + ppl on the streets, no restaurants were open, even though google says they are, so U just have to walk around looking for anything... boo fucking hoo, right? Touring around beautiful Italy eating amazing food... if we can find it. Finally found a place open, or it was more like they saw us looking around + invited us into their house. There were other track-suit wearing ppl there sitting around smoking in plastic chairs that all seemed like friends or family... typically scene, but of course it was delicious (orecchiette con le cime di rapa) + really cheap (especially now that the dollar is on par w/ the euro). Ate dinner at Donlù after calling every restaurant in town, the only place we could find open, quite the contrast to lunch, swanky + froufrou, innovative, overlooking the ocean (though it was dark), had raw red shrimps + a raw bacala w/ ponzu, gnocchi w/ sea urchin + again we were the only ones there until some mafioso types showed up. The power would periodically go off for a minute every 10 minutes or so but no one seemed to care except maybe the cook who who took it as an excuse to come out from the kitchen.

white cliffs of Vieste



alleys of old town

12/15 > Strange sleep, alarms going off every hour, not sure if related to the power going off over + over. Dreams about walking along a road, but keeping an eye out for trains, sorta like in Trastevere where we'd be walking along the tracks b/c we were too impatient to wait for the unreliable tram but if the tram did happen to come we'd run to catch it, with that certain feeling where you'd get nervous if you were in the middle between stops, too far away from 1 stop or the other to make the train, walking quickly + then as U approached the next tram stop you'd slow down knowing U could catch it if it came + then slowly lingering near stops before growing impatient again + moving on to the next stop + usually the tram never came so we'd walk all the way home anyway. It was like that, but in some sort of subway, maybe NYC? But a subway that leads to other parts of the world. We were also carrying cargo, but as we analyzed what we were carrying realized it was just a handful of Roman candles, that were for some sorta celebration we were on our way to. But then we realized we could just carry the wad of them in our hands, so didn't need the dolly so hid it away in some alcove knowing we could retrieve it later... some sorta subtext about our current situation?

Perhaps the 1st nice day since we've been here... think it rained pretty much every day til now, not that it stopped us from doing anything. But today was like mid-50s + party cloudy, can't complain. Walked all around Vieste, along the beach to the... we want to say south, but since we're on the spur, maybe it's west? + then back in the other direction, north/east ... or maybe we're on top of the spur so it's actually N/W. Back up into the old part of town through narrow alleys that we saw the night before cloaked in darkness. Cats everywhere, but wild, didn't pet a single 1 but came close. Saw 27 cats + 5 rabbits... yes, for some reason there were these big feral rabbits hanging out with the cats. Walked out onto a jetty, took our shoes off + dipped our feet in the Mediterranean + laid out on cold marble in the sun. Then around to a wide flat beach on the other side w/ not a soul in sight. Amazing lunch at some place sitting in the sun in a T-shirt on the harbor... where-else in mid-December? We were their only customers, they brought us all sorts of food, whatever catch-of-the-day they pulled from the sea that they recommended, served raw, pesce crude w/ oysters, clams, 2 or 3 types of shrimp + mussels, which we'd never had before raw... definitely unique + slimy like sucking silt off the bottom of ocean. but not sure we'd order it again. Then tuna tartar w/ lemon + ginger + horseradish. Then pasta w/ raw tuna + crunchy nutty garlic which was delicious, washed down w/ Puglian white wine. Italy is unique in the world in that every region has a different cuisine + wine, U only have to travel 100–200 km + it's different altogether. Yah, that we'll miss about Italy, but U don't need to live here. Italy is a great place to visit, but to live? If U lived in a place like Vieste during the summer it's a complete madhouse, "shoulder-to-shoulder" tourists in the summer we were told (in Italian, no one speaks english here), but in winter not a soul in sight, even though winter in southern Italy is like summer in northern California.





dog we made friends with






rabbit caves reminiscent of Monty Python + the Holy Grail












1055 <(current)> 1057 > Using a get out of jail free in Monopoli w/ waves lapping @ our feet
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