Tuesday, May 7
Bright after storm
The day after our arrival was crisp, bright and suprisingly cool. High up on nearby Montevergine, a bright white dusting of fresh snow gleamed in the sunlight. Again, so very unusual to see snow on the peaks around here in May.
I had been following the airline's attempt to locate and return my mom's walker via an online status page, and this morning, the page thankfully reported that it was found, and due to be couriered to my aunt's place sometime during the day. For the front gate, I wrote up a very large and clear and obvious sign with instructions on how to communicate with my aunt, so that we would not run into a situation where the courier had trouble dropping the walker off.
Making it VERY clear
Elvira and I wanted to stretch our legs and do a little bit of exploring, now that we were better settled in and rested. So, we just struck off for a drive (hopefully on some fun mountain roads that I had been eyeing).
I guided our car south into the range of forested mountains (known as the Picentini mountains) south of Avellino. I picked what looked like a fun back road up into the hills (the SP574), and up we went. The road wound about through shady and dark mixed forest, with lots and lots of chestnut groves. Although it wasn't first class pavement, it was decent enough, and very quiet - almost no traffic - and nice and twisty. Elvira did not complain about my spirited driving.
The rental ride
In the vicinity of a peak called Monte Terminio (the second highest peak in the Picentini Range), we turned off onto an even smaller side road and discovered a wonderful little lookout called the Ripa della Falconara. A sharp limestone cliff jutted out of the forest and provided a great spot to look out over the carpeted hills. With a dark overcast, a chill wind, and no one about, the whole scene felt remote and gloomy, but in a beautiful and scenic sort of way.
An additional reason for wanting to drive around in these mountains was that I was hoping to climb one of them in the next few days, and this was a bit of a recon mission. I had done my advance planning back at home, but there was nothing quite like observing the lay of the land in 3-D with your own eyes. Elvira and I drove down into the valley west of Monte Terminio and then back up a different (also twisty) backroad, the SP25c, until the road crossed the ridgeline of the next group of peaks (centered around a mountain called "Vetta Monte Mai"). Here, Elvira and I got out and looked back towards Monte Terminio - I was struck by just how much fresh, deep snow had recently fallen on the peak. Again, what a cold and wet spring southern Italy was having!
Our backroad wanderings meant that we arrived back at Zia Rosetta's place well after her normal 2pm-ish lunch time. Nevertheless, she had food - really excellent food - waiting for us. Frittata, bocconcini, marinated zucchini, fresh sharp parmigiano. All in front of us and waiting to be savored.
I was also happy to learn that, in our absence, the courier had arrived with my mom's lost walker and had managed to successfully call up to Zia Rosetta's flat. And indeed, there it was, sitting beside the not-so-useful (but still thoughtful) blue-asylum-chair (as I had come to call it).