We stopped for the night at the Palace Hotel
. In the Dining Room the waiter asked if we spoke any Italian. I do my ususal un pocco – pocco. Meaning very little. They always assume I am underestimating my talent (I’m not) and start rattling off the specials and what we would like. We do a lot more smiling and pointing, hoping for the best. Randy asked for fish. He got the whole thing, tail, head, bones. The only thing missing were the guts. Then the waiter offered to plate the fish for him. With two spoons he pulled the tail and head off, then managed to debone the entire thing with a couple of flourishes. It was delicious. I had a pasta dish with capers and raisins. I still don’t know the word for either. It was interesting, but not something I will attempt to make again on my own.
The drive back was better in the day light. You could see the switchbacks coming at you, as you travelled along. A great weekend, good sites, good food, good company. It’s why we’re here. Wish you were too!
Matera has an ancient section, and medieval castle, and a modern town. The ancient Sassi section is comprised on homes built into a series of caves that have been occupied for about 9000 years. Yes - thousand. We had a great day walking around the town. Most were abandoned in the 1950’s when the Italians started a campaign to alleviate the squalor. Since then, they have been taken over by many enterprising folks that turned portions into B&Bs, souvenir shops, and places to eat. It is still fascinating to see how the houses all fit together. According to the guide, it was used as the backdrop for Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ movie because it looks like (at least Hollywood’s interpretation) of ancient Palestine. My words can’t do it justice, and Randy’s pictures can’t show the immensity of the dwellings on the face of the hill/mountain, but you get the gist of it.