75 Degrees of Perfection
THIS is the time to be in Milano. The temperature is warm enough (75 degrees) to be comfortable in light linen and cotton, and enjoyable having the windows open to fresh air, but not so warm that there’s any thought yet of air conditioning.
I had a wandering, leisurely ride through the farmland exploring roads I hadn’t tried before. Then I showered, changed and took off walking up along Corso San Gottardo. When I need a variety of miscellanea, this is the local area I frequent.
Last September, my local Bartell’s hadn’t given me enough of a thyroid medication. It’s a pretty simple and standard thing, but necessary. I needed to buy a month’s supply and expected the process to be complicated. (International prescription refill?!) I took the bottles into a local Farmacia, they looked up the chemical component of my prescription online and walked over to a drawer for a braille-embossed box of 50 pills for 2.90 euro, about $3.90. (Hmm. At that price, maybe I should stock up before I return to Seattle? Isn’t it about $33 for a month’s supply back at home?)
There’s also this notion in my head about buying some “cool” eyeglasses to take home as my “souvenir”…Glasses that you’d never find in the U.S.…Glasses that say “somewhere else”. On San Gottardo, I stepped into a centro ottico – optic center – that I had been in before. After looking around for a while, the man that owns the shop said that he remembered me. He wasn’t just flirting. He recalled the glasses I brought in two years ago when the little screw had fallen out of the hinge. In the summer of 2008 he had replaced that little screw at no charge, and simply gave me the glasses back with a smile. (To be here in a foreign country, a big city, and be remembered from two years previous…Remarkable and touching!)
There’s something about the Italians and lingerie and hosiery. They do them well. With the warmer weather, I wanted some lightweight, little socks, just enough to provide a lining, but also interesting enough with lace and fishnet and other fun patterns. I’ve scoured shops in the Seattle area and just don’t find the selection there. (Yeah. In Seattle we’re usually bundling up, not going lightweight.) I bought several pairs of socks and hose (and will have to consider stocking up on those, too, before returning to Seattle!)
The whole street was filled with people walking their kids, their dogs and their lovers. People were seated and sipping caffé, vino or Campari. It was the time of the passeggiata, the evening stroll, and the weather had offered up a time so conducive to the ritual.
As I walked back home, I stopped at the little corner bakery that has my favorite trancio pizza – pizza that is cut to the size you want and charged by weight – and bought a piece with prosciutto, mushrooms and artichokes.
Across the street, at the corner flower vendor, I selected one fragrant lily stem and carried it toward home.
(What can’t I find along San Gottardo?!)
Veering off of Gottardo, and just blocks away from home, I saw my favorite, local bartender, Robbie, in the window of the Mayflower Pub and stopped to say “hello” and give him that European two-cheek kiss. We chatted for a moment. (“Favorite Bartender”? It sounds like I’m at the bar all the time. Actually, very rarely. But both NABA and Scuola Leonardo Language School have their student social nights there so I’ve seen Robbie enough to stop and say hello. He’s a sweet guy.)
I floated the rest of the way home. At almost ten months, I actually know people here, and am recognized by people here. I can wave at people as I walk past their shop windows or they stop me on the sidewalk to talk.
This is an indescribable and stunning time… I marvel at it all.