Monday, July 30, 2007

nascondiglio di z4

And here is the hideout of the BMW in the Marche.

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday or The Lost Milk

30 July
Well, Sunday unfolded thusly: I awakened at 0700 to make breakfast for our early risers, then 2 more breakfasts finally ending at 10:00. Thereafter, stripped the dirty linens from #8 and then painted all the wood beams with the toxic petroleum compound 8-14 feet up so the B & B won't fall down before you gentle readers arrive. We have voracious wood eating insects inside. Then cleaned 8, fired a salvo at a new wasp nest with a queen the size of my little finger and 100 loyal followers. We have some DDT product or something which will kill wasps, small birds and naughty children, I think, but as much as I love life, we can't have a wasp colony above the breakfast area. Then napped for 1.5 hours, cooked for Aki and Raffaele before taking Aki to the train in San Benedetto. Back to Nascondiglio di Bacco for a relaxing afternoon and then took in the fireworks display at San Benedetto del Tronto which was quite nice, but it didn't start until today (00:15) and I got back home in the z4 at 0200. The car, I must say is a real blast to drive on roads where the longest straightaway is 100 meters! I took a pic in front of the b and b, but i am not sure you can see the KS plates, unfortunately.
Started again today at 0700 which is where the missing milk storyline enters. I made a typical Dwight breakfast for the early rising couple and heated the milk in the microwave for their coffee and after they had left, I found the milk still in the microwave. I am just too tired! Not as bad as leaving a lap tape in someone's belly, but embarrassing nonetheless! Today we are hoping for rain and that would be a wonderful welcome change! Ciao. dwight the pic is the almost full moon last night and right now i am having trouble loading the car pic, stay tuned later. it is naptime!

Saturday, July 28, 2007


28 Luglio Pictures are of my little countryside and then Fabio, Aki, and Ola at the San Benedetto del Tronto beach.
I was asked today when is the best time to visit Italy and of course with school schedules, sometimes there isn't much choice, but I would tend to advise June, September-November or Spring as best for temperatures unless you are heading to the beach. This summer is probably a bit strange, but we are still hot and dry here, in the midst of a drought.
I first visited Italy in late October many years ago and was thrilled to find fresh pressed olive oil available in Tuscany. This year I expect the olive and grape harvest will be much earlier than usual because of the heat.
Today, finally we had breakfast requests for 9AM and after, so I could sleep a bit longer. 2 couples remain with a 3rd coming tonight and having dinner with us which will consist of antipasti like prosciutto and melon, bruschetta and maybe Judy's crostata which went over very well with my friends earlier this week and agnellotti which is a type of stuffed pasta with ricotta inside and a side dish and maybe one of my signature sorbets for dessert.
After dinner I think we will head to Notte Bianca at San Benedetto which is an all night festival practically with concerts in many of the piazze in town.
Every day there are festivals in the little towns around here; eg. at Offida now is a convention of political cartoonists, one of whom is staying with us, and an antique fair. At Grottomare is a festival of the local wines of the Marche, etc.
As always at Nascondiglio di Bacco there is an abundance of peace and quiet!
Ci sentiamo dopo. Dwight

Friday, July 27, 2007

pardon my absence

27 Luglio
Sorry about the lull in writing, but I have been occupied with my special guests, Fabio Diu and Ola from London and Aki from Japan. Fabio and Aki were classmates in my master’s program and are doing the grand tour of Italy, though separately. They were my excuse to get away from Nascondiglio for at least a few hours each night and we explored San Benedetto one night and Ascoli Piceno the next. Last night we topped it off with a bbq with sausage and fresh fish on the grill and Fabio and I watched the moon set at 0230, which is the 1st time I remember ever doing that. It is good practice for the Perseid meteor shower, which hits its peak on August 12.
What I haven’t mentioned is we have had 6 guests, 2 of whom wanted breakfast at 0700 each day. I have relearned the fine art of napping of late. Yesterday I slept in the full sun at the seaside while the other three constructed a fine fortress in the sand and today after taking Fabio and Ola to the train, I slept from 10-2.
My day then consisted of cleaning their room in preparation for our next guests and then treating the wood ceiling beams in room 6 for omnivorous insects similar to termites. I had already done room 6, so 2 down and 6 to go. I use a petroleum- based chemical which is not skin friendly and I really hope it works because this will be the last time I do this job! There are pesky little problems with 500 year old houses.
We are nearing a beautiful full moon tonight, which is visible again after the smoke from nearby dangerous forest fires has dissipated. Just like the western part of America it is very dry here and evidently this was started by an arsonist.
The z4 has been neglected as it is a car unsuited for 3 or 4, but tomorrow, but maybe Aki and I can explore the countryside a bit with the top down, tomorrow. It is really fun to drive on the curvy country roads around here! Beats the Doblo!
We stay ½ to full all of august and I am looking forward to my 50th birthday in a couple of weeks. Giorgio and Michele will be here and of course Raffaele and also Gio’s fidanzata Gaia and her cousin with his girlfriend. There is a festival of reggae at Ripatransone that night as well.
Finally, they called me from the port of Naples today to ask what I was bringing into Italy in my container so I will provide a general list. Too bad I am not a resident yet as I would have to pay only 310 euros for everything; instead I need to pay customs about a third of the value of the contents in taxes. I think everything together is worth about 5000 dollars! Ciao dalle Marche. After the last 4 days and nights, I am sure i am forgetting something, but more later! dwight

Saturday, July 21, 2007

arrived in one piece

21 luglio
I have arrived safely, but where do i begin with my story?
My plane arrived late for the 2nd successive time and I missed my connecting flight thanks to my Delta buddies. Unfortunatley, this was a little more costly as they wouldn't put me up for the night in Rome or pay for a new ticket with Transavia since i made those reservations separately. Anyway, I had a nice walk around Rome and caught up on jetlag and ate dinner in Trestevare before flying to Rotterdam yesterday. I arrived on time and then spent 100 euros for cab fares from the shipper to the insurance man to customs and then to the bank as the shipper wanted cash for unloading the car. I finished all the paperwork and I now can drive my car for 4 months insured. I had a wonderful time on the autobahn driving 120 mph, but was slowed down a bit when i came across a freshly wrecked A6 that must have rolled a dozen times at high speed, squashed itself and then burned. I am doubtful the driver survived.
I drove practically nonstop through Holland, Germany, Switzerland and on to the Marche. I took one 2 hour nap and another for 30 minutes to arrive in 20 hours. Subtracting the 2.5 for sleeping and it was still 1.5 hours longer than mapquest said it would be Why??? Because at 3 in the morning there was a 1 hour line waiting to go thru the tunnel above Lugano in Switzerland! The whole of Germany and Switzerland are coming to Italy for vacation and all last night! If we can tap this crowd, we will be full all of August! There was then a 2 hour line at Bologna, the worst I have experienced. Dai!!! and I was getting tired and thirsty by then.
Anyway, I arrived tired but little worse for wear, just hungry and hot. Unfortunately, the Marche hasn't received any rain since I left. Better a drought this year than next after we have planted our new vines!
Also, I found out we have termites which we will have to treat and a few other goodies to do, but I am ready for some work aound here. My grapes look to have bitten the dust in my little 1/2 hectare, but there may be some hope if it rains soon.
We actually have one week where we have all the rooms rented and that is exciting, but I need all my friends from America to come visit as there is lots of free space in the reservation book.
When I returned, Raffaele told me one of my precious bottles from 1964 was leaking and when he removed the wax seal, there had never been a cork! A great way to prevent corked wine, I guess. Anyway, it will make some really great salad dressing and maybe even a reduction sauce.
And lastly, I actually passed a small village policeman without getting pulled over with my Kansas plates... maybe he thought I was a diplomat, which is not a bad idea; I can say I am a diplomat and not an illegal alien! Another sunset pic from nascondiglio di bacco if i can get it downloaded, and the previous 2 are of our own wild West up in WY. dds

Thursday, July 19, 2007


still sitting in atlanta with a plane problem at 7 pm and we were supposed to leave at 440. i will now miss my connection to rotterdam and have to spend the night in rome and fly out the next day. AIIII!!! more later. d

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

dwight's list e' utile

17 july
last day in america, i sit in the club lounge for delta in atlanta. this is the only good reason to have an amex platinum card, so i can while away the hours in peace with free vittles and bebite. Thanks to all who made me feel welcome at home and who literally took me in as did Steve and Cindy (and one more time Happy 50th Cindy, tell me what it is like to be 50!). Had my "last supper" at jasper's last night with Judy and a host of people i know, like the Flynn's and now Mariann.
I played golf yesterday and now i am sore in places unused to such exercise, but it was fun to recall the sport and i did have one stretch of 5 holes where i was even par. the rest we won't talk about.Thanks to the two Larrys for being such good sports at Lionsgate.
I am waiting for the flight to rome to part and i forgot my leather coat on the kc leg, so hopefully someday that will arrive in ancona and i can pick it up. we are an hour late which will make it very difficult to make my leg to rotterdam but i have my fingers crossed.
Everyone come visit in the Marche! I should be rback there and relaxed in about 3 days!
ciao d

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Flying the friendly skies

16 luglio, 2007
I am sitting in the Denver Intl. airport waiting for my late flight to KC. All the house stuff like hanging pictures and placing furniture is finished. I visited my favorite place on Pearl Street in Boulder called "The Kitchen" and had a nice Barbera d'Alba while I finished the book "Pompeii" which was given to me by my birding buddy Mike Cooper. Now I am reading "Good birders don't wear white", an early birthday gift from my childhood friend from Carrollton, K.R. and HAPPY 50TH Kevin. Tell me how it feels as my time nears.
Thanks to everyone who helped with the move including packing, storing, drinking wine so I wouldn't have to move it etc. including Larry H. and Pam (HAPPY 50TH PAM!! Let me know.... etc), my Aunt and Uncle, Tom and Kelly and Pat and again Larry C., my copilot who shares my fatigue and soreness today.
Tomorrow a full day again and my fingers are crossed hoping I will find my brochures at the old house!
And Hey, who needs Craig's list.... the hot tub and jacuzzi are still for sale, for a big bargain!!! dds

Sunday, July 15, 2007

uhaul and 750 miles

15 luglio
What a few days! I thought I was going to have to drive out to Colorado solo but to the rescue came my friend Larry Cordell, tired after a week's work as an orthopedic surgeon, but willing to tough out the long slog across Kansas and eastern Colorado. We made it all the way to Denver leaving at 4 PM CST and arriving about !2:30 MST. My friend Les put us up for the night in our townhome and Saturday we unloaded her stuff and then headed to Estes Park to disgorge the rest. The UHaul you see is a 14 foot model and it was packed well and was completely full even without my wine and jacuzzi tub : ( . I may have to rent climate controlled storage in KC for a while. I have now completely unloaded all the boxes and all that remains is picture hanging. The Colorado climate is beautiful as are my favorite mountains. I am lucky to have 2 wonderful places in the world to live!!
Last night, Larry and I headed back to Denver so he could fly out to KC at 7 AM this morning but we were treated to a wonderful dinner at Barolo's near Cherry Creek mall last night enjoying the prix fixe menu with paired wines. Imagine my surprise to find a Rosso Piceno paired up with one of the courses. The owner Blaire is passionate about Italy, its foods and wines and especially Piemonte, but also is well acquainted with the Marche. I am trying to get him to visit a little south of Ancona his next visit.
Tomorrow, more errands to run before heading back to KC and a round of golf, passing out brochures and perhaps renting another UHaul to take the jacuzzi to a nice storage closet with 15 cases of wine. I need to find a shipper who can sneak my wine past customs in Italy.
Wednesday I return to Europe and try the 1000 mile drive from Rotterdam to Offida!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sea of boxes

Off went the container to Italy with 3 feet to spare and what should i find yesterday, but my desk chair, lonely and left behind. He will have to find a new home in Estes Park! I am sitting in my main room which has a fireplace, inutile perche e' 32 gradi fuori oggi and about 20 boxes full of memories, clothes, and pots and pans (because the house in Estes has a great need for decent cooking implements) In the other room 26 cases of wine, my dining room table and chairs and a few other odds and ends like a hammock and bbq grill. I pick up the 14 foot UHaul tomorrow and will deliver to my good friend Dave, the 500 bottle wine fridge (Thanks, David!!) and then come fill up the truck with the "stuff". I hope to make it a good distance across the state of KS which is flatter than a pancake on a computer model and then Saturday arrive in Denver to deliver goods to Les before heading up into the mountains to unload the rest. I am hoping to find someone there to help me unload!
I have been eating quite well in KC, with lunches at Jasper's-today, risotto with shrimp and asparagus, and dinners out with friends. Last night I was treated by Kevin and Erika to an incredible dinner with a 2 inch KC strip steak, asparagi on the grill, wild rice, olives and cheeses! Incredible stuff. I have reaccumulated the 5 lbs i lost in Italy which makes me look a little healthier.
2 nights ago, I met the wine maker Marco and the proprietor of the Umbrian winery and agriturismo Castello de Corbara and they are making some exciting wines there. If you can find the Sangiovese and it is available at the Cellar Rat in Kansas City, buy it and tell me what you think. Afterwards, Larry and I had a nice pizza at Spin which still entices me with their 1.00 corkage fee and authentic Napoletana pizza.
Tonight, out with Steve and Cindy and we try out Michael Gold's new restaurant which should be wonderful both for the food and the good company!
I can't remember if i mentioned the brochure problem, but they are 10X more expensive to print in KC, so Raffaele is speed shipping some to KC so I can pass them out here, soTuesday will be a full day in the rental car but finishing off at Jasper's for a special dinner with Judy Witts Francini, a cooking teacher from Firenze. That should be a fitting last night in the USA!
The picture is me with my former pooch, Saxon whose spirit is telling me it is time for a replacement in Italy, so who knows, maybe a Pascola Abruzzese!?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Sto aspettando

9 luglio
I spent the day yesterday waiting for movers who weren't moving, I guess. Today is another day, however and I am ready for their arrival. I had a lovely dinner with my friends the Cordells last night after visiting my church for the 5 PM service. My church is one of the things I miss in Italy other than my buddies here (though I am expecting everyone to visit!).
We are experiencing a typical midwestern heat wave with humidity levels and temperatures which remind me of my time in Parma last summer. The AC is cranking at the house which is also a big difference between here and Italy as the majority of people do not have or use air conditioning. Electricity is extremely expensive there, as is gasoline. I noticed regular unleaded is about 3.02 here which compares favorably to 6.75 a gallon in Italy right now.
My biggest dilemma right now is what art work to take to Italy and which to Colorado and which to give away to my favorite charity auctions. I am a big offender when it comes to the George Carlin skit about having sooo much STUFF (you have to buy a bigger house so you can get more STUFF in! ) I hope to pare that down a bit this go around.
Last posting was me in August in front of the wine refrigerator, I have subsequently sold about a fourth of the bottles and hopefully now also the fridge. There is still an 8 person hot tub and a beautiful jacuzzi for all you folks in the market!
Thanks to Mariann for the comment yesterday. I enjoy keeping the blog up, but even more when i know people are reading along!
Ciao, and wish me luck with the movers. Today a foto from Colorado from last summer on a hike with my friends Teresa and Michele and that is where i will be heading friday.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

once upon a time in america

8 july
No, I haven't died. I arrived the 5th in Kansas City after missing my connecting flight in Cincinnati. Thanks again Delta! I missed my brother's bbq! For the last 3 days I have been separating my STUFF into piles. Pile 1 for Italy, Pile 2 for Estes and the pile to sell. Every drawer has been emptied and now I am just waiting for the packers to arrive and box stuff up which will travel across the sea.
Last night 6 of us ate at a local italian restaurant "Il Trullo" and had a truly memorable meal of Pugliese specialties and wines from Spain, the USA, and Italy. Grazie di nuovo al nostro padrone Joseph Avelluto! At the table were 3 people all within 5 weeks of turning 50. What a festa! We had a killer risotto with black truffles, Bresaole with rucola, wonder steak florentine, and a ravioli which was wonderful and as always there, beautiful desserts!
I brought all the information to print up our brochures here in america, but the costs are 5 times as much here. may just have to print a few, but they are really nicely done, Grazie Cristiano!
As always, when i come back i get to see all my wino friends who keep me eating and drinking well. I think i will have to get a new bumper sticker which says, I am not an alcoholic, I am a drunk! Alcoholics go to meetings.
Stay tuned, I will update this packing saga tomorrow when all is complete. dds

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy 4th of July

3rd of july
Today, we finished the brochure, which hopefully i can post here for your perusal soon. I am like the winemaker we met who was so adapted to his own wine, he couldn't sense the sulfur in the wine anymore and it was powerful! I kept reading the stuff I wrote and missed georgeous a dozen times! The only georgeous (instead of gorgeous) i know is my friend from Caserta, Sig. Farina. Thanks to Lynn and Don for their help in proofreading and rewriting my flimsy attempts to literally translate Raffaele's writing from Italian into English.
Today, we met with an enologist who we think is quite good from the Marche and it was scary how similar his ideas were to ours. He is a bit younger than me, but is excited with our idea to try something different and hopefully special and unique from this zone. I just happened to have a wine from his birthyear after my purchase and he was quite surprised as he had never had a wine from 1961.
We will hopefully have everything planned by September and be ready to plant our mystery vines by November.
The agriturismo is empty for a spell, so all you bored readers, get over here and fill up our beautifully outfitted stanze! I am going to try and have 500 brochures printed in KC to hand out to my friends, wine clubs, restaurants with an Italian theme, etc. If anyone knows travel agents who might be interested, please let me know.
Tomorrow off to Ancona which has an airport which accomadates small planes. I will spend the night there as my flight leaves at 0655 on thursday. I get in to KC at 5:20 or so, rent a car and head to the house to start my labor. Luckily, my family will be waiting with a bbq and a steak dinner for me. I will provide the wine-3 or 4 less to transport!
Excuse me for being superstitious, but flying on the 4th was a little scary for me, so see you after the holiday, Be safe!
The pix are from our weekend with the gang. One of raffa and i opening a magnum of champagne to celebrate the grand opening under new management and the other starting up the grill d

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A typical Sunday at Nascondiglio di Bacco

1 luglio
After watching the moonrise you see above last night while enjoying a plate of pasta with zucchini and a little andouille with a glass of nice white wine from Zenato, it was time to get ready for a typical Sunday here.
We had 3 rooms of guests for a total of 9 people, not counting the rabbit. I awoke at 0530 as always with the sun, waved hello to him and went back to sleep until 7:15. I got up and then got the tables set for breakfast, turned on the stove for the croissants and then watered the plants which need water every day since unlike KC, we are having very dry conditions. (Send us some of that rain). The 1st trio ate at 0830 and then parted for Puglia while the other 6 who are staying another night dined at 0900 and then were off to Ascoli Piceno. Cleanup took about 15 minutes, then we went to Mass at Offida and met a priest who Raffaele went to school with in Rome. Back to Nascondiglio to cleant completely 2 rooms which were empty and half clean the other 2 which were still occupied. Lunch, again pasta, this time with pig's cheeks and parmigiano cheese and passato. The afternoon, I have napped, watched the italian version of the kestrel soaring peacefully in the distance, rented a uhaul and a car for KC and the move to Estes and checked flights back from Denver.
I talked with Terry in Utah and Leslie in Denver and that is a typical Sunday here.
Now when the little car arrives, I may be more interested in cruising the curvy roads and the ocean highway, but something about the Doblo' doesn't invite that activity.
The picture other than the moonrise is of Luigi, Giorgio and Raffaele climbing the hill east of Nascondiglio which is plowed and ready to plant in vines this winter. We were trying our best to make a case for keeping the pig at the border of the property under a nice oak tree, but purtroppo, the logistics made it too difficult.
Ciao. dds