"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Italian Memories

Last night we got together with our dearest friends for another incredible wine dinner event. For the past seven years, we’ve been gathering on a regular basis to share a gourmet meal, exquisite wines and the pleasure of one another’s company and as the years have passed, the bonds of our friendship have grown ever stronger.

Last night was made all the more special as we received a telephone call from Charles, our friend from Italy.

In May 2005, our group (4 couples) set out on a 2 week Italian adventure. One week was spent independently, each couple going their own way and visiting different cities. Then at the end of week one, we all rendezvoused in Rome and headed north to the Umbrian countryside for a week together in a restored villa (circa 1600). From there we alternated between taking day trips by car and relaxing at the villa.

It was on one of the “relaxing” days that Calvin, Beth and I decided to take a leisurely run through the countryside and in doing so, happened upon the small hill town of Mezzanelli.

Like many of the ancient Etruscan hill towns we saw throughout our travels in Italy, this one consisted of beautiful stone houses and cobbled stone streets but there was one feature which made this town unique. At the very top of the hill, high above the town itself, laid the ruins of an ancient church or castle. Jutting skyward, were huge stone walls and the remains of the original structure.

At Beth’s urging, we headed in the direction of the sight before us and were soon rewarded with one of the most spectacular views of our trip. Below us lay lush vineyards and olive groves and above us, was a clear blue sky. It was in a word, beautiful.

As we descended back into the village, we met Charles, an American expatriate who after graduating from Oxford, remained in England and taught at the University of Sussex for 30 years. Upon retiring, he moved to Mezzanelli.

We immediately made a connection with one another and spent the next hour talking away. That evening, Charles joined our group at the villa for dinner and on the day before our departure we returned to Mezzanelli and sat in his back yard enjoying Fragolino and a glorious sunset.

Our newly formed friendship, we were sure would not end with our return home. And it hasn’t. We’ve stayed in touch over the past couple of years and his call last night resulted from a recent email correspondence.

As you can imagine, it was wonderful to talk with him again.

There are many points to this story however there are three I want to mention.

They are:

· If we had not gone for a run that day, we would have missed out on one of the nicest experiences of our trip.

· This was more than a coincidence.

· We had such a good time last night we went through 11 bottles of wine.

As I cranked out 7 miles this morning, my mind was in the Italian countryside.


“This isn't coincidence, there's no such thing” – Brandon Boyd

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