Pescara: My First Taste of Pizza

The day started like any other weekend in Pescara: Wake and beach. (No! Wake and wade. That sounds much better!)

Alessandro sent Michela a message to get us out to the beach while the tide was low so we could get in some quality racquetoni time. I will admit that Uri did not suck nearly as much this time. His game improved drastically. The ball was actually going where he intended it to go.


And do you know what I got in return for complimenting Uri and telling him that he didn’t suck this time? I got the sand treatment. Jerk.

20170709_124417

That sand was burning hot, too! Uri even wrote a silly poem inspired by that merciless lava pit:

The Path to Paradise:
God is playing us all for fools.
He invites us out to these beautiful places–
Pockets of Paradise where we can
Feel the sun’s kiss on our faces.

The soothing sounds of the rolling waves
Coax us into a false sense of bliss;
We are but moths drawn to a flame,
Prey charmed by a slithering snake’s hiss.

But the awful truth is that God is just a bully.
“Come into the light,” He whispers in our ear.
Only when it’s too late do we realize
His true intention for bringing us here.

Suddenly, that pristine sand beneath our feet,
That silk road to the welcoming water,
Which promises eternal happiness for all,
Is now getting hotter and hotter and hotter.

All we want is to bathe and be cleansed
In the healing hands of the ocean;
To let it wash away our fears

Instead, we’re subjected to Hell-ish torture,
And every step is an eternity
in Limbo, where the water never nears,
And your sole howls out in agony.

We dance like clowns for His entertainment
As he shoots bolts of lightning at our feet.
Thankfully, I spot some shade nearby–
A merciful respite from the heat.

I take a deep breath and collect my thoughts.
I listen to te soothing sound of my heart.
I close my eyes and search for light.
Then I run for the water like a bat out of hell.

We met more of Michela’s friends–Serena (who I told she bares a strikingly resemblance to Jennifer Lawrence), her boyfriend Giuseppe, and Marcello (I think that was his name).

After sitting around doing a whole lot of blissful nothing, we eventually made our way over to grab a bite to eat. We had some mini pizza snacks that are basically just dough, tomato sauce, a small hint of cheese, and not much else. Simple, but addictive.

We discussed that ever-so important gesture Italians are known for: When you bring your thumb and four fingers together with your palm facing up in what sort of looks like the shape of a flower. I don’t know if there’s a name for it, but it apparently has an infinite number of meanings.

20170719_084941It was explained to us that the gesture serves to add emphasis and emotion to whatever statement you want to make. You can even have entire conversations without saying a single word–just facial expressions and that gesture.

Even when I didn’t understand a single word of what was being said in Italian, I enjoyed the energy of the back and forth banter between friends. I felt at home. And thankfully, Michela did a great job of translating. Either that, or her friends would make an effort to speak English to us. Uri and I truly appreciated their efforts.

There was a volleyball tournament going on nearby, so the fearsome foursome made our way over to check it out. We almost singed our feet in the blazing sand, hopping from one shadow to the next, like children pretending to not fall in the lava. Sadly, our efforts were all for nothing, since by the time we got there, it was intermission.
Instead, we played some volleyball ourselves. Well, they played; I watched from the sidelines. It’s hard to move around too much in this suit, y’know? It was Michela and Uri against Alessandro and Deborah. Once again, Uri was a disappointment. He and Michela lost in convincing fashion, largely because of him. It’s almost like he enjoys losing at everything.

Deborah was yet another friend of Michela’s. She had a very welcoming and disarming smile. You immediately felt like you knew her. And she was another English speaker!

After a hard fought game of volleyball, we figured we deserved a drink or two or five, and so we made our way over to the champagnino party. Champagnino is white wine with 7 Up. I know, it sounds blasphemous; but if champagnino is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Michela had been talking about these bad boys all afternoon, and they did not disappoint. They tasted dangerously delicious.

There was a rockin’ fun cover band performing with a moustachioed frontman leading the party. At one point there was even a conga line going on. They played a mix of contemporary tunes and classic Italian songs, complete with Italian sing alongs.

Despite all the fun ruckus, my body was running on fumes. We left the party and went for one last dip in the water.

Uri passed out on a giant floating cushion. The only reason he woke up was because Michela splashed some water on him. “I know it was probably only 10 minutes,” he said, “but it felt like 2 hours.”

When we got to the Tatone residence, we were welcomed with a wall of heat. This is why it is suggested that one never cook pizza in the summer. Momma Tatone was cooking up some pizzas nonetheless, though–and all on account of lil’ ol’ us.

Uri was initially supposed to make the pizza with her, but they were unable to coordinate it, so she made all of the pizzas and set aside some ingredients to demonstrate how to make the dough for the pizza. He listened extremely intently. And to my great surprise, this guy, who can barely remember what he had for breakfast two days ago, was able to recite the entire instructions for how to make the dough to me the following day–all after one demonstration! Uri loves him some pizza.

There were two special guests to greet us when we got there: Stefania, Michela’s sister, and Nonna Tatone. Uri and Nonna were able to carry on a hint of a conversation in Spanish/Italian. She was happy to hear him say that we thoroughly loved Pescara. As for Stefania, Uri and I had been eager to meet her, since we had been sleeping in her room for the past several days and already felt like we knew her. She had super hero and movie posters on her wall, a Metallica ticket stub pinned to a small cork board, and a library’s worth of Star Trek material. She was the completely opposite of Michela, but as far as I was concerned, she was famiglia.

The big moment finally came: It was time to eat home-made Italian pizza! Uri was looking at the mountain of pizza on the table like a dog in heat. It did not disappoint. My first taste of pizza was a huge success.

At one point, Uri went to grab more pizza, and Nonna just put an extra slice on his plate without him even asking. Michela burst out laughing and yelled, “Eat, eat!” Grandmas are the best.

After dinner, Michela, Alessandro, Uri, and I biked over to the food truck festival at the waterfront. We got a nice bike tour of Pescara on the way over. Of course, after consuming copious amounts of delicious pizza, we didn’t exactly have room for more food.

Instead, Michela introduced us to her addiction: Amoretto. Much to her chagrin, though, Uri said it tasted like grape cough syrup. “But good cough syrup!” he said, trying to defend his answer. Too late, dumb dumb.

We capped the night off with some gelato, and made it home at a respectable time of midnight. If you looked outside, though, you wouldn’t guess it was a Sunday night, what with the number of people that were still out and about on the boardwalk. I love that about Europe, though. The day isn’t over when the sun goes down; it’s just beginning. On Saturdays, you could even see families out with their children. (Although that isn’t always a good thing. On Friday, we saw a woman leaving the club with a toddler clutched to her. I guess momma’s gotta dance.)

The following morning, we said our said goodbyes. Of course, mom being mom, she gave us some leftover pizza for the road. I love those guys.

On to Florence!

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