Tuesday, October 9, 2007
La Sonnambula (The Sleepwalker)
or... Let's do the time warp again
L'aquila is not difficult to get to, unless of course you've gone through the wormhole of trans-Atlantic flight, countless airports, plane and time changes, body contortions in a 2 ft cubical space next to strangers, trains and busses and have now arrived in medieval Italy. In a stupor, my computer says its 8:30 a.m. somewhere in the Colorado Rockies and my Italian cell phone reads 6:30 p.m. My mind is desperately trying to talk my body into just laying down for a minute – but we've heard this line before – and the light reflecting off the siena and gold stucco buildings, bouncing in shafts across narrow cobblestone streets that climb and wind into delicious little hidden piazzale is too inviting to just fall into drooling slumber. No, better to be sleepwalking... la sonnambula. Tangled in sleep depravation of 2 or 3 days, I'm no longer in my body. I'm not sure who is but I'm hovering somewhere ahead, looking for that first espresso. In the main piazza, the street sweepers are cleaning up after the daily market. It's mid day, when the Italians close up shop and restaurant to eat with their families. The town has about 60,000 residents but it feels smaller. The Apennine Mountains surround the valley, high and dry this time of year and occasionally topped by clouds – even more dramatic framed from the height of streets that dive down to reveal the panorama. I'm told this isn't the prettiest of cities but it seems the perfect combination of size, antiquity and that impeccable Italian fashion sense.
Since most businesses are closed until 4 p.m., I wander the streets, happily aimless, noting restaurants I want to taste and churches to check out for the art and architecture (because you know those are the only reasons that will get me into a church... ) The Hotel Castello, where my window partially faces a windowless stuccoed building perfect in its acoustics to bounce off the excruciatingly loud construction pounding going on in the front. But I don't even really mind this (yet... tomorrow morning may be a different story.) The hotel is on a roundabout with a tall statued fountain in the center that miniscule cars circle. Tiny as they are, and semi-conscience as I am, the only real challenge is getting out of the way of cars, but the drivers here seem far more polite than in Rome although they race through the tapered streets just as fast.
Before I completely lose all sensory perception, it's time for an early dinner (by Italian custom) and let the sing song of the language in streets below my window lull me to sleep as the city takes its nightly passagiata (the evening stroll).