We arrived in Umbria on the tenth day of our journey, followed the windy roads through the farmlands, up the mountain to the place where Terry and Michelle make their country home. Their villa, turned yoga retreat is named La Chimera after the ancient hybrid beast that is part lion, part winged creature.
Almost immediately, the feast begins. We spend lots of time around the large wooden table in the middle of their restored medieval kitchen. Pasta, home curedy salami, olives, breads, and wine. These delicious foods are contrary to the way my eating habits have developed over the years. I feel unbelievably relaxed and happy. I also feel pudgy and bloated. I wonder if I might be the ONLY person in the world who’s body does not love Italian food?
Daughter Zena and our host Michelle are both rail thin with long wavy hair and slender arms and legs. I am lumpy and swollen from travel. I give up early feeling fabulous and settle for “aging fairly well, considering four kids and a kidney transplant”.
More guests arrive. Their are no proprietary friendships in Europe as far as my experience goes. It is come one, come all, as many as we can fit around the table. We travel to Monterchi for an incredible feast with Marco and his wife and three daughters. Their small outdoor restaurant is cut into the hill, meandering back into unfolding rooms of aging cheese, ceramics, and truffle oils, which are native to these parts.
After an evening of more meats, I swoon back into my room waking to an unparalleled view of the Tuscan hillside. I understand why Van Gogh painted here. Everything is alive with light and energy. Today is market day. We will discover even more.
I hope you’ll tune in from time to time as I share bits and pieces of the next 45 day journey that will take me from NYC, to London, to Italy, to Scotland.