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An Easy Day of Liberazione in Poggibonsi
by Don and Peg Doman
Our day at Pastine started off as it did many times with a trip to Poggibonsi. Places like Poggibonsi are the reasons everyone should have an internet connection . . . even on vacation and during an adventure.
Our host at the Castello di Pastine recommended Poggibonsi as a location for groceries and suggested PAM as the best stocked grocery store. He also mentioned that the area around PAM was industrial. We had probably visited the town a dozen times or so before we found out that the city itself is pretty good size and extends quite a ways down the valley and is a connection point for most travel in the Chiant region.
Here is a comment from a website called Italy (www.italymag.co.uk). I love the Giuseppi Verdi comment in their logo, “You may have the Universe if I may have Italy.”
“Go to Poggibonsi with an open mind (and heart!). I remember first coming across reference to the town whilst reading Forster's, Where Angels Fear to Tread at school. English mistress explained that his fictional rail head of Monteriano used in the book was based on the real one at Poggibonsi. Us silly little sixteen year olds thought this was a very funny name for a town and giggled at the thought. And I only have to see the word today to still smile at the memory. It's fair to say though that it isn't the most interesting of towns, at least from what I've seen of it . . . it's on the Siena/Firenze tangenziale, the toll free express way that cuts through the Chianti hills. I've never been to the centro storico but there is a very good branch of PAM on one of the outer roundabouts should you need to do some food and drink shopping!”
Besides returning to Poggibonsi for groceries, we also visited the Rossana Bar there because of their internet connections. Six computers are set up on a counter in the dining room. Six stools provide little comfort, but are utilitarian. Using the term dining room is being wildly kind. A rice paper and wood screen separates the internet section from two or three tables and chairs, where people may drink coffee and read the papers.
There is constant traffic through the ten-by-ten room as the employees visit a supply room and a combination supply room and kitchen.
Just outside the dining room is a counter for Western Union, lottery ticket purchases, and internet registration. Initially we had to show our pass ports to use the internet connection and provide our names for logon and password. This was explained to us as a terrorist prevention measure. Most other internet places just waved us to the machines and charged us by the time we spent on the net. Later in Spain we simply put a Euro in the slot and we were surfing.
The Rossana Bar may have been twice the size of my living room plus the bathroom(s) that I never visited. It was open each time we came to town (a nice surprise) and the people were friendly, although no one spoke much English. Plasma screen TVs were present in the dining room and the Western Union area. They played MTV and sports channels. While sitting at a table and waiting for Peg to finish writing emails messages I looked over the trophies and photographs on the walls of teams sponsored by The Rossana Bar.
I was looking at a black and white photo of an archery team and a girl in the picture caught my eye. She was a good head taller than anyone else in the photo. It was actress Gina Davis. I don’t know how she came to represent the bar, but I did find out that she placed 29th in a field of 300 for a slot on the U.S. Olympic Archery team in 1999. Travel surely expands your knowledge of the world.
Our group of internet users (Mike, Debbie, and me) finished up our messaging business and then joined up with Randy and Sue. We walked down the street to the local bakery and then drove back to Pastine. Our discussion during the trip concerned all of the kids on the streets. It looked like the day was a holiday, but then it seemed like every other day in Italy was some sort of holiday.
As we drove around the curves towards Pastine we stopped at Antica Osteria di Vico, to see if it was going to be open. Randy had never eaten there, but the rest of us had. The restaurant was open. We went back home. This restaurant was not very far for us to travel. To get there from Pastine you simply leave the gate and turn right . . . after about forty curves you were there.
Back home we discussed the activities for the day. Rob wanted to stay home and eat left-overs. He was feeling “poor” after the thousands of Euros he spent for his and Vickie’s anniversary present he bought on Murano during our trip to Venice. The rest of us hadn’t made purchases that huge, so Randy and Sue, Donn and Debbie, and Peg and I went back to Antica Osteria di Vico for lunch.
As we parked our car we noticed a poster that explained the school closures and the closed shops. The 25th of April was the 62nd anniversary of the liberation of Italy from the facists and Germans during World War II.
We had an excellent lunch and dessert. Several of us had the pasta with thin slices of lemon and orange rind, which added a nice color and a little taste of acid. Gorgonzola was added to the mix to give me a sharp and rich texture. It's a simple dish and easy to make. The trick is in not over-doing it. You have to keep it simple. The chef at Antica Osteria di Vico does just that.
The custard and fresh fruit dessert was sweet and creamy. After I had that dessert once at the restaurant I always had it again.
Then over a lazy afternoon, over beer and wine, we talked about our WWII generation relatives. Peg’s uncle, Frank Hebert fought at Anzio and came up north through Italy. My uncle Randall, the husband of my mom’s twin sister, did the same. After the war Frank Hebert joined the Society of Jesus and occasionally leads mass in Eastern Oregon. My uncle never talked about the war.
Randy’s father fought in the jungles of the South Pacific, while my father dodged torpedoes as he deliverd fuel and supplies in the Merchant Marine from New Caldonia to Kwajeline. Randy laughed and said of his father, “He was a sergeant in the jungle and a private back in camp.” Evidently Randy’s dad was a hell raiser who fought with regulations as well as the enemy. He was recognized as an excellent soldier in the field, but was perhaps a little headstrong when things relaxed.
Donn’s father fought in the South Pacific and remarked that almost everyone’s father he knew fought there as well.
Peg’s father joined the army before the war when his aunt and uncle bought more cows for the farm. Ivan Harrington just knew who was going to do the milking. He decided he had better things to do. Ike stayed in the army as his unit became the Army Air Corps and then the Air Force.
Ike retired in the mid-sixties after traveling the world and giving his family a broadening experience abroad. Peg attended a French Kindergarten and graduated from high school in Kaiserslautern at the edge of the Palatine Forest.
We drank a little wine and made several toasts to those who made our lives possible. We sat in the shade enjoying the beautiful Tuscan region, the good food, the fine wine, and the great company as we talked about our parents who changed the world . . . and made liberation possible.
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