Trip 38 / Entry 31 / Aldo’s Genetori


Thursday, June 5, 2014

On the morning of our forty-eighth wedding anniversary we met up with Mary and Oreste to spend some of the day at the “spiaggia” (beach). Oreste loves the sea.  Before we did this however, we had a short errand to run.

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Aldo Cerasino, my oldest ministry partner and very close friend, originally comes from Martina Franca. I promised that If I had time and they were willing to receive me, we would drop in for a coffee and say, “Hi.” It seemed that they were quite willing to see me so Mary and Oreste took us there first. Even though I am sure it was a challenge for them since they speak no English, they were very cordial. After an hour we went on to the, “mare” (sea).

Trip 38 / Entry 28 / Supper at Oreste’s and Mary’s

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I warned Jeanne. I supposed that Mary would be ready to wow us with food and she did. Though it was after eight-thirty before we climbed another four flights to their apartment we were invited to sit down and having a “po cena d’sera” (a little evening meal). The afternoon meal is usually the biggest so when the “apperitivi” of “mozerella fresca, pane, olivi, salumi” and “picolo biscotti orrechiette” was put before us, I happily gobbled away. Mary didn’t join us and I could still hear banging away in the kitchen. Occasionally, I IMG_3134would look at my watch and try to guess when she might join us. This she did in about twenty minutes bearing a massive skillet of spaghetti immersed in a concoction I had never seen before in my life. Oreste proudly told us it was, “la specialita di Maria!” Our eyes bulged as we were handed large portions but once we took the first bite we continued to spoon away until every morsel was drug from the bottom of the pan.

Mary jumped up and ran to the kitchen and brought three more items to the table. Oh, no! We had only had the primi and now for seconda of something that I cannot describe as meatloaf though it was made in a similar way. It was far more delicate and crusted all around with toasty bread crumbs. When sliced. There was an interior of prochiutto and mozerella. I could taste the hint of onion, celery and so forth so it was flavored similar to a meatloaf. Then a “contorni” of peas and onion as well as oven roasted potatoes flavored with garlic and rosemary.

At ten we stumbled onto the street and made our way to our beds.

Trip 38 / Entry 22 / Collecting Jeanne

Tuesday to Thursday, May 26 – 28, 2014                            

Milan and Parma


On Monday morning I flew from Alesund to Copanhagen and then to Milano then went to The *Best Hotel (*in name only). It is a suitable 2-Star if you only want a bed and a shower. If I had thought of it, it would have made more sense to stay at an airport hotel rather than shuttle all of the way into the city then back out again in the morning laden with baggage. It cost me twelve Euro but I left my bags in the train station while I went back out to pick up Jeanne who had traveled all night from Charlotte with the Haley family.

We made the connection and then took the shuttle back down to the central train station in Milano, and then went directly to Parma and or Bed and Breakfast at Ducale where I always stay. Giovanni was thrilled to see us and gave us a nice room on the breezy side of the hotel.

Hostaria da Beppe

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

IMG_2910 cropAfter a short rest, Jeanne felt awake enough in the evening to go for amazing risotto at da Beppe just behind our hotel. I have written about Beppe before when last October I ate there for the first time (scroll back). I told her that she just had to do this once before she died. Beppe does everything (EVERYTHING) himself. Parmeseani turn their noses up because Beppe is from Napoli but foreigners have discovered him.  Seated across from us were three tourists from England and within an hour there were at least sixteen others. In one group alone there were ten people to feed all at once.

I think there is an unspoken rule you should know about. If you eat at Beppe’s Hostaria, you must just relax. He washes every dish, sets every table up, then delivers the “liste” and takes your order. Then he goes behind the door which is posted with a clear sign “ENTRATA VIETATO” (Entrance Forbidden). There a mystery takes place. Somehow from his menu of thirty or more risotti and other items, he turns out plate after plate and delivers them to the table with lightning speed. Oh yes, and somehow he serves up the right wine with flair.

Jeanne admitted to being impressed. After devouring his specialty (ham hock – for the specialty “ossobuco di vitello da Beppe”) and a small, but perfectly grilled steak we stumbled back to our hotel three blocks  away. For more information on what people have to say, see Trip Adviser.

York and the Cathedral

York Cathedral

We had a great sleep and another English “Full” Breakfast. By 10:30 we were on our way to York and into the heart of the city. It was Sunday morning, but still impossible to find a spot on the street so we found a convenient parking lot near Marygate then hiked through the York Museum Gardens toward the cathedral. By now the fog had lifted and the morning was beginning to clear and sparkle in the crisp early autumn morning. The leaves were beginning to turn and fall, giving us rather memorable moments as we passed through light to shadow under the enormous trees that bordered the Ouse River along the Dame Judy Dench Walk. It was what one might  hope for the morning you make a visit to historical York.

As we pressed through the crowds already filling the sidewalks we kept our eyes fixed on the massive tower and steeple of the York Cathedral, world famous for its Gothic design. Then there it was! Suddenly at the intersection of three streets there it stood glistening in the sunlight. We walked around it trying to get a good photograph (as everyone does) and then noticed well-dressed, college-aged young adults, both men and women, at the doors handing out what appeared to be bulletins. We walked up to see if there might be a church service or perhaps we might go inside to take a look. We were told that this was, “The Battle for Britain Sunday.” It was then that we noticed well-decorated military personnel milling about in small groups  in front of the church. It was apparent that something important was taking place and that we were just a little “tacky” for the occasion. We could come back at one o’clock if we’d like to see it.

St. Michael le Belfrey

The Family in York

Soon Jeanne was discouraged enough with the reception that she went on her own toward another small building standing in the shadows of The York Cathedral. I was distracted taking photographs when she, frantically hailing me in her direction,  caught my eye. When I reached her at the steps of St. Michael le Belfrey I could hear what she was hearing, choruses that we were familiar with and robust singing coming from inside. We were graciously invited to come in and entered a pew two-thirds of the way back amid a group of about one hundred other worshipers. We enjoyed about forty-five minutes of singing and preaching before they broke for fellowship time.

“Elevenzies” at Betty’s Tea

Leaving the church we walked the crowded and narrow streets of York and eventually came across Betty’s Tea, a rather notable experience with tea and crumpets served up in grand style by girls dressed in crisp dresses and aprons. The light streaming in through the tall windows made the room dazzle and the occasion splendid. While having our tea a well-appointed, older gentleman at the next table heard our accents and introduced himself as a guide for the York Cathedral and in but a minute was bad talking the Puritans for knocking the stained glass windows out of the church in the mid-1550s. Although we wish they had never done such a thing, the fact remains one never knows who they are talking to, now does one? After visiting York Cathedral on Sunday morning, it occurs to me that most of the people who are attending church in this impressive edifice are really worshiping culture and art rather than the God of culture and art.

The shops were magnificent, especially along the street that was once essentially an outdoor slaughter house. The streets had names like “Swinegate” and “The Shambles.” These are “must see” visits. There are lots of characters so I asked one if I might snap his picture and he heartily agreed, striking for me his best pose.

So much for saying we had been to York. Now on to Chatsworth House, where the movie Pride and Prejudice was filmed.

More Liguria…Is there ever enough?

Season’s end

Given the opportunity to walk around Chiavari in the morning, the afternoon was spent with Imra and several of her children along the cost in the city to the south, Sistri Levante. Here we had the chance to walk along and visit, take a few photographs of both the scenery and the kids.


One in particular put me to the challenge of catching her posed. She constantly managed to outwit me and what pictures I did get were often out of focus. Nevertheless, the children are all delightful and now the older ones are pretty much going around as they please. Exams of one kind or another were being given so the older girls didn’t accompany us to Sistri Levante.

Flying – High with Igor and Mitjah

Only five minutes earlier

Note to reader: At this point my old camera started to fail me so forgive the inconsistent quality. I have many friends in Slovenia but these two fellows seem to like hanging out with an old man like me and “hanging out” is what we did. They didn’t advise me ahead of time regarding footwear and it wouldn’t have mattered anyway as I only have one pair of shoes for all occasions. I squeezed into the Toyota Yaris and out of the city we went toward a popular destination called Velika Panina. Since I didn’t have to pay for this excursion I didn’t ask too many questions.

It was a warm day when we arrived but they assured me that things would be more pleasant in a short while. Neither of the following have I ever done before. First, I boarded a gondola that seemed to go for a mile straight up over a deep valley that we drove through only an

Pretty sure this guy could yodel

half an hour earlier. Then once at the disembarking point I learned that we were far from finished and must now take a ski lift some distance higher. I kept thinking of the lyrics by the eighties band, Boston, “What goes up, must come down, spinning wheel ya, gotta go round.” At some point I’ll have walk back down this thing. I was wrong. The truth is, I didn’t have to walk down, I had to walk back up the mountain. On our way to the apex, we flew over herds of cattle grazing on the slopes as well as, what appeared to be well-equipped hikers – Germans and Austrians (Germans and Austrians are always well-equipped). They were marching along in special everything, special hiking shorts, sticks, boots, socks, hats and so forth. I thought at any moment someone would break out in a yodel or a rendition of, “The hills are alive with the sound of mooing…”. Below us, the Germans, Austrians and Slovenskis were completely decked out for the occasion and here I was in my street shoes without so much as a baseball cap.

It was explained to me that the cattle (mostly Simmental) were driven here in the spring and overseen by drovers until the fall when they were taken back down to the valley floor and their various farms. Though rain has been in short supply everywhere in this region, the cows looked fat and content.

Now, one might think that only a few people come up this far on an afternoon excursion but not so. At the top people were everywhere and I was surprised that some enterprising capitalists had not thought of installing such things as a roller-coaster and ferris-wheel. It appeared to me that with all of these people milling about, money was to be made.

As my eyes stretched down the side of the mountain I saw a sundry of assorted buildings that I later learned were summer cottages that served as ski huts in the winter. Whatever they were, it was an interesting array of wooden buildings constructed of local, natural materials.


The guys were interested in feeding me the local cuisine a plate of cheese, salami, hard bread and a sour milk porage that Mitijah actually seemed to enjoy. Igor and I took a couple of spoonfuls which immensely lifted our spirits and gave us confidence that we could now have the energy to make our way back. Actually, many were gathered round the food hut taking in this local fare. The incentive for eating this was undoubtedly more cultural than any desire to indulge. If offered in a restaurant in Ljubljana, I doubt if it would turn-out to be a “hot” menu item.

At the food hut

While eating at one of the long communal tables one older gentleman inquired about my origins and learning I was “Amer-adian”  he began to tell me of the atrocities committed by the Nazi’s in this village some sixty years ago. Apparently, coming through they found partisans hiding here so they killed them all and burned the settlement to the ground leaving nothing behind. This is only one of the thousands of brutal tragedies that occurred throughout this region during the Second World War.