Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 25 Museums and outdoor markets

I think I've picked up some sort of bug. Spent the entire day in bed reading and dozing.  Sweet Barbara, brought me a tiny bouquet of wildflowers, which she picked on her walk today. She arranged them prettily in the tiny liqueur glass to cheer me up. They did.

Last night in Lecce was sweet. We took the bus in early evening and arranged for our neighbour, Rosario, to pick us up at 11 p.m.  At that hour, the place was only just starting to come to life. People everywhere, filling the cafes and restaurants, people out walking their dogs. In fact, I met a couple walking a five-month-old miniature pincher named Gerry. They were kind enough to stop and let me pat him and make a fuss over him. I miss my dog, also a min pin, although he can be a little bastard sometimes.

In Lecce we wandered through an outdoor market around the centre storico, rows and rows of tents selling everything from batteries to shoes to books. We spent a lot of time at one stall, each of us trying on just about every hat they had. Shay looked fetching in a cream-coloured fedora -- like a New York mafioso. They almost talked me into buying a lavender cap studded with sequins. Luckily, I resisted.

We visited a painting exhibit at the Charles V museum, which didn't impress me much. But their paper mache gallery was really beautiful. The first thing I saw when I walked in was a life-size bust of a bloody Jesus, in full colour. Kindda takes you aback. The detail on all works, which were all religious figures, was truly astonishing. (The town is famous for its paper mache works.)

For a change, we didn't eat Italian food last night. We went to a wine bar in the old city centre, where a young painter that had visited MIRA a few weeks ago works. The evening was cool, but the majority of our group wanted to sit outside. I wasn't feeling 100 per cent and felt the cold, so the waiter brought my a big red blanket to wrap around me. Perfect.

But either my housemates, too, began to feel the cold or they were just being thoughtful because after I returned from the washroom, they'd decided to move indoors. 

I had vegetable couscous. My friends were in their glory with their pick of a long list of local wines. But on the way to meet Rosario, we stopped at a cafe/bar and each had a gigantic gelato. Oh my god, the gelato is so good here, and every cafe sells it. I had a cone, half with Bailey's and half with some kind of hazelnut flavour.  There's nothing like a wonderful sweetness in your mouth to make you feel better.

Alvino's is where we had our gelato. They also offer an impressive array of pastries.

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