I know that yesterday was Halloween, but I did not see one person in a costume. Halloween is not such a big deal here in Italy, apparently. But I do hear that it is becoming more of a holiday. The man who started the slow food movement, something of which I am learning and very supportive of, said that the one thing America has given to Italy is Halloween and he said this with some disdain. Well, I must admit that I don't really like the holiday much anyway because I think the masks would be pretty scary.
Even though there were no trick or treaters here, I had a very busy day following a pretty busy night. The night before we went to visit Maree and Jim's friends, Giuseppe and Graziella. As we were driving down our little road in the dark (you can't imagine how dark it is here with no street lights and very few houses}, these creatures ran out in front of the car. They spread out these very large sharp spike like things which were pretty awesome to look at, but I would not want to get close to them. I think these things are called Porcupines. I never saw one in California, thank goodness. Now at night when I go out in the yard, I keep looking around to see if I see any little eyes shining back at me. Don't worry, if I do, I will run as fast as I can into the house.
Anyway, after a short ride through the dark streets, we arrived at Giuseppe and Graziella's house. They have a little dog named Ercole (or Hercules in English). He seemed very nice and I really wanted to play with him, but his family was concerned that he is very jealous and he might bite me, so every time we started to play they yelled at him. He finally just disappeared much to my regret. Maybe next time I go there we can play. He is old though, so I guess I can't play with him like you and I played.
Today, I think I spent most of the day in the car going from one place to another. First we drove to a winery to buy some olive oil and something called sfuso which seemed to come from the same machine as when you put gas in the car. It smelled like wine though, and so I guess that is what it was -- after all it was a winery. But what do I know about wineries. Well, I have been to quite a few in California, but this was very different. There weren't crowds and hostesses and waiters trying to help you. As a matter of fact, when we entered, we were basically the only people there. It looked more like a store than a tasting room, but Maree and Jim did taste the sfuso stuff before they bought any. I think they asked for the Verdicchio which is a wine they talk about a lot.
After the winery, we went to a store that had a lot of things for me. But, unfortunately, they never seem to buy those gigantic bones I really want to take home. Instead, they keep looking for some dog food (yuck) in a bag. When will they learn that I do not intend to eat that stuff. Oh well, they did buy me some treats that looked pretty good.
When we left this store, we got on a big road called a superstrada and then went to the Autostrada which is even bigger. It actually had three lanes going in one direction. You have to pay to ride on the Autostrada. They have these little machines before you enter where you take tickets and then you have to stop and pay before you can get off. Mostly, you can just pay a machine, and the machine talks to you. It tells you how much you owe and then says thank you, well, Grazie in Italian, before you leave. But one time there was a real person who took our ticket and our money. They said Grazie too. I am learning a little bit of Italian. But people speak so fast it is very difficult to distinguish the words they are saying.
From the autostrada, we drove to a little town called Sirolo. It sits up on a big hill above the ocean. It was all narrow little cobble stone streets and old buildings. But there was a very big square where they had restaurants and ice cream stores. It was a pretty cool place and I hope we go back there one day soon. I liked looking out at the water and at the mountain that came down to the sea like in Big Sur in California. But what I liked best was the restaurant. We sat next to two Italian men who shared some of their fish with me. I wanted more, but I had to wait until Maree shared a little bit of something called a shrimp. That was pretty amazing. I don't usually get people food in the restaurants, so this was a real treat for me, and I think I really like fish. I hope they make me some at home one day.
After lunch, we still weren't finished shopping, so we stopped at a little shopping center where we went to another pet store called Zoodom. Again, I did not get anything I really wanted but we left with a bag of some kind of dog food - yuck. Maree went to another store and bought some jeans. Jim went to another store and bought nothing. Finally, we went back to the car and got back on the autostrada. It was a very busy day, and I was too tired to eat my dinner when we got home.
I think I am getting a little bit used to riding in the car and going all around. It is fun to see new places. I like to check out all of the smells, and Sirolo smelled pretty good. A mixture of dog, flowers, and the sea. I hear that we will be going to Bologna in December. It is a big town, and so I am sure it will smell good too. They are talking about taking a train there. It will be my first train ride, and I don't know if I will like it or not, but I guess I will have to learn to like it if I am to be an Italian dog.
It is raining here this morning and is supposed to rain for about a week. I wish I could send some of this water to you. I think this will be a lazy day, and I am looking forward to spending some time in my old stone house in Poggio San Marcello.
Say hello to my friends at the dog park. I am so missing everyone and my daily playtime. It is just not the same without some friends to play with.
Bye for now,
Your friend, Dino
I am Maree, the voice of Dino - or at least I am the one who does the typing. For more information about me and my life in Italy, you can follow me at theproseccoproject.com.