Thursday, July 1, 2010

Chez Meagan

Meagan, Keith, Gary, and Rachel

We spent our last morning in Siena hanging around the pool of our campsite before getting on the train to Faenza, the closest train station to Meagan’s house up north. Her fiancĂ© Keith and his teammate/housemate Pete met us for the short 20 minute ride back to Ragone, where the team lives. Our first stop was across the street to Bar Floria, a cute little restaurant where a three course meal, including wine and bottled water, was only a measly 10 euros a person. Meagan and Keith generously treated us, and after dinner we spent a while talking with the couple and the other members of the household, Gary and Rachel. The next morning we drove to Ravenna with Meagan and took a short walking tour. The cost to see the world-famous church mosaics was a little out of our range, but as luck would have it, a nice woman on the street happened to have an extra combined entry ticket to three of the five famous sites in Ravenna. Andrew and I took turns using the pass to gain entry to the Archaeology Museum (where he and Meagan managed to sneak in, anyway), a baptistery, and a church. The mosaics were very pretty, but not out-of-this-world. Then again, I think I’ve been seeing too much too quickly for me to appreciate anything at the moment. After a picnic on the grass and a quick gelato, we escaped the heat and headed for home, where I cooked my famous penne and shrimp prosciutto in a lemon cream mint sauce. It wasn’t my best performance, as the sauce wasn’t thick enough, but it was tasty enough to satisfy everyone.

John the Baptist mosaic

Meagan and Andrew in front of Dante's tomb in Ravenna

Our second day chez the baseball team was a long trip to nearby Mantua, birthplace of Virgil. I was really excited about this, because Virgil is probably my favorite classical author (it’s a tough decision between him and Ovid). Apparently I’m more excited about Virgil than the town of Mantua, because the only evidence of his relation to the city is an unmarked bust of him on the side of a church.


The coolest thing about Mantua was the Palazzo Te, a palace with amazing frescoes and paintings. Our absolute favorite was the Room of the Giants, an enormous bigger-than-life painting that stretched the entire size of the room depicting the epic fight between the Titans and the Olympians. It was amazing. They had some other cool rooms in the palace, but none compared to that one.

Room of the Giants

Our tour around town showed us the rings where prisoners used to be hung by their wrists, and the small wire cage about 100 meters off the ground that was also used as a punishment. We ate at a little bistro and sampled the local specialty, pumpkin stuffed ravioli. It was sweet and delicious. We admired the giant lake that surrounds Mantua before beginning the 3 hour journey back to Ragone.

See that tiny cage on the side of the tower?

Our final day here was one of rest, relaxation, preparation, and extreme heat. After a late start to the day, Andrew and I accompanied Gary, Rachel, and Pete to the beach in Ravenna for some surf and sun. It was boiling hot, but the Adriatic Sea was a wonderful temperature, even if it was a little dirty. We couldn’t spend too long sunning on the sand because it was boiling us alive, so we spent the three hours hopping in and out of the water. The past couple of hours here back at the house have been spent packing and arranging things for our departure tomorrow. Coincidentally, Meagan and the team are also headed south to play in Rome, so we’re lucky enough to ride along with them as far as Nettuno before transferring to Naples.

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