Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Several Days in Italy with Friends from Home

Lisa Evans and I became fast friends bonding over cooking, celebrity gossip, a mutual love of travel and a very similar value system. I thought that genteel Lisa would think I was a vulgar with my salty sense of humor and no holds barred approach to everything. Lucky me that she didn’t. She married Mike, who in a stretch could be a male version of me, only a tad naughtier!

Last year when Joanna and I were in Italy with Jenny and Paul, Lisa and Mike joined us for a few days and we had a great deal of fun drinking and eating and talking constantly about food. When we tired of food, we veered off to politics, but we always returned back to food. Lisa and I can spend hours discussing the merits of Le Creuset cookware, or Viking stoves, or cuts of meat. Many nights have been spent in either of our kitchens drinking a bottle of wine and discussing cooking techniques. What a great way to become friends. I would tell her about my all time culinary heroes, my sister Gina, who is the best all around cook I have ever known, Joanna, who excels at the old favorites like spaghetti and meatballs, and John Joyce, who can make the most beautiful cakes in the world, whip up a wicked pesto from basil in his garden and mix a mojito! It was fun getting to know her.

So when she and Mike, who I love to pieces as well, said they were coming to Europe, we worked like crazy to find a place to meet that was mutually convenient for both couples. We settled on Lake Como in Northern Italy which was the most absolutely perfect place in the world.

Chris and I drove down through the Swiss Alps. For me, it was very exciting, five countries in one morning – Germany, Austria, Switzerland, tiny Liechtenstein, Switzerland and finally Italy. It was a terrifying drive, up a high mountain snow filled pass with at least a hundred hair pin turns. It was white knuckle time for both of us. Chris appeared confident, but that night over drinks he told me succinctly that we’d be finding another route home.

Lake Como is simply the most beautiful place on earth, stunning. High mountains studded with villages coming straight down to the water. Ochre and pink colored buildings everywhere, palm trees and bougainvilleas; the entire landscape was opulent and magical. We spent our time together easily, eating, drinking and laughing. Chris got a huge kick out of Mike, who puts the “I” in individual. We had some really good belly laughs of a very blue nature! It was lovely to see them


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