Thursday, 3 February 2011

Lago Averno

We strolled. We always strolled. Sometimes along the seafront in Pozzouli with after dinner gelato in hand. Sometimes between the castles overlooking Capri, or around Lago Averno. It was a steamy place. Steam rising off the pasta, off the Volcano Solfitara, and sticking to the windows of cars lining the avenue to the lake. We chose Lago Averno. It was about three miles around. Pine trees, a few benches, an apple orchard, an eco farm, and finally a restaurant with views of the lake.

We walked and talked. Not much talking that evening. He was talked to death by the tourists he had chauffered around the Amalfi Coast that day. They were from Wyoming. Cattle ranchers. He had given them the comprehensive tour including details of the flora and fauna. "Is that a good hotel? How much time do you think we need to see Pompeii? How old is that castle?" They wanted to know everything. He hated those types. They were on holiday, so unusually buoyant and also falsely under the impression that he wanted to know all about their life in Wyoming in return, which he didn't. He was only paid to drive. He preferred the love birds as they were happy holding hands oohing and ahhing at things of their own choosing. It was a sign of intelligence.

We stopped and sat on our bench half way between the start and the apple orchard. A few birds on the lake. A woman coming towards us walking a small dog. We still had time. She was just a spot in the distance and therefore, so were we. We stopped in the apple orchard and had a brief picnic under cover of trees. He tripped into guide mode for moment. "This is the famous lake that inspired Dante to write his Inferno. This entire area is volcanic. You can see the steam rising out of these caves here. " Finally to the cosy bustling restaurant only known to locals. No reservations taken. A nice view of the lake. "I love their gnocchi." " It's not as good as my mother's."

Not all the cars along the avenue were there to dine or stroll. Many just stayed in their cars. Some put newspaper in the windows and others relied on the steam generated after a few moments in park. It was a while until we turned on the engine. His saint sticker on his windscreen had fallen off in the meantime. He was seriously upset about it. I'll get you another one. Superstitious. Very south of Rome. 

No comments: