Thursday, June 30, 2005

Yes, Pinky's DOES have the Best Pizza in Sestriere!

June 13, 2005, 1:13 PM, Grangesises, Italy

It turned out to be a pretty interesting day. We slept until 11:00, can you believe it? But this condo is as dark as a cave, even with all the shutters open. We probably could’ve slept even longer. But we got up, threw on our clothes over our pajamas and headed across the square to a little café that we’d been told would be open. Believe me, we were praying. Caffeine was the only thing on our minds at the moment. But luck was with us. We saw a few people sitting out on the terrace, soaking up the sun (yes, the sun!) and drinking coffee. So we got our coffee—American coffee, but still strong—and a croissant, and planned our day.

Since it was so warm, we wore summer clothes and flip flops (since that was the only shoes I have that didn’t hurt the blister made by the other shoes I wore in Venice.) So we started walking—uphill—toward Sestriere. Mind you, it’s gorgeous here. The Alps rise all around us, and some are still snow-capped. The air is gloriously fresh and sweet-smelling. But a two-mile hike uphill isn’t exactly something I look forward to. We’d gone maybe a mile when a car came up behind us. And I did something I’d never do in the States. I stuck out my thumb and “hijacked” a ride.

So, when I heard the car approaching, my thumb went up automatically. A purple PT Cruiser pulled over, and a pony-tailed Italian man told us to get in. His name was Roberto, and he turned out to be the owner of a pizzeria in Sestriere called “Pinky’s.” We didn’t know it at the time, but this ristorante was reputed to be the best pizzeria in town and a popular hang-out for the US Ski Team during alpine competitions. Roberto told us that he’d be heading back to Grangesises about four, so if we wanted to wait around, he’d take us back. So we had a beer in his place, and chatted with him for an hour or so. When the tourist office opened, we went over there and paid for twenty minutes of internet time so we could find a hotel at a reasonable price (yeah, right!) at the beach. We ended up booking a room for $101 Euros a night at the seaside town of Marina 'd Pietrasanta in Tuscany for Tuesday through Saturday. So, if nothing else, at least it should be warmer down there. (Roberto did tell us it was really expensive there—eating out, entertainment, etc.) Well, why should it be any different from anywhere else we’ve been in Italy? It’s expensive everywhere! And at the amount of money I’m spending with this little change in plans, at this point, it really doesn’t matter anymore. I’m going to be in debt up to ears when I get home, so there is no point in worrying about it now. I guess I’ll be looking for a balance transfer at a low interest rate. Jeez, I bet Nora Roberts never has to worry about stuff like this.

Okay, so we booked our hotel, bought some bread, cheese and wine at the tiny market and rode back to Grangesises with Roberto. He told us he’d be heading back to the restaurant at nine, so if we’d like to go with him to eat dinner there, and if we didn’t mind waiting for him to close down at midnight, he’d bring us back. Well, we jumped at that. Food! Real food! Never mind that pizza is all we’ve had to eat since arriving in Italy on Saturday morning. Thank God I love pizza, that’s all I have to say. Of course, “Pinky’s” offered more than pizza, but with our dwindling money supply, we figured we’d better stick with the cheapest, and believe me, the prices were quite “touristy.” Five Euros for a Marguerita pizza (sauce & cheese) and the real killer was the 4.50 E for a large beer. (The small one at 2 Euros would barely wet your whistle.) ***Note: Little did we know at that time that 5 Euros for pizza was a good price; once we got to Siena and Florence, we paid 7 Euros.

Roberto wasn’t lying when he said he served the best pizza in the area. It was awesome! (And I’d thought the pizza in Venice and in Cesana was pretty damn good.) Roberto, having discovered that Kathy (or Katty, as he called her) was the single one, gave her a free glass of wine, and then later, awarded both of us with a couple of shotglasses of Limonecello and Grappa. (Was he trying to get Katty drunk?) At one point when it got rather warm in the restaurant, Kathy took off her sweater. Roberto was sitting opposite her, and I happened to catch the expression on his face when he saw the low-cut body-molding top she was wearing. It was like looking at the face of a little boy eyeing an ice cream cone. I almost laughed out loud. He flirted with Kathy throughout the evening, and on the drive home, they had a brief conversation in Spanish, and on the way up to the room, she admitted that he’d told her something to the effect that he wanted to “stay with her,” and she told him no, and like a true gentleman, he accepted it. But I think he thinks he’s going to see us tonight, so I’m sure he hasn’t entirely given up on her.

All I can say is I’m glad he’s not pursuing me. Although I am a little miffed that he told Kathy she was beautiful, making me feel like chopped liver. But when I said something to him about that, he laughed and said, “But you’re married to Francisco,” because of course, I told him all about my Italian husband and my bella Irish-Italian kids.

Oh, forgot to mention something that happened yesterday afternoon. We asked Flora, the resort manager, about making a phone call from the room, and learned that we couldn’t make an 800 call here, but after we kept questioning her, she finally, almost with resignation, told us we could call the States free this week only because the system for charging hadn’t been set up yet. We took her at her word and went back to the room where I called Frank, and Kathy called Vince, and tried to call Daddy, but he wasn’t home. In a few minutes, as soon as it’s a decent hour in Virginia, I’m going to call Barb. Why not? We’ve got to get something out of this horrible mistake of a resort. (Sorry, Paolo. We loved you, but...well, you have to admit, Grangesises is not the place to be in summer. However, it'll be a "happening" place in February when the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics arrive in Sestriere for the alpine events.)

Well, the clouds are rolling in—it is afternoon, after all—and it’s starting to get chilly out here, so I guess that means it’s time for our afternoon nap. Maybe I’ll be lucky and will be able to sleep through the rest of the day until tomorrow morning so we can get the hell out of here.

I can hardly wait to lie on the beach and soak up the sun.


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