Happy birthday to Kimberly! I wanted to call you last night, and was planning on it, but then I found out that it’s $8/minute. And I love you and it would be fun to talk to you, but I’d rather take you out for dinner or something when I get home. Know, however, that we were thinking of you yesterday, and praying for a lovely birthday day.
After writing yesterday morning, we got off the boat in Messina, Sicily, at about 12.30. We hopped on a bus, which took us up toward the volcano, Mt Etna. An hour and a half of driving brought us to a baron and baroness’s summer mansion and winery. There, we were greeted in the garden with appetizers of bruschetta, olives, meat and cheese, as well as a white wine from their vineyard. Then we proceeded into “the stable” for a traditional lunch of their rustic recipes, as well as tastes of a few more wines. The food was amazing. Macaroni with zucchini, a tomato salad, semolina bread, roasted potatoes, a romaine salad, sausages, and some other things I’m forgetting, all pretty much drenched in the best olive oil ever. We finished the meal with caffe and almond cookies with a name that translates to something like “sheet of paper.”
After, we looked around the winery and took some pictures of the beautiful vineyard where they grow, according to our tour guide, “special” grapes that are black because of the volcanic ash-soil they grow in. Our tour guide was funny – she was Sicilian and she kept saying things like, “I have to tell you something” and “I will tell you” and “I’m not joking” and her only adjectives were “terrible” and “wonderful.” We also drove past the village where the wedding scene in The Godfather was filmed.
Back on the ship, our dinner was again amazing. They have assigned seating for dinner, and we are at a table for four with a couple from Canada. I was not excited at first, because I didn’t feel like spending my dinners for 10 days making small talk with the same two people. But we’ve actually had a lot of fun with them. They’re from Quebec and speak French, but both of them speak great English, too. Last night they explained to Ryan what gazpacho was, and we discussed all the American TV shows they watch. It’s interesting to meet so many people who only speak English as a second language, and then to spend all of our time talking to them in English – because it’s the only language we can communicate in! It’s rather humbling… and makes me feel kind of ignorant.
I have decided this: If I am ever offered a movie role for which I need to gain a bunch of weight, I will just go on a cruise. Here’s the secret: multiple courses. You see, when you sit down for a meal (when you’re not really that hungry to begin with because you just had an amazing grilled onion cheeseburger and French fries 45 minutes ago), and you look at the menu of all the fancy foods, everything looks good. Plus, you figure, “I don’t really need to order something from each of the five courses, but I’ve already paid for it.” So you order an appetizer, a salad, a soup, an entrée, and a dessert. You tell yourself, “I don’t have to clean my plate each course.” But the reality is, you do. Because it’s there. And even when the appetizer and the soup have made you feel full, the salad still comes. And you figure, “Salads are healthy.” So you eat it. And then when the entrée comes, you don’t feel like you can just not eat this big entrée you already ordered. And then there’s dessert. Do I need to explain that? When someone offers you tiramisu, you don’t just turn it down. I don’t know – I guess I’m hedonist at heart.
We have been at sea all day today. Which was fun, because Ryan and I stayed up way late last night, wandering around the ship and talking about how much it would suck to fall in (I’ve been obsessing about this). Plus, we had an hour-ahead time change over night. So we got up this morning, went to breakfast (omelet for him, eggie benedict for me), then went back to bed until noon! We literally have done nothing all day. We lay by the pool and baked ourselves – stupid. Tonight is “formal night,” which should be interesting. We will definitely be less dressed up than some of these other people. In fact, a couple just walked by me, in a floor-length gown and tuxedo.
Tomorrow we’re in Athens, and we’re super-excited to see some of Greece. Although we realized that we don’t even know how to say hello and thank you in Greek. Hope everything is well at home, we miss you!