How about backing up to December and the Italy posts I still haven't gotten around to? Where I left off, Jim and Clementine and I were in Positano awaiting my family, who were stranded in various European airports because of the snow. Well, they arrived! Yay! We welcomed them with food and wine, and all was good.
Our first full day all there together, we hopped on the coast bus for Amalfi, which back in the Middle Ages was one of the Italian peninsula's Maritime Republics (along with Venice, Genoa, and Pisa). Now, being the most easily accessed town on the Amalfi Coast, it is the hub for coach tourism of the sort that spits out hordes for an hour or two and then continues on its merry way. (Bleh.) Not in December, though.
Anyway, lemons. They're a big thing around here, and they are no ordinary lemons. Behold my mother appreciating a lemon bigger than a baby's head!
Shortly after this photo is when the altercation occurred.
Altercation? Over lemons?
First of all, I want to say how lame it is that all these vendors have "Don't Touch the Lemons" signs. I mean, really. They only have these mutant lemons on display to lure tourists in anyway. Who cares if they get fondled? Are they really going to turn around and sell them to some little old lady with a string purse to make limoncello with? Doubtful. So let the tourists fondle the damn lemons, yo!
In the above photo, in any case, that shop had no "Don't Touch" sign. But when I picked up a lemon, he appeared with his pinched nasty face and cursed at me, and in the meantime, he had been so rude to my mom and sister in the shop, that they were getting the hell out of there.
Look! Do not shop in this guy's store! (It's in the Piazza of the Duomo, right when you come into town.)
He was CRAZY. He started shouting obscenities at us. Right in my mom's face, telling her to eff off! We were astonished. Kind of agape. And when Jim stepped up to protect my mom, this maniac flailed out to try and hit him, even though he was wearing Clementine on his chest, and his fist grazed her! Jim was like, someone had pushed his fury button, and thank god he was wearing Clementine, or who knows what might have transpired, but as it was the guy ran back inside his shop, and I was able to pull Jim away before things heated up even more. An Italian woman appeared, all panicked and terrified, and pleaded for us to leave, darting glanced back over her shoulder in such a way that we could only assume she feared he had gone back in for a weapon. It was such total madness!
We had been in Amalfi all of five minutes by then. Welcome, tourists!
After this, we needed something to settle our nerves. Like ...
We didn't stay in town long. Bought some lemon soap and lemon candy
(not from psycho) and toured the Duomo.
From there, we caught another bus up to Ravello, this gorgeous town up in the hills, known for a couple of fabulous villas and gardens, and a music festival.
Had our first really special meal, at Cumpa Cosimo.
Bought limoncello, the fabulous (and potent) lemon liquor that is everywhere in these parts.
And walked across town to the Villa Cimbrone.
Hm. Suspiciously shiny tush on Bacchus.
And later, back at the villa. Here is where the teenagers spent most of the trip:
In bed. (Sigh. Youth wasted on the young.)
Clementine enjoyed the wallow, though!