Walk to Raita

Day 2 – Food Shopping and Walk to Raita

Daily Wrap-Up

One Word

  • Barb: Up
  • Mike: Labyrinthine
  • Jen: Cobblestones

Two Words

  • Barb: Panoramic view
  • Mike: Get lost
  • Jen: Wander about

Three or Four Words

  • Barb: Mediterranean plant life
  • Mike: Houses upon houses
  • Jen: Food shopping adventure

One Sentence

  • Barb: Dogs and cats living together.
  • Mike: Traffic is much better when you’re walking alongside it.
  • Jen: Itty-bitty shops, limited selection, and small quantities are foreign to me.

We slept in, having been up for more than 24 hours getting here. Luca arrived at 11:00 and gave us a tour of the local area.

Then Barb and I went shopping for food. On the streets outside our door are tiny shops that sell most of what a person needs to exist. There is at least one bread shop, a couple of butchers, a couple of produce shops, and several shops that sell a bit of of this and that, from pasta and cereal to milk, yogurt, and cookies. There’s also a toy shop, a phone shop, a shoe shop, restaurants, and shops that sell locally-made ceramics. Apparently, this area is known for it’s pottery and ceramics.

(Alementaria = food shop. That’s singular; I haven’t discovered how to make it plural.)

We kept it really simple, buying bread, cheese, produce, a bit of prosciutto, cereal, milk, and juice. The bread is good and chewy, and the produce is fresh and inexpensive (yippee!). The cheese of choice here is mozzarella di bufala, i.e., cheese made from the milk of water buffalo. I have no idea where they keep these water buffalo. The flavor of the cheese is great and more pronounced than the mozz we make, and the texture is like a lot of fresh mozz, which is not as smooth as ours. I prefer the flavor of this mozz and the texture of ours, but let’s be clear: this cheese is yummy.

Then we went for a walk up the hill to the community of Raita, which I understand is a sort of suburb of Vietri sul Mare. We walked single file along the narrow, winding road as cars sped past. Normally, I’d think this dangerous…and I still do, but it’s not at all uncommon and it doesn’t seem to concern anyone else. We weren’t the only ones out walking.

Vietri sul Mare from Raita

From the Raita road, looking back at Vietri sul Mare, the Bay of Salerno, and Salerno on the far side of the bay. See the church dome and bell tower just left of the bay? Our flat was very near there.

Up, up, up we went, getting a good look back at Vietri sul Mare, our bit of the Mediterranean (aka the Bay of Salerno), and Salerno across the bay.

Three things stood out to me:

  • the narrowness of roads and walkways,
  • the seemingly random addition and accumulation of buildings and the subsequent smooshing together of those buildings,
  • the quiet, unassuming doorways hidden within the labyrinth of narrow passageways.
Single lane street

A single lane street with a traffic light. I’ve seen TWO traffic lights since arriving here. There are residential doorways along this road.

The narrow width of roads and the tiny cars are interesting. I love the idea of gas efficiency, which I hope these cars are, but not being able to haul full sheets of plywood and months worth of groceries in the back is perplexing.

Stairway between buildings

This narrow stairway, nicely decorated with mosaics, is basically a side street.

Hobbit door

I called this a Hobbit door even though it’s not round. (I’m pretty sure a Hobbit doesn’t live here, either.) The centered doorknob is not something I’ve seen a lot of, and the gate right at the door strikes me as funny; although, maybe they have a dog and like to leave the door open in nice weather. What do I know? It’s a pretty and cheerful entrance.

I have some sense of tiny apartments and condos in mostly rectangular buildings, and there are plenty of those here, but there are also irregular-shaped buildings that seem to have been added onto in random ways. Things are not laid out in organized, predictable grids, at least not what I’ve seen. It’s resourceful and crazy, and, to my way of thinking, far more interesting, playful, and cheerful than rectangular buildings laid out in grids.

Still, people are packed together like grapes, and while I find it fascinating to experience, it’s not the way I prefer to live in the long term. I don’t think. Maybe I’ll change my mind someday.

The rock, brick, and stucco construction, however, means I can’t hear the neighbors the way I can in other close-packed places, and I appreciate that.

The narrow, labyrinthine passageways between tall buildings was something I was looking forward to experiencing. I’ve seen city alleyways and the super-narrow spaces between old Pennsylvania townhouses and such, but this is completely different. These are major thoroughfares, public walkways used regularly by residents and visitors alike. There are no sidewalks, and many passageways double as roads. Some (many?) are cobblestone. Front doors to residences and shops are located here. Some people drive to and park inches from their doors; others must walk up or down stairs and hills and around corners.

It feels very strange and interesting to me.

Our flat in Vietri sul Mare

Our flat in Vietri sul Mare (Mike and Barb are standing by the door). Our neighbor is watching me take this pic. See her?

Categories: Italy, Travel