Rainy Day Comfort



It’s odd I know, but some of my favorite vacation memories are of rainy days. I’m not sure what that says about me, but these are the memories that warm my heart and stay with me far longer than long days spent in the sunshine with shared laughter.

A couple of favorite memories:

The summer when six of us 20-something girls all flew into Savannah for a weekend of fun, and spent a rainy day relaxing and sharing life stories on a cozy intimate veranda, playing cards and sipping wine.

An afternoon vacationing in the Dolomites when I truncated a hike due to an eye irritation. Relaxing on the tiny deck of our hotel; legs propped up; warm compress on my eyes; it began to softly rain. Not able to see it, I smelled it’s heavy freshness coming, heard the first tentative drops fall on the leaves of trees around us, and felt the wisps of an occasional spray blown by a soft breeze onto my arm. I felt protected and sheltered by a light blanket over me, and by my husband quietly reading beside me. Being dependent on someone doesn’t come easily to me, but I savored the comfort I found in that moment of complete trust.

Today was such a day. I didn’t sleep much last night, and threw some clothes on this morning as I stumbled across the hall to knock on a fellow traveler’s door to bail on a trip planned for today to visit some hill towns in the northern Liguria region of Italy, outside San Remo. A scant four hours of sleep under my belt, I just couldn’t face a day in a van, whipping around narrow winding mountain roads with 10 fellow Italian students, when all I wanted was to spend the morning quietly dozing in bed. When I left the hotel in search of lunch around 2:00 this afternoon, a gentle rain was falling, with faint rolling thunder in the distant hills. I found a restaurant on a lightly travelled alley where I could sit outside, sheltered by an awning, and watch people scurrying with their umbrellas up the street. I brought a book to read, but it mostly lay on my table; a half forgotten prop, as I relaxed over a light , comforting lunch of Cozze di Marinara (mussels in marinara sauce) and soaked up the life flowing around and through me. To my vast relief, I was able to speak Italian well enough in ordering my meal that the waitress responded with rapid Italian as I asked if I could have a glass of the wine that appeared to be only available by the ½ bottle. As I listened to the chatter of people conversing around me in Italian, French and German, I felt completely part of the scene. My meal done, I was about to ask for my check, when the rain suddenly picked up fairly dramatically. My umbrella ensconced on the bed of my very dry hotel room where I unthinkingly left it, I submitted to the rhythm of the afternoon, and ordered a macchiato decaffeinato* (essentially a small decaf cappuccino). And so instead of thinking regretfully about missing a day in the hill towns with friends today, I spent a simple hour after lunch,sipping a macchiato, and practicing my Italian grammar, while I waited for the rain to abate. A simple but sublime moment before the wonderful chaos of traveling ramps back up tomorrow.

Note: There is a complicated (to the Western eye) social political correctness around The Religion of Coffee here in Italy. Italians take their coffee very seriously, and it has become a part of their living culture. Here’s a link to a site that outlines the 10 commandments of ordering and drinking coffee in Italy you may want to keep in mind for your next trip here. In short, any caffé (which is to say, espresso) drink made with steamed milk is reserved strictly for the morning with a light breakfast. Steamed milk on a stomach full with food is just not done. However, if you want a caffé after a leisurely lunch or dinner, the waiters don’t appear to be aghast if you order a Caffé Macchiato. This is an espresso drink that is ‘marked’ with a dash of steamed milk.


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18 Responses to “Rainy Day Comfort” Subscribe

  1. thesolitarycook September 1, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    I cannot begin to tell you how I envy you every moment of your trip. Thank you for bringing us along.
    thesolitarycook recently posted..MINI FRUIT TARTSMy Profile

  2. TasteFood September 1, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    I believe 1/2 bottles of wine do wonders for jet lag.
    TasteFood recently posted..Farmer’s Market Provençal Salmon CouscousMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian September 1, 2012 at 9:24 am #

      So maybe THAT’S my problem :-). I should be drinking the wine by the 1/2 bottle instead of just one little glass. Thanks soooo much for the travel tip :-)
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Rainy Day ComfortMy Profile

  3. lizthechef September 1, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    Ha – LOL recalling Amanda Hesser’s “Cooking for Mister Latté”. Have fun and keep in touch – muggy and sunny here. Would love some rain! X0
    lizthechef recently posted..Blueberry FoolMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian September 1, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

      The first few days were quite warm and muggy here, but the rain cooled things off quite nicely. If I could, I’d send some of this wonderful rain your way. Off to Genoa and Cinque Terra tomorrow.
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Rainy Day ComfortMy Profile

  4. Rosemary September 1, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    Beautiful! I love the naturalness and ease of your posts.
    I’ll remember the Caffe Macchiato for after meals, I always want at least a little milk with my coffee :)
    Rosemary recently posted..Comment on Juicy Brined Chicken for the Grill by Rita’s KitchenMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian September 1, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

      Oh Rosemary, thank you so much. And yes, I always need a little milk too. Thank God for Macchiato so I’m not a complete embarrassment to the group :-)
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Rainy Day ComfortMy Profile

  5. Choc Chip Uru September 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful trip with us my friend – in all agreement with you, sometimes the best memories on trips are when you are not doing anything at all but relaxing (often coupled with rain :))

    Choc Chip Uru
    Choc Chip Uru recently posted..Guest Post #2: Chocolate Pineapple Upside Down CakeMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian September 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

      Maybe it’s because we go without rain for so many months at a time in California. Whatever the reason, I’m always so soothed by it. Thanks so much for stopping by CCU – I hope your studies are going well :-)
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Rainy Day ComfortMy Profile

  6. Rita Held Cartalano September 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    Ahh… Susan. Some of my very best vacation days have been on the stormy Mendocino coast in winter.

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian September 1, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

      Oh, that would be wonderful there. I totally understand that, and love the image that raises for me.
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Rainy Day ComfortMy Profile

  7. Abby September 3, 2012 at 7:35 am #

    Beautifully written moments, there’s something about the rain that keeps us in the moment instead of rushing about missing the little things. And now my travel bug is going full force! Have a great time!
    Abby recently posted..Beet Red Velvet CupcakesMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian September 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

      Thanks so much Abby, and I completely agree. The rain seems to muffle the world around us so we can sit quietly more easily I think. If only I could have your Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes with me :-) They look so good…
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Rainy Day ComfortMy Profile

  8. Abby September 6, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    I know you’re away but I nominated you for Very Inspiring Blogger award :)

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  9. Green Dragonette September 8, 2012 at 5:02 am #

    Hi Susan,

    It sounds as if you are having a wonderful time in Italy. Love the 10 commandments of coffee in Italy. Reminds of the years I lived in Paris and the pitfalls of ordering coffee there for the initiated!
    Green Dragonette recently posted..The Raymond Blanc Cookery Course-Part Two…My Profile

  10. Terra September 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    I did read that in a book about coffee in Italy. But always good to know, because I look forward to trying delicious coffee there:-) Thank you for sharing, your vacations sound so fun! Hugs, Terra

  11. Viviane Bauquet Farre September 25, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    A very well-written and meaningful journal entry style blog. A pleasure reading! One thing a chef always needs to keep in mind is the relationship between food and memory. There’s a reason why that Proust piece is famous!
    Viviane Bauquet Farre recently posted..Slice, dice, mince and chiffonade for Vegetarian TimesMy Profile

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