Another day off and I spent it entirely in bed. I was feeling lazy today after quite the night out last night. Unlike most of my Sundays spent in this country I had a full and exciting day. It started with work, of course. Sunday is our most busy day and we were all sweating by the end of service. We got out around five and I decided to make the most of my night. I showered, got all done up and took myself out on the town to see what Guardiagrele really is. It turns out that the stroll by sunset is a very popular concept here because the streets were packed with people. Groups of old men, hoards of teenagers, and couples strolling hand-in-hand. After walking down the main street I stopped and sat at a park bench in the only park in town. It was great for people watching and I even got a little writing done. As the sun set I searched for a place for a single gal to get a glass of wine and a bite to eat. I even brought a book with me in anticipation of a dinner alone. What I got was an entirely different story.
I found what must be the hottest spot in Guardiagrele. It had a crowd of people milling around outside and lively music coming from within. With a bar stocked with crostini and prosciutto I decided to stop in and see what it was all about. After one glass of white wine I met the town crazy. An old white-haired man with a barely audible voice was on me like white on rice. I couldn't understand a word he whispered but his hand gestures suggested that he wanted to take me to his place. Needless to say I was in need of a white knight at that moment, and I found one. Another gentleman at the bar kindly told him to bugger off, which he did thank god! This man turned into a one-man welcome wagon and introduced me to all his friends. He was a nice guy, nearly forty and uncharacteristically polite for an Italian man. He didn't hit on me, he asked me a ton of questions about being a chef and about my life in general, and not once did I feel uncomfortable. The only down side was that he was a little too old and bald for my taste, but hey, no one's perfect. After toasting with champagne for his buddy's birthday he and a smaller group of people, two couples and another single guy were heading off to dinner and asked me to join.
Somehow in just a few short hours I went from being the obvious stranger in a town that knows everybody, to a new friend and dinner guest. The dinner was delicious and I even went and talked to the chef for a little while. All the other guests were intrigued about why I am here, and they asked me if I liked each dish we had. It seemed like I was the topic of choice at dinner, I felt extremely welcomed. At the end of the meal my escort paid for my meal and we all went to a bar down the street. It was around the second beer there that I decided it was time to head home and call it a night.
This may sound crazy but I can't even remember the guys name. He told me once and after a while I felt rude to ask again. This is a small town, I'm sure I will run into him again at some point in the next two months.