I first met Cristina here in Annapolis. She found me when her friend recommended that she find locals through Couchsurfing. Cristina was spending a lot of time here in Annapolis because her husband was working on the Naval Academy track. She was sitting in a hotel all day alone, unable to work and not knowing a soul in town.
I agreed to meet her for coffee. It was a great friendship from the very first encounter. She was a world traveler and fortunate enough to travel with her husband on his business trips. She was a wine writer and was able to work from anywhere.
I took her to Philadelphia, Washington DC, to my father’s house in beautiful Bucks County PA, and of course all around the Annapolis area. We hung out together several days a week. I taught her how to make apple pie and some of my favorite dishes. I showed her our family holiday traditions like making chocolate covered pretzels for gifts. We dined together and shared so much as friends often do. She said the best Italian she has tasted outside of her home country was Bella Italia in Annapolis. Everyday the restaurant prepared them a family style meal and we were often included in this special treatment. We became quite inseparable.
She of course, invited us to visit her in Alba, Italy. As I often say – “don’t say that unless you mean it”. That next spring we were off to visit my friend and her husband. They lived in a 300 year old wine making house in the wine country of Piemonte, Italy.
We learned how to make gnocchi and tiramisu. We went to a very special vineyard event as her guests. We borrowed her car and toured all the beautiful villages in the area. We ate fresh jamon from her father-in-laws salumeria every day. We dined with the parents, the brothers and met several of their friends. She took us around to the vineyards of Barolo, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo etc. and told us which wines to take home.
Every morning I opened the shutters to overlook the beautiful vineyard covered village. It was a movie and I playing a lead role. It will be one of those classics that you never forget!
Cristina’s brother-in-law came to visit us. We need to get back for another visit. I really miss my friends.
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