My whole day was improved by the tea I had bought at Cioccolato et Affini ("Chocolate and Friends?"), right next to our hotel (Lungarno Pacinotti 5, Pisa). Margaret's Hope first flush, hurray! I also picked up a double-bag of Rohini, which I think might be second flish - it was the most expensive tea they had and I've been so hard up for some good Darjeeling I just couldn't stand the thought of it being fantastic and me not having access to a second bag. We also got some Keemun and some "White Monkey Hear," which I'm pretty positive is "hair" but for some reason mistranslated.
Our best moment on the trip was likely the visit to Vissidarte (Via Calderia, 20 55100 -Lucca), where the proprietor was singing along with something from La Boheme and proceeded to get into a discussion of the modernity of Pucinni's music, complete with changing the CD on the stereo TWICE and references to John Ford ("The Girl of the Golden West") and Hitchcock ("The Birds"). "This Madama Butterfly is Maria Callas ..." "I bet you have several of them, don't you?" I left with a wine pitcher and a re-usable cork, but as they say, it was the memory that was priceless. I do really hope he goes to see his friend in Port Townsend some day, even if he can't get there until September.
A shop I didn't manage to find was Elio Ruschena's jewelry workshop. There were samples of his work at the airport, and it was just the kind of delicate naturalism that I find really attractive (enamelled alligator cufflinks!). The pictures on the website are so pretty. I guess I should be glad I wasn't able to locate his shop; I would have just been sad that I couldn't afford anything. We did get lots of neat stuff, though: yummy looking olive oil and 8 year old balsamic vinegar; faro and barolo beans; hand-painted perfume bottles from an artist in Lucca; and a brick of parmesan cheese that's about the size of a typical paperback. I anticipate many good meals to come.
Tonight: Catpower. I'm looking forward to it!