Probably the best bed I have slept in was in the Hotel San Domenico in Matera with the bed in the spare room at my brother and sister-in-law’s place in Florida coming in a close second. In all fairness though, the bed in Matera came after 6 weeks in the hotel bed at school, so by comparison it really shone, giving it an unfair advantage over the Florida bed. (Is shone a word, it sounds weird)
The whole Matera experience was quite astounding, and the sights were good too. A real hotel, with an elevator that was more than a dumb waiter with a mirror, a big, shiny bathroom with a shower door big enough to enter without turning sideways, and – – AND, a pair of those terry cloth slippers with soles as thin as cardboard. Man, we were “sh-ttin’in high cotton” as Denver used to say. In the good ole US of A, a pair of those slippers may be seen as a barrier from carpets that have experienced things you perhaps don’t want on your feet. In Italy, those slippers represent the separation of glacial tile floors from you central nervous system in buildings where the heat is turned off at 6 PM and not on again until the next day. Man, did they feel good. Of course, I took them with me.
It is not that any of the beds I have slept in have been bad, this from a person who has always wondered who in the world is buying all those mattresses that are constantly on sale because my mattress is 26 years old and I got it second hand from a friend, it’s just that they are all very different. The bed at school was soft by comparison to mine at home and probably would be considered a bowl of polenta here in Italy, the home of the hard bed. It worked for me, less so for my friend Kristine, who had left a brand new bed at home, (with a loving husband in it). I have not seen a box spring in 5 months and most beds are propped up with spindly, tubular, aluminum legs, quite visible. This, perhaps, explains the lack of “pillow-softness”. At school, it was more about the bedding than the mattress for me. First, it was fun to see what this week’s sheets would look like, what degree of wear and tear and/or holiness they would have. They were always clean and well pressed, just worn and unbelievably coarse. You know that 600, 800 thread count thing we are fascinated by in American, well at the Baia Dell’Est the thread count was running about 12. If you have been following the blog, you know that the quilts were very quaint.
My short trip to Naples with my traveling buddies provided a really cool bed with great service to go with it. Jason, the master of internet research, found us a room near the train station, in a 4 star hotel, for 89 € per night. Of course, the double room had a double bed, a matrimonial they call it. Normally, I would set about unsheeting the thing and remaking the two singles that had been pushed together to make the double, but no, not in a 4 star, you simply ring them up and they come and fix it the way you want it, with 2 sheets per person.
I’ve given you detail about the room in the castle in Terlizzi, so you’ll understand if I don’t recall much about the bed, since I was primarily focused on getting warm.
The bed I am in now, and for the next 7 weeks, (if I survive working on the tile floors in the restaurant) is more like a typical Italian bed – hard. It is the usual aluminum prop, but it is surrounded by, and not attached to, a wooden frame, giving it a very dressy look and an interesting banging sound every time I move around. That sound of banging headboards woke me up the first few days as I thought it was coming from somewhere else, perhaps my neighbor. I’ve since adjusted. The apartment is gigantic. I have no idea about the details of the arrangement, perhaps I never will, but Maestro Umberto is good to his word and apparently friends of the owners. This place, like hundreds of others, is set up for summer renters so it has all the amenities a short term resident would need, including 92 steps up to my 4th floor home. There are three bedrooms of sorts; two are clearly bedrooms, one triples as a dining room, living room, place for the extra refrigerator room. Since it was just me, I received a neatly tied bundle of sheets for a twin bed, however, I really wanted to sleep in the bedroom with a dresser and an armoire and a view. So right now, I have a great big matrimonial bed(one mattress), with a set of twin sheets in purple, pink, yellow and green stripes that covers half the bed, almost. Fortunately, I am so absolutely dead dog tired at the end of my night shift on those harder-than-diamonds floor, that I barely move once I am horizontal. It is not that the work is hard, it isn’t, it’s the floor. I can feel my poor little metatarsals getting stress fractures right through my New Balance sneakers with orthotic soles. The only padding they use is an occasional flatted cardboard box. While I can’t believe I have worn out my tenny-runners with less than 200 miles on them, I am going shoe shopping with Lena today to see if there is something out there for my big, flat, wide American feet that will cushion my feet better. Oh, my kingdom for a pair of Danskos. It never occurred to me that Danskos were made in America. I thought I would simply pick up a pair of those Holland-style clogs here in Italy. Not possible, not even on ebay.it, and the Zappo people are all proud of themselves cause now they ship internationally – to Canada. Oh well, we’ll see what this afternoon brings.
Ciao for now,