Thursday, October 14, 2010

The winding roads

Day Thirteen

The fog still hung in the sky like damp laundry as we awoke. A simple breakfast of cereal would do while we waited for the rest of the house to get moving. Around 9am, Massimo came downstairs and announced that we put on our boots, grab our gloves, and head to the Skoda (which now has an actual back seat!). We drive along the windy roads of Montefalcione to a small farm that Jake and I had not yet been to. It had four large chestnut trees- two at the top of the hill and, of course, two at the very bottom. In between was a large downward field of baby chestnut trees which, upon sight of them Jake's first reaction is, "I feel bad for the poor souls who come to this farm 10 years from now." And with that, we began picking. Slipping in mud, sinking in, and plucking handfuls of chestnuts into burlap bags was the ritual for this day until about noon.

This day, Felipe was originally supposed to climb one of the largest mountains in the area. Massimo had misunderstood and thought that he just wanted to be driven there, not knowing that Felipe really just wanted to hike it. After clarification, Massimo still drove us to the mountain to take a look and so that we may measure the distance. Up and up we went through a couple of different villages. The higher we climbed, the thicker the fog became until it was practically smothering us. We could barely see in front of the car, it was so thick, until we broke through the other side. It was as if we had gone so high up that even the fog didn't dare to follow. From there we could see farms of other chestnuts, apples, sheep, cows, and more. It was beautiful and never-ending….until it did, of course. We came to the point 3/4 of the way up the mountain where the road simply ended. "Up there is the path," Massimo says to Felipe, "If you run into any people- good luck." He laughs, having warned us earlier that, "The people up here not friendly- they be alone." We step out of the car to drink from a cold water tap that comes from the top of the mountain, and filed back into the Skoda, and down the way we had come.

Upon returning to the house, we took a break for lunch. Massimo had said that he would prepare lunch, only if we promised to eat the beans for dinner. "Of course!" we replied, and he began preparing a delicious feast of penne pasta with red sauce, italian (the real deal!) sausage, formaggio dolce, and bread. Stuffed to the gills and ready to fall asleep, we took a short rest before heading back out to our usual chestnut farm. We were all sore, restless, and sick of chestnuts so it took a bit longer than usual to fill the two bags. it also doesn't help that there are three of us, and only so many chestnuts to pick when you go to the same farm every day. Frequently bored of the task, I took several opportunities to plop down into the leaves and simply admire the view. Watching the scenery was much more enjoyable then pawing for chestnuts.

Stopping only briefly to drop us off, Massimo took the Skoda and went to bring our daily chestnut collection to the factory. With the closed gate sounding of freedom, the three of us began building a fire for more chestnuts. The boys also constructed a tin foil package of potatoes and onions that we were then going to eat with the beans and rice. As the fire was roaring, the food was cooking, and the wine was flowing, we began sharing music with one another, alternately playing songs from back home (USA, Brazil, and UK) that we enjoy. It was funny how much music Jake and Felipe had in common, while most of mine was boo-ed off stage. We ate and talked through Massimo's return home, and stayed up until almost midnight talking about the world, wars, government corruption (you don't know corruption till you've heard about Brazilian government), and eventually our individual game-plans for the zombie apocalypse. The bird clock on the wall chirped midnight and we all realized that unless it rained the next day, we were going to be screwed if we did not go to bed soon. And with that, we did.

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