Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Bit Boaresque

The social life of a world explorer is likely to be overwhelming, especially if you are like me and happen to be graced with less than awesome social skills. I feel offensive every time we are in a pub because as soon as I am asked what I want to drink, I am instantly reminded that I very rarely go to bars and that my chance of ordering a frozen mango margarita at Seymour Arms is literally ZERO percent. I then go through my inner-rolodex...eyes rolling back into my head, inwardly debating between "just order a beer, any beer!" to "idk, something with whiskey?!" mostly dreading the possible situation of asking for something that they are either a. out of b. don't have or c. have never heard of if their lives. By the time I snap back to reality, everyone is usually looking at me and saying, "Well you don't HAVE to get anything..." with a look as though I had made an uncomfortably rude joke.

I only mention this because if you have this problem, the UK isn't the smartest place to go. I am lucky, though, that most times we go to the pub it is because we are eating lunch at Margaret and George's house that is LITERALLY right next door, so I generally just let Jake go play Bar Billiards with "the other blokes" while I sit on the "settee" and watch the "telly" by the fire as Gwyn and Tom run around. Yes, it is nice, but not the most social.

I really had my chance to blossom at bingo last Friday night. "Witham Friary Annual Bingo," to be precise. We were told that people come from ALL OVER the county to play bingo, and we were very excited. The lot of us filed in, and George showed us the ropes (even spotting us some quid for an extra play book) and eyed the prizes to be won. Jake and I were very focused and mostly just stuck to ourselves, chatting with Seona about the prices of bus tickets to Portugal. It was at that moment that the most dreadful thing happened! Seona stood up, on her way to the toilets and said, "Portugal? Her boyfriend is from Portugal, ask her about it!" pointing to a young girl behind us before dashing out of sight.

I froze. I was not prepared for this! I turn around slowly, think real hard and say to the girl, "Cool," and faced forwards again. I knew that it probably came across as super bitchy so I thought real hard again, turned back around and asked, "We saw some really cheap bus tickets to there but before then it wasn't really ever a place I thought of as worth-while." NICE, KELLY. It was like when I took the moment to take a good hard think, I instead decided to come up with the most pompous statement ever. I heard myself and prayed that she wouldn't take it as rudely as it sounded. Luckily, she only asked where the tickets were to. I responded, and while I was now at the point of desperation as to not sound like blue-assed baboon throwing nasty word-poops at the nearest innocent people I stuck with, "Is it nice there?"Behold! The intermission had ended, and bingo was beginning again! This meant that I only received a smile and nod from my new friend and we were back to an activity that I AM good at- staring at numbers looking confused.

It seems that the only folk that I am appropriately able to socialize with are perhaps the wild boar that are currently inhabiting the woods (and sometimes fields, and sometimes gardens) of Witham Friary. Rumor has it that the Duke of Somerset (our county...I say "our" like I live here...) is aware of the boar, which by the way are NOT normal for this area, and is just "keeping an eye on them." There is a lot of fuss about them because, as previously stated, their appearances are not normal especially for such a large group. We had seen them run past the house last week and Jake and I followed them to find that there were THIRTEEN of these beasts. Also, apparently yesterday, one of the neighbors was CHARGED BY ONE in his garden in the early morning! That is not to say that I am only able to make friends with wild creatures that have tusks, but mostly to say that I, like the wild boar in question, am merely just acting like myself and as a result it makes others slightly confused and a bit offended (and perhaps occasionally fearful). So I guess you could say that I am a bit boary. Perhaps boarish. Or even better, boaresque.

Friday, November 19, 2010

We Call This a SUPERPOST!

Okay, okay, I know I owe you a bit of details, gentle viewers, but you must understand that life as a free soul is just hard to put into words! I kid, it's actually quite easy to put into words, it's just finding the time to put it in the words. No, that's complete bullshit, I have all the time in the world, really, I just haven't felt the need to write lately, and let's face it friends, you're on my time now.

A recap is definitely in order, because the amount of content that I am about to force your way is so overwhelming, your head just might implode. We will begin at Via Piana *insert elegant harp music as your imagination brings you along a rainbow to the time and place of which I speak.* Basically, after the whole chicken ordeal, it began to rain an epic fuck-ton. And that's a lot of rain. It poured for the remainder of our time there, which meant no picking olives. Instead, we sanded door frames, doors, window frames, etc. at Via Piana (rather than the Farm Stay, etc.) It was good fun, and we really enjoyed staying there, but unfortunately Wednesday rolled around and it was time for Jacob and I to begin our next adventure.

Anna drove us to Sora around 9:45am to catch the next bus to Rome where we would be taking a night train (which I later composed a song about) to Treviso. We got to Rome at around 11:00am I suppose, but our train wasn't until 10:00pm. Queue the incredibly long wait in really, really cold conditions and the occasional thunder and lightening. We waited our 11 hours, occasionally running to a fruit market to stock up on snacks (where we conversed with the most ADORABLE old Italian couple in the WORLD) or to a cafe where we could spend out the asshole for a 1/4 full tiny cup of coffee and then get KICKED OUT for no reason other than the fact that the girl at the counter was a raging bitch. However, we did make it onto the train and proceeded to sleep.

We arrived in Treviso at 6:45am and made our way to the airport with ease- just had to take a bus. Treviso is an airport town....aka a nothing-town. There is an airport, and maybe 4 really expensive restaurants. Not comforting when you are looking at a 14 hour wait. Yes, folks, our plane was not scheduled to take off until 8pm. Yes, we could have blown about 20 Euro to go "see the sights" in Venice, but it would have cost an ungodly amount of money to even be in the town, and it wouldn't have been worth it for only a day trip. So we waited. When we finally boarded the plane, I fell asleep instantly. No surprise, since I got maybe 4 hours of cumulative sleep on the train. The flight was only two hours I think, with an incredibly rough landing. It was very windy and we hit turbulence on descent, and everyone on the plane was crying or yelling "oh my God!" which would have worried me more had I not been in a drowsy stupor. However, we did land, and all was well.

Filing into the immigration center, we were prepared as well as could be. We had the contact information of who we were staying with, proof of employment when we return, our return flight ticket, and good spirits. By the time we had filled out our landing cards, the place was empty. Gulp. We step up to the plate, and Mr. Immigration Officer throws the first pitch, "What's the nature of your visit?" "We're on holiday." BALL ONE! "Where are you staying?" "*Insert Name & Address*" BALL TWO! "How long will you be staying in The United Kingdom?" "Three months, here is our return flight home." BALL THREE! "You know that you are not allowed to work during your stay in the UK, right?" "Of course not!" GRAND SLAM!!!!!!!! Everything was great, and we collected our luggage (the last one there) before proceeding through to the lobby.

Currency exchange kiosks are for the birds, let me just say. They absolutely rape you. We had 10 pounds worth of Euros (exactly the amount we needed to catch our bus to Nottingham), but they charged us 5 pounds in commission so we were utterly effed. The ATM wasn't reading our debit card, and when we tried getting cash back it didn't work either. Inevitably, Jake's bearded charm got us a half-price bus ticket to our destination, and we were on our way. We were supposed to stay with a very generous couch surfer, but because of our predicament we did not want to have to walk all the way to his house (after arriving two hours late at that) and simply called to let him know we wouldn't be able to make it. We figured we could crash at the bus station and try taking an earlier bus.

We arrived at the Nottingham bus station at about midnight- picture, if you will, a giant green warehouse with icicles for seats, and a cold cement floor. After waiting for about an hour, the night watchman told us that there was a 24 hour McDonald's up the road that might be warmer. Why not, we thought, and began to walk there. Jake had a hankering for fries, but AGAIN had trouble with the machine! Apparently cards in the UK have a microchip in them that US cards DO NOT have which poses quite a problem. However, they gave us the fries for free and we sat there munching for a bit before we were joined by our good friend, John. You see, John was a young man in his twenties who was absolutely drunk beyond all reason. He came to our table and sat next to Jake. "Are you okay?" he asked Jake, "Yeah, I'm good," Jake replied. John gets very close to Jake's face, "You have an amazing beard- use that to your advantage."

We spent the next two hours chatting with John about his status as a Peruvian hate-figure, life in England, and his friend's grandmother in Bath. He invited us to crash on his couch, but we refused for the sole fear that he would wake up sober and have no idea who we were. It was an awesome couple hours, though, and provided some much-needed entertainment. Though, once John left, we decided to leave as well. Returning to our cold, depressing bus station, we curled up on the seats, (since we had been yelled at for sitting on our bags on the floor- "just one of those things," the man said.) which were 10x colder than the outside (where we were also forbidden to sit), and tried to get some sleep. We got 15 minutes of dozing in, here and there, before our bus finally arrived at 7:50am.

The bus ride was great, we fell asleep for pretty much the whole time (the driver even commented on Jake's snoring) except for when we needed to change buses in Bristol. When we got to Bath it was pouring- the storm that had apparently followed us from Via Piana, if I had to guess (though with the amount of precipitation England gets on a daily basis, it was probably just an average thing). We were soon greeted by Seona and here son, Gwyn, and escorted to their car. It was so weird getting into the passenger seat (aka the driver's seat, back home), but so unbelievably comforting to not be driving with a tiny Italian woman on tiny Italian roads. I swear, Rosa created the definition of "bad driver" for me.

And that was last Friday. Wow, it's already been a week! The adventures here aren't as outrageous as they were in Italy, mostly because we are staying with normal people in a country where we can speak the language. It is also amazing because we are staying with the most charming family I have ever met. The children, obsessed with Scooby-Doo, are stunningly adorable, Chris and Jake are so similar that it's almost eerie (from their love of photography, to little mannerisms that Seona and I pick up on), and Seona is just brimming with kindness. While we have been here she has taught me to knit, toted us around Frume and Bruton (where we watched as her and a group of musicians just played music for hours), and has made us the most delicious homecooked meals outside of home.

I really wish there were more to say, but life here is so utterly simple and beautiful, that there isn't much to it. We help the family for a few hours in the morning, just with everyday tasks, and then we spend the rest of the day knitting, drawing, writing, taking pictures, reading, eating....and that's our day. So simple, so awesome.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

"Wine is the Juice of Life"

It was a rough morning following the evening of Mr. Fawkes. It had been a bit chilly in the night, but I awoke to discover about 5 more blankets below my sleeping bag (a realization that would prove to be helpful in my future nights' sleep). We awoke around 7:20AM and went to the common room to have some breakfast. At around 8:00AM we began walking toward the Farm Stay. Although we were technically Anna's volunteers, she had been "lending us" to the Farm Stay to help with the olive harvest. The Farm Stay is a place for guests as opposed to Via Piana which is a place that is being built to one day be for guests. There were three volunteers at the Farm Stay, Olga, Theresa, and Jennifer (aka Sophie) who we met once we arrived.

We met up with Giuseppe and the others and began picking olives. It was pretty simple, really. There is an olive tree, then a net that is spread out on the ground at the base of the tree. Then, you use your hands or a small rake to remove the olives from the tree. When the olives are off the tree, you pour them into a crate, and you move onto the next one! We did this for about 4 hours before returning to the main building for lunch. We were served pasta with fish, Baccala (salt cod), and plentiful amounts of Giuseppe's wine. I'm telling you, I have never had wine like this in my life! It puts Massimo's wine to shame…almost to a degree that would embarrass a grape, itself.

After lunch, Giuseppe asked us if we would like to watch him kill a chicken. Felipe sat this one out, but Jake, Chris, and I gave it a go. I have always felt that you should know where you food comes from, and how it gets to you, and I wanted to stay true to that. I expected one of two things to happen:
1. For Giuseppe to snap the chicken's neck, and drop it to the ground where it would flop around for a bit before laying still or
2. For Giuseppe to cut the head off with an axe, after which the chicken with writhe like a fish out of water for a bit before laying still.
Well, instead, I saw option 3.

Giuseppe pulls a burlap sack out of a trash can where you can hear the clucking begin. He pulls out a chicken and carries it by it's feet to a large stump. He picks up a small, rusted axe and with a swift motion, strikes the bird in the neck. He then throws it to the side and picks up the next. The first chicken, head half on, is flopping beside us. No, not flopping…flipping. It is flipping in circles about a foot into the air, flapping it's wings, and somehow still making noise. After about a minute of this, I had to leave. The chicken had not stopped moving, and it was far too much for me. Needless to say, the chicken did not taste very good to me at lunch the next day.

We walked with Chris to The Mogli to help with the cleanup from the festivities of the previous night. He told us stories of killing wild boar which, while relatively disturbing, helped us to understand what had happened with the chickens. We all agreed that while it wasn't a pleasant experience, it is something we were glad we witnessed for the sake of food. After cleaning up the area, we headed back to Via Piana. We still had half the day at our disposal, and none of it required picking chestnuts.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Remember, Remeber, The Fifth of November

Leaving Positano was heartbreaking, but needed. We had blown through quite a lot of money in three days, which was the majority of our funds, and it became very important that we get where we were going before we were tempted to spend anything else. To be fair, a lot of the money was to pay for the Agrotourismo and our bus tickets, but it also went to a lot of good food and beer. Our good old pal Felipe had hooked us up with a stay with his host, so we would be headed to Sora to reunite with him.

We took the torturous ride back, though is was less vomit inducing this time. I just toked up on some motion sickness meds and fell asleep for most the ride. From Sorrento we took the train to Naples, and then a bus onward to Sora. We were soon picked up by Anna, our host, a very young, sweet looking girl who spoke English amazingly well. She brought us to the supermarket to pick up some food before driving us to Via Piana- our temporary home. "Your accommodations are very…rustic. The house is without electricity, I hope this is okay," she told us. We told her that it was fine, that we were just happy to have a place to stay. "The common room has a fireplace and electricity, and there is also a bathroom," she adds, "but sometimes, when it rains, it rains in your room." We pull down the narrow road and she leads us to our room. It is on the top floor of a large stone building. Inside there is a large bed with several blankets, and two bureaus. It was not very cold, and the room felt very cosy for being so "rustic." She led us to the common room and showed us where we could leave our groceries. A moment later the rickety wooden door was kicked in! "'Ey, 'ey kids!" Felipe shouted as he storms through the door with a case of Peroni in his arms. He threw it to the table *insert creative license* and replaces the empty space in his arms with Jacob's warm embrace. They hug passionately- both inwardly ecstatic to have been reunited. They knew they would meet again, and this was only evidence that their love was everlasting *end dramatic recreation*.

Felipe quickly introduced us to Nathan, a Florida-based former military brat who has been traveling the world for an extended period of time, and with that we were off. Jake, Felipe, Nathan, Anna, and I pile into the car and she brings us to a path that we were to follow to The Mogli. You see, it was the 5th of November (Guy Fawke's day of course!) and we were going to have a "proper celebration" if ever there were one. We followed the path and came to a large empty field with a fire burning in the middle and a large stone house in the shadows behind. As we approached, Felipe introduced us to Guy, and explained that it is his inevitable fate to be burned at the end of the night. After, we met Christopher, a mad-bomber-hat wearing guy from Leeds, and our host for the evening. A grand feast was being prepared upon the fire; wild boar, wild mushrooms that had been picked earlier that day, rice, potatoes, and of course- beer.

Anna arrived a few minutes later with Giuseppe, wine-making extraordinaire and father of the property owner. He spoke no English, but the most eloquent Italian I had heard since arriving. For hours, the group of us ate, drank, and sang songs around the campfire. Felicita and Baronne, the two dogs of the property, joined in and sat cozily near the fire as we shared stories about home and our travels, and watched the stars up above us. I did not know what time it was, but could tell it was getting late based on how far the stars had moved since we'd arrived. After our ceremonial "burning of Guy," Felipe recited the famous "Remember, Remember" poem, and we made our way back to Via Piana.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I Lost My Heart in Positano

On a slow, boring night at Whole Foods last spring I went around asking everyone where the coolest place they'd been was. Many listed places that I had been to, but my boss listed someplace I had never heard of. That place was Positano, Italy.

Our trip to Positano has been a bit of a whim. Since that conversation with Rob, I've had this town on my list of places to visit, but I wasn't sure how to get there, where to stay, or what there would be to even do there. However, on a particularly rough afternoon of chestnut picking, Jacob and I decided to take the plunge and make our reservation. The first hurdle (and blessing) we ran into was that November is the low season. This means that although many places are closed, those that stay open have lower rates in order to attract business. Our least expensive option was an Agrotourismo called Rifugio Degli Dei and after looking at the pictures for a solid 5 seconds, we were booked. The price was 40 Euro per person, per night bringing our total to 160 Euro. This might make you feel a bit hurt in the wallet, but you must understand two facts. 1. This is the same price we paid at the cheapest hotel in Paris where we were relatively afraid to go out at night and 2. This place is more beautiful than anyplace I have seen in my life, and therefore more than worth the money.

I have a problem with motion sickness when not appropriately medicated for the ride, which was incredibly evident during our ride from Sorrento to Positano. Our bus had to drive along roads that were wrapped all the way up and down a mountain in order for us to reach our destination. It's not a long ride, though, maybe about half an hour. However, if you even get the slightest bit queazy on a Disney World ride, I whole heartedly recommend you take a mighty dose of Dramamine before this ride. After arriving in Positano, myself and Jake both covered in my early-morning croissant (round 2), Jake made a call to the "hotel" to see if we could be picked up. It would be quite the walk because we had gotten off the bus at the wrong stop (mostly so I could get some air), and we weren't entirely sure that I could walk at that point. The man said no problem, and within five minutes he had arrived. Even post-puke I was in love with Positano. It was unlike anything I had ever seen, and even the most beautiful pictures didn't do it justice. As we arrived at our destination, we were greeted by a set of 250 stairs (which they give you ample warning about on the website) and began climbing.

Weak and sick, these stairs were no problem. The stone walls were covered in flowering vines, quick lizards, set next to tiny houses with fresh fruits hanging overhead. We arrived at the top and were welcomed by a black sheep with a small bell around it's neck. A few steps more and we were offered a seat where our host brought us water and let us rest. A small kitten and it's mother ran to us and began making us at home- the kitten played with an olive as the mother invited herself into Jake's lap, purring incessantly. A moment later, a small, round dog appeared. She was clearly pregnant and beyond adorable. Dumbfounded by our surroundings of hanging vegetables, pomegranate trees, and nearby goats, we were led to our "room." I use quotes so often when describing this place because it is unlike anyplace you have ever stayed. Our "room" has a full kitchen and living room, large bathroom, and separate bedroom with a king sized bed. In addition, we have a patio with lawn chairs and table set under an olive tree and overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Our stay at Rifugio Degli Dei has easily been our best experience since arriving in Europe- we give it 5 stars!

The food in Positano is very expensive. About equal to Paris, but certainly more than Napoli. For this reason, we decided to take full advantage of our cooking skills and our gorgeous kitchen by making our own lunch and dinner the second day. I'm sure many would be appalled by the fact that we are not indulging in local fare, but what they fail to realize that we are. Are ingredients are fresh, local, handmade Italian ingredients that are merely assembled by our American hands. Plus, we have been learning to cook from an old-Italian couple in the hills of Montefalcione, so I think we are making the right call here. However, all of these ingredients can be found at home, so if you would like to have "Italian Night" sometime, I'll give you the recipe for our lunch today.

2 pkg. Fresh Tortellini (this can be found in the refrigerated aisle at Whole Foods and most other grocers- you may use another pasta if you'd like, but I recommend ravioli or tortellini as it is stuffed)
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil (regular will do as well)
1 lg can Whole Tomatoes
1/4 lb. Salami (thinly sliced)
2 lg. Green Onions (sliced)
Salt to Taste

In a saute pan, heat oil slightly. Add green onions and salami. Cook until green onions are soft, then add full can of tomatoes. Break up the tomatoes while stirring (they don't need to be fully broken, just enough for them to become smaller), and cover. Allow to heat, stirring occasionally. Be sure to season and taste.

While sauce is heating, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt to boiling water until it "tastes like the ocean." Add pasta and allow to cook until it floats. Drain pasta, and return to pot. Add heated sauce, and serve while hot.

We enjoyed our meal with a glass of Peroni (beer) although a nice wine may be better in this case.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"If you ask that old lady what time it is in Italian, we'll chug our beers"

Now that we have changed months I don't even know how to count days anymore. For that reason, you will have to just trust me on the dates. On Monday, the five of us headed for Napoli. We had arranged to stay at Hotel Bellini in a shared room with five beds. The price was right- 16 Euro per person per night. They had free wifi, breakfast, and gave us a very thorough map of the city. Mar had plans to meet with a friend, but the rest of us headed toward the coast for some pizza and a possible trip to Posilipo.

It was windy as all hell, but fun nonetheless. We walked through several street "markets" (I use quotes because these markets were not legal, and therefore anytime a police car would drive down the road every vendor would grab their shit and run into the alley until the cop had passed) where I bought a beautifully amazing scarf and my first pair of Italian pants! I will also note that these are also my ONLY pair of pants as I primarily packed leggings and windpants (for work). So excited for my new clothes, the group and I returned to the hostel. Our plans to go to a club that evening were viciously interrupted by several strikes of lightening. As soon as we entered the hostel, the sky tore open and the thunder and lightening took over. Buckets of rain began to fall, and the thunder was so loud that the windows shook. Though it was sad that we were all stuck inside that night, it was much preferred to the alternative of being soaked and struck by lightening.

Tuesday, the sky was still a bit angry, but the rain had stopped. Mar and Robby were headed to Pompei with a Scottish guy that they met at the hostel (who had also been eating at the same pizzeria as us the day before!) while Jessica, Jake, and I were on our way to Sorrento. The man at Hotel Bellini had arranged a hostel for us with a 10% discount, so we were all set to go. After a long train ride from Napoli Central Station, we arrived in Sorrento. The hostel we stayed at was not as nice as the last, but definitely not bad. We dropped our stuff off in our room, and left to find some lunch. Rosa had recommended that we get lasagna at Bar Fauno in the center of the town, but it looked way to touristy for our liking.

As we made our way through the narrow streets of Sorrento, we ran into an old man who guided us to a small restaurant. We first thought that he was a regular of the establishment, but later found out that we had been duped! He was the owner! No matter, because the food was incredible. I indulged myself in sea bass with lemon sauce while Jake and Jessica each had pasta. We spent the remainder of the afternoon and evening "bar hopping" in many senses. The first being that we spent the majority of our evening drinking beer from several places including a couple stops at the grocery store. The second being that we ate at about three separate gelaterias. And the third being that we ate many a-pastry at several different bakeries.

The night ended at a restaurant by the train station where I severely had to pee. Jake approached the employee (probably about 20 years old) and asked for a table for three (in Italian of course). The kid told Jake that he was sorry, but they were no longer serving dinner. We were very confused because it was only 7:30PM….how could they not be serving dinner?! Still lasagna bound, I approached the young man and asked in Italian, "Where can I find lasagna?" Oh, how the tables turned! "No! You eat here! My friends can cook you good lasagna," he replies in English, pointing over his shoulder at the five young men sitting at the bar. "Grazie!" I reply as Jessica and I take a seat, "but you should say 'where can i eat the lasagna' rather than 'find the lasagna'," he adds as an afterthought.

We get our lasagna (still cold in the middle, but I was lucky enough to not find something gross inside), and I ask the guy in Italian, "where is the party tonight?" He laughs and replies (in English! Again! What the hell!), "Let me go ask my friends…" By this point we are all laughing hysterically, and the boy returns, "They say perhaps in the center. It is Tuesday, so probably no where else." We thank the poor boy, pay our bill, and return to the hostel. While we were disappointed that the "party" was forced to end at a mere 9:00, it was probably for our own good. After all, we would have to wake early to part ways the next morning.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Wool for the Skin

Days Thirty-One & Two

Rosa's insanity continued on Saturday as we continued our chestnut picking rituals, but this time it was more progressive. In the morning, she came downstairs and told us that if we were to work all day Saturday & Sunday, we could have Monday & Tuesday off. This was perfect because then, we could just leave two days early as our original exit date was to be Wednesday. We tell her that we will work those days, but would collectively decide if we would like to go to Naples or not. "As you like," she responds, which half the time is genuine and the other half is passive-aggressive nonsense.

We pick chestnuts, as per usual, and fill the bags. Lunch. More picking. Dinner. We then talk to Rosa and tell her that we will leave on Monday as she said, but that we will not return. She is confused- Why is everyone leaving? We explain that we had told her that Wednesday was our last day, and if we were to get Monday and Tuesday off it would make so sense to make the trip just to get our stuff. She seems to get it, but still is overcome with worry because it means that she will lose 4 workers in one day. Even though she had just told us this morning that more were coming, and that the chestnut harvest has ended, suddenly she doesn't know when they will be arriving, or if she will have enough volunteers.

Her crazy was all gone the next morning. We were all tripping out because it had apparently been daylight savings the previous night (and thank God, because we had stayed up till 1am!) and Rosa was already up and assembling lasagna. She told us that we would finally be having it (she had been promising it for a week), and did not begin picking chestnuts until 9:30am. Time dragged on, but we pushed through- knowing it was our last day was both a blessing and a curse. The lasagna was amazing. I was dreading it because she said she put hard boiled eggs in it and I thought that sounded disgusting…but trust an Italian woman….it was amazing. She had a vegetarian lasagna made as well as a meat one, followed by 4 heads of steamed broccoli, a bowl of boiled onions, a pan of chicken breast, and bread. Stuffed to the gills, were then pleasantly surprised to find out that we would not be picking anymore chestnuts! Instead, we would be returning to her sister's restaurant to finish cleaning.

We only stayed for about an hour, pretty much doing nothing, before Rosa drove us to the mountain-top town of Montefusco, about 700 meters higher in elevation than Montefalcione. You could see the lights of every surrounding village. It was pretty beautiful. She walked us around the town, just because she thought we should see it. It was amazing having the old Rosa back, especially for our last day. It would have been so horrible to have ended our stay here on the negative note that was left in the air just two days ago.