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3 Days in Italy

April 25, 2015

Wednesday morning we drove over to Italy.  It’s only about an hour to the border, and another hour to Turin (or Torino, in Italian) from our house.  We’re still not used to this weird life…”just drive to Italy.”  The cost of the tolls makes it slightly prohibitive – like, we can’t go every weekend, but for a few days of much-needed rest after a busy week of traveling made it worth it.  We found a lovely cabin on airbnb that had plenty of space, and was very inexpensive, up in the mountains above Turin.  So, we went with my Dad, who had arrived on Tuesday evening.

Our airbnb host recommended a great spot for pizza and he did not steer us wrong!  It was so delicious, wood fired right there in the room.  The kids did great and the waitress was amused…we don’t speak Italian and she didn’t speak ANY English or French!  But, we made it work and ordered three pizzas, just guessing what they were.  We got one right!  Salami and mozzarella!  The other two were delicious, but we were surprised that one was anchovies and olives, the other was eggplant.  We wouldn’t have ordered them, but they really were tasty!

That night, we settled in, started fires in both the stone chimney and the wood cook stove (did I mention it was a rustic place?) and found our welcoming committee…  Amelia went into the bathroom and quickly came out, “Daddy, there’s a big scary bug in the bathroom.”  She wasn’t worked up, but Matthew went in to investigate anyway and I heard a very quiet voice say “scorpion.”  Oh, cool.  Or not.  Sure enough, a decent-sized black scorpion was hanging out on the bathroom wall.  Matthew took care of him while I went upstairs to get the kids’ bed ready…and found his partner!  Matthew took care of him, too, and we didn’t see any more during our stay there.  Whew.

Thursday we headed into the center of Turin.  It’s a little complicated because you aren’t allowed to just drive all over Turin.  Cars aren’t allowed during certain hours, and during other times you need a special permit, but we wanted to avoid all of it, so we found street parking (free!) just inside the city limits and took a tram into the old city center.  Sadly, we missed our (free!) scheduled time to see the Shroud of Turin, but as disappointing as that was, we aren’t too broken up about it.  We, instead, spent the entire mid-day at Europe’s largest outdoor market.  Everything is sold there and it was amazing.  The produce smelled so rich and was all so colorful.  We bought a few things for lunch and snacked in front of a store.  We quickly realized that English was not spoken by anyone, but we did okay with French, since a few people did speak that!  We browsed the vast selections of other goods and scored a few deals (my scarf collection grew, Levi got an Italie hat, and Amelia adores her new headband).  We bargained in French for all of it, so it was also great practice!

There was a little mall across the street from the four blocks that make up the market, and we spent some time in there, letting the kids run around, since it was fairly empty, and discovered discount clothing stores and got Matthew a great suit – something required for important meetings in Congo, but all he had was a wool one…so we left that behind in the US in hopes of finding something lighter in Europe and, despite the severe language barrier, we got a fantastic deal.

There is nothing like feeling really good about your newly acquire language skills like going to a place with a new language and being completely unable to communicate.  Oh well, it was an adventure!  And we did pick up a few words in Italian.  Even Axel was saying “Ciao” by our last day!

After wandering around, forgetting exactly which block our car was on, we drove home, stopped at the little store for some local foods for dinner, and cooked a great meal of ravioli, fresh bread, and zucchini.

Friday was a complete day of rest.  Matthew and I went back to the store for salami and provolone for lunch.  Afterward, we both took naps!  In hammocks!  In the sun!!!  It was like a real vacation!  The kids played outside ALL day and we went back to the same restaurant for dinner.  That time, we tried their bruschetta, some deep fried dough served with a ball of fresh mozzarella and roasted peppers, and a deep fried giant calzone, filled with more mozzarella, ricotta and salami.  It was amazing.  We ended the evening with a fire outside (after the kids went to bed, of course) of our little rustic cabin.

This morning we packed up and watched the rain fall.  I guess that meant it was time to head home.  We did stop for one more Italian treat: gelato!  Again, delicious.

We are home now, having used the last night with a rental car to stock up on groceries.  We are trying to prepare our minds and emotions for going back to school.  We are also trying to tie up loose ends as we look to the end of the school year and our big move.  Did I mention we have real plane tickets with our names on them??  (I mean, not REAL tickets, because it’s 2015, but real reservations on a real airplane really going to Kinshasa.)  We are looking to finalize our shipment, gather the last paperwork needed to apply for our Congo visas, and figuring out all of the details of our final move for a long time (we hope/plan).  However, still looking at the now, my dad gets to stay with us for this whole week, so we are excited for that as well!  Arrivederci!

One Comment leave one →
  1. chivepicker@earthlink.net permalink
    April 25, 2015 0829

    I love reading your adventure tales. This one had my mouth watering…

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