Pievepelago: In the middle of nowhere
Trip Start Feb 06, 2011
44Trip End Sep 15, 2011
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Where I stayed
The next morning, I met her mother for the first time (her dad was out of town for a couple of days) and she was exactly who I pictured her to be
After breakfast, L took me on a tour of her village. I say village because there are only 2000 people who live there. Everybody knows everyone. 14 seconds after we walked out of the house, L bumped into some friends. This continued as we walked down the street. Also, they don't see many Asians in the area so I was quite the novelty. Since I was the new face in town, I got free beers and coffee from every cafe and bar we walked past. No complaints from me! After a couple of hours, we finally finished walking through the main street, all 100m of it. Time for lunch! Italians usually eat lunch at home since all the shops close in the afternoon for a few hours. My lunch consisted of the most spectacular lasagne I've ever had in my life. L's mom made it from scratch including the ragu which alone took 3 hours to make. I don't think I can ever eat restaurant lasagna again without being disappointed
Nothing much happens in Pievepelago but this weekend, the annual beer festival was on. It was like a really ghetto version of Playland. Really ghetto. There was one bouncy slide, one swing carousel, about 6 carnival booths, one really awful Queen coverband, and LOTS of booze. When you ride the swing carousel in North America, every person sits in a swing and the carousel rotates until you start "flying" in the air. Harmless enough. Well, in Italy, they do it differently. You pick a partner and one sits in front of the other in separate swings. Before the carousel starts, the one sitting in the back holds onto his partner's swing with his hands and feet. Once the carousel is in motion and there is enough momentum, the person in the back tries to "kick" his partner's swing higher up in the air so that his partner can snatch a piece of ribbon hanging from the air as he "swings" past it. Sounds dangerous? I told L that this would never fly in North America due to safety concerns.
Over the next few days, I ate my body weight in food. It was L's mom's family birthday dinner and we had this insane 8 course meal. Highlights were the bruschetta, fresh tortellini soup, and funghi frites (mushroom fries). I ate so much that I could barely breathe. It was such a treat to eat all this authentic Italian food. Many times I thought to myself, "So THIS is what it's supposed to taste like!" Needless to say, Italy treated my taste buds very well. Thanks to L and her family for their hospitality!
I noticed that Italians are quite similar to the Chinese in a few ways
Some other observations I noticed:
-They smoke A LOT. I probably inhaled more second hand smoke in 2 weeks than in my entire lifetime. 99% of L's friends smoke and it's just a part of their culture.
-Italians are always late. If you say, "let's meet at 8pm" it doesn't mean a thing. You're lucky if they show up at 8:30pm. Even the trains are notorious for being late all the time.
-It's almost impossible to find a bad bottle of wine in this country. If wine was this cheap in Canada, we'd all be alcoholics.-There are rules but nobody ever abides by them. The mentality is "if you can get away with it, just do it."
-The general public doesn't seem to care about the environment. I think that most cities lack a recycling program and the streets always look very dirty and unkept.