Monday, June 4, 2012


Its probably not a good thing when the place you spend your first night is so restful, because then you compare it to every night after that and it is hard for anything else to meet the standard. At Medesano we went directly to the church and rang the padri's bell at the Hostel Don Bosco. He didn't answer, but with repeated ringings, he eventually stuck his head out from the window above and reported that the Hostel was not ready. Roberto was insistent, however,and he reluctantly referred us to the youth centre down the street where we rung another bell, that was eventually answered by a man who was clearly having his siesta. The only room in the hostel with 3 single beds was not ready, but we didn't care particularly; it was a room and as far as we knew, it was probably the only place in Medesana to stay.

I rested much of the afternoon and then wrestled with my blog, trying figure out why I couldn't download my photos to it. Eventually I got it working, but in the meantime, I had started to wonder if it was worth the effort. Dinner was excellent at the Restaurante Silvia, where I inhaled Insalata Caprese and Rucola (Arugula) with tomatoes, strips of beef, parmesano and olives. Different and very tasty.

At 1000 I dropped into my bed, but there was no sleep to be had. The room was stifling despite two open windows, and so I lay there bathed in sweat and sleepless listening to a group of rowdy Italian men who seemed to be directly below us celebrating something, maybe the Popes's visit to Milan this weekend or the fact that a Canadian won the Giro d'Italia last week. It was 0530 this morning when the last of the revelers outside took to their cars and finally left us in peace. Man, I thought the Spanish were party animals; these Italians have them beat hands down.... Roberto had set 0545 as wake up time so there was no point in trying to sleep then; it would have cruel to be wakened 10 minutes later.

Needless to say, when Roberto jostled my foot as a wake-up call a few minutes before 0600, I felt a little cranky. The prospect of dragging myself out of be was singularly unappealing and had I been on my own I would have just stayed there and faced the heat of the day a little more squarely with some sleep behind me. But I had to consider Roberto's needs and so I reluctantly roused myself and began stuffing things into my pack.

Even with the guidance of a GPS, we managed to get lost three times this morning, the last being At Fornovo di Toro where we had the good fortune of stumbling across a Trattoria selling the most delicious spinach tortas. We sat outside where I was able to tend my feet with the Arnica gel I was given yesterday, followed by a winning combination of diaper cream and Vaseline to to prevent chaffing and blisters. Roberto talked away to a group of men who were also sitting outside. From what I can discern so far, groups of men sitting around in bars seems to be a common social practise here in Itlay, as we have encountered such groups everywhere we go. But where are all the women? I dare not ask. Without fail, the men seem to know that I am not Italian and ask Roberto how it is that he has come to be with me. They are surprisingly curious...

Leaving Fornovo, there was a very big hill and I was extra grateful for the opportunity we had taken by way of getting lost, to rest a while. By the time we arrived in the little village of Sivizzano at 1130am, it was hot and I hoped that there would be beds for us at the hostel. I rested and minded our gear outside the bar while Roberto investigated the location and found the lady in charge. It was with relief and delight that we walked into the little hostel Santa Margheritta attached to the church of the same name, with its corbeled ceiling, stone floor and 4 single beds. So far, the only noise here is a rooster crowing next door and this I can handle, no problem. Still, anything could happen later on. There are two more beds here that could potentially be filled with Roncadores (snorers). A Sunday night fiesta could errupt in the village. As a precaution, I will have my earplugs at the ready.

By the time we were out the door, I felt surprisingly energised and my good mood had returned. The day was sunny and warm and I had coffee to look forward to at the first open bar; really, what was there to complain about. Roberto walks a very fast pace and as such it seemed that in no time at all, we were sipping excellent cappuccinos at a bar 5 km down the road. Italian coffee makes me very happy; I can see myself sipping Cappuccinos here for the rest of my days.

After the mandatory ablutions and washing of clothes, we returned to the bar for a drink and bite to eat. Roberto has differing needs around food than I do; he is very thin and seems content to exist on a banana and a can of peaches for an entire day, whereas I seem to be constantly starving. He thinks I am just eating for fun and makes fun of me wanting to eat so often, but in spite of the fact that I am anxious to to sample real Italian cuisine, I actually really need the food. I hope that my appetite will decrease a little after I get over the fatigue from jet lag and sleep deprivation, but for now, I need lots of snacks and protein.

At the bar I ordered a Campari - soda and lasagna. Here in Italy the Campari and soda come pre-mixed in a beautiful little bottle, sort of like the bacardi drinks you can buy at home, but I daresay not nearly as tasty and without all that sugar. The lasagne was like no other I have had, in a white bechemal sauce instead of tomato and it was very good! Tonight, the signora who looks after the hostel is making spaghetti for us. Needless to say, I am going to get my fill of pasta, which I guess is what one does here in Italy. Fortunately for me, I will be walking it off as well. Tomorrow, we will walk to Berceto, about 23 km from here, and uphill all the way!

The Conventi at Sivizzana

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