So I decided this needed its own entry.
Family: Remember the email I sent regarding the musical moment? Well, this was a musical morning…
The day after Halloween, All Saint’s Day, there was an optional field trip for which we could sign up. Originally 7 students had signed up, but events from the previous nights prohibited most of them from attending…ie my roommates and I were the only ones who showed up at 9am in the piazza to meet our bamfin professor, Claudio. Orvieto’s streets were deserted. The holiday meant that people were either sleeping in (the lazy ones) or possibly at mass or the cemetery (the devout ones).
We waited for ten minutes and then hopped into the van, which was completely oversized for our piddly four-person expedition. Claudio took us to the dig site, where there was an ancient Etruscan road being uncovered. We hopped back into the van and drove up to the best view of Orvieto, past a farm with pigs and sheep and horses, and we could see the entire clifftop. It was indescribable. Next stop was the top of the street where we could overlook Lake Bolsena, which is home to 2 mini-islands. One of the islands is private property of the Prince of Dragon, and the other island was owned by a princess of some sort and she ended up being strangled…but she had treasure, that is supposedly buried partially here in Orvieto. As Claudio told us this story, in the background the olive harvest had begun; an old woman wearing a scarf and boots was handpicking olives as a machine shook them off the tree by her side.
We headed down to Bolsena itself, and saw the lake. It was cold and windy, but Meghan enjoyed playing with the ducks anyway. I was also freezing, and I was wearing my scarf like a babushka and Claudio’s camouflage army jacket, which was definitely too big for me. I looked pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.
After our view of the lake, Ploy, Meghan and I were under the impression we were on our way back to Orvieto. However, we drove back to where there was the brilliant view of Orvieto and Claudio parked the car at a cabin…we were confused, but hopped out. It turned out to be Claudio’s mother’s home, and this was the most musical moment of it all: they had a spread ready for us for lunch…sauteed eggplant, 4 cheeses, quince butter and honey to go with the cheese, Claudio toasted bread in the fire and they made old-school bruschetta (toasted bread, rub garlic on it, drizzle olive oil on it–extra virgin–and salt). They also made us fresh roasted chestnuts. We had proseco. Then we also got to try something that apparently isn’t even sold in stores: visciole (sour cherries) but they are basically marinated in their own juices and sugar, left out in the sun, and the sugar dissolves and alcohol ferments. They were delicious. We enjoyed food and good company and conversation and it was the most satisfying morning I have possibly ever had. We returned home full and happy, so happy that Meghan and I cried a little.
It wasn’t the best fieldtrip ever because we saw things nobody had seen before (even though nobody will get to see exactly what we saw in the exact way we saw it) but the feeling of the morning. It was just the three of us students with a professor who seems to know everything about anything and is more than willing to share his knowledge, and we are in one of the most beautiful countries in the world enjoying food and drink made with the reverence that only Italians can have for food and drink.
I love my life right now.
Baci grossi a tutti.