My allergic reactions plus an early flight and natural body clock rhythms meant that I didn’t get much shut eye tonight. But it also meant that I got to catch up with my amazing friend Jacquie (my Pearson Alberta fellow-year who also happens to be short, brown and from the Calgary Metropolitan Area— we really went for diversity in my year ;). Jax is a chef at the newly opened Amass restaurant (where I hope to eat on my way back though Copenhagen), which has a lot of former Noma chefs. Yeah, she’s that good!
All too soon, I had to make my way to the airport and allow Jacquie to sleep for 5 hours before she headed back to work. Early morning flights in particular are fascinating. You see people sleeping in all manner of awkward positions and if you’re really lucky like me, you’ll see a little redhead running around with a painted cardboard shield.
I’m mentally preparing myself for the long-travel day ahead of me, thankful for iPads and international data plans.
Leg One of the trip was “great success”, as they say in Kazakhstan. Got the bus to Torino right away, which gave me a chance to finish yesterday’s post. The airplane had Internet (!!!) which let me take care of some emails that were pending.
Right after I landed in Milan Malpensa, I got on a bus to Turin almost right away, which bumped up my arrival time in Bra (the town where my friend Giovanni is from, and is getting married in). The entire bus ride I was learning how to use/correctly pronounce basic Italian phrases and played solitaire. On the way to Bra, I used the train to catnap in the sun. The countryside looked eerily like Kerala, probably because it was unbelievably green, had roofs with terracotta tile and scooters at the railway crossings. We’re really not as unique as we think we are.
At the Bra train station, Giorgia (my Italian first year) ran up as she was on the same train as me. The boys rolled up in a little car, piled up like clowns, and then we were off to see the sights of Bra. And by that I mean, we went out to get food and use the wifi since the country house in Costamagna didn’t have either. Had a delicious, leisurely meal, catching up with old friends and getting to know some new ones.
We bumped into Alice’s (the bride’s) family on the way out of the cafe (and to gelato), who are Bolivian/Brazilian. My friend Josh and I were talking to her mum in a mixture of Spanish, French, Italian and English. Thank goodness for romantic languages that facilitate these exchanges!
We took over the gelato restaurant for an hour, eating, laughing, and then dispersed for a few hours to do our own thing. While Hunter and Josh (my roomies for the wedding) slept on the grass, Sanjay and Emilie let me shower in their hotel room, and finally freshen up from what was at that point, about 38 hours of travel.
Guys, big reveal: in Italy (or at least in northwestern Italy), they lay out food in the early evening as a sort of happy hour to get people to drink more. It’s called aperitivo and is something everyone should get to experience.
Giorgia and I talked about how all we’ve done since making it into Bra is to eat and drink, but its not been gorging, but rather a much more communal relationship with food, rather than mere sustenance. Of course, we were talking about this as we went to dinner. There were 14 people in all, tucking into pizza and wine (€6 for a litre- In the words of Oscar Fech, “Can you believe it?!”), as we wound up an amazing day in the old country.
I don’t know what it is about this country, but I love everything about it! It was really built up in my head but did not disappoint. I love the delicious food, the pride in craftsmanship, lingering meals. I love the stylish people, melodic language and the amazing countryside. Hey, Future Me, try and stay here for a month or so sometime in your life.