Sunday, 17 August 2014

A Busy Couple Of Days

As it says on the tin, I've done a lot these last two days and there's lots to tell. 

Friday was a special day. 15th August is a Saint's day and we got together with some of the family's friends (the family with whom we went hiking yesterday) for a big lunch. 

I helped Mama B prepare the pane nero (literally 'black bread' but it's just brown bread in reality) - with miele (honey) and lardo (like parma ham with a hella lotta fat, but it's amazing stuff). 

The men cooked meat over a stone barbecue - pretty cool. Ribs, sausages, belly pork, onions and jacket potatoes. I was practically drooling by the time we sat down to eat. 

After we'd eaten we went for a coffee (of course) and then sat outside for a few hours because the weather was so nice. I chatted with Mama B and the mum of the second family, R, about British things - R loves Coldplay, and had no idea that Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow had split! (She was pleased, apparently not a fan of GP) We also talked about the royal family (they love them) and British/American bands (they thought the name 'Arctic Monkeys' was beyond strange). 

Later on the two families went off to the church for Mass and I stayed at the house to ring England. I spoke with my sister (had to rush off to work), then my boyfriend (he was locked out), and last but not least one of my best friends (who has just gotten into university - congrats again if you're reading this!). Time well spent, it's really nice to catch up with home. 

Yesterday featured the arrival of Papa M's friends - two families and a friend on his own, which meant an extra five adults and three kids (ages 5, 9 and 15): a lot of people. It was a little overwhelming, but they were nice. 

We went on the same walk we did last Friday - though this time it was longer and in much better weather! It was nice to see the same views but in a different light. It was just beautiful!

At the inn where we'd previously stopped for a hot chocolate, this time we stopped for lunch (and boy was I ready for it! I was starving). We started with baskets of bread and platters of salamis and more lardo, along with little pots of what turned out to be warm chestnuts - gorgeous. After this the younger kids went out to play and the second course arrived - I believe it was called zuppa (although that means soup so I'm not entirely sure, since it definitely wasn't soup!). A dish apparently only found in this district, this course was one of the best things I've eaten here. It was bread, cabbage and cheese in a sort of broth and then baked - oh, that makes it sounds awful! It was honestly amazing! No photos because, as I'm sure you can imagine, it looked a little like a deconstructed pie: not pretty. 

After this I was stuffed. I could not have eaten another crumb - so imagine my surprise when yet another course arrived!! Dishes of polenta, sausages in sauce and some sort of beef in a different sauce: I just about managed a few forkfuls of polenta (it's great stuff) with some of the sauce from the sausage dish, just to be polite (I'm clearly British!). 

And after that, I was expected to continue walking up the mountain! Groaning inwardly I trekked along with the group. But, once we got over one certain hill, I realised why we'd gone further up: the view. 

Yup, now you can see why too. 

We also found Stella alpina (edelweiss)! Mama B pressed one inbetween the pages of a book for me. 

Eventually we descended, stopping again briefly at the inn for another hot chocolate (so good). 

Half of the group, me included, went ahead of the other and ended up having to wait nearly 20 minutes when we reached the cars (we were in the jeep again, but I forgot to get a photo before it went back in the garage!) - I didn't mind at all, because this was the view....

The photos don't do it justice, the mountains are amazingly beautiful. I'm still not used to seeing them every day and I'm definitely going to miss them when I leave - I'm about halfway through this au pair thingy now, and it was only when I was on the phone on Friday night that I realised how quick the last (nearly) three weeks have gone. I may be pining for home a little bit sometimes, but for the rest of it I'm really enjoying myself. 

It was gone 7pm by the time we got in, and I was relieved to sit down with a mug of green tea, to await whatever adventures lie in store for me in the next few days. 


P.s. update on breakfast - I've been on fruit (usually a banana) for nearly a week now. Mama B actually got quite flustered Friday morning when she didn't think there were any left for me! (She found some in the fridge, and really seemed quite relieved, very cute)

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