Wednesday, 20 August 2014

A Trip To Aosta

The mountain village where I'm staying with the family is part of a larger district called Vallee d'Aosta. Today we've been to the town of Aosta, which is about a half an hour or so drive away and really beautiful, for historical sight seeing and a spot of shopping. Aosta is an important Roman town, it turns out!

On the way we stopped at little C's favourite place - the chocolate factory shop!

Luckily I managed not to go too overboard....I was actually only buying for people back home, since I don't really have much of a sweet tooth (no photos of what I bought in case they're reading!). 

When we arrived at the town and parked up, the first stop on our list was the Arco d'Augustus, now placed quite unfortunately on a roundabout so getting a nice photo was difficult...


The little street we went down (Via Sant'Anselmo) was just lovely - paved stone, cute little shops and lots of flags!

We stopped for lunch at a nice quiet cafe on this street - that did fantastic burgers, finally!

Next on our tour was this little courtyard attached to the Collegiata di Sant'Orso (Saint Orso Collegiate Church). Mama B dragged me along after a family to eavesdrop on them because she thought they were speaking English! (They were not, they were German)

This was quite a nice little place to stop. I especially liked the passageways that surrounded the courtyard. 

Next we entered the church. Catholic Churches are quite something! It was nice and quiet in this one. 


Outside it was beginning to get really hot (I think at the hottest it was about 27 degrees) and having been up in the relatively cool (in comparison) mountains, I was not prepared for this, being in jeans. Unfortunately I spent most of the day with a headache - the sun and I don't really get on for long periods of time. Ah well. 

We also visited the Roman Theatre (or remains of it) in the town. 

I didn't take many photos or pay much attention here (which admittedly I regret now) as due to my headache I was not in the mood for sight seeing...

Luckily we stopped for a drink in the beautiful Piazza E. Chanoux. In the shop next to the bar at which we stopped I found this key ring with my name on it (I was very excited, because as you can imagine I don't find my name on things that often in the UK). Shame I didn't like it otherwise I'd've bought it!

And this magnificent building is the cathedral! It's pretty small for a cathedral (Mama B said so too), but it was pretty cool. We went down into the crypts below it. 

Down here there was some weird piano music playing. I think it was meant to be atmospheric, but to me it was just creepy. 

This photo was taken near the crypts but could really be any street in the town, since they all have so many flags! This street did only have French flags though - as we're quite near to France, all the road signs and information about the historical sights are in both Italian and French (not much use to me unfortunately - the only thing I can do in French is say hello and order a ham sandwich...). 

After the crypts we began to retrace our steps down the cute narrow streets back to the car, stopping on the way for a gelato of course. 

It was still quite hot, so I justified having a large tub with three scoops - fragola (strawberry, and the best yet), frutto di bosco (fruits of the forest) and limone (well, I asked for lemon but got melon somehow...). Delicious. 

We had a long but lovely day in the beautiful Roman town. By the time we reached home (having stopped at the supermarket on the way) it was nearly 7pm and time for dinner - luckily, as I was somehow hungry again (not unusual for me actually). We ate tortellini in a tomato sauce along with bread and cheese (the cheese here is bloody fantastic), followed by some sampling of the chocolates that Mama B had bought in the factory shop. When I finally got to bed I fell asleep straight away!

Today has been a bit of a nothing day - English lesson for G (double since we didn't have one yesterday, to her dismay), reading and a short walk. I've also been thinking a lot about the last few weeks - two weeks today is my final day here, and it's hard to believe I've been here just over three weeks already!

It's so much easier to fit into conversation now - just this morning I was introduced to a couple, old friends of Mama B's from when she was little, and even though it was the first time I'd met them I spoke to them with ease and without 'err'ing and mumbling for a change. Mama B and I have great long conversations in the evening about anything and I'm finding it especially easier to answer the questions little C poses me (I don't really know why, but for a while after I arrived here the thought of her talking to me did scare me in a way...). I'm still not really sure what she thinks of me though - she's only just 7 and seems to understand that I don't speak her language as well as she, but she has never mentioned England to me, so who knows. And even better, TV programmes make more sense to me (especially cartoons, since it's usually the girls who are in charge of the remote (that was difficult, to write 'remote' - for reasons I forget, in my house it's called the 'gadget'). So now I'm a fan of Doraemon, One Piece and Adventure Time). 

Tomorrow we have three options: if the weather is good, we'll go hiking; if it's alright, a wildlife park and then a castle; and if it rains (most likely) there's an afternoon trip to a closer castle planned. I've got my fingers crossed for option two!

More adventures soon. 


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