After a very pleasant sleep in and refreshing shower, I emerged into the kitchen to meet Pino and Renata, who had laid out a small breakfast for me. I brought out some muesli and milk that I had and bumbled through some very broken conversation as a tea was made for me. Neither Pino or Renata speak English, and I can’t speak any useful Italian, so we were all a bit lost about how to interact. After a while I decided to get my phone and open up Google Translate. The first thing I did was type, “Are they discussing whether or not this man has performed a miracle?” The TV was on and I had cottoned on to the fact that the show was discussing the merits of someone who might be sainted. Renata got a small shock when she read my question and realised I had been able to follow what was going on. She got an even bigger shot when I used the speaking ability of the app to translate my spoken English into spoken Italian. We then had a conversation about the weather, whether I slept okay and our plans for the morning. It was slow going, because we each had to speak into the phone and have it translated into each other’s language, but it was fun and helpful.
After I finished breakfast, Pino drove me to the local cemetery and led me to the Toia section. It was right across from the Bertolotto section. And there were also a couple of Caffarati’s, who also feature in my family tree. When we returned home, Marco was there, ready to take me out. We enjoyed a full day touring the local area, particularly focusing on wine-growing areas of Langhe, Roero and Monferrato, which form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unfortunately the weather was very misty so we weren’t able to fully appreciate the views. We had a food stop in Alba, where I was treated to a Piemontese dish consisting of raw mince topped with sprouts. We drizzled olive oil on the top and enjoyed it with grissini (bread sticks particular to Piemonte) and wine. This was topped off with ice cream from the famous Gelateria La Romana. After lunch I learned more about the area with a tour of Barolo, including a visit to Casa E. di Mirafiore, a winery founded in the 1870s by a guy who became King of Italy.
Yet again dinner was worth the ride to Italy. Together with Marco’s family and parents, we were joined by another really fun couple. We worked our way through prosciutto, chicken/olive/antipasto coleslaw, pizza, quiche, lasagne, locally-made ice cream with Christmas cake, and limoncello liquor from Sorrento. I sat back and enjoyed listening to the stories being told animatedly. All day I’ve found it hard to keep a smile off my face: amazing people, amazing food, amazing part of Italy, a white Christmas (it hasn’t snowed this early here in ten years), a journey into my heritage…nothing but purely joyful experiences.
|Accommodation||New friend’s house|
|Distance ridden today||0km|
|Total distance ridden||29,240km|