Today was filled with friends and fun. We walked through the town and stopped to say hello to some old friends and make some new ones. Zia Adele (not really my aunt, but we don’t tell anybody) was our first stop, and she invited us in for a fun beverage that put us all in a happy mood. She is so kind and gracious, it always makes for a highlight of my trip. Her daughter, Amelia, happened to stop by, so it was a great reunion.
Next stop was at the home of Lorenzo and Domenica DiValerio (no relation). Fortunately, their daughter, Pilar, was visiting from Milan. Pilar speaks English, so this was an easy visit.
And then there’s Beniamino, my huggable friend. He makes every day happy.
In the evening, we had last call with Giacomo Campana, who runs the local coffee shop/bar. We made a new friend there. A woman, Giulia, heard us speaking English, so we all started chatting. If we stayed here another week, we could probably run for office.
We arrived in Alfedena on Monday afternoon after a long drive from Bologna, during which we discussed whether or not aliens might have built some the of things we were looking at to whether or not we would have Abe Lincoln or Mette Midler over for dinner. The good news is… we all got here still liking each other.
Our first stop was at Bar Audifena, which is the local stop for everything social. Whether you want a coffee, a newspaper, a gelato, a bottle of water, a drink, a card game or a play at the slot machine, you’re covered. We took adavantage of many of the offerings. Also met a new friend, Felix, the bartender. We’re just starting.
Saturday morning started early (4:45 a.m.) because we had a 2 hour drive to Valtournenche and we had to get into town before they closed down the roads for the parade. Needless to say, the drive through the mountains was great. After checking into our hotels, we headed out to the local cafe to meet up with everybody and wait for the cows. There were 9 of us in our group and most likely the ONLY Americans in town. The atmosphere was joyous as everyone waited to hear the cow bells. The locals, dressed in traditional costumes, entertained us like it was Mardi Gras. And then we heard the bells coming. Those cow bells were like a symphony. We loved every second of it.
Ida and I landed in Milan on Friday afternoon. Ida is catching a ride with my cousins, Jeff and Sue, and heading directly to Valtournenche, which is a little village at the Swiss border near the Matterhorn. I took the train to Milan to meet up with Lindsay and Rachel and rent the car. We’ll be meeting everyone in Valtournenche on Saturday morning for the annual cow parade, when they bring the cows from the hillside through the town down to the lower pastures for the winter months. Looking forward to Saturday. More to come…
One more week and we’re off to Italy. Trying to get a few more words under my belt before it’s wheels up. I certainly know enough to get a room, get dinner, get directions and GET WINE. I think we’ll be OK.
Just booked my flight for September. Traveling this year with my co-shenanigator, Ida Zecco, and Lindsay and Rachel. Also on the hit list are Jeff and Sue Smith.
This one is going to be memorable!