10 August, 2009

Vacation update

We spent the first 4 days of our vacation up in the mountains in Valle d'Aosta. The campground was ideally situated with breathtaking views and great trails up into the woods where we took some really nice hikes.

Unfortunately the aesthetic beauty of the scenery was offset by a decidedly unaesthetic sanitation building which housed filthy pit toilets and moldy showers. We avoided the whole area as much as possible-- one evening when I climbed into bed I laughed and said to M: "I think I might be too dirty to sleep!" to which he replied with a good humored: "No, you're too dirty to sleep NEXT TO."

Sunday we roamed around Aosta and saw some really impressive Roman ruins. Monday we spent hiking out near the Matterhorn! The vistas were beautiful! After a steady 2 hour climb through the dust we were rewarded by a beautiful sight when we suddenly came upon a level clearing with an icy turquoise lake where D could swim and the boys skipped stones.

Tuesday we spent the day in Turin. The old center is really interesting because it's filled with covered passageways. This turned out to be handy because it was raining and we were able to wander around and explore without getting wet.

My favorite part of Turin, however, was a special trip to Eataly, a high-end grocery store/ delicatessen / restaurant / coffee bar / utopia that makes Salvaggio's in Rochester seem like a mini-market! Eataly calls itself an alliance of small-scale producers of high-end products and is a champion of the slow-food movement.

We spent a couple of hours in there, much to the chagrin of the kids, who were hungry, tired, and annoyed that they weren't allowed to play on the escalators.

This place was amazing! They had racks and racks of beautifully displayed fruits and vegetables, and clientele were provided plastic gloves so that you could touch and smell all of it! I bought all kinds of exotic things, including some flat peaches, white peaches, fresh figs, tiger-striped tomatoes and fragrant apricots. I think that that the time I spent there, browsing the spices, cheeses, sauces and pastas will end up being one of the highlights of the vacation for me!

Have been devouring books since we left. Read Ayaan Hirsi Ali's autobiography-- unbelievable that someone who came from such humble beginninngs can even function in the Western World, much less rise to become such an influential political figure!

After that I read "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini- it was beautiful but oh so sad! Those of you who have read it as well can probably picture me sitting here on the campsite crying my eyes out and blowing my nose noisily. I got more than one strange look from people passing by.

Right now I'm in the middle of "The City of Falling Angels" by John Berendt. It was a gift from Laurie and I'm really enjoying it in preparation for our trip to Venice sometime in the coming couple of weeks! (Thanks again, Laurie!)

We're happily settled in at our new campsite here at Lake Garda. The area is georgeous, and maybe no less importantly, the toilets and showers are clean.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon in Verona, which is one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen!

And now I'm running out of steam and think it's time to close this and go make some lunch...


Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I'm so envious - I'm dying to see Turin, and maybe especially, Eataly. I've read so many articles about it!

The hiking sounds spectacular. I'm glad you have showers again - that would make me itchy and crabby. Pass on to M. that he definitely doesn't get the "charming husband award" for his comment, even if he *was* funny. ;-)


Anonymous said...

I'm Jealous, Jealous, JEALOUS!

Damn I hate when that happens.
Have a great time.

Our last week here finally. I'll see you on the other side of the Atlantic.
Lisa in Stuttgart

Goofball said...

I've never truly visited Italy but it sounds lovely (apart from some sanitary provisions ;) )

Did you know I wrote about Ayaan Hirsi Ali and A Thousand Splendid Suns too?

Africakid said...

So glad you liked the "City of Falling Angels!" And I loved, loved "A Thousand Splendid Suns." Fortunately, I read it at home, because I reacted the same way--waterfalls!