Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Italy Part One: Ventimiglia

Started my trip to Italy with 4 days at the eco-village of Torri Superiore, near Ventimiglia, Italy. After hours of flying, then taking a train for 6 hours (which should have been 4 hours), then arriving in Ventimiglia too late to catch the necessary bus to the town of Torri, then finding a hotel to sleep for the night...I celebrated my birthday...finally. At 11pm on June 12th, I had my dinner of Gnocchi and pesto and a large glass of red wine! The next morning, I catch the first bus to Torri and arrive to an amazing, old, restored village where 10 families live and many visitors come to relax, learn, study, work and enjoy the surrounding area.

For me, I sat and relaxed. There is a beautiful and clean, cool river that runs just below the town. Every afternoon, I would head down there and take a swim in the river. This river is amazing...there are big rocks where you could jump off and into the water. The water was clear and deep. Fish everywhere and big frogs that you can hear at night. I would swim upstream, past one small cascade, then continue up to the next cascade and then swim through this small canyon wall until I reach the final cascade. Then, I would sit back and float downstream. Until I hit a rock, or the water calmed enough for me to get out and dry off on the big rocks. I did this every day...for 3 days. Beautiful.

The meals are communal, so we all eat together at 1pm, then again at 8pm. We sit and talk and get to know a bit of how our lives are outside of this place. Lucky for me, it has been easy to meet people, so far. My Italian is less than good (its pretty rotten, actually). So, Ive been able to talk in Spanish and they respond mostly in Italian. Its a good understanding we have!

The food is mostly vegetarian and produced from the nearby farms or the small garden that Torri has. The surrounding area of Torri has over 3,000 olive trees, which have been cultivated for hundreds of years. Now, about half produce fruit. Everything here is terraced, so you can see olive trees all along the mountains, and, in the mornings, its shrouded by fog.

Its a good way to integrate myself into this country. Meeting and seeing people in the North and how they are, their accents, their language. There is a French air about the North, the italian accent is different than I know, but the people are nice and helpful...which, to me, is important!!

River in Torri

Farmers Market in Ventimiglia

France - Italian border

Village of Torri Superiore

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