Well it’s the 24th December here, and even though there’s no snow, it does feel like Christmas! Roberta (Patrick’s Mum) is making my new favourite biscotti in the kitchen (she’s teaching me so I can mass produce them at home!!!) and yesterday Patrick and I decorated the (real) Christmas tree! Tonight we’re going to a Christmas service at the local church, which will be a first for me. In the meantime (have to wait until 12am for the service), here’s what’s been going on!
On Wednesday night we made pizza for dinner (YUM), and Patrick and I helped Roberta with the toppings (we made 3 – tuna and onion, proscuitto and mushroom, and gorganzola and olive paste). Katrin and Bruno came around for dinner and we tried different beers from Austria and Italy. It was really nice and I felt so at home with everyone laughing and joking. Bruno, Katrin and Patrick provided joint translations for me so that I was included in the conversation. I love the way that the family is the centre of life here, and that everything important seems to happen around the kitchen table.
Yesterday, after a failed attempt on Wednesday, we went to see the bell of Rovereto, which is the largest working bell in the world. It was made from the canons of World War One melted down in a wish for peace. The weather has been a bit uncooperative (it has rained every day since I arrived,), so you couldn’t see the town through the clouds, but Patrick assures me that it’s there!
We then went to meet Valentina at the Mart (Modern Art Museum) which seems to be famous across the country for its architecture. Valentina’s Dad is somehow involved with the gallery (Patrick jokes that he’s the boss) so we got in for free and saw a exhibition of sculpted, angular heads by an Italian artist who worked in Paris. I still find it hard to appreciate modern art, but it was good to look around before browsing in town a bit and going home for dinner.
After dinner, Patrick, Valentina and I went to the local pub for a drink and to play Jenga. Patrick is quite daring so he ended up toppling the tower the most times, but we had fun. I also tried Marzemino, a local grape variety, for the first time (it was quite nice, but a bit spirity). This morning after something of an ordeal at the post office (I don’t recommend posting parcels from Italy), we had bionde, a custard pastry, for breakfast. I also had the hot chocolate to end all hot chocolates – it was literally like drinking hot, thick chocolate mousse – perfetta!
Today, after lunch at Katrin’s house, Patrick drove us to Lake Garda, the biggest lake in Italy. Not a bad way to spend Christmas Eve! The Lake is surrounded by stunning mountains, and the view is just spectacular. I took sooooo many pictures! We even had 2 white swans come up close for their portrait shots!
I think that’s about it so far. I’m picking up bits and pieces of Italian, much to Patrick’s amusement. The bit of Spanish that I know is really useful, especially when it comes to numbers and adjectives, but I’m trying to learn some local phrases too. Anyway, to everyone at home, I hope that you have a Merry Christmas and lots of love from this part of the world! Buon Natale! xox