08.06.2010 - 15.06.2010 30 °C
The farm Stay in the South of Italy was meant to be my home for only four nights. But with its 4 euro bottles of wine, home cooked meals three times a day and the awesome hammock on the balcony where I could read my book, I ended up staying a full week. This meant I missed out on seeing Pompei and Rome, but hey, they will always be there.
On my first day I did a 8 hour hike through the National Park near the farm. The scenery was wonderful, and I even spent about 45 minutes at one point just sitting and looking out across the mountains and trees while listening to the water. Then I remembered Italy had bears and freaked myself to the point I kept looking over my shoulder (yeah I am an idiot). About as relaxing as watching a horror movie while hiding behind the couch but. I had a hand drawn map that told me how to get to a waterfall in the park. Combine this excellent map with instructions such as go past the paddock with the horses that are sometimes there and go around the large rock in an area full of rocks that could be described as large with a complete lack of a path, I never actually made it to the waterfall. But it was worth the effort anyway. And what better to come back to than an Italian home cooked meal with home made wine and good company, followed by a very sound nights sleep. Possibly because of the wine more than the hike. Just possibly.
While I was at this farm Stay I went horse riding twice at a western ranch not far from the farm. I also spent one morning helping one of the volunteers, Katie, and Giuseppe on the farm. Giuseppe was in on of the paddocks pulling down trees that were casting too much shade over the orchard. Rather than going up to the top of the tree with the chain saw and cutting the tree down bit by bit like you would in Australia, Giuseppe decided the best way to bring the trees down was the pure Italian way, attach a chain to the bottom of the tree and pull it over with a tractor while someone cut away with the chain saw. These were not small trees, but he managed to do it. It was great watching this 60 year old man work, he worked harder and better than most 30 year olds I know. Only problem with this way of pulling the trees down was that half the trees in the orchard were destroyed either by the tractor running over them or from trees falling over on them. But at least there was no shade. I was too busy sitting on the tractor with Katie as Giuseppe pulled the trees (as in whole tress) through the creek into the next paddock while giving us Italian lessons to worry to much about it but.
On what was meant to be my last day at the farm I decided (as normal right at the last minute) that I did not want to leave the farm. Instead I decided I wanted to do the para-glide near the National Park. The Farm Stay owner Antonello rang the guy who did the para-gliding who was already up on the hill who said if I got on the next train (in ten minutes) that I could do the gliding that day. That meant we had to jump into the car straight away to do the fifteen minute drive to the train station with no chance to organise myself. Luckily I had not packed my shoes but instead tied them to by backpack as I normally pack them at the bottom. I may be Aussie, but jumping in thongs did not sound like the brightest idea. We raced off to the train station and Antonello left me at the train station in case my train turned up while he went to get my ticket. I realised I did not know where to get off the train so I ran after him. He was running back at this stage and yelled at me to ask me what I was doing. So I yelled back telling him he had not told me what my stop was. Still yelling I got the answer 'Cassino!!'. Then he thought for a second and said 'oh yeah, good question'. Once I was on the train that was when Antonello chose to tell me I had to swap trains to get to Cassino. I asked where and he kept yelling Cassino. Now if you have a really good memory you will know this was my final destination, so probably not where I was meant to change trains. In the confusion I tried to get off the train only to be pushed back on! After I had time to process all of this and to find out from the driver what the hell was going on, I did find it all pretty funny. The things that happen when you travel! The even funnier thing was that I was not able to do the para-gliding as the wind did not go in the right direction. I managed to do the jump a few days later with Katie and it was incredible. And the build up to it a little less stressful. It is an amazingly peaceful way to see the scenery.
I am glad I made the decision to stay at the Farm Stay. I have been looking forward to seeing Pompei ever since I learnt about it as a child. I do actually remember sitting in the class room learning about the volcano and thinking I will see this one day. But I had reached the point where I was not getting the same enjoyment out of site seeing that I had at the beginning of my holiday. The idea of packing up my stiff again and getting myself to Pompei and Rome was actually kind of depressing. As soon as I decided to skip all of this I felt so much better, I got my energy back and was looking forward to the rest of my holiday again. Bring on Canada