This was a fulfilling, full of fun week! We began with Loren having a day of rest, because, he preferred not to join me in going to the city to do laundry. I call it my “Adventure in Acqui Terme Day.” I went there by car with il ragazzo (the young man) from Podere La Rossa, then was on my own to hunt for the laundromat. The one recommended was no longer in business, and the other on my tourist map was also not in operation, which brought me to seek out the Grand Hotel Nuove. Fortunately the front desk helped me find one. They also recommended a place to have my hair cut, once the laundry finished.
It felt quite the accomplishment to navigate with my minimal Italian for the lavanderia, una cafe (coffee), take away insalata pranzo (salad lunch to go), and especially with the hair dresser of Chinese birth who spoke no English. Coincidentally I met due ragazze da Morsasco, (two young women who live in Morsasco), at the shop where I bought my salad, who knew our cousins. That evening Loren and I had another great afternoon visit with cousins, followed by a divertiti (fun) pizza dinner in Acqui Terme.
Loren and I also visited the Morsasco cimiterio (cemetery). We were touched to find some of the family members names who we have talked about in exploring how we are all related. Then we walked to the original family home: Cascina Tomelotto in dialetto, or Casa di Tomelotto in Italiano, before we had a good hike to and from the nearby village of Prasco. Afterwards we had another fun evening with our American friends and their houseguest, first at their home, then for dinner at La Vetta restaurant in Cremolino.
It was a final, nice visit in Morsasco for pranzo (lunch) with our cousins, before leaving for the Aqui Terme train station, where we were able to meet a special friend, and say our farewells.
The train brought us through Alessandria to Asti, to see paternal side cousins. In addition to admiring their lush gardens and vineyard, and, having delicious home prepared meals, we drove one day to Cosombrato, the nearby village where Loren’s grandfather was born, and, another to see the impressive modern Salesian cathedral in tribute to its inspired founder, Don John Bosco. I would include more personal photos except it is in regard and respect of this side cousins’ wishes to not include their photograph online.
Before we knew it our brief yet memorable visit was coming to an end. At the Asti train station our cousin translated the Italian words for “All roads lead to Rome,” as “Tutti di via porto a Roma,” or “Tutti di strada porto a Roma.” What I have also noticed this week is how many cities, towns and villages have tribute roads to such figures as Vittorio Emanuele, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Antonio Gramsci and others, which is similar to how US towns and cities have roads honoring Presidents like Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Lincoln, McKinley, Roosevelt, and Kennedy, for example, as well as important figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., among others. It is still hard to imagine that Italy became a united country nearly 100 years after the US won her independence from Britain… which contributes to how much dialetto is still spoken in each Italian village.
This time the train brought us to Caldonazzo, to visit with friends. We said our first hellos to the newest member of the family over dinner. The next morning we joined in on the family mountain hunt for cinghiale – what we call boar, and camoscio – a local deer-like animal. Loren suggested that these friends, “Viva per cinghiale,” meaning that they live for the wild pig, but, their response was, “No! Cinghiale vive per mi!” with a chuckle.
That afternoon, we went to Borgo Valsugana to see ArteSella – art in nature, which is an impressive, open-air style art museum. I found a few circular pieces of special interest. On the way home we met the mother of a special friend, who advises pensa positivo, or think positive in English. That evening we met a cousin of the family who is also a hunter, with his special friend.
The next day we drove to Lago di Tovel, stopped for coffee, then walked the giro, or tour, but perhaps path is a better translation, around the stunning lake.
Now Loren and I are visiting again with our dear friends in Verona and two of their three wonderful children and their special friends. The oldest child joined us by video as he and his special friend are living and working on research in Toronto. With fun and stimulating conversations over delicious meals and a good long walk one day from Bardolino to Garda with another friend, we relish in this special friendship. While Loren continues to expand his Italian skills. I am learning to understand a little better…
Thank you to all our family and friends who have invited us into your homes and shared your lives with us with laughter and love. Those here in Italy, just as our dear ones in the US and other places in the world, you are each so beautiful and we love you. Loren and I treasure our time together, everyone, everywhere!