Today is Day One at Cascina Barac. Well technically, day two because I arrived last night at about 8 pm.
First off, I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful it was to check into my room last night. I had been travelling all day. I left Paris at 10:40am and took the train from Gare de Lyon to Turin (Torino - 5 hours), then waited until 7:30 (because it was Sunday and the trains run every two hours on Sundays; silly me) to take the train from Bra to Alba. Also, compound this with my not-so-great-stay in Paris (no hot water, no towels, mosquitos and a bed up a rickety ladder into a loft). All I wanted was a hot shower and a good night's sleep.
Cascina Barac has been so welcoming from the beginning. The hostess has been wonderful. I speak less Italian than she does English, but we laugh and muddle through and somehow it's all okay. Once I had checked in, I had a hot shower like nobody's business, made myself a pot of tea, sat and unwound from the day of travelling,climbed into bed and slept until the morning.
You have to also understand that I had not had a hot cup of tea in six days. Six whole days. This is most likely a record for me. It is amazing that when you finally get to have that hot shower and hot cup of tea, how your very soul rejoices. It doesn't matter what happens after that point. You are restored and ready to take on whatever comes next.
Speaking of next, the next morning I woke and went down for breakfast. Again, not something I had been able to linger over for a few days. While grabbing a pain au chocolat on the way to the Metro had it's charm, enjoying a long luxurious breakfast was indeed a treat. Cascina Barac puts out an outstanding assortment of cheeses, meats, breads, jams, yogurts and cereals each morning, and the ladies are quick to replenish anything that is getting low, or to bring you anything you wish; such as hot water for tea or an espresso.
After a hearty breakfast, I took my camera and decided to wander into the vineyard. There, I met up with Albino (pronounced AL-BEE-NO), who greeted me with a warm "Hello! How are YOU??". He is extremely charming and we had a wonderful stroll and chat about Nebbiolo grapes, the season, the harvest and the differences between wine production in Canada
versus Italy (of which there are many).
Leaving Albino, I wandered down a trail a bit by myself, then returned to the Cascina for a nap. I found my electric outlet converter that worked in Paris did not fit here in Italy. No fear. My hostess once again was very accommodating and had just the thing for me by way of an outlet adapter.
As it had been a busy 24 hours since arriving, I decided to take the afternoon to write, sketch, and catch up with people back home. It will be an early night tonight, because I want to be sure to get a full day in of hiking in the local hills tomorrow.
So for now I will say "buonasera" and "buona salute".