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Published: April 18th 2010
For Easter, I finally got a chance to go visit my relatives in San Valentino in Abruzzo Italy, a tiny town in the Appenini mountains in central Italy where my mom was born (Travelblog does not actually have this town listed...showing how small it is). Well, its an absolutely beautiful medieval town that has amazing views wherever you were. Of course, i didnt get there till 10 at night on Thursday because i had a class until 2, and the next available train i could legitimately make wasn't till 5:30--so four hours later i get to Pescara, and then 25 minutes after that arrive in San Valentino.
Brief interlude before i get on to describing my weekend, I took an IC (intercity) train for the first time, which pretty much look like harry potter trains and are really cool. there is a hallway that leads to little private cabins that seat 6 people. It was a really cool way to travel--the US should get to work on its train system because Europe's kicks its ass.
I was lucky enough that my trip to San Valentino overlapped with two of my cousins visiting from the US--Taylor and Jessica. It was
Taylor's (who was actually my first cousin) first trip to Italy, going with Jessica to visit Jess's grandparents and seeing where our family is from. Thursday night we didnt do much--given the fact that it was 10 at night. So after eating a wonderfully gigantic meal and catching up with my cousins, it was time for bed.
The next morning was beautiful and sunny and clear--and you could see all the mountains, which are absolutely beautiful. After lunch Jess, Taylor and I take a walk to the center of town to see everything and (mostly) to get gelato. San Valentino has this crazy good gelateria in the main piazza and even though the natives thought we were crazy for getting gelato (this weather was cold for them--it was like 55 or 60--not cold), we greatly enjoyed it. my favorite flavor is stracciatella, which is the italian version of chocolate chip but its better. Of course, we decide to walk around town during the italian version of siesta--a three hour break for lunch that often includes a nap (i love italy), so nothing at all was open except the gelateria and the bar, so we walked around a little more
before going back up (I literally mean up...Zio Rocco's house is at the top of the city) to the house.
That night (Good Friday) was the procession from the Church all the way down to the piazza and then back again. I had never seem a procession, and neither had Taylor, so we were pretty excited. It was a reenactment of Jesus's funeral procession after his death on Good Friday, which is something that never happens in the US, so it was really interesting to see. They had a coffin with a statue of Jesus in it, as well as statues representing all the women at his funeral, including Mary, that were carried around. Life-size wooden crosses were carried by men throughout the town to symbolize how Jesus had to carry his own cross. It was very interesting and really cool to see.
Saturday, taylor and I met up with our great-uncle Bruno (our grandfather's youngest brother) and went to Bussi--a nearby town--where our grandfather's sister lived with her family. we had a giant lunch--pasta and then steaks that filled the entire plates (taylor, by the far the TINIEST had by far the largest steak), and then salad
with mozzarella and then fruit and tons and tons of dessert. the table just kept getting filled with more food and scooped onto taylor and my plates. i got to practice my italian, which was really fun (since everyone i'm staying with in San Valentino speak english far better than i speak italian).
Needless to say, dinner that night was NOT necessary.
Bruno took us to San Giovanni, a small neighborhood outside of San Valentino, and showed us the house (well, what was left of it) where my mom was born and the hotel that was right near there (with horses), before taking us to his house, which is where my grandfather had grown up. This was Taylor's first time seeing it, which was really cool. After giving us a tour of the house and me and taylor taking a bunch of photos, he showed us this old FIAT 500 that he was restoring and took us even more around San Giovanni--we went to a farm with cows and pigs (it was a dairy farm, he promised us)--before hanging out at his house and looking at old family photos that neither of us had really seen.
night was Easter mass (two hours of mass in italian from 10 to midnight), but it was interesting. I understood a good amount of it, which was cool. and there were booklets to follow along best you could, i just couldn't say all the prayers--i knew them in english, just not in italian. Not necessarily how i had hoped to spend saturday night, although given that it was easter weekend, there wasn't really a choice. and it was interesting, so that was good.
Easter was the next day = AMAZING food 😊 And a lot of it. There was 1 Antipasto, 2 Primi, 2 Secondi + Contorni (side dishes), Salad, Fruit, and Dessert. The menu was actually: platter of antipasto meat (mortadella, proscuitto, salami, et cetera); white lasagna and spaghetti alla chitarra with sauce for the two primis; lamb and chicken; and then the salad, fruit and dessert. soooo much food, but it was excellent and extremely yummy.
The next day I had to leave to go back to Bologna--ECCO only gave us Monday off (by the way, Easter Monday is actually a holiday in Italy--why doesnt the US have more holidays)--and so everyone took me to the
train station to wave goodbye. It was a great trip, I was sad to see it end, but its hard to say its bad to be back in Bologna (except realizing that i had no real food...and no store was open because it was, in fact, a holiday and everything closes here on holidays...more pasta with oil). But excellent visit, very relaxing and wonderful
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