No Room at the Inn, Part I

NRI1And so… on this holiday excursion that I have described some pages ago (in From Lemons to Lemonade: Fighting for an Adventure); I must remind you that it is the season of snow. From the winter moon of mid December to mid January. At this time, Christmas is in the air and might I add to you, my birthday too.

READ | From Lemons to Lemonade: Fighting for an Adventure

The trip was full of many adventures. One story at time. I regaled you with my my ski trip, and now to present to you, my story, of my stay at the inn, in print — before it fades away.

A recap if you will — in December of 2010 I was blessed with the opportunity to visit Torino, Italy. On this trip we pursued many excursions. The Torino lifestyle is totally different than that of Long Island, New York. So everywhere we stepped foot, was a great site to see, whether next door to the local grocery market, or one of the many shopping squares, where there were beautiful lights. And this one in particular, a man playing piano in one of the windows of the song ‘Hallelujah’ in Italian.

And on this story the scene takes place in Cuneo, Italy. It was holiday break. It was mid December to mid January. It was cold. The space was quiet, most of the students in the neighboring apartments had gone back home to be with their loved ones. It was just us and a trickled few. We had Gurkon (from Turkey) and Vincent (from France, right on the border of Belgium) and Daniel from a Southern U.S. state.

Gurkon was with us for a little bit in the beginning. I carried on the plane, some toys from the U.S. to give to his son. Gurkon kept oranges on the porch outside his room to keep them fresh and cold, love that idea. Gurkon also had long hair and a super powerful hair dryer and he was super generous. He wanted me to have his amazing super powerful hair dryer but It would’ve blown up my American outlets so I didn’t keep it. Thank you Gurkon for your offer. Gurkon stayed for a few days but went home to his wife and kids just in time before the Holidays.

There was Vincent. Vincent was like a micro computer person. He was studying how to do all of those micro things people do with computers. Vincent was French but kind of Belgium too. He had this small tiny car that yet had room for 5 full people; it could fly in and out of traffic. He in fact picked me up from the airport with this car. He stayed around with us and straggled until the last minute and then left to visit his family.

And then there was Daniel. Daniel was super tall and he had long blonde hair and was super nice. He introduced me to gelato with cookies, so good. Daniel is American and had family a train ride away in Cuneo.. He stayed for a little bit and went back to Cuneo just before Christmas.

Now what about me? You ask… Well our plans are to go to Paris, passionate place. Boy could I not wait to see the the holiday set up they had.  On Christmas eve morning, it was time for our flight. We woke up early, hopped in a cab and were on our way. Making it through the airport chaos you can imagine during this time. We look up at the flight board and blink. We blink again and again and again. and What!!! How can this be true! Tears welled up in my eyes, our flight and all outgoing flights to the Charles Degualle airport were — what??!! cancelled!!! I was so sad. What do we do now?? So now I am far away from my family, I can not see my munchkin niece and nephew on Christmas and we have to go back and spend Christmas in the smelly apartment. They didn’t even supply adequate amount of water for the toilette. Yes, I’m not kidding.. the water supply was like a quarter high into the toilette. so gross.

So, sadly, we headed back. Crammed into this bus with like an inch of space per person. So back in the apartment. What are we going to do now? And to boot, the hotel in France will not return our deposit. Well Daniel is not too far.. maybe we can visit him. And we thought technology was limited in Torino, talk about in the Cuneo mountains! Boy, I’ll tell ya.. these things don’t come easy. It was impossible to get a hold of him. So one person made call after call, and what was I doing while they were calling Daniel. I went across the street to the other local supermarket to get a gift to bring to the host – just incase they have room for us. I don’t know who these people are. I picked up a plant. I found a Poinsettia and thought well maybe this will be nice. When I got back to the apartment with the plant we were all good. Well okay, so we aren’t going to Paris, but at least we’ll have the warmth of family.

My goodness… We couldn’t get to Paris but boy was this a blessing. We grabbed our bags and my Poinsettia and we were off. We got our tickets. I forgot I was in an Italian speaking country and blurted to the conductor, (is this the train going to Cuneo?) She looked up in shock like “I haven’t heard that one before” and nodded her head yes. So I guess she understood, I think, I hope she did because we listened to her nod. We squished on the train. It was like a four hour train ride. I guarded the plant with my life. A person sat across from me. You better not knock my plant over biotch. This is a special gift. And I’m gonna say, lets say the train ride was accurately 4 hours… we listened to a man singing in what sounded to me like a 3 hour and 45 minute (i’m gonna say what sounded muslim) prayer… the entirrrrrrrrre ride. But it was nice. And I had a window seat. The scenery was nice too.

Park the train, we are here! And look! There is Daniel with his cousin Ethan down the hill on the road in a pick up truck! Here to pick us up!! Yaaaay for warm Italian family!! and off we go.

This trip was a beautiful miracle.

The family could not have been more generous. The night we got there, (Yes it was dark by the time we got there after all has been said and done) I gave the father, Batti, the Poinsettia. He said Grazie. Ethan and Daniel took us to the local pizzeria where we ate delicious pizza (my fave). And the people spoke Italian, obviously. So it was an authentic pizzeria. So good. And then we went back to where we were staying. You see Ethan and his father run a bed and breakfast. So they had their cabin where they lived (and let us sleep) and then right next door, the cabin where they had a restaurant. So after we had pizza we waited like an hour or so, and then we had a full multi course dinner with like antipasti, fish, wine, etc….

And then we settled in, in the Inn, I called home and said hi to my niece and nephew and family while the family was over my parents for Christmas eve. I cried a little because I missed them.

I suppose really it wouldn’t have been that bad to spend Christmas back in the apartment. Looking back.. I mean just being there would have been enough.. but we don’t always see these things in the heat of a moment.

These are all of the pictures that I have of my story so far. I have them posted below. There is a picture of the town square where I heard the man playing piano and singing ‘Hallelujah” and some photos of the town of Cuneo up to my first night (where I am ending this post). I would’ve taken more If I knew I would be taking them for viewers!

Stay tuned for No Room at the Inn, Part II!

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This is a statue in one of the town squares.

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This is the castle of Piazza Castello in one of the Turin squares.

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This is the square where we heard the man playing piano and singing to the song ‘Hallelujah’

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This is a water fountain on the street that constantly streams water. Except they didn’t have enough water for the toilets.. Even in winter. Do you see, there is some ice on the floor?

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This is a sign on the train.

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This is one of the cobblestone roads in the village of Cuneo

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This is a manger set up in the village of Cuneo.

I also installed a video of Hallelujah for you sung by Jeff Buckley. There are so many versions but this one is my fave. I invite you to watch!

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