Monthly Archives: November 2015

No Room at the Inn (Part III)

NRI3Far across the universe — in this still moment in time. Hours stood still. On the third night of our stay, in our stay in the Inn, in Cuneo, because there was no room for us in Paris. We were hungry after a day of grandma visits, driving in the snow and dance party ice skating. The stars are out and it is time for dinner again. And in fact, it is my birthday. I took a short moment of personal time. I went into our room to change into dinner clothes and took a short moment of silence for myself to regroup.

I went outside and crossed the few feet from the Inn, past the barn, to the restaurant. There were more people there than what we started off with. There was a long table covered in cloth with two rows of plates on either side. A party was waiting for us. Not because it was my birthday but because it was the day after Christmas. The room just looked so beautiful and there my Poinsettia was standing to the side of the  welcoming counter. And so, there was a group of people. a good group, about ten or twelve. Before we sat down we had a ‘Cocktail hour” if you will. We had some wine and mingled with the other guests. Batti, the owner of the Inn, bed and breakfast and barn asked “How is your cold?” In Italian, remember the cold I had the day before? Daniel translated to me what he said and I smiled and said ah much better after the medicine, thank you. Batti smiled and held a plate of food in front of me. He said have some, it will make your cold better, in Italian. Daniel translated that to me again. The food looked like cheese. I was like okay, (I don’t know how cheese will make my cold feel better) but I listened and took a slice. And it did help me feel better. But they smiled and chuckled, something was said in Italian. I smiled and nodded as if I knew what they were saying, and then I said ‘What?’ What was it you ask? It was lard!! so gross. I wouldn’t have eaten it had I known. But I ate it, and it actually did kind of taste good. They eat that, like a normal thing to eat in Italy. So ha ha ha we all laughed that I ate lard.

We found our seats near the end of the table and dinner is served. Like I said, there is a good crowd. The seat was filled to the left of me, Ethan and Daniel sat across from me, a girl from Malta was to the right of me, and her boyfriend, and then there was another girl, with this crazy awesome accent. She was like trained in French, Italian, British and a few other languages and her accent reflected all. She had her own unique accent. Her father was the city mayor who in fact ate with us too. And that girls boyfriend was there and the mayors wife was there and a few bunch of other people. And we had wine and dinner and regalled each other with tales, to me it felt pretty cool that I got to have the day after Christmas dinner with the mayor and his family.

Then, THEN, the lights were turned off, a cake with candles was brought out and everyone began to sing ‘Boun Compleanno’ and the cake was placed in front of me! And the town mayor was singing, to me! and I was so touched. “How old are you?” Ethan asked me in English. Venti Sei, I said.


A rendering of the Italian restaurant. Color sketches to be added in the future.

On December 27th it was our last day in Cuneo, and a beautiful day. Hours before this day there was  snow fall. Layers and layers of snow. On this day the sun was shining bright against the white snow. The day air was bright. It was fresh and cool, kind of like the environment you feel when you are skiing. The sky is blue and the ground is white and the air is fresh and you hear a crunch crunch crunch everywhere you step.

Hop in the truck! We are going hiking! Andiamo! Lets go! And we’re off. First stop, off to the nearby family to pick up some hiking clothes. My boots were not made for hiking. I borrowed guys boots that were a little to big, but they worked and someone else’s bright red winter coat. Next stop, the mountain.

Away we go, Daniel, Ethan our friend from Malta, her boyfriend and the mayors daughter and her boyfriend, and the dog came with us. And march! To the top of the mountain we went. Everything along the way was white, the ground, the trees, the branches, the signs, the benches, the rocks, the river. If it wasn’t white, it was an icicle. Please view the pictures below for a better idea. Ethan leading the way! Over the river and through snow, our midpoint stop, I’m not going to say the top of the mountain, but it was pretty up hill. At this up hill rest stop was a cabin in the woods. We walked in, sat down, and then we had polenta and Vin Brûlée and rested. And then the Journey was over and we walked back to our car.

And so this was our last day of our stay in the Inn. Time would not allow us to stay any longer for we had to go back home to regroup of our next journey.

As you can see below are some pictures of this day. You can see how truly pure the afternoon truly is.

When I got home after my Italian Journey I told my mother about the story. And she told me “That sounds like the story of ‘No Room at the Inn!'”




No Room at the Inn (Part II)

NRI2And so.. Swimming in the night, over and through the stars well into the morning and eccchhhhhhhheeeeeggm, I woke up Christmas morning with a scratchy throat. I stayed in bed.

Word spread and Batti called me downstairs. He gave me an over the counter medicine that was powder. The powder liquifies when water is added to it. The drink was a minty flavor with medicine too powerful to be sold in United States but powerful enough to blast through the phlegm in just a short amount of time and safely bring me to health in Italy. I took a nap while my friends went to visit family in town for a Christmas lunch. Batti stayed next door hosting the restaurant and told me if I wake up I am welcome to come down, I wanted to, but I felt shy, so I didn’t.

So — eeeeeeecccccchhhhhggggggghhh the phlegm broke through, I jumped out of bed and got dressed. I was picked up and greeted with a huge English hello by Ethan’s girlfriend and the five of us drove to a local Italian bar and spent the evening there with other Italian friends from the town.

And then we went back to the Inn and slept for the night; nothing too exciting. In the morning we went to another coffee place. You never run out of coffee places in Italy. So we went to one, and my throat was still a little scratchy and not ready for coffee. I will tell you what I had. The Barista had unlimited oranges on the marble bar top and she made me FRESH SQUEEZED ORANGE JUICE! so delicious. And guess what else today is. It is December 26th. my birthday! Ethan and Daniel planned to visit their Grandma and took us along with them. She lived in an apartment/house that was built in like the 1600’s. Ciao! Ciao! Comè stai!? aaah bennne!! e tù? aaaah molto bene!!! Grazzzie! We went inside and, I don’t know she was so warm and loving. I didn’t take any pictures of her beautiful home because I didn’t think it was appropriate to take pictures of the inside of her house.  She had made fresh home made spaghetti; it was on the counter ready to be boiled and she had orange peels on the stove simmering filling the air throughout the house with the smell of orange. Now — I will tell you I can not figure out how she did this. I have tried to repeat this natural orange air technique on my own and the peels always burn. If you know how, totally comment and let me know. She had the orange peels bare on the stove top.. not in anything, no water no oil, nothing. I don’t know how she did it. She was chatting up a storm in italian, Daniel and Ethan knew what she was saying. The time was so nice… I wasn’t home, but with this family I was home. Italian’s are great for making you feel that way. She served us the pasta with her very own Bolognese sauce and served us Panettone cake for dessart. She had like a classic tv with knobs and antennas. After we ate she showed us around her home. I kind of wanted to stay there for a long time. But we had places to be and people to see.

Alas, adventure awaits and guess what. It’s snowing! Ethan had the perfect car for snow. It could plow right through, but it wasn’t a snow plow truck. just a truck. Ethan said what do you want to do? And I said I want to go dancing. It was the middle of the afternoon. I didn’t think we’d actually go dancing. I just said it. But I guess a light bulb struck Ethan and he drove us around and we parked. Guess what we did. We went ice skating and skated to music. So it was pretty much like dancing. The thoughtfulness of the idea is beautiful. So we skated, and then it was snowing pretty heavy and we drove around for a while in the snow touring the woodland neighborhood. The area wasn’t your average Long Island suburb. It was more like a mountain town.

I think I mentioned this day is my birthday. When we arrived back to the Inn we were once hungry again.

And I will continue on with my story in Part III. Below are some pictures that I took on this day. You can see pictures of me in front of the Inn, Ethan chasing his dogs, a horse in the barn (did I mention they have a barn?) and some photo’s that I snapped on our drive through the storm. Oh yeah and me on the day time dance party Ice Skating rink!

Thanks for reading! Look forward to Part III coming soon! 🙂





HoranItaly_2410HoranItaly_2416 HoranItaly_2417 HoranItaly_2418 HoranItaly_2419 HoranItaly_2420 HoranItaly_2421


HoranItaly_2428 HoranItaly_2439 HoranItaly_2440 HoranItaly_2443