Italy on the Weekend

This weekend was awesome. Ohmygoodness. Where to begin.

I had my first class on Friday. It’s Elementary Italian I, and there are only three people in it. It’s really nice having such a small class, actually, because it’s like I’m practically getting tutored ๐Ÿ˜€ The two teachers both seem really cool. They’re patient and are (so far) good at explaining things. I’m going to have the class three days a week for three hours each… I’m really excited to keep learning!

After class we got to tour the top of the Lingotto mall, which used to house the Fiat factory. It was awesome being up there – there’s still the test track they used, along with a private art gallery (home to some Mattise’s, Picasso’s, and a Renoir or two). It was also the media base during the 2006 Olympics in Torino. It felt like we could see the entire city up there!

Here’s the Olympic Arch – the bridge leads to Olympian Village from the mall

I went with my friends Samantha, Katie, and Samuel to the grocery store afterwards to get makings for dinner. While inside, it started raining really hard. We tried to wait the storm out, then gave up and just ran through it to the Metro station. We made dinner together and just talked and got to know each other, which made me happy ๐Ÿ™‚

Saturday was full of great adventures too. We went to a castle in the Piedmont region. Driving through the countryside was absolutely wonderful. It’s really as gorgeous as the Windows backgrounds make it out to be.

I’m still blown away by it. We got to explore the castle, which dates back to the 1400s. I don’t know if I’ve ever been inside an older building. Once we were finished there, we went to our director’s friend’s winery, where we (read: about 40 of us) were treated to a lunch of possibly the best pasta I’ve ever had in my life. It was fettuccine-like (but the noodles were thinner) with a light meat sauce, made with red wine, the wife said, but I couldn’t tell you what more went into it. In any case, saying it was delicious doesn’t even come close to describing the awesomeness. I want to cook like that someday. We also got to try four different kinds of wines, all of which were made there and were exclusive to the region. We had Barolo, which is very expensive back in the states, as well as an Asti dessert wine, which was so so tastyย (I bought a bottle of each to take home – yay!). They were definitely the best wines I’ve ever had, and the trip was worth the very warm, very humid bus ride there.

I would highly recommend tracking down Enrico (left) in the Piedmont region in Italy, getting to know him, and buying as much wine as you possibly can carry from him. He and his wife are amazing chefs as well, and are quite generous.

Once we got back into the city we went to a cafe and had coffee. I had a marocchino, which is definitely the best way to drink coffee. Basically, it’s a shot of espresso and some warm milk in a Nutella-drizzled glass… so good! Sam and Katie and I went to their apartment and worked on homework, narrowly missing the rain this time (and boy, was it a storm! But it made the air absolutely wonderful afterwards ๐Ÿ™‚ ). We had tomatoes (or pomodoros, as they say in Italian), apricots, and bread with oil and vinegar for dinner, which was just the perfect amount.

Today I slept in (eight hours of sleep – woohoo! That’s definitely not the norm for me here – there’s so much to do and see!) and then Sam, Samuel, Katie, and I went to Via Garibaldi, which is full of shops and looks like what I thought Italy would look like. Here, check it out:

I bought a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (er, sorry – Philosopher’s) Stone in Italian today too. I want to read it out loud so I can work on my pronunciation and accent. ๐Ÿ˜€ We went out to dinner tonight and had typical Italian food. I had pasta and meat sauce (ragรบ, it’s called) and we practically had to roll ourselves out the door because we ate so much food. But it was so wonderful.

So yes. That was my weekend. I enjoyed getting to know the city, and I really don’t know if I could have asked for much better ๐Ÿ™‚

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