Today, as always, we let ourselves sleep in. Our normal school routine includes the subjects of Spanish, Math, and Reading. Some days we focus on one subject more than the others. Other times we read about history or science, and add to our growing history journal. We do writing exercises and write these blogs as the writing part of our school. Yesterday (see Kieran’s blog), we went up to the farm and did some scientific analysis and prediction on time, and then we graphed the variables to create a formula of Time vs Distance.
Luke and Cole (Colleen’s boys) start school earlier than us, at about 8:00am, and then on Mondays and Wednesdays they get back from school at 4:00. All the other non weekend days they get out at 12:00pm, and then have homework that is due the next day. Some days we work less, while some more. Luke and Cole have a fixed amount every week, while we can make up for the days that we don’t work very much by doing more school on other days. Our school times are a bit unpredictable, but we get what we need to get done. It’s just that when we finish what we needed to do that day, we stop. We do school when we need to, and in some cases it’s actually better learning. We get what we need to get done each day, which does let us have the freedom to sleep in.
After waking up and having breakfast (probably after Luke and Cole already started their school day), we started our school day. We got all the math and studying that we needed to get done, so we could have time for other things later today. We had a plan made for the day. Italian school kids live here, so they study the stuff that you need to know about the world. We weren’t just here to live with Colleen and her family and do schoolwork in our house, we were going to get out and take a look at northern Italy. That’s part of the beauty of this trip. We get to see the world! We were going to take a hike through an Italian landscape, in the foothills of the Dolomites.
We drove with Colleen (Luke and Cole were at school) up and over the hills, up the windiest road imaginable, past ristorantes (restaurants), up to the top, and to the start of the hike. And so we began.
It felt like something out of a book. We walked past rows and rows of trees, piles and piles of brown leaves crunching underfoot. The whole ground was covered with leaves, and I couldn’t even step anywhere where I wouldn’t hear that loud CRUNCH! It was actually hard to hear each other over the crunching of the leaves that we repeatedly tread over. Otherwise, the whole thing was magical. I could hear birds chirping as we walked past hills and rocks. Some of the rocks looked like the little trolls in Frozen, all curled up, kind of this whitish-gray color, with cloaks of moss flung over their shoulders. We hiked about 1 mile through the forest. In the winter it would snow, and people would sled and ski down the runs here. I guess the whole area kind of felt like Snoqualmie. I could imagine the place full of sledders, skiers, and snowboarders in the Winter.
We hiked until we came to a big opening at the top of a hill, and we spent time there, playing and eating bread and cheese that we had got from a farm on our drive here. Colleen gets a lot of her cheese there. They serve cheese and butter, and other dairy products out of a vending machine. Can you believe it!? In America, vending machines will serve you Cheetos, Doritos, or candy. Here, we got our cheese out of a vending machine! If you just happen to be passing by, you can walk up to the vending machine outside the building and grab some 12-month aged cheese for 5 euros. That’s what we did.
At the top, it was almost as windy as on the top of Ait Benhaddou, and we had to leave before too long. All I can say is that it felt like fantasy, a magical forest that yielded many secrets. It was a magical adventure, hiking in those woods. As I walked through the woods on our way back, the path looked way different than when we were going the other way. It was windy up there, and the leaves had maybe blown over some parts and left other open. That’s why it looked different.
Back at the house, we waited until Luke and Cole got home. We were going to get gelato. Italian gelato is supposed to be amazing. We had a little last night, and we were going to walk to Polcenigo, a town that is a little over a kilometer away. I was so excited! We were going to a very popular gelato place in Polcenigo. We all walked, and talked until we finally arrived on the street that had g-e-l-a-t-o.
We walked inside to be greeted by a host of flavors. There was chocolate, chocolate-pear, pumpkin, black cherry, apple pie, and a boatload of others. I got apple pie and chocolate pear. I never in my life had tasted such unique flavors, or such good ice cream! The bites were so flavorful, and I savored every last one. I didn’t miss even a single drop of ice cream. It was a wonderful experience.
The rest of our day included dinner.
I love being in Italy. Each day is so precious, and we have fun wherever we go!
Below: Pictures from the hike
Below: Beautiful flower we found
Below: View down into the clearing (that’s me!)