So for those of you who don't know, one of the main reasons for coming here to Italy was to take part in this exchange program. I am staying with this gorgeous family for three weeks while I explore the Trentino area that I have originated from with about 22 others from all over the world. It is an amazing opportunity and something that not everyone would get to experience from just the usual trip to Italy!
Part of this experience involved us all getting together every 4 days or so to visit historical places in the area and learn about and experience them first hand. Our first tour took place yesterday and after settling in so well with Anna and her family and friends I was reluctant to go to and spend the day with 22 people who predominantly spoke Spanish on a BUS!
So I started the day waking up at 6.30 to make it to into the 7.30 bus into Trento. It takes an hour and a half by BUS just to get into Trento where we were meeting the rest of the group to start the tour at 9.30. So already I started the day 3 hours before our tour even BEGAN!
We hop on the BUS- now for any of you who do not know me at all, I HATE PUBLIC TRANSPORT!!! It's terrible. I just want to drive myself places! So I'm on this BUS and we have to travel nearly 2 hours to get up to Valle de Fiemme. When we finally get there a couple of us are busting for the toilet so we tell Antonella, the organiser, where we are going. When we get out they are nowhere to be seen and we have to search all over this giant park to find them at this old church! It was pretty amazing inside with huge pieces of artwork and amazing detail. We had an english translator there to let us know what the man was saying about it very briefly.
Jimmy, our translator from America who works as a history teacher and lives in Trentino would explain to us the history of the church. However if the 5 of us weren't standing altogether we would miss what was being said! I turned to Connor, a guy from Las Vegas, and said that really we can just presume what they would be talking about! A lot of the stories had been about the histories of the paintings and the meanings behind them. Some were virgins who had been good and the ones that didnt bring oil had the door closed to them- bit suss right?! Others were battles and praise to God etc etc. When we weren't in ear shot we would make our own stories about people being wed by the Virgin Mary but everyone frowning upon it because they were brother and sister, which I'm sure would have been half true!
So we left the church and got BACK in the bus to go another 20 minutes to a village. Here they pointed out a building on the side of the mountain that we were going to TREK to. Let me just repeat that. TREK to the side of the mountain to get lunch. Now for those of you who again don't know me very well, I HATE EXERCISE!!! So we set off up this mountain and its winding path with the promise of Lunch on our minds. When we reached the building Chiara and Breanna cheered us on and we were STOKED! Then one of the girls informed us that actually it was still another FORTY MINUTES UP THE HILL!!! Nooooo.
So Danielle, an 18 year old from Canada, and I put our heads down and kept on up the hill discussing things from boys to uni to our host family to our secret (or in my case, not so secret) love of Taylor Swift. We past one of our least favourite tour person who is from Argentina stopping to have a smoke! Seems to defeat the purpose of walking up a hill, how is he going to breathe! This guy is notoriously a sleeze. In his introduction on Monday he told us about himself and then at the end announced that he was single. Ok mate! We all know what your after! ERGH. But the funny thing is he is staying with a FEMALE HOST! I turned to Anna as soon as he said that and told her that I guarantee he will be hooking up with her by the end of this. And on the bus that morning there he was stroking her hair being all weird. But he's like that with all the girls, its just gross!
So Danielle and I passed him on our way up and were the first people to arrive at our destination (FINALLY- an hour and a half later). Now I was honestly expecting to be greeted with cheers and applause, at LEAST some garlic bread and a nice cold coke when we got there! Instead we stood around wondering where we should go from here and when we would be fed! Finally we were all shown downstairs to be seated. You'd think the point of trekking up a mountain would be to at least enjoy the view while we were there but they shoved us in a dungeon!
So they bring us our bread and water and Chiara, Danielle, Brianna and I get right into it while we wait for our main meals. Round the corner, in comes two mountains of POLENTA. Polenta is a traditional food from the Trentino region that is made from like corn wheat or something and its a bit like having rice in china.. Its got kind of a weird mashed potato cross cous cous texture and like hardly any flavour. Now I know I'm a fussy eater but these days I have honestly just been trying everything. You can't not when you're traveling because that is part of the amazing experience, to try foods you've never had! So the first day I arrived and Annas family took me out to an amazing traditional lunch I tried polenta and didn't eat much but ate these amazing cheesey, bready meatballs that were delicious. I have been enjoying so much of Elenas incredible cooking, even daring to eat crumbed chicken, which would normally be a no-no. Then on Monday we had polenta AGAIN at our tour introduction where I wasn't quite as taken by it and now AGAIN it was coming in BUCKET loads! ALL I wanted was a Pizza or some Pasta- Anything scrumptious as a reward for our climb! Instead we got Polenta, CRUMBED VEAL (easily my least favourite food), some weird stew meat thing and just a plate of mushrooms. It was so random! I mean yes they are foods of the region but really?! No greenery at all, it just didn't go together! So needless to say I was a little disappointed.
So we are eating at this table and we are given pitchers of red wine everyone eating and enjoying the company and the food. Chiara pours herself a glass of red wine and this man, who had a terrible receding hairline, was wearing just over 3/4 length pants, sandals and has gross peeling on the back of this neck, started exclaiming at Chiara that she cant have the wine! He got up out of his seat say no no no no you cant have that- you will get too drunk! Excuse me?! He was onto his second pitcher of wine and he's telling Chiara she will get too drunk. Then he starts saying Rachel (I never told him my name), just like in friends, Rachel. I said yeah I'm basically her. He goes, yes you like Rachel from friends only she…nicer. GAAASP!!! I could NOT BELIEVE he just said that!!! Italian men are meant to be sauve, but this guy... Crazy haha so I turned around and actively ignored him for the rest of the day. Which proved hard when he continually took any opportunity to pat me on the back, or grab my shoulder weirdly. Ergh, I've been trying to explain to Anna the definitely of a creep, and I think he pretty much sums it up :(
So it gets around to 4 oclock and we are still on the top of the mountain and then all of a sudden Antonella is like Oooooh we need to go! Oh really?! We still had another tour planned for the afternoon and we're meant to be leaving Valle de Fiemme at 5 to make the hour and a half trip back to Trento. Not gonna happen with 20 people drunk on the top of the mountain! So we make our way back down the hill and on to the bus and only leave at 5.30.
We get chatting to Jimmy, our English translator bout the movie 2012. It is the worst apocalypse movie EVER. Anyway, then he starts going on and on about conspiracy theories and the illuminati and how Barrack Obama is part of it and they want us to be slaves and the youth not about to anything… It started getting really crazy and he said that they want to eliminate 90% of the population. He starts going on about Ted Turner deserving to be eliminated!!! At first I went along with it all but then realized this guy is CRAY-CRAY! He got really heated about it all and after a while we just stopped listening…
Now Anna and Margherita had both phoned Antonella the day before explaining that the LAST bus back to Spiazzo would be at 6.55 and we MUST make it back for that. She promised them and assured them that would be the case so that we wouldn't be stranded in Trento. We start driving to Trento and after a while Antonella comes and tells us that we won't be able to make it back but that we can stay in her bad at her house! ummmm WHAT?!!?? We want to go HOME after a day of tours, and hiking and polenta! Just like every other person on this dumb tour gets to!
So she doesn't even call Anna or Margherita, luckily Chiara has a working phone and THEY have to call Antonella to ask what is going on! She tells them that we are fine and not to come and get us and we are happy to stay at her house. Ummm NOOOO!!!
So we get into Trento, too late for our bus and hoping that there is some way for us to get back tonight. Then she takes us 30 minutes SOUTH, further away from where we want to be and to her house, like shes doing us some BIG favour and not apologising ONCE for not managing her time better. ALL we have on us is the clothes we wore and a tiny bag and she's expecting us to stay at a random persons house?! She said we will have to catch the train to Trento and the Bus back to Spiazzo in the morning because she has to be at work early and then we can have a sleep in. A sleep in. Really? In a strangers house?!
When we got there I asked her if I could maybe borrow her phone in the kitchen to call Anna and tell her where we are and explain to Elena that we wont be back and says oh noooo my phone doesn't work, I don't use a phone here. WHAT?! Who ARE you! Then we see that the toilet paper has run out so we asked her where she kept extra. She looks around and says oooh I have none left but I will find something for you, and brings out a pile of NAPKINS for us to use. THAT was the tipping point for me. No phone, NO WIRELESS, no TOILET PAPER!!! I was in Hell. For sure. What kind of person IS this?!
So I asked her what time in the morning she will be leaving because we wanted to get back to Spiazzo as soon as possible and of course not hang around this death hole! So she says ummm 7.45. In whose world in that early?! Unfortunately the first bus back to Spiazzo left at 8 so we asked if we could be there in time for that and she said it was impossible. So when she picked us up in the morning LATE at ten past 8, when we finally got to Trento we had to wait 2 hours until the next bus at TEN.
Alllll we wanted was to get HOME and get CHANGED and not be on this death tour that seemed to last for EVER!!! By the time we had to go to Tione on our way home and tell the immagration people that we were in the country (which is a whole nother story!) and then drive back to Spiazzo it was one oclock when I FINALLY got back home and into my bed. THANK GOD!