I finished with the goats at Podere Le Fornaci and my last week was fantastic, one reason being that I had visitors from Prince George! Kaela (a friend from highschool), her sister Charlotte, and their friends Megan and Laura all came to the farm for a few days. We enjoyed a sunny autumn day, hiking up in the hills behind the farm and picnic-ing next to a vineyard. We discovered a very old stone house, roofless and now crumbling in on itself, which I decided to climb into. This despite there being a very thick thorn bush growing out of the window I planned on entering. I eventually emerged on the other side of the wall, victorious in my task and covered in dust, blood, and thorns. Also commenting that my mother would be calling me an idiot right now.
On the Friday before I left I helped Elisa cater in a Franciscan abbey high in the hills outside of Florence. These jobs make my catering days in Canada seem very dull indeed. It was a dinner for twelve people participating in a retreat, and she made my day by asking me to make apple crisp for dessert, my only answer to a 'typical Canadian dessert' which everyone at the farm took quite a liking to. We sat and ate with the retreat-ers at one of the longest wooden tables I've ever seen, originally the dining place of many, many monks.
I was just in Milan, taking a break from farming and visiting a German friend who's interning with an architectural firm there. I'd heard nothing but bad things about this city but I completely enjoyed my time there. It's not the place for tourists seeking a rustic, laundry-drying-in-the-sun Italian experience, but its cosmopolitan atmosphere was refreshing change for me. It's a crazy mix of new, old, and fascist architecture; impeccable clothing on people who possess either natural or enhanced beauty; trams from the 1970's passing expensive SUV's; and traditional Italian coffee bars next to modern ones like Bianco Latte, which I fell in love with.
People-watching and window shopping can easily take up one's day. One night we passed a childrens' clothing and furniture store in which everything, down to the non-existent dust on the walls, was white. I also found it odd that one city can contain so many bakeries and stick-thin pairs of legs, but I suppose the bakeries survive off of people like me. I received a noticeable number of stairs while eating a cheesecake as we walked down the street the other day. They cocked their heads as if to say "Oh that's what you do with those things! Eat them!"
My second to last night was a huge highlight - we managed to get tickets to see Giselle at Teatro alla Scala, and 4 days later I'm still on a ballet high. It was so stunning, in fact, that I will soon be able to forget how uncomfortable the 'cheap' seats at the Scalla are.
Two days ago I came back to Tuscany and to my next farm, which is close to the town of Fiesole, way up in the hills surrounding Florence. It doesn't have internet so it may be awhile 'til I can describe the olive harvest, but I'm sure by then we'll have amassed plenty of good stories.