With a break in the weather yesterday, Chris and I decided to pursue one of our favourite past times: walking. The kids were at school so we decided to walk down the hill to Bagnone and visit them briefly (and deliver their food coupons which we had forgotten for the entire week!). We set off in very chilly conditions, but with lovely fresh air and a clear day for great views. I’m going to let the photos tell the story for now:
About 3/4 of the way down the big hill, you come to the Castello di Bagnone (the Castle). This is such a cool 15th century structure! These days it has been converted into apartments and the lucky residents get the BEST view of Bagnone. I love the stone and the way it was laid to build the outer walls. It looks like it could withstand anything and I wonder about the people who built it (what did they look like? what were their lives like?). You really can’t translate it’s historical aura into a photograph, but we tried:
After hanging around the castle for a while, we continued our journey down to the village. On the way to the school, we crossed a very narrow stone arched bridge and stopped to take this pic:
Finally, we reached the school. It had taken about an hour, but we had stopped now and then on the way down. We found the kids for a quick “hello” and were told by Denver’s teacher that he had a bit of a meltdown that morning. According to Balin, Denver was crying and being naughty (slamming things and refusing to do what he was told). Denver told us that he was sick of everyone speaking Italian to him and that he wanted to go back to Australia. I’m pretty sure the teacher was at a complete loss as to what to do and it was hard to explain to her that we would talk to him about it and that we were sure it was a phase and to be expected in this situation. We tried to convey it with the help of Balin’s little english friend, but I’m still not sure she understood. Anyway, we gave him a stern talking to and explained that behaving like that would not get him home (which is what I think his aim was) and we left him in a fairly good mood and feeling a bit sheepish I think. We felt very bad about it, but resolved to have a big talk with him that night.
We continued on into Bagnone and wandered the streets for a little while before having a coffee and a snack at the local cafe. Some more pics for your viewing pleasure:
The trek down the hill was fun, but then what comes down has to go back up again (or something like that). It was pretty hard work going back up, but it was such a lovely day that we really didn’t mind too much. Besides, I need to do this sort of thing to stop my bottom getting too much bigger! All that cheese, bread, pasta, pizza, brioche…etc…it’s got to have consequences doesn’t it?
We eventually arrived back home very tired!
Today we met our friend Andreina in Villafranca for more bureaucratic fun. This time, we headed for the bank. After a bit of wandering around (as Chris could not remember which bank Bianca and Aidan had taken him to on the first day here….he blames jetlag), we found the bank and entered into a weird little security capsule. You step into it and it closes around you, scans you, then releases you into the bank. Very effective in preventing robberies I hear! We sat down with our friendly banker and organised our Italian bank account, credit cards, cheque book and internet banking. The whole thing took about 1 and a half hours and was really quite efficient in comparison to our previous experiences. We still need to go back on Monday to finalise things, but at least we have an account now. On the way back to Andreina’s place, she showed us a house which is for sale near her. It’s an old farm house with a fair bit of land in Filattiera and they want about 280 000 euros for it. It’s a renovation job. We have been looking at real estate around here actually (just because we love real estate) and it’s quite reasonably priced. I fantasize about buying an old stone character home steeped in history on land where the Romans may have camped on their march into battle. I’d love to renovate such a place!
In case you’re wondering, we did have a long discussion with Denver last night and listened to his concerns and gave him strategies for coping. He woke up this morning very positive, and by all accounts had a good day at school. I don’t consider this period of difficulty to be over for him, but I do feel better that he’s making some small steps in the right direction. After all, he is only 6 and one week of Italian school has got to be slightly overwhelming!