Well our wonderful family history fact finding mission came to an end. My family have sauntered off to various parts of the Northern Hemisphere to continue their holidays and I think poor Luca has gone into attention withdrawals.
The remainder of our time in Malta was lovely, we had great weather the whole time we were there and I actually found it pleasantly cooler than it has been at home, which is contrary to what I was expecting. We were greeted on our adventure home to some wonderful Italian public transportation. We flew in from Malta to about 35 degrees in Milan but I wasn’t phased as we had a comfortable 2.5hour train ride to Finale Ligure and then we were home safe and sound. Well that was until we actually got onto the train, it felt like 45 degrees and 80% humidity. There was no air conditioning, I was trying to be optimistic and pointed out it may not start until the train is actually moving (haha I think I was confusing air con with open windows). Anyway the train did start moving and the air didn’t start blowing. We had a sweltering trip down the country and it just seemed to get hotter and hotter as we went. Booking tickets I have to admit I did choose first class thinking it would be a little more comfortable, hahaha fool. Luckily for Luca he is cute and little and everybody just gave him doting smiles when they saw him stripped down to his nappy and trying to climb into the air-conditioning vent to cool off. I did consider trying the same thing myself but didn’t think that I would get quite the same response.
There was no fear though because the food carriage would come through and we could get some water no problems. Well the food carriage came, but it had started at the other end of the train so we were offered warm coke (which I don’t drink warm or cold) or warm beer, which I seriously considered for a moment but didn’t think Luca would do too well on it. I may have been slightly delusional in the heat but when I saw a small child playing in the walkway with an un opened bottle of water, so cold I could see the condensation running down it. I did suggest to my aunt that I tackle the child to make a diversion and she could steal the water, alas she was not keen.
The urgent message was sent to Justin who was meeting us at the train station to bring water, and that little gem did. I am not sure which I was more pleased to see him or the water. (Justin if you are reading, clearly it was you).
So we are now back into home life, it was funny but it did feel like coming home, I had missed the villages two out of time church bells ringing in the hours, and the hundreds of dogs and frogs which fill the night with their noises. The other day was Gabby’s birthday and what better way to celebrate it than go and explore some prehistoric caves followed by a quick stop to the market to pick up some meat. At the bottom of the track is an amazing Roman bridge, boy they were clever, no wonder they ruled so much for so long. We then ducked up the steep hill which still had remnants of terraced gardens, but is now overgrown and has been left to nature to consume.The caves were amazing, after good steep climb/clamber up the hill with Luca in the backpack, I only managed to walk him into one tree which I thought was pretty good going. I did question my level of responsibility as I manoeuvred the rather rickety ladders into and out of the inner chamber of the cave but we made it it one piece so no harm done there. They have found considerable amounts of Neanderthal remains in the caves so it is pretty amazing to be able to wander freely through them.
Following this we popped down to the local market in Calice which is very small but full of tasty meats, cheeses and veggies. (Nothing on Dunedin or Lyttelton) Here I was clumsily navigating the Italian language to select my fruit and vegetables from the man running the stall when he blurted out in perfect English
“where are you from”
That didn’t surprise me, although slightly disappoint me as you know you still have a long way to go with the language when that happens, what nearly blew me over was when his friend next to him said
“he is from Australia”
I try not to assume too much about people when I first meet them but this guy looked like a certified Italian, worked the fields my whole life, stayed in the village, Italian. He was then equally surprised that our little village could possibly hold two girls from New Zealand. When I pointed out that we were friends and she was actually just over at the car he said it made a bit more sense. It would be odd for such a tiny place to hold two such foreigners coincidentally.
We are now on the countdown to travelling to Samoens in France for Justin’s next round of the Enduro World Series. As he is leader at this stage it is even more exciting than usual to be able to be there to offer support and family distraction. We just need the baby to recover from Gastro before we leave! No pressure Luca!