We parted ways around one thirty in the morning. Three people heading in three different directions, distances, to find our warm beds for at least a few hours. At six thirty the alarm then rang again, and within hours we were standing at a café, clutching our coffees and trying to look alive. At least, two of us were. One of us remained missing until a distressed phone call reached us when we were already forty kilometres out of town.
The plan had been to go out for an aperativo and to then meet the next day for the walk which was being hosted by the Internations community through the wine producing region near Cuneo. However the one drink with the food led to a few more, then several hours of dancing in a club and very few hours of sleep. Although we had a phone call system in place to wake each other up in time one of us had put their phone on silent, and so we had to start the day “one man down”.
It was a real shame because the day was glorious. One of the last days of summer, the autumnal chill gave away to brilliant sunshine. We walked up and down the wine plantations with a group of about fifty people; a group of all ages, from all different backgrounds and cities. The tour was accompanied with constant chatter, life stories, lively discussion and friendly banter as we took in the scenery, and nibbled on the grapes growing all around us. I made close friends with the dog Chico, who is a lively fellow with a very friendly temperament, and rather short legs for the 15 kilometer journey.
As befits a romp through wine country there were several informative stops along the way. Some of the group went to enjoy wine in the church in Barolo, where we stopped for lunch, others purchased bottles from the local producer we visited on our way out of town. But most of us had plenty of wine at dinner. After 15 km of walking, everyone had an appetite, and we were served Italian style. Wine seemed endless, the cheese made the rounds, and in between the nibbles there were four or five buffet courses to suit everyone’s flavour pallet.
As we got to know each other better extra treats were lavishly bestowed- the ice wine from the region and the local chocolates blew me away, and each bite seemed tastier. I was delighted that I was not driving home, and instead could join in back-seat renditions of the Mamas and Papas and the Beatles, serenading the car of five whether they were willing or not. Chico for one did not seem to care- once he got into the car he curled up and slept. It was, after all, a big day out for a small dog. A Wonderful day in the Wine country.