Monday, May 3, 2010

koninginnedag & festa dei lavoratori & saveurs de france

it was a very international weekend. full of celebrations:
Friday: holland's queen's day aka koninginnedag
Saturday: italy's labour day aka festa dei lavoratori
Sunday: france's regional flavors market aka saveurs de france

friday started with a wardrobe and basket full of everything-orange and strawberry-rimmed prosecco's. it was queen's day after all! after classes we had friends over for celebrations on the balcony, enjoying the warm spring air and the weekend after only two days of class. coughcough. then dinner at a local restaurant of just prosciutto di parma, parmesan cheese chunks, a small plate of pasta and torta dolce. i was not too hungry, but not too impressed nonetheless. but lots of laugh and friends made up for it. friday night continued to the pub where we met up with the italian ALMA kids, the american ALMA kids and the colorno creepers. too many festivities mean too many pictures, but lots of fun.

diana, catherine, and brittany 
italian ALMA friends

paul, from the other ALMA program, and arina. 

the parade...was very small. but so is colorno.

saturday, after colorno's festa dei lavoratori parade, we packed up some lunches for a picnic and rode our bikes to parma. it was a delightful spring day and we followed arina's newly-found bike path through the italian countryside past fields of green, scents of cow farms (aka animal sensations and fermented hay), beeaauutiful country homes i could only imagine who was lucky enough to live in them, long uncut grass that forebode seasonal allergies that would make me want to scratch out my eyes and scald my skin with hot water ( i diverge...) the po river running alongside of us, old churches covered in vines, abandoned farm houses, rows of vineyards...and despite the lack of feeling in my butt, the shoulder sunburn, and the sweat was wonderful. we met up in the parma park with some of the other students and we saw on the grass by the pond - right by the sign that said "do not step on the grass." appropriate. everything was closed for the holiday and like a typical sunday, we spent it with our new unisg family.

yes please.

sunday we were going to ride our bikes to fontanelatto, 22 kilometers away (it's nice not comprehending what that means exactly) to a french market celebrating saveurs de france in the castle, rocca sanvitale as recommended by lindsay. the weather was a little iffy and we weren't sure if it was worth it, or even physically possible, to bike there but as arina so logically said, "if it rains, we get wet." true true. luckily, diana decided that she would drive. it wasn't quite the adventure anymore, but "luckily" it did rain and the mercado francese was quite small, so driving ended up being the right decision. the town was adorable, with the castle in the middle of it, cobblestone streets, painted buildings with little cafes and stores under the archways - it was a little unreal like it could be right out of epcot's world showcase's italy. there were stalls of endless bread and baked goods, cheeses, salami's of all sorts, cookies, wines, homemade soaps, floral tea mixes, exotic mounds of spices....all overpriced, but still a nice rainy sunday excursion.

not that we are ever deprived of bread, or carbs of any sort, but whole wheat, grain, brown, semolina, rye, whatever, is not found very often in emilia-romagna. even the pane integrale still looks white. so yes, we stocked up.

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