Sunday, April 17, 2011

Navigating the monastery grounds in darkness and in light

Greetings, dear friends,

I just finished Skyping with my mum and sister, and they advised me to go to sleep--it's close to 1 a.m., and I've been coughing like mad, as a result of a cold that started in Canada and followed me to Italy--but I wanted to get these photos up so I could rest up and/or work tomorrow. And it's also because I don't like starting something and going to bed with it unfinished. Sorry, Mom and Jess! I love you! (EDIT: The photos I wanted to upload took too long to do so, so I gave up, went to sleep, and am publishing this in the morning on Sunday.)

I'm sitting in bed now with a blanket draped over my shoulders and another one atop my comforter and sheets. Though it's not as cold here as it is in Montreal (I heard it's positively frigid in Montreal!), it's definitely colder than the contents of my suitcase allow for comfort. Today I sported the hot combo of tank top, hoodie, jacket, scarf, and tuque all day. Italian heat? I'm waiting for you! 

Last night, I walked back to my room in the darkness--nay, pitch darkness. For those of you who know me on a very personal level, you'll know that I have little to zero sense of direction. Yet I somehow managed--on my first day, no less--not only to make it back to my room from my colleagues' apartments (a five-minute walk down a steep hill, along a dirt path, across cobblestone, and up several flights of stairs), but I managed to do it in the darkness, at half past midnight. I found it comical, so I whipped out my camera to take some shots of just how dark it was.

 (A photo of this path in the daylight is farther below.)

Yeah... It gets dark around here. Sure, there are lightswitches, it takes less effort and mania (ok, scratch the latter) to furiously click buttons on my Nokia cell phone to allow it to illuminate my way than to paw frantically at the walls for nonexistent lightswitches.

Oh! How could I forget: food! For lunch, we had delightful leftovers of refried pasta and veggies, couscous, and stir-fried veggies. For dinner, we had a veritable gourmet meal--to me, it was gourmet!--of veggies atop a bed of lettuce as an accompaniment to some of the best polenta I have ever had, on top of which a puree of beans and tomatoes was carefully laid. Mmm. I added sea salt crystals (best invention ever!) and the rest was history and in my belly. Mmm...

And now: photos!

 The view from the path leading up to my group's apartments. The monastery is to the right, hidden.

 The walk up to my group's apartments from the monastery/my hotel

 Part of the restored monastery

 The dirt path I navigate even in darkness back to the monastery/hotel, which is to the left.

 Labro, the city in which I technically reside, glimpsed through the trees; the city proper is across the valley from the monastery.

 The road by the monastery, wonderfully narrow and shared by motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.

 View of the hills from the monastery grounds

 The cloister inside the monastery

 View out into the valley from the cloister

 Being silly, trying to catch a shot of myself in the glass. I don't know how to rotate photos, though. Woops!

 View of monastery grounds from a window inside the monastery

 Stairs up to my room. Again, there's nothing but the light of the moon, if that, guiding me to my room at night.

 The sun setting over Labro

It's Sunday now, our day off, and I need to fight off the tail end of this cold. I finished the last of my cough medicine, so here's hoping lots of water, rest, Ricola lozenges, and echinacea drops will do the trick--or time will.

A piu' tardi ('til later), and thanks for reading,

Vegan in Italia


Grae said...

Um, wow? This place looks like paradise.
Good for you for navigating your way back. The spirits of thousands of cloistered artists-past probably helped you on your way.

...Yeah, them and your cell phone...

Sounds like you're having a good time! Live it up because in a week that'll all be over :P

Deleilan said...

I'm in love with that photo of Labro...

Well done on finding your way in the dark! Now please rest up and get well soon!

Megan @ Sweet On said...

UM EXCUSE ME! amazing!!!!!!!!

Josiane said...

I hope you get well soon! I imagine the gorgeous setting can only help... Seriously, wow!

Raman said...

I'm in complete and total awe at you're surroundings! I'm also happy to see that you're eating well and settling in nicely! Keep posting!


Babette said...

What a beautiful place... Imagine just laying in the grass once it's warmer. =)

njosnavelin said...

those are really beautiful pictures!
I hope it warms up soon :D