Thursday, June 7, 2012

A day with a litle bit of everything


At last we woke up to bright sunshine. We drank our morning cappuccino sitting outside at Pellegrine's watching the events of the main street. A ninety-nine-year-old man came back from successful porcini hunting with lots of mushrooms in his basket. Everyone was out doing their morning shopping and stopping for ciaos and chats on the way.

We decided to go for a walk around town down the narrow passageways, along the uneven, broken cobblestones that make walking difficult. Many of the buildings have unoccupied houses including the back of our building. It is different walking at this time of year. In October all you can smell are the grapes fermenting in the cantinas, which are under the buildings. Now everything is locked up. We passed many old rotting doors but then once again we would come upon flowers adorning the doorways of well maintained houses. As we came down to the river we passed old stone mills converted into houses, as well as the old hospital. One house has been faced in a modern grey, while immediately next door is an old decrepit stone house. The back of the reclaimed and modernised house has four gorgeous terraces. Further on one of the old churches is covered in scaffolding while the old twelfth century church languishes beside it.

Many of the new immigrants to Ceriana over the last several years are Moroccans and Albanians. The Albanians are very good with stone and building. With the money they have made here they are buying and doing wonderful jobs renovating some of the old derelict houses.

We cross the river for awhile and enjoy a different view the old town on its hilltop perch. We continue our walk and end up in the cemetery. There are a few new graves all covered in flowers. In fact all the graves, many going back for some time, are well tended. You can be buried for twenty years and then your grave is dug up and your bones put in a mass grave under the cemetery steps. However, there is enough room in the cemetery right now that there are graves quite a bit older than twenty years. Mausoleums line each side of the cemetery with familiar names of the town, Crespi being one of them. In the back of the cemetery there are even bigger family mausoleums going back into the 1800s.

There are also small niches, where ashes can be placed, with memorial plaques on the outside. Some people will not have a Catholic funeral. This explains why I saw the priest doing a double take at the death notices, which are placed on notice boards around town. I expected that he would know everyone who dies but that is not the case. In a change from the past the priest now will preside over the funerals of people who have chosen to be cremated.

We walked up some incredibly steep steps from the cemetery, through someone's land, up more steps by a house we knew was vacant and hopped a fence back to the road. Then a few steps more and we were at our friend's house. After a quick lunch it was back down the mountain and along the coast to the beach at San Lorenzo and a couple of lovely swims in the sea. The sun was shining and the water was a perfect temperature.

Returning to Ceriana for a dinner of mainly salads including arugula salad, egg and avocado salad, bean and zucchini salad and best of all, beautiful ripe tomatoes and basil. Then it was local metre-long sausage cut up and cooked in wine. All this was accompanied by lashings of lovely ciabatta bread and homemade red wine and finished with bel paese and gorgonzola. Simple and perfect.

We decided to walk into town, admiring the gigantic orange moon as we did so. We'd never seen anything like it. As we came closer to town we heard some shuffling and piggish snorts in the land below us. It was very bold cingales or wild boar. Finally, we ended back at Pellegrine's for our last espresso of the day.




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