The next morning we got up and scrambled to get ready for church in time. Amber made us some espresso to get us going and then we ran out the door. As it turned out, we made perfect time catching the metro right as it came in at every one of our stops (on Sundays there are fewer trains running and they are spaced further apart). I always love worshipping with believers from around the world. It is a taste, a foreshadow of what we look forward to in heaven around the throne as we worship the one who is worthy because he was slain and “by your blood you ransomed people for God, from every tribe and language and people and nation…”(Revelation 5:9). We sang many familiar songs, only they were in Italian. The sermon was a doctrinal lesson on communion. Amber explained that periodically they do these lessons because many of the people grew up in the Catholic church and there is still confusion on things like baptism, communion, justification, etc.
After church Bekah started feeling really sick and the spider bite on her arm had grown and was swollen. So Michael took her to the farmacia to get some antihistamine and something for her headache. She eventually decided to just go back to Amber’s apartment and rest while we went to the Castagneta in Pietragavina. Sarah and I rode with Jason and two of his precious children. Jason grew up as an MK in Brazil and is now starting a church plant in Milano and also works with Christian athletes in western Europe. He and his wife Allison have three kids, but their middle child was sick, so Allison stayed home with her. Sarah and I enjoyed getting to know Jason on the drive to Pietragavina. Jason was nice enough to tell us the incredibly cute story of how he meet his wife and proposed and how they ended up in Italy. It was a wonderful story of God’s grace, kindness and sovereignty over our lives. It involved a show choir, a purple piano and lots of moving around! So, we finally made it to Pietragavina, after some great stories and scary highways — we were traveling at extremely high speeds (even fast for me — yes, I know that’s really fast. I’m the speed demon who got a horrible ticket back in April…) and then when a driver would do something another wouldn’t like you would tail them for a second to show them that you disapprove. Anyway, we made it and it was a beautiful day in Northern Italy. It was a good sized festival with lots of people coming from the church that we went to in Milan and lots of other people too and the town just couldn’t
handle all the parking needs. So, we had to park kind of far away and then walk into the main part of town where all the vendors were and the people. That was ok with me though. This town was so quaint and small. The day was perfect too. It was in the mid 60’s and the sky was blue and clear. We unloaded the car and got little Joshy in his stroller and went back and forth over whether or not we should bring the brownies or wait and get them later. It was fun. We finally decided to leave them in the car — we determined that it wasn’t too hot and that they would be fine. As we walked into the little center of the town the smells were so wonderful — fresh sausage on the grill, doughnuts being fried, wine, chocolate and pastries, mmm,
food everywhere. I love food. I am a foodie. I would eat all the day long if time and health didn’t prevent it. Anyway, there was also this wonderful little traditional band playing. They even had costumes! That made me happy. There were two bagpipes (they weren’t as loud as the Scottish ones). Then there was a big fire pit where they roasted the Chestnuts — it was a festival for the castagna afterall.
The food in Pietragavina was the cheapest that I came across the whole time I was there. It was so good though. It was all fresh and from local farmers and bakers. We bought some apples that were absolutely out of this world. I haven’t had a better apple in my life. It was so cheap too — I bought six apples for €1. Needless to say I bought and consumed a lot of food that day. First I had a delicious sausage sandwhich. It’s pretty different from our ideas of an Italian sausage, first of all they flatten it out and then grill it and put it between a hard roll. It was sooo good and then they gave you free wine to go with it. Great combination. Then we bought a selection of different cheeses (all delicious — I now have a new standard by which I judge cheese), bread and more sausage (w/out the bun) and more wine and some pears and apples. It made for a delectable afternoon meal.
This is Julia and Giorgio. Amber met Julia in Parco Sempione one day. Julia was practicing a monologue in English and so Amber went up and introduced herself and now they are great friends! Julia is Canadian and Giorgio is Italian. They met in Canada when Giorgio was getting his master’s and Julia was an undergrad at the same school. They fell in love and now Julia has joined Giorgio in Milan and is working on Via Monte Napoleone and models/acts on the side. Ahh, how sweet! 🙂 They were a ton of fun and I loved getting to know them. Giorgio is 6’8″ and Julia is over 6′, so I felt kind of short when I stood next to either one of them!
We decided to take a short walk to the top of the town where there is a private castle and some lovely views. The castle is actually for sale — it would be a really nice retreat, any takers?? The following pictures were taken as we walked up to the castle.
You can kind of see the castle in the background. It’s up on the hill with the tall bell tower looking thing.
Here we are walking up the hill — Joy is in the black and is married to Stefano who is beside Michael and behind me. Jake is Jason’s other little boy and is in the green.
The roads were really narrow and I didn’t want to get hit by the car!
Here are most of us on the wall of the castle. We had fun talking, visiting and enjoying the view of the town below.
After this we walked back down to the town and went to the church for dinner. The church that we went to in Milano is the daughter church of the one from Pietragavina. So they hosted a big dinner for us that evening. We had been eating all day and I was stuffed, but somehow I managed to eat a ton of pasta, more bread and cheese, a couple of brownies, some cake, and lots of good wine. Jason’s TomTom GPS totally led us astray and it took almost 2 hours to get back to Milan. However, we were thoroughly entertained in the car. Jason told us some of the best poop stories ever. They definitely took the cake over all of the ones I have ever heard. I’m sorry if you think that’s gross, but they were hysterical and I’m not ashamed to admit that I think bathroom humor can be hilarious. If you want to hear the stories just ask me about Luis Carlos and San Siro. We got back to Milan and started packing for our journey south to Tuscany the next morning.
Tuscany is up next! Ciao!