Day 36 Momo Near Lake Maggiore, Italy.
113km. Total 2,120km
Trying to get out of Turin is difficult, there are no signposts and we are wheeling precariously between tramlines. When do find the road, it is alongside the Po river, as it gradually becomes less industrial. However, we have seen enough to make us think that we will turn Northwards instead of following the river. Today is economy day so for breakfast in Chivasso we buy a jar of jam and from now on breakfast is two big soft rolls of bread at about 10p each, and white pizza, soaked in olive oil. As we sit outside the café men stand about, looking at us.
Most of the day we travel on the flat of the valley bottom, through woods and what seems to be rice, standing in water. One time we lose the way but we are glad later because we take a narrow, white road where we cycle side by side through flat pleasant land. Lunch is the same as breakfast and therefore economical. We have decided to ask at a farm for our night’s camping, so we collect water and supper in Momo, and decide on a place we like the look of. We have passed numerous very large square farm buildings enclosing great courtyards and this is one of them.
Down a long gravelled path there are two fierce dogs on chains. We ask. And can’t understand what we are being told. Unbelievably, it seems that we can go anywhere but they suggest a field behind the farm as being quieter. It is a large area of clover, our tent in a corner with water running past on two sides – irrigation ditches coming from a river. There is a view across the fields with large old trees standing quietly in them.
Six children come to talk to us in French. They tell us their names. There are two families and they divide themselves up so we can easily see. The air is still so I can hear the stream over stones and through a bridge near the house. We are already in bed when the son who spoke the best French comes across to ask if we would like to go and drink coffee with them.
We get dressed again and walk along the lines of clover and peas. The lady of the farm calls my name, – the coffee is ready. We are led into a large tall dark room where the farmer is watching Life on Earth, and seated at the dining table where we are served with small cups of strong coffee. They are surprised that we don’t want sugar; they have about five teaspoons per cup. Neither can speak the language of the other, so we converse in a mixture of French and Italian, helped by the boy who is very good at finding bridge words that we both understand. We are then offered some grappa or aquavit as the farmer calls it. They go to feed the dog in their town house and we to our tent. They are lovely people. They say the farm is their tranquil world.