Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Leaving France, Arriving in Italy

As I ate my chocolate croissant at breakfast, I started to get a little sad we were leaving France so soon. As we packed up our bags, I would pause and look out over the city of Cannes. I actually got a little teary-eyed. Three nights wasn't quite long enough there. We really loved it. But we signed the guest book and got in our car (has that been sitting there all this time?) and said goodbye to France (and Bianca's swimsuit that she had left hanging in the bathroom to dry and forgot).

Then we began feeding the toll booths most of the Euros we had. At one, it wouldn't take our paper money and we were sitting there, unsure what to do. There was no one to help. Finally, when the car behind us started getting so anxious they opened the doors, Bianca ran back with a ten-Euro bill and asked them "S'il vous plait" for change. Thankfully, they had some and we were able to get out of France without anymore trouble. We drove to Genova (Genoa) and went to the Aquarium (which is supposed to be the second largest aquarium in all of Europe). I guess there are some things that don't change much between countries and that's fish. They looked just the fish we're used to seeing. They do share an ocean after all.

They had a pretty awesome shark display
Portia pretending to be a dolphin
We spent several hours at the aquarium, had some focaccia pizza bread for lunch, and then got back in the car to finish our journey. To be honest, I did not love Genova and didn't need to go back there again. Give me my small villages any day.

We made it to Carro (up in the mountains and the windy roads to get there actually made me a little queasy) near the end of the afternoon and were met by Carlo, the owner of the house. He showed us where to park and showed us around the apartment. It was surprising the conversation that ensured when he asked us where we were from. When we said Utah, he asked us if we were Mormon (which surprised me). We said yes. He said his textile company had been commissioned to provide fabrics for the Mexico City and Rome temples that were being built. Kind of cool, really.

We settled in for the last time at our La Paganina House, unpacking our bags. Bianca did bring her viola along and practiced about every other day, which I thought was good considering where we were. She would just set up her music books wherever she could that was a good height, like on top of this mantel.

I loved how Italian this little village is. The main street is called Via Nicolo Paganini because this is the hometown to the famous composer and violinist Paganini's paternal grandparents and he used to visit here as a child. It's wonderfully old.

Mom and Bianca on the main street in Carro, called Via Nicolo Paganini

Bianca posing by the picture of Paganini in the house where we stayed

The walkway to our parking lot in Carro

We didn't have much planned for the rest of the day, so we walked to dinner at the only restaurant in Carro, a pizzeria, for dinner. They spoke no English so we got by with our little bit of Italian. The pizza was quite good. Just be warned, if you order "pepperoni" from the menu, you're going to get pepperoncini peppers. And we learned to order the water "naturale," and "non frizzante," although Bianca started liking the fizzy water by the end. 
There are a lot of villages who just sit out by their front door steps, visiting with each other, and they're always so friendly to us, with their "buon giorno"s every day. Everyone keeps fresh flowers by their front doors as well. It's such a pretty little village.  

I have to mention this blown-up portrait that hangs out in the living room. The house is filled with pictures and family heirlooms of our friend Carlo. And we couldn't quite get over the fact that this portrait (from the 1500s) looked just like our host, but the really strange part is the name of the man, Moroni. Is it a coincidence that the name is the same unusual name of the angel that stands atop the spire on all of our LDS temples? Probably, but cool nonetheless.


A door in Carro

A door in Carro

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