|Driving through the mists of dawn we passed alfalfa fields and dairy farms to get to the small town of Colorno, near Parma. Donning plastic coats, shoe covers a paper hat (Would you like fries with that?) we entered a Parmesan Reggiano cheese cooperative. We spent almost two hours there, watching 5 or so men delicately stir curds and form the gargantuan blobs that would eventually become cheese wheels. The cheesemakers dedication to his craft is unsurpassable, working every day of the year (cow's don't take holiday) from dawn till dusk. Their way of working has not changed in centuries and is very natural and without waste.
We strolled through the old cobblestone streets of Parma where everyone rides bicycles or takes the electrically run bus. We saw elderly women in long fur coats loading up the basket on the front of their bike and riding along the boulevard. There was a grandfather who cleverly spread cornmeal in the piazza to feed the pigeons. Once they were gathered his granddaughter would run through them and make them flutter about. What a smart way to tire her out for a good afternoon nap! We'll remember this one for Noah. :)
The afternoon brought a rare tour of one of the Proscuitto di Parma producers. Run by a family for 4 generations, Chris and Tom were fascinated by the process the ham goes through, especially after working with this product for so long at their restaurants. Diana on the other hand had a difficult time with this tour and was happy for the long hour to mercifully end.
Elderly people here are respected and revered and we remember our elders by lighting candles in the churches we visit. We are discovering new aspects of ourselves here, growing closer as a couple, as a family and as two young adults. We live very simply here, everything we need contained in two backpacks and in our hearts. To be so far away from all that we know, to have English, Spanish, French and Italian languages swimming in our heads, on our tongues and in our ears has revealed many things...more than words can express here.