Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The romance is back

All the hard work, unbearable heat, mosquito bites and money spent are now worth it.

We began picking grapes on Monday. Because it is so hot at the moment we had to start picking every morning at 7:00. That meant we had to get up at 6:00 to get a lift with the farm manager, Saverio, at 6:30 to the vineyard. On our way there we stopped for breakfast before starting the sticky, hot job of picking lots and lots and lots of grapes.

The job isn’t hard, but it gets really hot at about 10:30. The initial plan was to keep picking until 13:00, but the Italians decided it is too hot so every day we stopped at 12:00, jumped in the cars and stopped for an aperitif on our way home. By the time we get back to the farm for lunch every day we’re hardly hungry anymore because we had too much beer and snacks at the bar. Today we finished with the last little bit of the current vineyard at 9:30 and it was, once again, impossible to go directly back to the farm and start working again. We had to find an open bar first (most of the bars in the area are closed on Wednesdays) to have a coffee before we could even think about working again. After driving around for 20 minutes and getting a little panicky we eventually found an open one, had a coffee and some food and went back to pick the last few rows of white grapes on the farm.

Though we’re glad to be done with the white grapes, it sounds as though the real hard work will only start once we begin with the red ones. Apparently once we start picking them, we work straight through from 8:00 to 22:00, except of course the three hour lunches the Italians love so much. So the hard work is still ahead but all the other things make up for it.

On Monday we went to a local restaurant for magnificent meal. The bill was covered by the monthly delivery of the farm’s wine, so you actually make money when you go out for a meal because we usually get change for the meal as well.

The other ritual they have is to go out for drinks after work at the other local bar which is on the hilltop and has a breathtaking view over Lucca and the surrounding mountains. Of course, it never stays one drink and we usually stay until the owner has to tell us to either leave or have dinner because they want the table. Us foreigners have then filled ourselves with the accompanying bread, olives, ham, salami and cheese by then because we are under the false impression that this is dinner. However, we have been told that this is only Miranda (or something like it), the meal between lunch and dinner. Dinner only comes at 21:00 or 22:00. We usually skip this though and just jump into the pool when we get back to the farm before we head of to bed.

We are enjoying this farm a lot more than the other one. We work hard for six hours every day and then we are basically free to do as we choose. Sometimes we help the other people, because there is a lot of cleaning to be done before the red grapes start coming in. Other times, like today we just pass out on our beds for a necessary siesta. It’s amazing how quickly your body gets into the routine of this siesta tradition and how angry it gets at you when you don’t give it a siesta one day. I even had an allergic reaction yesterday evening to something, today I think it is because I worked through the whole day and it was my body’s way of telling me to never ever do that again.

Pictures coming later this week, now I have to join the Prosseco party on the veranda.

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