We Have Arrived

Our Host, Charlotte

Whew. 24 hours of planes, trains and automobiles—and we’re here. We have arrived at Due Papaveri, a bed and breakfast with a gourmet restaurant near a little town called Pavullo nel Frignano. Pavullo is a province of Modena, Emilia-Romagna that has roots from the 8th-9th century AD. It’s old, quaint and very Italian.

I have to laugh at the Italian definition of time. Each time we arrive somewhere and ask how long it will take to get to our next destination, the answer is “un’ora” or one hour. It is said phonetically as “un-or-da” and is pronounced beautifully in three sing songy notes.

We are told it is un’ora from the Milan airport to the Milan train station (this is actually one hour). It is un’ora from the Milan train station to Modena (2.5 hours). It is un’ora from Modena to Pavullo nel Frignano (almost 2 hours). You get the jist. It’s also said with an undertone of “no worries about the time, you will get there when you get there” and “those crazy Americans, always in a rush”.

Charlotte (Carlotta in Italian), our host at Due Papaveri, picks us up at Pavullo nel Frignano with another Woofer named Luca. We have a nice chat as we approach the resort. My favorite part is driving over bunches of furry chestnuts. Charlotte says “we have so many; there is no choice but to drive over them”.

As we walk on to this breathtaking resort, we are in awe. We have a panoramic view of rolling Modenese hills and air that smells like pure oxygen layered with a hint of lavender. Yum. See for yourself through Troy’s “Chestnuts with a View” photo of newly picked chestnuts sitting on Charlotte’s outdoor dinner table.

Chestnuts with a View

As we take in the view, the weight of the trip finally lifts and we begin to get giddy with anticipation. We clean up, unpack and shower for dinner.

Charlotte sits us at a table with her husband Willie for dinner (who is lovely). She tells us that she whipped-up a quick dinner so that we could get some sleep tonight. We meet a group of three Danish couples who are taking a week-long cooking class at the resort and they are chattering away in the kitchen. Before we know it they are serving us parmesan crisps and a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano with balsamic jams on fresh bread. Charlotte brings us a bowl of cauliflower pasta and orange cake with yogurt for dessert.

We are going to like it here. It’s good for the soul.

We learn that we will be making pizzas and pasta in the coming days, so get ready for an Italian cook fest. More to come.

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