Days 14-16 Val Taleggio

Today I took the bus to Vedeseta, a village not far away but too far to walk (for me.) Maybe I have included this photo before? It’s just that there are so many cyclists, it’s a near pervasive scene. And so glad the driver has to navigate around them and not me.

I stopped in the library in Vedeseta, and Osvalda the librarian, 85 years old but looking 65, gave me a lot of her time. She showed me a bunch of vintage photos of the valley. This one shows the group of women called Portine who used to carry the carbon created by their menfolk down to the markets at the nearest big towns (a couple of days away at least.) They essentially worked like mules, with relay teams since it was too tiring to go all the way. All this labor and birthing babies too. You can see the backpack-like gear they used to carry the loads on their backs. Roads did not appear in the area until the early 1900s, and then there were few.

The days are merging one into another. I have been walking the trails collecting plants for eco-dyeing. These little maiden-wort splurges (I made that up, the name is similar) are some of my favorites.

I created my first bundle as a test. I’m pretty happy with the results (to be revealed.)

Today (which day?) a market was held in an older section of Sottochiesa called Borgo Santa Rosa. Nothing eccentric save maybe the display.

A walk beyond the Borgo Santa Rosa leads out into the countryside where this man was raking hay.

Unfortunately, the intense sun must make this an unpleasant job, despite the beautiful surroundings.

I walked on a little further and came across the first cows I’ve seen in the valley.

Such are my days, walking the woods and gathering foliage. If it weren’t for the summer sagras and festas, the days would be very uneventful, although I am enjoying my hikes in the woods and learning a lot about plants.

I’m using an app called Seek, which helps identify plants, animals, and insects. I accidentally pointed the camera on this little dog and the app said I identified a domestic dog (not down to the species.) It seems that nearly every Italian family has at least one of these little critters. When they get together, they can start yapping, causing a lot of noise and consternation with their owners.

I’m getting used to this small village with its extreme lack of privacy. Two bars, one grocery, one church. Basta.

Laundry day seems like every day. Someone always seems to be washing something, and the clotheslines abound with items drying in the sun. Aside from sunbathing or sitting around chatting, gardening seems to be another favored activity, or cleaning out the garage of the stuff parents left as an inheritance. Oh, I forgot eating and talking about eating.

Many people return to vacation where they had grown up, although they now live in the cities. I can feel the strength of family. As the month goes on, more people will leave, and I should get a sense of the place without its vacation vibe.

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