Our alarm went off earl this morning at 5:40 am. Let me clarify that first statement, Mark was the alarm. Why and how he wakes up every morning 5 my minutes before the alarm goes off just blows my mind.
We packed up as quietly as we could and headed out in the dark. I will have to admit that watching the sunrise was incredible but do not tell Mark. I do not want to make a habit of getting up so early.
Walking into the city of Santhia we discovered it was market day. So of course, we had to explore. Our purchases included: fresh bread, soap, bananas, an avocado, and we snacked on a focaccia (cheese and prosciutto) with a soda and sports drink and 2 candy bars. Sounds like the breakfast of champions, Right?!
Just after leaving the market area we stumbled upon the cathedral of Santissimo Santa Maria in Santhia. The inside was just beautiful. The small chapel near the entrance was a nice surprise. Inside, the walls and ceiling were covered with paintings depicting Old Testament stories. As we were leaving, the young priest who was sitting in the back approached me. He asked if we were pilgrims and where we had come from. He also requested that once in Rome, we pray for the church and community there.
We tried to give him a key but before we did, he’d disappeared. Opportunity missed; bummer.
Today the terrain was flat but the mountains are still barely visible in the background. We did not see any pilgrims until just after lunch when we ran into our French friend Jean-Pierre. We’ve met a few times over the days but have rarely had much time to talk. We do seem to be on the same pace, so I expect we will meet again.
Rice: Who knew. We accidentally learned a little about rice today. This area supplies all Europe with rice. Risotto or Sushi rice or just about 100 other kinds grow in this area.
We passed a family with a problem. Some sushi rice had sprouted up amongst their Risotto rice. The solution…., manually go through a field of acres and acres of rice and pull up the offending sprouts. I was amazed. This looked like it would take years…but off they went, about 7 of them marching across the field.
Once we checked in to our beautiful B&B our host was kind enough to tell us the history of the area and the intricacies of rice farming. I loved all the info. Clearly he loved this region of the Piedmont.
Dinner was special. This town must have a population of 20, but there is a restaurant in town that draws from a large area. We were served course after course of specialities with detailed explanations I loved it.