ALE Camping 2013

July 29, 2013 § 2 Comments

Let me tell you about the time that I drank too much wine on top of a mountain in Italy.

This weekend was the annual camping trip hosted by Ancona Language Exchange, a group here in the Marche region that promotes the sharing of languages and cultures and works closely with CouchSurfing to make sure that everyone needing a friend in Marche finds one.  The camping took place at Pian dell’Elmo, a lovely nook on top of a mountain near Apiro.  Unfortunately, I did not actually get any hiking done, but it looks like there are dozens of long, beautiful trails that wrap around all of the curves and peaks in the area.  Looking forward to going back to explore properly.  This time, there was too much sun and merry-doing to do anything as strenuous as taking a walk in nature.

After a scenic drive of many Italian hills:

, hillside towns:


, and sunflower fields:


, Mr. Italian and I arrived with the sunset, so all of the other tents were already set up and the meat was roasting over the BBQ pit.  From the first minute, people were talking to me, and I was talking with them.  In Italian.  For four hours.  With minimum pantomime.  This was a good way to start the night.  And a good reason to celebrate, with a glass of wine from every bottle there (including a South African rose, which completely caught me off guard).

Soon, I was wedged between all of the musicians in front of the campfire, singing along at the top of my lungs to all of the Italian songs while others strummed on the guitar.  It’s amazing for how many hours Italians can sing one sappy Italian song after another without ever ebbing in heart-wrenching sentiment.  I was in heaven.   At some point, the campfire songs transformed into a full-out techno disco with strobe lights, in which I participated in for a while before stumbling away to find a quiet place to sleep.  Which had the potential to be completely romantic, laying outside, in the middle of nowhere, under the stars, on top of a mountain… but, instead, I felt like someone tried to poison me and I regretted every sausage and cookie and glass of wine that I stuffed into my mouth that night (but, in theory, that’s the ideal dinner menu, no?).

Woke up with the previous night’s music still pounding in my head, but comforted by pretty flowers surrounding me:

After a three-hour breakfast of nibbling without appetite at a snail’s pace, a few of us ALE-ers took a little excursion to the very top of the mountain and enjoyed the view:

And then, Mr. Italian and I drove back home, where we both passed out for the rest of the day because it is impossible to do anything else in this heat wave that we are having.  On my wish list right now is a breeze and a smoothie machine (the concept of an AC is so much out of this world, that I won’t even bother daydreaming about it).

Until then, I will continue the theme of sunshine by posting some more pictures of the sunflowers that we passed en route to Pian dell’Elmo.  E gira il sole, gira!


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