About this time next week I will be in the Tampa airport waiting on my plane. For those who don’t know, I have been selected as part of a local food delegation to represent the USA at Terra Madre. Terra Madre is the world conference of Slow Food! I will join the manager of the Saturday Morning Market in St. Pete, Gail Eggeman, Chef Cathleen Ryan who is both Chef and Educator and Jim Kovaleski, a permaculture farmer extraordinare on this great adventure.
My dear friend, Carol Deller, is retired from Delta and has supplied me with a Buddy Pass so I can fly at roughly half price. Of course, as Buddy Passes go, I will be flying standby so I am heading out two days prior to the conference to allow time to get “bumped” and flying on a one way pass. Who knows what airport I will fly out of after this trip so it does no good to go ahead and book ahead of time. Carol has been so gracious to allow me to use her Buddy Passes for years and I have learn that to fly this way you need to fill your bucket with patience and take plenty of smiles. Sitting in the airport with a scowl on your face waiting to get on a plane can be miserable. Meeting new people while you sit smiling and striking up conversations can be very interesting. Since I have camped out in the Atlanta airport a few times, I have found that the latter is much more pleasant way to spend the time.
In addition to my friend Carol I need to acknowledge the help of my sponsors. I am making t-shirts (which should be ready by mid-November) and all of my sponsor’s names will be included as my gratitude and they will receive t-shirts and other goodies as my thanks. Had it not been for the sponsors, I would never have been able to make this trip!
In no special order, I thank Ella Crandall (Safety Harbor Community Garden), Cindy Corkmire (long time customer and good friend), Lana Labonto (Actress and Model), Mary Hoestra (a good friend who is immigrating to Israel at the same time I will be in Italy), Barb Garrett (my longtime goat friend in California), DeEtte Collett (A very special educator and dog therapy lady), Olena and Tim Spridgeon (immigration attorney, long time customer and friend), Donna S (who didn’t want her name used but is a very special customer), Heather Meyer (a very special customer), Cathleen Ryan (who will be traveling with me and has become a special friend), Angie Colsantis (who set up for her cousins to allow me to bunk with them in Milan until the conference starts in the event I do get a straight flight), Carlos Perez (for his graphics for the t-shirt) and JoJo Milano (a graphic artist who will be helping with the t-shirt as well). I am very blessed to have these friends.
Here is the itinerary. Off on the 18th via Atlanta, Charles DeGaulle (Paris) and into Milan hopefully by the 19th. I hope to do a walking tour of Milan for a couple days and then be deposited back to the Malpensa Milan Airport on Thursday the 21st early where I will join other arriving Slow Food folks and be transported to Turino. We have found out that we will be staying at the accommodations where the Olympic athletes were housed during the recent winter Olympics. Who knows? I could be sleeping in a gold medal winners bed!!! In addition to Terra Madre is Salon de Gusto which will be an epicureans’ delight! After four days of meeting over 5000 representative from 150 countries, we will conclude the conference. The Slow Food folks will deposit us back to Milan and from there Gail and I will take the train through Tuscany. Since I will be taking the train to Agresso and then boarding a bus to Aghairi, we should be traveling through Parma, Masso, Carrera, Pisa (the leaning tower city <grin>) and Florence. I hope to make the trip from Milan to Agresso in a couple days and stay at student hostels along the way. By the 27th or 28th (my birthday) I should arrive at the goat farm if all goes right.
My ultimate destination is Priello – a goat farm to volunteer and learn their cheeses. Go to Priello.com to see the beauty. Brent Zimmerman immigrated to Italy with his partner 20 years ago and is known for his cheeses and they own this beautiful mountain retreat. This is great because there is no language barrier and I have the opportunity to learn without the struggle. I hope to stay four or five days (maybe a few longer if I don’t wear out my welcome) absorbing the ambience and hopefully tagging along to a real European Farmer’s Market. Is there something wrong with this picture? I do this for a living here in the States and I am taking my vacation to do the same thing???
My eternal thanks to hubby and daughter who will be holding down the farm and going to the markets to allow me to take this sojourn for a little r&r and soul searching on where I want to be in ten years. Of course I worry about how things will go but sometimes you just have to let go and follow your soul. I hope I have trained them well and it will all go smooth. Considering I haven’t been to Italy in over 38 years, was last out of the country over 20 years ago and will never get an opportunity like this again, I gotta go! I don’t speak a word of Italian, well bella and ciao and vino are about it, but I am packing my sense of humor!
If you want to follow my antics for the next few weeks, feel free to befriend me on Facebook (Pam Lunn and The Dancing Goat) or continue to follow my blog on here that you have found. I hope to find wifi often and add posting and pics along the way! Stay tuned! And Mother, I will be fine! <grin>