A little vacation

We found some familiar work to do down there too! Of course we completed it more stylishly

After a few months of hard work, we really felt due for a vacation.  My friend Walker arrived just in time to take over watering, animal feeding, and daily tasks with Monika so we could get away for a few days.  We went to visit Puglia, the high heel of the boot of Italy.  Our friend Fabio is from Puglia so he hosted us, introduced us to his family, and taught us some words of the local dialect. Some of the highlights of the trip were eating amazing Pugliese bread, visiting Fabio’s fathers’ basement museum and visiting a collective community in the countryside to inspire our future visioning.   While nibbling on bread and focaccia and wandering around checking out cool things in the area (mostly under a blazing sun in the upper 90’s) we were happy to have the respite from the heat with an amazing tour of Fabio’s dad’s underground museum.  In the 80’s he discovered some old boxes in his basement with historical artifacts in them.  As an inquisitive and enthusiastic person, he began to dig around and he began to unearth fossilized shells, reptilian creatures and eventually what appears to be a hominid skeleton. They have discovered other fossilized remains of hominids dating back 45 million years in that area, and while he’s not been able to afford carbon dating or get the many experts who’ve passed through to fully research his finds it really seems like he’s got a pretty amazing trove there.  I loved his initiative and excitement not only about the discoveries but also the presentation and care he put into creating a real museum in his basement. It reminded me how often we settle for such stale interpretations of our origins. The Urupia collective was another stop on our trip.  Urupia is a collective formed by a group of Italian and German “comunarde” in the 90’s, now considered one of the more established intentional communities here in Italy. We trundled along dirt roads through an amazing olive grove filled with centuries-old trees to find them.  They have reconstructed an old agricultural complex and live together in a non-hierarchical consensus-based agricultural cooperative producing olive oil, wine and bread with about 8 collective members and their kids, friends, and visitors. We spent several hours speaking with one member who shared her take on their ups and downs and really inspired our thoughts about collective living, child-rearing and the balance between community ideals and institutional pragmatism.  They shared one answer to some of these questions on each bottle of olive oil with the slogan “be sand, not oil in the motor of the world.”

As we went from place to place we passed hundreds of olive groves full of trees like this, which could be 200-300 years old and produce up to 100 kilos of olives in one harvest. Puglia produces 50% of all the olive oil in Italy.

DSCN1206Polignano a Mare

The city of Matera reminds me of the Turkish region of Kapadokya.

The city of Matera reminds me of the Turkish region of Kapadokya.

Focaccia by the sea.  We learned how to say "piece of focaccia" in Pugliese, but I'm not sure where to begin on transliterating it

Focaccia by the sea. We learned how to say “piece of focaccia” in Pugliese, but I’m not sure where to begin on transliterating it