Thinking back at Lolmaia gives me a headache.
the boss. Dario had me working longer hours than any other farm this summer. I eventually did talk to him about only working six hours a day. To him, I wasn’t being efficient with my time and I wasn’t working fast enough. He figured that if he could do a job in ten minutes, but it took me fifty, he only counted ten minutes, not fifty, towards my six hours. Like I mentioned before, Dario always underestimated the time required to get the job done. I’d like to see him clean the boiler in under ten minutes. Photo: Rocco.
the accommodation. or the “lesbian love cave”. or the jail cell. Three brick walls. No windows. No door. Two semi-transparent curtains hardly covering the opening where the forth wall should be. Two single mattresses, not beds: mattresses; five feet apart. No drawer or wardrobe. No room for our bags. Absolutely no privacy.
the food. This is Rocco’s tuna tomato pizza that he made for our last supper. On the nights Rocco cooked, it was heavenly. For the rest of the time, it was rice or chick peas. Just what you want after spending seven hours washing chick peas and rice.
the lab. On the left, Rocco and Dario having a little chat. Dario’s lab spills into the house. So much so, you feel like you’re living in a garage rather than a house. Our sleeping quarters were adjacent to piles of rice sacks and mixing machines.
the workload: it was one cubic f*** pile after another. Here, Rocco is “helping” me pick out the bad grapes in the vineyard.
the location. Lolmaia is located in the beautiful Tuscan province of Arezzo. Like the province of Firenze, Arezzo has lots of mountains and rolling hills. Just getting to Monte San Savino from Lolmaia required an approximate thirty cliff-clinging turns. When Judy, Dario’s ex-wife, gave me a ride into town one day, I was terrified. It’s one thing to be in the car when you have a mad driver at the wheel. It’s a whole other story when you’re speeding around tight turns and the road is only a foot from the edge of a cliff. Photo: Rocco.
the wwoofers. Me with Barbara and Rocco. If it weren’t for these two, I would’ve left within the first three or four days. Barbara worked eight hours everyday without a single day off. If Dario was knowingly taking advantage of any of us, it was Barbara. All he offered her in compensation was fifty euros. She’s a real trooper. Rocco has this bizarre gift of always looking on the bright side. Fifty percent of whatever comes out of his mouth is sarcasm. Given the accommodation, the workload, the food; you have to be able to laugh at this kind of situation rather than curse it.
Each farm I’ve wwoofed has been different from the last, but Lolmaia definitely stands out. I have no desire to return there anytime soon. Just thinking about it stresses me out.
I’m in Firenze right now. It’s raining here, but that’s okay. Up to now, I’ve come to Firenze three times. There are two cities in Europe where I feel at home. Paris is one; Firenze is the other.
I’ll be heading to Certaldo in Siena in a few days. In Certaldo, there is a hostel/hotel that used to be a monastery. There is a pool and an olive grove. It is 1km from the nearest town. I’m really excited. Three days of absolutely nothing! Can’t wait!