Writer’s note: To protect the privacy of those living and working at the fifth farm on which I wwoofed, I will not use the name of either the farm or the owner in this blog. Instead, I will simply refer to the farm as “WWOOF #5”.
There’s an episode of Sex and the City that perfectly describes how I felt when I first arrived at WWOOF#5, my current and final woof farm. In the episode, Miranda gets asked out by an amazingly gorgeous man, one she deems out of her league. She can only justify it as “cosmic karma”: she’s been handed so many bad dates in the past that the stars dealt her a good card for a change, like karma.
Before WWOOF#5, I was wwoofing on a tiny soya production farm called Lolmaia. There, I worked 7.5 hours a day, minimum. I was bunking in a cave with no room for my gear. We were eating crap food.
WWOOF#5 is the wwoofing equivalent of Brad Pitt.
I don’t really know how to describe WWOOF#5, because it isn’t like any of the other farms I’ve wwoofed on this summer. It started as a project, a farm and, slowly, transformed itself into a five-star villa resort community. Most of the residents, people who live and work on WWOOF#5, have been with WWOOF#5 since the very beginning, ten years ago.
La Fonte. This is where most of the wwoofers stay. It’s hidden about 400m down the road from the villa. The inside felt very familiar for some reason. A few days later, it hit me that la Fonte came straight out of Trainspotting; it looks like a crackhouse. Spiders and mosquitoes everywhere, mattresses on the floor, paint chipping off the walls, etc. It doesn’t bother me, though. I’ve stayed in worse places.
For 15€ an hour, guests or residences can “rent” a horse. Alberto, a wwoofer who is staying all summer, will guide you and your horse through the woods by the villa. I’m too broke, but I’ve been considering going for an hour or two on my day off.
The entrance. NO WHERE in the wwoof host list did it mention that the farm is part of a five-star luxury villa. I imagine that was a precautionary step to avoid getting bombarded with wwoofing requests. So you can imagine how awed I was when the Fiat pulled up to this. I was expecting another small, family-run farm that grows just enough produce to sell at the local farm. Far from it, baby. Far from it.
The villa. The right (brick) part of the villa is public. The first floor is the guest living room (off-limits). The second is the library. The third floor is the music room. The left part of the villa are the rooms. To stay in the cheapest room will set you back 320€ a person.
Guest living room. No one is ever in here.
Pool table! There is also a ping pong table room, but Annalisa tells me it’s haunted.
The Library. Luckily, it isn’t off-limits because it is my favourite room in the villa. I come up here everyday for at least an hour or two to read or to nap. In all the time I’ve spent up in the library, I haven’t seen a single guest or resident in it.
La Sala Musica. Another really cool room that no one ever goes into. It’s on the third (or fourth) floor and it has its own set of stairs. Most of the time it’s locked, but when it isn’t, I’ll go up for a little nap. The walls may look a little bare, but they’re planning on redecorating it. Even its bathroom is ridiculously fancy. It is off-limits, though, but I’ve been up here a few times.
Indian Night. Pushpa, one of the “higher-ups” at WWOOF#5, organized an Indian Night to celebrate the Full Moon.
Indian Night. I was asked to help wait on the tables, to which I happily obliged…until I found out I was supposed to wear a “traditional” Indian outfit. Pushpa lent me this “Indian” dress. I’m obviously stoked on it…
The pool at sunset. During high season, it’s strictly off-limits for woofers, au pairs, residences and anyone else who isn’t a paying guest. If you want to go for a swim, it has be when the guests aren’t around, so early in the morning, during lunch or dinner, or late at night. If there are few guests in the villa, it is really easy to sneak in a swim. Any resident or wwoofer or au pair who stays on WWOOF#5 in March, April, May, June, September and October have the chance of going swimming whenever because guests are few.
The only times I’ve gone swimming are during sunset, when the guests are in the dining room eating and the pool is empty; and at night, when the guests have gone to bed. It is sooooo nice.
You can’t see it in this picture, but with good eyes, you can see Volterra in this distance.
I’m not going to lie: this doesn’t feel like a wwoof at all. I work in the (professional) kitchen about three hours a day. I’ve only worked in the garden two hours since I arrived six days ago. It feels more like a summer job working at a resort, but I wouldn’t pass it up for anything else.
The people here are so laid-back. It’s such a bizarre set-up: a five-star luxury villa resort run and maintained by hippies and green activists. I love it!