Risk Taking: I Ate 20 Plums Today


7/12/23

Today was the first day of our “Road to Rome” town to town hike in Italy.  Commonly known in Italy as Via Francigena, we are walking between 10-15 miles/day. Inspired by walking on the Camino de Compostela last year, Erin & I packed our bags to walk the hills between Fidenza & Pontremoli not far from Parma (birthplace of parmesan cheese). It was 96 degrees and we sweat gallons. We traveled to the sound of cicadas in the trees and passed only 1 other “pilgrim” (opposed to the hundreds/day last summer in Spain).

You know how people say things like “legs for days” when people have long legs?  Well, from being in Italy for 11 days now (the previous week was at a yoga retreat outside of Urbino), we could say “…for days” about:

Sunflowers & grapes. There are so many fields of them.

Pizza and pasta.  At the restaurant last night, there were 12-pages of pizza alone.

Chicory & alfalfa. These beautiful, purple-flowered plants grow along roadsides and in fields everywhere.

Petunias.  These brilliant flowers are in most window boxes.

Pistachios. Like we like chocolate, they like pistachio-flavored everything.

Gelato. So far, I have tried pistachio (of course), cheesecake, chocolate, dark chocolate, coffee, cloud-coffee, lemon, strawberry, and less American flavors like milk-flower, grape, almond, biscuit, popcorn, and life-is-now. I am determined to try them all. And fun fact: more than 1 cone of gelato is called gelati.  And same goes for cappuccino/ cappuccini.

Inexpensive wine. In the grocery store, most bottles were $2-$4.

Plums. We have foraged passion fruit, pears, mulberries, figs, and best of all, petite plums. Deep red, bright yellow, and orange “wild” plum trees dotted our hike today.  Having brought limited provisions and being surprised that each little town we passed through was too little to have a store or café, I seized the moment. 7 different moments, in fact. They were perfectly ripe and sweet. It only occurred to me later that prunes are just dried plums, and people use them medicinally as a laxative. Realizing this, and totaling my intake later in the afternoon, I walked the last few miles with slight fear of explosion. I will proudly say that now, 24 hours later, there was no drastic fallout from that risky endeavor. Although liking most things about my risk-taking nature, Erin, my compassionate travelling companion, has encouraged me to pace myself, just in case.

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