Wintertime in Piemonte
My birthday is coming up. After the age of 30, that actually comes with more anxiety than excitement. At least for me. At least for women, I suppose. I might be wrong, but my impression is that men are more relaxed about the whole age thing. A couple of years ago, my husband declared that while he was like an aging Barolo, only getting better with the years, I was more like a Prosecco having turned into vinegar (Ouch!!!). He said it as a joke, obviously, but still, I fear there is some truth to it. The stress of juggling our two jobs with small children has gotten the best of me many times. Not getting enough sleep makes me really moody, and God knows there have been enough of those sleepless nights. Of course, it is all worth it, and for my kids, I'd do it again a million times. ButI'm just saying, it was easier to be all bubbly and sparkling as a student in your early 20s.
I have a secret cure though. An "anti-vinegar" remedy. My very own alternative medicine. No weird ingredients, no celebrity doctor to wait in line for. I simply pack my bags and go to Italy. I'm telling you, it works every time! Surrounded by the beautiful landscapes, taking in the art at every corner, while enjoying the good food and wine, I find myself in perfect harmony. Something in the Italian air makes me feel so alive. Present, in the moment. To my family's frustration, I photograph the same narrow streets and the same pink and orange colored walls over and over again. My daughter keeps sighing "Stop taking pictures, mom!", but I simply can't get enough of the charm of it all. It is like I need to catch every moment and bring it back home with me. Our fridge is full of pics from Italy. I like to look at them in the morning while drinking my coffee. When you see my photos, you probably just see a street or a nice landscape, and it is not so special. But when I see my them, it takes me straight back to the day when I took them, and I remember the feeling I had that day; the taste of the food and the wine, the relaxed atmosphere and how happy we all were. Memories. Isn't that what photography is all about, after all? When we go to Italy, we normally bring the kids and go to see my husband's family, which is always lovely. But for my birthday, we have started a tradition to go somewhere alone, just the two of us. For this weekend, we don't really have no other plans than eating and sleeping. It is really two full days of il dolce far niente; "the beauty of doing nothing" that the Italians master so well, and that we all could benefit learning from (at least me, who is more "the disaster of doing too much"). Quickly, this has become one of my favorite weekends of the year, and all of the sudden, I feel slightly excited about my birthday again. The last two years we have been to Florence and Rome. This time we went to the Langhe area in Piedmont, because we really wanted to see how it looks like in the winter. And we weren't disappointed. The white hills with the Alps in the background were a real treat to the eye. Gosh, how I love this region. Can't wait to be back! xx Elfrid
(The photos are taken in the towns of Monforte d'Alba, Barolo, Alba, Barbaresco and Neive)