Pedaling Paris to Rome | All Blogs


By Rachel Farrington

OZU is a community of artists living in a remodeled candy factory outside of Rome in the sleepy little hill town of Monteleone Sabino. They listen to a lot of Bob Dylan music and they have some cats. People from all over the world are in and out constantly so our world view is rapidly expanding and we're learning so much about the Mediterranean culture. The first week we were banned from asking "When?" about anything.

There are always lots of languages being spoken and we wish we could learn Italian faster because in the Mediterranean body language isn't much help. Sometimes Mark and I will be certain that a terrible fight is coming on as the volume and intensity of the Italian starts to rise, and then the hands start flying, and just as we are about to sneak away everyone spontaneously erupts in laughter. We usually manage an awkward chuckle just to feel like we are part of the group. Dinner is usually from 10- midnight and it is some of the most amazing farm-to-table food unlike our American stuff which they describe as "ketchuped". It's a verb here. Like, "You ketchuped the Asian food when you put it in a little box"...or even out of the food context. .."We love American Independent Films because they haven't been ketchuped yet."

The farm life is fun, hard work. We ride our bikes a few miles to the field each day along part of the pilgrimage route of St. Francis, frequently passing modern pilgrims on their hike from Assisi to Rome.

Each day we stop at a cold spring fountain next to this church and fill our water bottles before heading to the olive orchard and vineyard.

We already worked on the vineyard and have now finished pruning over 350 olive trees. Mark weed-eats and I hack blackberry vines for about 6 hours a day and we love the work! Mark calls it a date. At 7am every morning it's,"Do your hair, we're about to go out!" It's that much fun! And it feels great to be a part of working with the land in this way. Jonah is having fun with two boys his age that live at OZU. They communicate through what we call the "squeaks". All having fun!


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