Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Day Trips

NOTE TO THE READER:  I am aware that writing in real time is the most effective.  I am behind on  my blog post, however, so Aaron has graciously volunteered to help me catch up.  Later on I will go back and add the kids journal entries, ect.  But for now we are going to post as much as we can so we can do our next travels into the more exotic as timely as our internet connection will allow.

We managed to find a Water Buffalo Dairy with an adjoining Mozzarella Cheese Factory to tour outside of Napoli, Italy.  The family has had the operation since after WWII.  It was so interesting to see all there is to see about water buffalo.  The owner of the dairy was so kind to take time with our family and show us around the operation.  Kari had a special connection with her roots here.  As you can see, the farm was going to be a mess, so they were kind enough to get us plastic bags to protect our shoes.
Here is the milk production comparison between a dairy cow, a water buffalo, and a lactating human.  As you can see, the water buffalo produces much less milk, but has a higher fat content in their milk, so they are perfectly suited for cheese production.  It is obvious that a lactating human is just way behind on production in comparison.

These beauties are bovine through and through.  They have covered areas to keep them cool in the hot Italian sun as well.  This is a special breed of "Mediterranean" water buffalo that has been bred to thrive in this region.

We were fascinated to see that each pen has a pool of water that is constructed for the buffalo's comfort.  The water buffalo has no way to sweat, so they use the water to keep their temperature in check.  The pools have sprinklers that spray over them so all the buffalo can be cooled.  They were quite curious creatures and we enjoyed getting close to them with a handful of delicious grass.

What is a dairy without baby calves.  They were very cute and very friendly.  Several of our children go their fingers sucked by these little ones.  No one enjoys this as much as Maggie though.  She clearly had a special place in her heart for all animals.

Here is a picture our wonderful host, Manuela.  She was so kind and at the end of the tour she not only didn't charge us, but she also gave us a free water buffalo calendar, a ton of mozzarella and a CD!  You can see her house in the background that was built in the 1600s.

Here is a picture of our mozzarella braid that Manuela gave us.  They normally just sell it in balls, but for her family, they always braid it because it soaks up the salts more and tastes better.  It was very kind of her, and it was almost a crime to cut into it to try the mozzarella, but we had to because it was so good.

Day trip to the around the little town of Genazzano. This is the gate into the city.  We have been fascinated by all of these little walled cities that are all over Italy.  They were obviously built and planned out without cars in mind.  We wound ourselves through the quaint little mid evil streets for an afternoon.

At the edge of the town was a much needed park to play in.  The European cities have been filled with so much concrete that our children enjoyed running, and playing in the grass for a bit.  We played red light green light, tag, hide and seek, fox and squirrels, any game we could think of and we were so grateful for the room to run. 

I think Tessa won this game and is happy to be crowned victorious                                            

Goofy kids in a small apartment

The local church walkway in the little town we were staying in called Castel Madama.  This is also a picture of the town square in Castel Madama.  Each day we would go to the local produce vendor, butcher shop, and sweets shop.  It was so much fun to deal with the local vendors.  Everything was so fresh and the people were so friendly.  Nothing we bought to eat came out of a box or can.  Yum!
The local church was not easy to find because it was tucked away in a commercial building, but we found the ward to be very fun.  The ward was full of faithful saints from Italy and Africa.  Many languages were spoken throughout the ward, so translation services were available for those who needed them, namely, us.
Ugo and Jenna Perego and their 5 children were some of the friends we made while we were in Italy.  They were kind enough to invite us over for dinner, and we all had such a good time.  Our children got to play with other english speaking children, build with legos, and even break a pinata.  It was hard to get them to leave that night.  The Peregos were a sweet blessing our family was in need of.   Ugo is Italian and Jenna is American, and they lived in the USA for quite a long while.  An opportunity opened up for them in Rome, so they moved their family over there, and all of the children have had to learn Italian and adjust.  What a brave and talented family they are.

Outside of Tivoli, we decided to take a hike into the Roman countryside.  The trail was long, but the views were great.  We really enjoyed breathing the fresh air and getting out of the city.  The following pictures show some the things we saw.

Here is the Rome temple as of February 2016.  It has been in construction for 6 years or so.  We have heard lots of rumors of the building complications they have had, and who knows which are true, but needless to say, it is still in construction.

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