Towards the end of my study abroad, my roommate Tiana and I decided that we needed to experience Italy by working on a vineyard.
We arrived ready to smash grapes with our toes, enjoy olive oil fresh from the press, and experience life with a little Italian grandma and grandpa. We envisioned fresh pasta a Tuscan villa, and smells of fresh pasta and Italian swirling in the air.
We were a bit naïve.
When we got there we found it was a commune of rather “free spirited” Germans, and Americans that had come to Italy years before (cult really isn't to harsh in this situation). We spent the afternoon weeding, and tried to be optimistic when we saw that our room was a mattress in a really dusty attic.
We talked food and were excited when they mentioned tonight they were making a special family recipe for a chocolate cake.
As we all finished our chores we noticed a strange smell in the air and asked the American what it was. He explained it was pot and that he came for a week and had stayed for 3 months relaxing and experiencing “Real Italy” camping in their backyard.
As we got back to the house we tried to convince ourselves it was just a few of the workers probably, as we walk into the kitchen to find the cute german grandma pull out chocolate cake, yep there is that smell, ask grandma: secret ingredient POT!
We were volunteering on a pot farm…!!
Naturally we faked an urgent email from a friend grabbed our backpacks and tried to high tail it out of there. Before we could leave though they wanted to “give us” fresh olive oil for the road, which we naturally had to pay for. So we grabbed our over priced olive oil that bought our freedom, and hightailed it to the train station, where we grabbed the last night train home!!
Looking back we were "Living a bit too Free" I think, and definitely put ourselves in rather precarious position.
But its still one of our favorite stories, we laughed so hard, and the further we got away from that farm the funnier it felt.
Its one of those memories that taught us to be more careful, but also not to take ourselves or our trips to seriously, because you can't plan for everything.