For months Walter and I poured over dozens of travel articles looking for the best places to stay on our trip. We decided to spend the majority of our time doing Work Away. If you’re not familiar with Work Away, it’s a website which allows travelers connect with local families in other countries and work for them part time in exchange for room and board. We had a short list of priorities to find the perfect host:
- native Italian
- live with a great cook (see #1)
- stay in a rural area
- work outdoors
- excellent reviews from other work awayers
- a place with farm animals is a plus!
Prior to leaving the US, we read over 100 Work Away host profiles to find the right match. We exchanged emails with multiple hosts to gut check if it was a good fit and coordinate schedules, which wasn’t the easiest to do when there is a language barrier, time differences, etc. But after some time we found two hosts: Sebastiano of Locanda San Fantino and Pal of Mt. Etna.
We’re now at Sebastiano’s where we’ll be for a total of 3 weeks. Sebastiano owns this bed and breakfast in San Giovanni a Piro, a village of about 4,000 people in region of Campania.
This is the view from the B&B window. We come to the B&B in the morning to help set up breakfast for the guests, do light kitchen work and eat all of our meals. Typically we work in the morning, have the afternoon off and work again in the evening to help with dinners.
In our spare time we’ll take a swim in the pool, wander around the village eating gelato or read in the hammock. This is a lookout in the center of the village, which sits between mountains and the sea, surrounded by the National Park of Cilento.
Here is the house we’re “camping” in for a bit. I say camping because it’s a couple hundred years old and the owner started to rennovate it but stopped. So there’s no doors, windows, electricity or running water. We carry our water in and have a little camp stove to make coffee in the morning. From the B&B it’s about a 45 minute walk up the hillside of Mount Bulgaria.
Here’s Mount Bulgheria overlooking the town at dawn. Each morning from our little home we hear the goats walking up the mountain to a natural spring at the peak. We’re camping at the house for our first week with a very specific mission. There are grape vineyards around the house and in years past they’ve been ravaged by the wild boar.
We’ve been asked to stay here to act as sort of human scarecrows in hopes that our presence will prevent the wild boar from eating the grapes. The Pinot Noir grapes are surrounded by an electric fence, which the boar have busted through a few times already. We were promised a shotgun but haven’t seen it yet. Instead we walk up the path each night with rocks in our hands ready to launch at the enemy. We hope to harvest the grapes soon and once that’s done we’ll help make the red wine!
Ciao for now.