Colledimezzo by Night!

The village is beautiful by day or by night. I wish these photographs could tell me about it’s history. Folks who have lived here their whole lives are eager to share their stories and have so much to tell. My mastery of the Italian language isn’t good enough to take it all in yet, but I’m learning. Soon I’ll be able to talk to the people who’s stories have been passed down through generations. As my Italian improves I will share their stories with you!

My Red SMEG

When I started furnishing our home in Italy I wanted it to be different than the houses we’d called home in the UK and the US. Completely different! I also didn’t want to fill a 200 year old building with antiques. I wanted it to be quirky and fun. My daughter designed the kitchen and called me about fridges from the SMEG shop.
“Do they have a red one?” I asked.
I swear I heard her smile down the phone as she replied, “as a matter of fact they do, and that is the one I would have chosen myself.”
Three years later this house is now my home. The fridge is the first thing folks see when they walk into the kitchen and it always makes them smile.

The Villages of Italy

“Buy a house in an Italian village for $1”
We read it in the newspapers, we see it on the television, but not many people pursue it. Not many people understand what these villages and houses look like, or appreciate their history. We certainly paid much more than $1 for our Italian home, and still spent a great deal after purchasing, but we weren’t looking for a project. Not easy overseeing something in Italy while living and working in the US
Now I’m retired I walk around our little Italian village daily. The contrast between houses is amazing. The photos above display two beautiful homes, but in between them, a deserted shell just begging for attention.
The huge house next to ours has been empty since the sixties. Such a shame, the architecture is amazing.
I don’t think there are any $1 homes in Colledimezzo, but when you see buildings in other villages advertised, remember, they are surrounded by history and love, and begging to be restored so they can stand proud again.

Sleepy Little Village

I’m trying to take life slowly. Forcing myself to not rush to get chores done. I have all the time in the world, but it’s quite an adjustment.
This morning I didn’t open my eyes until after seven, and then laid in bed until the clock chimed 7:15. A good time to rise.
My brain reminded me of my morning stretch routine, so I obeyed. Then upstairs to make a Cappuccino in the temperamental Smeg coffee maker. Came out perfectly. I sat on the kitchen deck and enjoyed my morning coffee. The sleepy little village had not yet come to life. No cars, no people, just the sunrise, the hillside and me.
What next?
A trip to San Vito on the coast, a pleasant walk and lunch in one of the local seafood restaurants.
It’s a hard life!!!

Retirement Plans and Porchetta

Have you ever tasted porchetta?

Today didn’t quite go as planned (again). The church bells chimed as I opened my eyes, letting me know it was 7:15. Lovely to sleep so long, but unfamiliar to me!
By the time we’d eaten breakfast, and I’d taken care of a couple of chores, it was 10:00 am.
Time for a cappuccino in the square, followed by a walk.
The cappuccino was glorious, sitting in the sunshine surrounded by soft musical Italian chatter, what could be better? Our good friend Nino came by and presented our bill for water and commune services, that he’d picked up for us. What would we do without him? We decided to pop into the post office and pay it before we walked. Thats when the plans went awry.
Due to COVID, only two folks can enter the post office at one time (social distancing is a good thing), and there was already a queue.
The meat van was parked across the road and the aroma of rotisserie chicken, porchetta and arrosticini was very persuasive. The longer we waited, the harder it was to resist. After paying the our bill in the post office, we tried to ignore the aromas and walk past the van, but to no avail. Before we could stop ourselves, we’d ordered porchetta, our mouths watering as we watched the delicious meat taken out of the rotisserie.
Maybe I should stop planning and just go with the flow!
Will I be able to resist the wood fired pizza van tonight??? Stay tuned and I’ll let you know.

The Italian Retirement Groove

Beautiful photo, I don’t tire of the Adriatic. It’s deep turquoise waters hypnotize me. Yesterday we took a stroll along the bike path in Fossacesia before lunching at a lovely fish restaurant “Il Pescatore”. We ate outside, which makes me feel much safer in these awful COVID times, but we were entertained by music and singing that spilled out to us. Inside a party of folks had something to celebrate, and as we’ve discovered, every Italian can sing…
I think I’m now used to the fact I’m here to stay. Instead of rushing around to get that floor lamp I need, I can take my time. I don’t have a flight booked, no deadline or timeframe. My time is my own!
It’s now 10:45 on a Sunday morning. The church bells are chiming, reminding everyone to stop what they’re doing and step into the beautiful church.
Happy chatter as they pass by in their Sunday best!
What am I doing? Sitting in the kitchen catching up on correspondence, and blogging. I have a loaf in the oven, lunch plans in my head, and no real rush to do anything.

Distracting Landscape

How do I find a routine in this beautiful place?
I’m halfway through my third week in my new home.
Yes, I’ve done a lot. Drivers license, medical card, bank details updated, but when I’m not running around establishing my presence, I’m hypnotized by the amazing views.
A few moths ago I began writing a Children’s book, “Queen Tess – a Short Shaggy Dog Story”. I really need to finish it so my daughter can work on the illustrations.
I haven’t been totally idle. I spend a little time every day learning Italian and mixing with the locals. Talking to the village folks is a fun way to learn the language.
There was a wood fired pizza van in the piazza last night. Nothing better than a warm evening on the piazza eating pizza and drinking wine.
This morning I visited the village doctor. His office is a few steps away from my house. When I introduced myself he smiled and told me where I lived. Yes, he knew me already. News travels fast in a small village.

The day is young, after lunch I’ll jump in the little Panda and drive to Lancanio. There are a few things I need to buy that I can’t buy locally, and quite honestly…can’t wait to drive again.

Pescara

Maybe next time I visit Pescara it will be for fun!

Over the past three years I’ve flown into Pescara from Milan, ridden the Pronto bus to Pescara from Rome, and rented numerous cars from Hertz. For three years, the same helpful folks have worked there.
Although I do enjoy taking to Marco and his staff, I’m looking forward to be driving my own car. It’s ordered, but unfortunately it takes over two months to arrive. Until then, I’m driving a Fiat Panda. Cute little car…not as small as they were back in the day.
Driving in Italy (Abruzzo anyway), comes much more natural to me than driving in the US. The Italians drive fast, but efficiently. No on sits in the outside lane like its their right. They use the outside lane to overtake, and then move over to let others do the same. I enjoy driving in Italy!

Relax?

I’d like nothing more than so just sit back and enjoy the view, but I’ve moved to a new country, there are things to be done.
I quarantined until Monday and then took my COVID test at the local chemist…negative…yea! Celebrated with a typical, delicious Italian lunch at the neighboring town of Villa Santa Maria. How I was longing for that fantastic vino bianco and mouthwatering pasta. We took the day off to just enjoy being here.
Tuesday brought my first challenge. I went to apply for my Italian driver’s license in the town of Atessa. It was a long drawn out affair, but definitely not dull. Eye test, forms to sign, do I have any diseases? After a couple of hours I left the office with a copy of my British license and a stamped form certifying I’d applied for my Italian license…hope it comes soon. Back to Colledimezzo where a wood fired pizza van was parked in the square. Great way to finish the day. Best pizza I’ve had in years.
Wednesday started with a trip to Maisons du Monde, which is around 40 miles away. Needed to pick up a couple of small pieces of furniture, they remembered me from last summer. Lovely folks.
Early evening Aperol Spritz in the square with friends, and an evening of relaxation.
Thursday…still organizing things at home, also basked in the sun a little on the terrace.
Today, trip to the lovely town of Lanciano. My husband has mastered the parking system there, it can be tricky. Trip to the Bank to show them my residency card which gives us much better banking rates. Cappuccino in the sun and back home. Next week I need to get my medical insurance, then I can relax and smell the roses…retirement is suiting me I think.

Pandemic Flight

I could have inserted an image of an airport, or the plane, but I thought the destination would be prettier. Colledimezzo in all its glory, taken today as I enjoyed my first morning walk.
Back to the flight, not as bad as I thought, but not great. My daughter dropped me at the airport in Denver. It was an emotional good bye for me. I miss her!
My Italian residency/ID card was the only documentation I needed to board the flight, other than my passport. Delta airlines did a great job. They kept folks distanced, boarding, and during the flight. More than I could say for other airlines, where folks jostling and pushed to board. I’ll remember how well Delta did during these awful times and fly with them again.
Atlanta was uneventful, but I noticed the airport was not so strict on mask wearing. The international terminal was pretty empty, so I just kept my distance from folks. I’d already completed my documentation allowing me to land in Amsterdam. For those passengers who hadn’t, it was handed out at the gate prior to boarding. Thanks to my daughter I was in first class on this flight. Food was delicious, as was the champagne.
This was the first time I’d flown through Amsterdam. Busy airport, even during a pandemic. My temperature was checked and my documentation stamped before I could proceed to my departure gate.
My flight from Amsterdam to Rome was a little uncomfortable due to an ignorant selfish idiot sitting in the same row as me. Luckily there was an aisle and three seats between us because he wore his mask under his chin and proceeded to cough and sneeze into his hands throughout the flight. He was warned more than once by the flight attendant, but as they say…”you can’t fix stupid”.
I was very relieved when we landed in Rome, and even more relieved to collect my luggage. I always fear it won’t be there.
My husband was waiting for me…I survived a pandemic flight.

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