This Crazy Little Thing Called Retirement (Part 4) Colledimezzo

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With the soft top of the little Fiat 500 rolled down, the sun on our shoulders and the breeze in our faces, we continued across the mountains of central Italy. I was pleased Jo was driving because the views were spectacular. Most of our journey took us through national park. Picnickers sat among the trees, their laughter tantalizing our ears as we passed, stalls selling wild truffles and asparagus popped up along the road side. This was a part of Italy I had never seen, and didn’t know existed. As we climbed higher the trees became sparse and wild horses roamed by the side of the road. Magnificent, well fed, healthy animals.

The scenery was incredible, but we were growing weary, it had been a long day and the journey began to tell on us. It was easy for me, I was the passenger, but Jo was driving, and that was tough on unfamiliar mountain roads. We began to ascend the eastern side of the mountains and little villages appeared, scattered on hilltops. Some were perched so high they looked unreachable. Every time a new one appeared I’d say.
“Look Jo, thats Colledimezzo,”
I think I must have repeated myself a dozen times before she gave me the look! Each village was equally as beautiful. Then finally we were directed away from the main road by a sign which read COLLEDIMEZZO, and there it was in all its beauty.
My future home.

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This Crazy Little Thing called Retirement – Crossing Italy (Part 3)

My daughter lived in Dallas at the time, so we took different flights and met at the Marriott Rome Park. A lovely hotel not far from the Airport.  My husband and I stayed there a couple of times on prior visits to Rome. Jo and I met at the bar, giddy with excitement about our trip. After all, it’s not everyday you fly to Italy to buy a house. After a couple of cocktails we sat down to dinner. Our excitement was infectious, we had a lovely evening…unfortunately the wine and food didn’t make for a great night’s sleep! It was worth it though.
The next morning we returned to the airport to pick up or rental car. I wasn’t that confident about driving in Italy back then (that soon changed) so my daughter did the driving. An excellent job she did too. We’d never driven across Italy before, or visited Abruzzo, so we had to rely on the car navigation system, which seemed to be constantly confused. Jo wanted to take the smaller road across the mountains, rather than the highway. Once we got away from the hustle bustle of Rome, we relaxed a little and decided to stop for lunch.
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Luckily, we saw a restaurant right on the road side. This was our first real experience with “non tourist” Italy. We were the only folks who didn’t speak Italian. Tables were pushed together at one side of the restaurant to accommodate a large family gathering of at least 40 people. All talking together, drinking wine, sharing platters of food. Kids laughed, played (and occasionally cried). The menu was in Italian of course.
We ordered salad and meat, a little wine a bottle of Aqua frizzante, to wash it down with.
I looked around me at what would become my everyday life, and I liked what I saw. We couldn’t linger over lunch because there was a very long journey ahead of us. We had to cross the mountains of Central Italy, and find a small village called Colledimezzo.

Crazy Little Thing Called Retirement – The Journey (Part2)

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In August 2017 we spent two glorious weeks on the Island of Capri and the Amalfi Coast. It was a lovely time. A few days in Capri, a couple of days in Naples and a whole week in a beautiful villa in Scala, close to Ravello. Our villa overlooked the town of Amalfi and the deep blue mediterranean. There was a house for sale close to our villa which was in the process of being renovated. We weighed up the pros and cons of buying it. It was very tempting, and just what we were looking for, but the cost of buying and completing the renovation would have been too much for us.

I’d been searching on line, for a home in Italy for a couple of years, but never found the perfect place. The homes I really liked were much too expensive. The cheaper ones needed a lot of work. Then I remembered that several folks we’d talked to in Rome had told us about Abruzzo and how beautiful it was. They’d only moved away to find work, but returned as often as they could. Although I’d never been there, I decided to do some research and was fascinated with what I found. Lots of lovely unspoiled hilltop villages, beautiful mountains, and even more captivating, the Adriatic Coastline.

I immediately began my search in Abruzzo, and stumbled upon Abruzzo Rural Property, run by a helpful young lady called Monia. Thankfully she spoke great English. Three houses took my fancy, and Monia found a couple more. All in the Chieti province, which bordered the Adriatic. I asked if we could go and view them and we set a date at the end of August. She was surprised I wanted to make the trip so soon, but I daren’t leave it any longer in case I chickened out. I had to strike while the iron was hot. Spending large amounts of money make me nervous.

My husband had no more vacation days left, so he couldn’t come with me so called my daughter.
“Hey Jo, I’m going to look at a house in Italy, will you come with me?”
“Sure, when do you want to go?”
I think she expected me to say in the Spring, or next Summer. She probably thought it was another one of our pipe dreams…
“Next Friday, I’ll pay!”

As you can see by the photo, she enjoyed the trip very much. When we hired a rental car in Rome she asked “Do you have an open topped car, doesn’t have to be an Alfa Romeo, or anything fancy.”
The result was a little open topped Fiat, which took us across the mountainous region of central Italy from Lazio to the Chieti province in Abruzzo.

It was a blast!

Sunday Morning Sunshine and Terror

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Two mass shootings in two days. They are so common place now we barely talk about them anymore. I don’t want to glorify or memorialize the shooter by talking about him, I want to bring attention to the terror he brought to the deceased and injured, and to those families who lost loved ones. So many folks scarred for life.
This has to stop. Military type weapons SHOULD NOT be for sale. Why would anyone want to buy such a weapon?
The current President of this country, who I can’t even bring myself to name, sends a message that hate and racism is OK.
Greed and terror rule, when will this end?
Sorry for my rant, but I’m tired of seeing lives lost. It happens so frequently now. It has to stop.

My heart goes out to everyone involved. But Mr. Trump, please don’t end your ridiculous tweets in GOD BLESS. You are the least godly man I know!

 

 

Crazy Little Thing called Retirement (Part 1)

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Yesterday I was 21 and didn’t give retirement a single thought. It was a word my parents often used, but something that would never happen to me.
We were in our late fifties when we realized retirement was sneaking up on us and we decided to make a plan.

Lots of trips to Italy and France, thats what we’ll do. We’ll rent a car and drive!

We’d been traveling to Italy as often as possible for the last 15 – 20 years, staying in great hotels (expensive), and renting beautiful villas in picturesque locations (with uncomfortable beds). Was that really how we wanted to spend our twilight years…yes and no.

Yes we want to travel, but on our terms. Less expense, fewer long flights, and more comfort and relaxation. There was only one answer, buy a home in the area we loved the most!

More to follow!

 

 

Tuscany of the South

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Beautiful Abruzzo. I’m sharing my photos from our last trip. This is Roccoscalegna, a beautiful village close to our home in Colledimezzo. The castle is perched on a rock, and climbing to the top is much easier than it looks. Now our house is put together, we have more time to explore the Chieti province. There are three other provinces in Abruzzo, (Aquila, Teramo and Pescara). Once we’ve conquered those, the rest of the beautiful country is on our doorstep.

Let the dream begin.

Home in Abruzzo

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We discovered Abruzzo in August 2017. My husband tasked my daughter and I with finding a house on whirlwind three day trip. (Quite exhausting from the USA). We didn’t really know what to expect.
Abruzzo was introduced to us by hotel staff in various hotels in and around Rome. The comments always went like this:
Abruzzo is beautiful, but there is no work, which is why I move to Rome/Milan/Florence. 
We’d been looking to buy a home in Italy for a while, a place to retire, so work wasn’t important to us. What we wanted was tranquility, beauty, genuine people and a reasonably priced economy. We found it all in the beautiful little hillside village of Colledimezzo.

Bomba (above) is typical of the towns and villages in the area. Unspoiled beauty that makes you feel you’re stepping back in time. Not quite ready to retire yet, but when we do, I think life here will be treat us well.

Vacation Anticipation!

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Anticipating an upcoming vacation is intoxicating. It’s the best tonic and makes you relaxed, happy and motivated! We should all take more vacations!

Getting Old

 

When you’re young you sometimes ache, but shrug it off,
It’s from running, or dancing or simply having fun!

When you’re old you worry, you stress, you dwell,
On the pain, is it my heart, an aneurysm, will I die?

When you’re young tiredness sets in and you sleep,
Your body repairs itself, your brain renews, reborn each day.

When you’r old, it’s extreme fatigue, your whole body tires,
You lie awake and worry that every breath is your last.

How long does it take to get old?
The blink of an eye, two shakes of a lambs tail!

Enjoy your young days, live life to the full, because,
You’re getting older and soon today will be a beautiful memory!

 

Gloomy Sunday – Aching Bones – Writing

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Gloomy Sunday, the sun has hidden,
My bones they ache due the the lawn tractor ridden,
Never thought I’d get old, but alas, I did.

My hobby is writing, and books are released,
I’ll never be rich from them, but break even at least,
I can say I did it, and I did.

Retirement soon, to a life with less stress,
Apprehensive to the change, but excited I confess,
To live to old age, and I did.

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