Old Friends in New Places – Vecchi amici in posti nuovi

Hubby and I have both been working really hard for the past few weeks. Mainly because the weather wasn’t great, so we used the rainy days to get things done. Now, with friends visiting, we can relax and show them our beautiful area. They arrived at Abruzzo Airport to beautiful bright sunshine, but a shower greeted us on the way home. Not to worry. We spent the afternoon catching up, eating good food, and toasting our past. We shared some amazing times in our youth, living life to the fullest in Germany. We reunited at my daughter’s wedding in 2014, then in Ravello (a big reunion with more friends) in summer 2015. That was a blast. The last time we saw them was Christmas 2015, when we stayed with them at their home in England. Now, eight years later, we’re eager to show them our new home in Abruzzo.

Since they arrived on Wednesday, we’ve eaten at our local favourite restaurant (Cubanito Bailòn), walked around beautiful Ascoli Piceno, enjoyed seafood in Giulianova (Ristorante Martin Pescatore) and walked by the sea. On Friday evening we all watched a nail biting Arsenal game together, which didn’t quite end up with the result we expected, but it could have been worse.

What can we show them next? Maybe a trip to Civitella del Tronto, or do we take them back down to the coast to San Benedetto del Tronto? So much to see and do here.

Odd Shoes and Hidden Restaurants – Scarpe spaiate e ristoranti nascosti

We had an amazing sunrise on Friday morning. I lay in bed watching the purple, pink and blue horizon. I’m sure these amazing colours are provided by the sun reflecting off the Adriatic. I don’t close our bedroom shutters at this time of the year because the sunrises are just too good to miss.

Friday is market day in Villa Lempa, so I rummaged the stalls, looking for bargains. I found two very large lavender plants for four euros each, a pair of slippers for ten euro, and a lovely little cactus for my windowsill for three euros. I came home happy. I do like a bargain.

We decided to go out for lunch, and hubby googled restaurants in the area, wanting to find somewhere different. We prefer neighbourhood eateries, used by the local workforce, and found a restaurant in Sant’egidio val vibrata that looked interesting. It was called Fior di Sale. We drove to Sant’egidio, but couldn’t find it. Maybe it had closed down. As we walked back to the car I looked down at my feet…
“Oh no, Lester I’m wearing odd shoes.”
Hubby looked at my feet and shook his head.
“One shoe is darker than the other.” he said, not even noticing they were two different styles. The shoes both felt the same, when I put them on, I guess I should have checked. It gave me a chuckle anyway.

When we didn’t find the restaurant, we headed back to Villa Lempa and the Pescherie (fishmonger). On Fridays they sell fresh fried fish at lunch time for €24 per kilo. You can have a mixture (fritto misto), or choose your fish. I ordered half a kilo (un mezzo kilo) of calamari and baccalà (squids and salted cod). It was still piping hot when we got home, and with fresh bread, made an excellent lunch. What made it even better was the fresh salsa piccante I made on Thursday evening. Hot peppers are back in season, we’ve missed them.

I suppose my shoe mistake could have been worse.

Oh those aching bones – Oh quelle ossa doloranti

The evenings are chilly, so we still need a fire, and mornings come with a little mist, but by the afternoon, it’s gorgeous.

I’m still struggling with bruised ribs from my bike accident, silly old girl I am. I need to be more careful. Old bodies take longer to heal. My thankless research of flights to Denver continues, leaving me gasping at the high prices. AirFrance seem like a good alternative at the moment, but they don’t have great customer reviews. I’ll spend a few more days looking for a bargain before biting the bullet.

I went for an afternoon walk after lunch on Tuesday, and enjoyed the sights and sounds of Spring. When I got back, I did a little pottering in the garden, can’t resist it. Then, exhausted and aching, I sat in my favourite chair and instructed hubby how to bake shortbread biscuits (cookies, biscotti), because I just couldn’t do anymore. He did a good job considering it was his first attempt and also sounded pretty content while he was doing it.

The evening crept in and I watched the clouds slide down the mountain, blocking out the last rays of sunshine. Its pretty special living here with the Adriatic on one side, and the Apennines on the other. The Adriatic provides dramatic sunrises, and the mountains bring flaming red sunsets. A painters paradise.

Wednesday morning dawned, bright sunny and beautiful. Is Spring here to stay?

Valentines day by the Adriatic – San Valentino sull’Adriatico

Hubby and I are not mushy folks, and may have celebrated Valentines day a handful of times in our forty six (dang we’re old) years of marriage, but on Tuesday we had a nice Valentine’s day. We drove to San Benedetto del Tronto and walked for miles along the beach. It was a little chilly, but beautiful. I wish I’d taken a bag to collect shells.
We walked up an appetite and stopped for lunch in Ristorante L’Arco, a fish restaurant in the town. It was absolutely delicious.

When I got home, my copy of Hidden in Childhood had been delivered so I was able to read my two poems in print. Fame at last. I suppose this should encourage me to continue writing…better get to it.

On Wednesday morning I opened my bedroom shutters to the most beautiful sunrise…yes I say the same every day. Can’t decide if the sunrise or sunset is better here because they are both so beautiful. There was also a text from my daughter with another photo of Sloan, the new furry addition to their family. She looks very cute, and a little moody. I can’t wait to meet her.

Sea, Sand, a Lively Market, and maybe a little snow – Mare, sabbia, un vivace mercato e forse un po’ di neve.

As I’ve mentioned many times, I never tire of the Adriatic, there is something magical about it for me. Maybe because the first time I saw it, back in the seventies, I was with my mum and my crazy Aunt Jenny (who I loved). It brings back happy memories of a teenager taking her first trip abroad with her mum. It was also my mum’s first trip abroad.

With Thursday looking like the last reasonably warm, and rain free day for a while, we decided drive to the coast. This time our destination was Giulianova. We’re visiting the local seaside towns, in turn, to see which is our favourite.

It was market day, so as well as a walk along the seafront (lungo mare), we strolled through the market. Giulianova has one of the largest markets we’ve visited in Italy so far. It was colourful and full of activity. The seafront was long, wide and lined with palm trees. Of course, the Adriatic was a perfect shade of blue. I think San Benedetto del Tronto is still my favourite seaside town, but Giulianova, Tortoreto and Grottommare aren’t far behind. They all have an unspoiled charm that seems to have been lost to tourism on the Mediterranean side of Italy. We’ll definitely make a return trip, especially for the market.

I keep seeing weather alerts, due to wind, snow and ice. I believe its supposed to hit Saturday, above 400 meters. That includes our area, because were at around 550 meters (eighteen hundred feet roughly) so lets wait and see. Will I witness the first snow storm since we’ve moved to this area?

Friday is market day in Villa Lempa, so off I went to get my fresh veggies, bread and fish. The temperature has definitely dropped and all the locals were talking about was snow (neve). The top of Monti Piselli is covered with snow, maybe even enough for the ski resort to be open. The butcher assured me the snow would not come down as far as Villa Lempa…but our house is higher than Villa Lempa, so maybe it will reach us. He also talked about a bad storm a few years ago, when they got two metres of snow. Obviously one for the record books. I think they had an earthquake at the same time.

My Friday afternoon walk was brief and cold. Snow has reached the hilltops above us. The top of Mount Asencione has completely disappeared. Glad I walked though because I the highlight of one local gentleman’s afternoon…he seemed highly amused by the big bobble bouncing up and down on the top of my woolly hat. A smile a day folks, a smile a day.

And our most infectious smile today comes from…

December in Italy – Dicembre in Italia

On Monday, the view on my evening walk was spectacular. I can’t complain about the weather in Italy. Yes we get rain, and it is much more humid than I’m used to, but the countryside so lush and beautiful. It’s December and we’re still enjoying autumn colours.

This week I’ll decorate the house for Christmas. In Italy, Immaculate Conception on December 8th is the traditional day for Christmas to start, so I’d better follow tradition. On Monday I shopped, knowing the grocery store would only get busier with Thursday’s holiday. The grocery stores in Ascoli Piceno are always busy. It’s a big town and surrounded by lots of smaller towns and villages. I like that its busy and vibrant. It’s the perfect balance for me. Our house enjoys a great location in the Italian Countryside, but the town and all it has to offer, is only fifteen minutes away.

I’m sixty four pages into writing my latest book. I’d hoped to be much further by now. What is taking me so long? My brain is full of my story, but it’s just not flowing through my fingers. Maybe I need to clear my head of everything else first. I’m not getting any younger, this book needs to be written!

Why do some people need to write? We all write for different reasons. My early childhood wasn’t perfect. My mum did her best, but she was married to a monster. Childhood memories of his reign of terror are etched into my brain, hiding behind chairs with my eyes closed and my hands pressed against my ears, willing his tirade to end. When I was eleven or twelve I started writing as a sort of exorcism to get these images out of my head. I soon realised what a fantastic therapy it was, and have been writing ever since.

Have a Happy December.

A Magical Place (and a Christmas Menu) – Un Luogo Magico (e un Menù di Natale)

So lucky to see the blue Adriatic and the snow covered mountains all in one walk on Monday afternoon. I live in a magical place.

The only magic visible this morning is a thick swirling mist and heavy rain. It may be a day indoors again.
There is going to be a lot of baking and writing going on today, I see home made soup in my near future. Maybe I’ll even settle down and read. I wish I wasn’t so restless. My mum used to be the same.

I did manage to book our Christmas day lunch, which is something to look forward to. Country House Il Piacere is one of our favourite local restaurants, and they posted their Christmas menu today. Looks delicious! We’ll be alone for Christmas, so we may as well make the day special and enjoy a banquet prepared by someone else. Not sure how much of this we’ll manage to eat, but we’ll do our best. My friend Linda would love the two pasta dishes.

Prosciutto, capocollo, salame e formaggio delle collina abruzzesi (Ham, pork, salame and cheese from Abruzzo)

Flan di pecorino e speck, galantina farcita con carni miste e turtufo, cestino di fritti (Pecorino and bacon flan, galantine stuffed with mixed meats and truffle, fried basket)

Vincisgrassi della tradizione ascolana (Vincisgrassi from the Ascoli traditionthis is a dish similar to lasagna)

Cappelletti in brodo (Angelhair pasta in broth)

Agnello e cappone natalizio con patate (Christmas lamb and capon with potatoes)

Insalata mista (Mixed salad)

Delizie del natale (Christmas Delights)

Luckily this restaurant is only five minutes from home…

Passeggiando a Civitella del Tronto – Walking in Civitella del Tronto.

The first photo was taken from our balcony just after sunset last night, magnificent colours. The rest of the photos are from my walk yesterday morning. The village is Collevirtù which is a short distance from our home. Beautiful countryside. Why did it take me almost sixty years to find Abruzzo?

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you all know how much I love to walk. I took so many photos in Coledimezzo that I could have pieced them together like a jigsaw and made a picture of the village. Moving and settling in has kept me busy for the last four weeks. I’ve managed a couple of short walks, and a couple of bike rides, but this week I’m beginning my walking routine again. Hoping to alternate my health routine between biking and walking. We now live in the Frazione di Civitella del Tronto (Fraction of Civitella del Tronto), and I’m going to capture my surroundings in photos, just like I did in Colledimezzo. Both areas are beautiful in different ways.

I had great news last night from my daughter, she has booked her flight to come and see us at the end of September, along with her husband of course. They will spend a few days here and then we’ll drive to Munich and party for a couple of days at Oktober Fest. I thought my days of Beer Festivals were over, but apparently not. I hope I can keep up.

It’s a long time since I saw beers that big!

Our Never Forever Home

My beautiful forever home…or so I though.


I’ve been in love with Italy my whole life, particularly the Adriatic Coast. It is unspoiled by tourists, charming and simply magical. We bought a house in Abruzzo in 2017, and retired here in 2020 in the middle of a pandemic. Covid didn’t dampen my love for the country, or for the Adriatic. In fact it strengthened my bond with the people of Abruzzo. Their caring generosity is amazing. I thought our beautiful home in Abruzzo would be my “forever home”, but unfortunately its not to be.

We have just put our beautiful home on the market. We love it, and are still in love with the area, but we need to buy something that we can handle in our old age. We’re both in our mid sixties now, and fit as fiddles. We walk, bike hike and feel almost like youngsters (almost).

However we are getting older and our home is on three floors, the kitchen being on the top, and the living room on the bottom. Yes that is easy until you reach your sixties, but now its a bit of a chore. Also our rented garage is at the bottom of the village, and where we store our logs, it is quite a trek in the cold weather. As much as we’re sad to do this we’re selling our house and thinking of our future. This home has brought us much happiness as both a vacation home and a full time home, but we have to think ahead to when we’re in our seventies and eighties (assuming we live that long).

Are we leaving Abruzzo…Hell no…just looking for something a little easier for two aging folks to manage. We have to save our energy for partying.

Take care everyone and stay safe.

Trials and Tribulations

This week has been a challenge! We all get them at times don’t we?
On Sunday, for no apparent reason other than old age, my back started to hurt. It was a little worse on Monday, and by Tuesday I could barely move. Luckily, an excellent physiotherapist lives very close, and I was able to snag an appointment. I’ve learned from experience (my back is my weak area), that you have to power through it. Lying around moping just makes it worse.
Late Tuesday evening I got a message from “the engineer” letting me know they’d like to start work on our upstairs bathroom remodel early Wednesday morning…something I was looking forward to, but it posed an extra challenge with my painful back.
Tile removal, dust, drilling replacing all of the water pipes…dust settles and re-settles…oh what a week.
Now it’s Saturday and hopefully most of the “messy” work is done. Someone is currently in the room throwing concrete at the wall. Tiling next week? Let’s hope so.
On a positive note, my back feels tender, but much better. The sun is shining, and on Monday with restrictions lifted, we can drive to the Adriatic. My spirits are lifted already.

Stay safe everyone and have a lovely weekend!

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