Abruzzo Foodie Weekend

This weekend was full of food.
Yesterday, we had lunch in https://www.ristoranteilvignale.com/ in Rapino. It was so delicious I forgot to take photographs. I had the best peppercorn steak I’ve ever had in Abruzzo. Cooked to perfection. It was a beautiful restaurant and the staff were great. We sat by a big open log fire, which set the atmosphere perfectly. Long drive from Colledimezzo, but we were in the area to meet friends and it was definitely worth it.
Today, we met friends for lunch in https://www.villaegle.com/ in Atessa, and I did remember to take photos. Fantastic meal in a beautiful restaurant which is hidden away so well that you wouldn’t even know it was there. There are so many great places to eat here. Villa Egle is only twenty minutes from home so we’ll definitely be back.
The restaurants in our area range from excellent local dishes to sophisticated dishes that could compete with any upscale restaurant in Rome or Milan.
I love to cook, but enjoy eating out about once a week. This week I got lucky. Two great meals.
I feel like I’m advertising Abruzzo! I’m not, stay away, I want to keep it to myself.
There were only four diners in Villa Eglie due to COVID. Let’s hope these restaurants survive the pandemic.

Enjoy your Sunday everyone…work tomorrow. Oh wait, I’m retired!

A Little Levity – and Some Excellent Food!

Everyone has to admit the thought of a new and awful strain of this wretched virus is more than a little worrying. It is a burden to all of us. Just as we all begin to rejoice seeing the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel…an ugly shadow blocks our view!!! It’s hard to remain upbeat, but we must!
Yesterday we enjoyed some wonderful food with friends. Polish food for a change. The main dish of roasted pork loin was so delicious, I’d eaten it before I thought of taking a photograph.
I wish I’d captured the view too. Perched on top of a mountain it was breathtaking.
Oh well next time!

Stay happy and safe everyone, we’ll beat this new strain, just like we did the last ones. We can do this!

August 27th 2020 – Escaping America

Yes I’m writing another book. This one is about moving to Italy in the middle of a pandemic! It is a tongue in cheek dark comedy. I’m having fun writing it already.

Breath, girl, you can do this, but do you still want to?

After balancing the huge red squishy bag on top of my overfilled suitcase, I wrapped the strap of my handbag around my carryon and slowly manipulated my way towards the ticket counter. I’d only taken a few steps when a rather strict looking man came striding towards me. He held his arm up in a Hitler type salute and yelled STOP!

“Use the Ticket Machine.” He said.

Are you kidding me?

“I can’t use the ticket machine because I have a pile of documents that need to be checked. I’m flying to Italy, and I have medical declarations to show you.”

He rolled his eyes. “You can’t fly to Italy unless you live there, I think you’ll need to postpone your trip until COVID19 is over, there are rules. Vacations must be postponed.”

“I do live there. I have my residency card right here along with my other documents.”

The man looked even more disgruntled and stomped back to the counter.

Oh dear, he’s going to lose it when he weighs my suitcase.

Calabria – A nice surprise

Tropea, what a beautiful seaside town. Not at all like I expected.

Sad start to our four day break when I heard my daughter’s dog Fendi, had to be put to sleep. She was fourteen years old, and suffering with renal failure, it was the kindest thing to do. She had her favorite meal of steak, and then was put to sleep peacefully in the arms of my daughter. Yes, I’m still shedding tears over it, loved that pup. Can’t believe I won’t see her again. Wish I’d been there to hug her one last time.

Pictures of Tropea, Calabria. I don’t think I need to say much about it. Beautiful, unspoiled, great food, friendly helpful people. The rock sticking out of the sea in the background of the first picture is Strombli, an active volcano. Everything about Tropea makes it a fantastic vacation spot. We’ll be back again next year.

More photos and experiences to follow. Our next trip? Returning to Rome in September if this crazy Delta variant doesn’t prevent it. What a mess this last couple of years has been.

Thanks for stopping by everyone, and stay safe, we’re not out of the woods yet!

I just ordered a Limoncello!

The short three and a half hour drive from Colledimezzo to Minori was easy. Lovely countryside, small villages and beautiful blue skies We arrived at the Minori Palace Hotel and were pleasantly surprised. Beautiful hotel and lovely friendly staff.

It didn’t take us long to unpack our small bags and soon we wandered down the cobbled road looking for a place to eat. We weren’t hopeful because in the past, restaurants on the Amalfi Coast opened in the evening. Lunch time was always a challenge. COVID has changed things a little. We hadn’t gone far when we came upon a lovely looking place. We stopped and had a delicious seafood meal. I decided to have a Limoncello with my dessert, and laughed when I was presented with a gigantic lemon to go with it, only in Italy!

Our quick four day trip has started well.

Vacation in Italy!

The colors of Colledimezzo change daily. I walk many different paths and never tire of the view. I can’t believe I’ve lived here for nine months already. The time has flown, even with the crazy times we’ve had, and repeated COVID waves.

Please let it be winding down. Vaccinations are coming fast and furiously to everyone who has the sense to get one.
Will we ever feel safe again?
Who knows.

Tomorrow we’re taking our first vacation since moving here and I’m looking forward to it. It does feel weird though with no passport or airline ticket to worry about. Just a drive across the country from the Adriatic to the Mediterranean. It will do us good because a home is truly a home when you go somewhere and return to it. Does that sound odd?

We moved here so we could travel, and up to now, COVID has prevented us.
In July we’re doing another short trip to Tropea, Calabria. It’s right on the toe of the boot of Italy, way south, and somewhere we’ve never been.
Hope we can get visitors soon, that will certainly christen the house.
Stay safe everyone and take care!

The Color of the Amalfi Coast

Finally! A trip to the Amalfi Coast. Abruzzo is my home, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, but I still want to travel. I love every inch of this country, but some places are very special. Ravello on the Amalfi Coast is one of those places.
I haven’t visited the Amalfi Coast since 2017. It’s been way too long!
In the past it has been a long and tiring journey from the US, but this time, a three and a half hour drive. I may make a habit of it.
Watch out for photos…

Reflections on Retirement

A good way to end the day

If you really enjoy your job, and love the folks you work with, retirement is daunting. I longed to move to Italy, and dreamed about the day I’d retire there. It was planned for 2022 at the earliest, so I had a little time to think about it. Then came Brexit…the rest is history. Retirement to Italy after Brexit would have been complicated in so many ways, so instead of ambling along the road to retirement, I had no choice but to sprint. It was a real wrench!
The first month of my new life was exciting, fun, no work, lots of new places to visit. Lunch by the Adriatic, a lovely piazza to enjoy a late afternoon drink, pizza night, or just meet friends for coffee. Life was good.
And then came another COVID wave, was it number two? I forget, we’ve had so many.
The first “light lockdown” put us in the Yellow Zone, which wasn’t too bad. We could travel anywhere within the region, so we were able to walk along the shores of the Adriatic and take advantage of its lovely restaurants.
Then we were plunged into the stricter Orange Zone. Bars and restaurants only open for “take away” curfews in place. Carabinieri drove through the village often. We were only allowed to leave our municipality once a day, and only then for a good reason, with documentation stating that reason.
Over Christmas and Easter, in and out of the dreaded red zone.
Luckily Colledimezzo is beautiful, and there are many spectacular walks…are you bored of my photos yet? I long to see the Adriatica again. I did see it in the distance when we went shopping to Lanciano. It was tantalizingly close.
Shopping locally is nice. There is everything I need, butchers, small supermarkets, flower shops, hardware stores, furniture stores etc., so I have nothing to complain about, and I’m not complaining, I do like it here. A few things make my heart ache though. My daughter was set to come here for Christmas, but of course couldn’t. Summer is probably out of the question too. I’m not wishing my life away, but…I am so excited to see her and her husband at Christmas. I know it’s a long way off, but it is the light at then end of the tunnel.
On reflection, retirement is a good thing. If I hadn’t retired, I’d be dreaming of Italy, and you all know how much I did that. Now, I’m dreaming of freedom, and I know it’s in sight. Rumor has it May could be a good month. Vaccines are picking up steam and numbers are going down.
Have a lovely day everyone and “In bocca al lupo” (Translates as “in the mouth of wolves” and means “good luck” in Italian)

Walking!

There is one thing I’m really enjoying during retirement, and lockdown, and that is walking. It clears my head. The views around Colledimezzo are spectacular. Yes, I’d love to see the Adriatic again, but good things are worth waiting for, we won’t be restricted to a 30 kilometer radius forever.

Today we had fibre installed. Our internet has been awful for the last few months, but today that changed. Small steps to make my life easier. As a writer and blogger, I’m always doing research, and a slow internet speed was awful.

I’m doing heaps of cooking and baking. I never had time to play and experiment in the kitchen when I was working, but now…there is no holding me back.

Learning Italian is fun too. A little frustrating at times, but a sixty three year old brain takes a little longer to remember new things. (or am I sixty four now?) I’m getting there.

On the downside, it seems like the hierarchy have forgotten about distributing the vaccines to some of the rural areas in the Chieti Province of Abruzzo. Several small communities similar to Colledimezzo have been overlooked. The mayor’s of those communities have written letters to get this fixed. Fingers crossed they’ll remedy the situation.

Meanwhile I plan for the future, and think about my first trip when we’re free again. Abruzzo is beautiful, but I think I’ll run away to Ravello, just for a few days.

Ravello is calling me.

Hello Blossom

I try to walk a different path every day, and its been a week since I took this one. The blossom that greeted me this morning was breathtaking. It gives me hope!
In the two weeks leading up to Easter Italy is going into a much stricter lockdown, which is sad, Easter is very important here. On Easter weekend, the rules are even stricter! No Easter Sunday lunch with family. No Easter Monday lunch with friends. It will be the second lonely Easter for the good people of Italy. Such a shame!
In 2019 I brought my friend Linda here for Easter. We had a wonderful time. On Easter Sunday (Pasqua) we enjoyed lunch with our good friend Nino and his family. On Easter Monday (mini Pasqua), we had lunch in a local restaurant. Massive amounts of hot steaming pasta and meat were served, not to mention dessert and all washed down with local wine. The atmosphere was vibrant and friendly. Afterwards we went to Roccascalegna and enjoyed the color and pageantry of Easter Tradition.

I’m looking forward to celebrating Easter again. Maybe next year. Until then I’ll take my daily walks and enjoy the beauty around me. I’m very lucky to be here.
COVID is like banging your head against the wall. It is painful, but it will be amazing when it stops.

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