Keeping up with the Italians

 

Retirement was always something I dreaded.
It meant I was getting old.
Only two weeks ago I was in my sixteen! Now I’m in my sixties.
Last year we bought a home in Abruzzo, Italy. It changed my whole prospective on retirement and now I think about long lazy days in Colledimezzo with a goofy smile on my face. I have a few years to go yet, time to practice my cooking. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to compete with the fabulous traditional dishes that have been passed down from mother to child, but I can start with the sweet treats. So far these have been a success. On the left, Almond cookies, on the right, Italian breakfast cookies, which are very good to dip in your morning cappuccino.

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Tempes Fugit

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How time files! Just over a week ago I was waking up to this magnificent view from my Hotel Room in the beautiful ancient town of Vasto.

I’ve been back for a week now. Once again caught up in the daily routine of work and the busy existence we all share. I’m not sad, I live in Colorado, which is lovely. I have a good job and work with people I like, but I do miss the tranquility and laid back life style I enjoyed for two weeks in Abruzzo.

It’s the carrot dangling in front of me. We’ve achieved a huge goal, we have a home in Italy waiting for us when we retire. Before that time I can enjoy lazy vacations getting to know the area. We feel incredibly lucky to have such a place, but it is the result of hard work and planning.

You can achieve a great deal when you put your mind to it. Figure out what is important to you in life and go for it. We did!

Abruzzo – a Week in Review

We’ve been in Italy for one exhausting week. It’s been a whirlwind seven days of buying furniture, opening bank accounts, cleaning, organizing, planning and finally today, we took the day off. We needed to. We’re in our sixties not our twenties.

On Monday we arrived at our Italian home in Colledimezzo and were greeted by Maurizio, our carpenter. His work was amazing. We walked into a once empty kitchen, to see a magnificent creation of cupboards, countertops and a fantastic breakfast bar. Thrilled is an understatement.  We also met Franco, the builder who is working on our stairs, and his friend Domenico, who speaks perfect English, having lived there most of his life. We finally met Nino, who I know will always be our friend, and Vincenzo to whom I owe so much.

On Tuesday Franco took us to lunch and introduced us to more of his English clients. We ate an Italian workers lunch, which consists of pasta, meat, salad, fries and as much wine as you can possibly drink. Delicious. On Tuesday night we decided the hotel in Lanciano just didn’t work for us. It was clean, but so dated it made life difficult so we moved to Vasto. I LOVE Vasto. My daughter and I stayed here for one night last August. Gorgeous, comfortable, hospitable. Rezidenza Amblingh!

On Wednesday we bought a washing machine and tumble drier and then continued to the house to meet Vincenzo and a new-found friend Zoe.

On Thursday, long drive to Pescara to buy furniture and beds. Maisons du Monde and more friendly people! They recommended a bed shop where we found exactly what we needed.

On Friday we went back on the long road north and bought small appliances for our kitchen from a SMEG outlet. (Did I mention how broke we are now?)

Yesterday (Saturday), it was light fittings. Found a great discount store for light fittings, and got everything we needed. Then on to Colledimezzo again, where I ran into the young guy we bought the house from. It is his dad’s house, but he showed us around. The cleaning started. We discovered a couple of things that needed fixing, but that always happens doesn’t it. It is going to be a work in progress, but it has so much character.

The photos are from today. We took the day of to relax and enjoy a delicious meal in a seafood restaurant at Vasto Harbour. We mistakenly thought it was within walking distance of the hotel, but it was actually almost six miles away. The walk gave us an appetite. When we asked if the waiter could call us a cab to get back to the hotel, he arranged for his sister to give us a ride. She wouldn’t take any money for her trouble.

Now we have our feet up relaxing like old folks do after a bottle of wine and a big meal, but we feel happy. Although the house may require a little more work than we expected, it is going to be worth it. I want to live among these friendly caring folks. I’ve lived on the good earth for a long time and have never encountered such genuine, friendly, helpful people. I’m blown away.

Abruzzo has enchanted us.

Oh What a Week!

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Last week was a very bad week at work! Barely slept, but I made up for it last night. Can’t remember when I last slept 10 hours. Things will get back on an even keel again soon and I’ll start to enjoy my job again.

Now I’m counting down the days because we’ll soon be on our way to Abruzzo. I understand the weather won’t be great in March, but we’ll be busy buying furniture and doing all we can to make our new house a home so we’ll barely notice. The wine and food at the end of the day will more that make up for it.

Can’t wait to see my husband’s face when he walks though the front door of his new Italian home for the very first time.

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Abruzzo in Spring

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Two weeks to go! Can’t wait to see Abruzzo in the spring. Looks like Switzerland or Austria doesn’t it! It’s not though, its beautiful Abruzzo. Never thought retirement would look so good!

24 Days to go!

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Yes I’m counting. My stomach is in knots. Can’t wait to see the lovely new kitchen and start buying furniture for our new home in the small sleepy village in Abruzzo.

The Folks of Abruzzo

Villa-Santa-Maria-5Four weeks today, yes I’m still counting. I get weekly emails from my amazing contractors in Abruzzo, showing me the progress of my kitchen, my lovely staircase, and of course my new gas boiler. This may be oh so boring to some folks, but these emails keep me going through the long winter days at work.

I can’t believe how friendly the village folks from Colledimezzo are. I now have an English-speaking contact there. A wonderful gentleman who lives close to our new home. It may be our new home, but the old stone building is probably hundreds of years old. Some things are worth waiting for, and this is one of them. I can’t wait to become “one of the folks of Abruzzo”

Colledimezzo

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The warmth of the folks in Colledimezzo is amazing. I was sent this photo today in a message on Facebook. It’s from one of the only English-speaking people in the village. I was given his name as a helpful contact, and in his very first message he welcomed me, said how happy he was I’d made contact and sent me this beautiful photo of the village. I wish I were there now.

My Italian Kitchen

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No, this isn’t my kitchen, but I want the preparation for my first meal to look like this. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that back in August of 2017, I made a trip to Abruzzo with my daughter, to look at a place to buy. I made arrangements to view five houses while we were there. Three in Colledimezzo, one in Celezna and one in San Buono. In November my daughter flew back for the closing and we are now the proud owners of Via Badia No. 1 in Colledimezzo, or lovingly know to me as “The Old Olive Mill”.

The house is a beautiful stone building and has never been lived in because it is in fact a beautifully renovated olive mill. Anyway…since January the contractors, recommended to me by our wonderful Realtor Monia Di Guilmi, have been hard at work. Maurizio, the carpenter, send me photos of the kitchen yesterday. It looks amazing. I was so excited I wanted to immediately jump on a plane and shake his hand. In less than two months we’ll be there.

I’ve been managing contractors long distance, and I have to say I’m incredibly impressed. We’ve had the electricity connected and a gas line run to the house. All with the help of Google Translate and some very helpful people. Vincenzo has been amazing. Not sure exactly what he does, but my realtor refers to him as “The Engineer” and then there is Franco the builder.

When we get to meet up with these folks, we owe them all a drink! I feel like my new home has been built on friendship and love! Can’t wait to call it home.

 

Lanciano 2018

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Getting closer to setting foot in my our home in Colledimezzo. Of course I’ve walked through the front door before, but only as a prospective buyer. Now its ours. It’s the family villa. Our escape from the world. A tiny village in Italy, our dream.

Why is the title of the blog Lanciano 2018? Because we have no furniture yet. I’m too old to sleep on the floor. Our first trip back to Italy in March will be a working vacation to buy furniture and make the place comfortable. We’ll be staying in Lanciano, a place famous for the Eucharistic Miracle. To me the whole of Italy is a miracle and Abruzzo is the icing on the cake. It has everything anyone could ask for. Mountains, beautiful beaches, lush green countryside, olive groves, vineyards, and more to the point, wonderful, welcoming people. I wish I could retire right now, but we’re not rich, much of our savings was used to buy our little piece of paradise so now we need to work a few more years to pay for it. It’s a good carrot to have dangling in front of this old donkey.

Thank you Abruzzo Rural Properties and Monia Di Guilmi. You helped make my dream a reality!

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Il sogno della pensione diventerà realtà!

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