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!

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!

 

 

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!

Marina Piccola – Capri

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2017 took me to Capri for the first time. We stayed at a fabulous B&B Bettola del Re in the lovely little town of Ana Capri. I much prefer Ana Capri to the busy hustle bustle of its big sister.

After Capri we visited the Amalfi coast. It sealed the deal for us regarding retiring to Italy. No we couldn’t afford to buy a home on Capri, or the Amalfi coast, but it pushed me to explore other places, and that’s when we found Abruzzo.

I’m thinking of Capri today because this morning I made a sponge cake, and filled it with cream and jam. Why did this make me think of Capri? During our visit we ate at at a lovely restaurant Le Sirene overlooking the Marina Piccola, which in my opinion, is much more picturesque than Marina Grande. After stuffing ourselves with fish and pasta we thought we could eat no more, but we were wrong. Our waiter twisted our arm and we shared a piece of sponge cake (pronounced spongie cake).
My mamma, she a make it this morning
Maybe she did, it was the best spongie cake I’d ever tasted. I hope to eat there again sometime.

Just Chill!

Do you find it hard to relax? I do! We go on vacation and unwind, but why can’t we do that at home? Life is way too short to keep up the crazy pace we set for ourselves.

Its the weekend, kick back and chill.

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Christmas in Colledimezzo

Looking back at the photos and wishing we were still there. Christmas in Abruzzo is how Christmas should be. Traditional, simple and full of fun. From home-baked treats to Nativity Scenes made by local schools, Santa and his elves, excited children. It was beautiful. The Christmas lights weren’t ridiculous and choreographed, but welcoming and bright, just like the people.

Can’t wait to do it again!

Oh Christmas Tree!

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I’m not going to pretend the last couple of days have been stress free. They have not! We landed in Rome on Sunday, exhausted after a transatlantic flight. We then drove from the west coast to the east coast (tough when you’re tired). It was with great happiness that we arrived in Colledimezzo. The house looked GREAT! Our wonderful Italian neighbors had bought food from us, left chocolates, baked, put wonderful little knick nacks in the house to make it look like home.
Then the stress started, shopping! Shopping in a different country is fun, but also difficult with a limited amount of time.
I need to BREATHE (or so my Apple watch tells me), At least my Christmas tree looks pretty!!!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Buon Natale

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Two weeks from now I’ll be in Colledimezzo, province of Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy. It will be the first of many Christmases, there. So very excited!

Europe at Christmas is wonderful, but Italy at Christmas is magical, traditional and full of love!

 

Oh Christmas Tree!

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Beautiful display in Italy!

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