Another Christmas Approaches

Last Christmas seems like yesterday. It was exciting and special. It was our first family Christmas in Colledimezzo.
I’ve spent Christmas in Germany, England and the US, but nothing compares to Christmas in Italy.
Traditional and filled with joy.
Shopping in a Supermercato in Lanciano for my first Italian Christmas Tree.
I think I did well. Piazza Vizioli hosted a night of entertainment which was enjoyed by adults and kids alike. The moon showed its face and lit up the sky.
Happiness!
Can’t wait to be back.

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This crazy little thing called retirement (Part 8) Vasto – the confirmation

 

We spent one more night in Atessa. After our huge lunch, we couldn’t eat another bite, but we wandered through the beautiful little town one more time. Cocktails completed the evening.

The next morning we set off to meet Monia, our realtor, in San Buono. Google managed to get us on a road that didn’t exist, and I was terrified we’d never be seen again, but we made it. San Buono was a pretty little village, but the apartment we went to view wasn’t a patch on the house in Colledimezzo. From San Buono, we followed Monia to Celezna. Celezna was slightly bigger than the other villages we’d looked in. The hill it was on was much higher, and the views were breathtaking. The house, on the edge of the village, had a terrace which boasted views of the Adriatic. Tempting, but not tempting enough to turn our heads. We’d already found what we were looking, our mind was made up! We stopped in a small coffee bar and told Monia we’d made our decision and wanted to make an offer on the house in Colledimezzo. Then we cheek kissed Italian style and went our separate ways. She had other clients to see, and we were heading to Vasto for our final night.

Vasto was a beautiful surprise, as was the Residenze Amblingh where we spent our final night. The photos I’ve posted are just a few to tempt you to come back next week and read about our afternoon and evening in Vasto. It may be my favorite town in Italy!

This Crazy Little Thing Called Retirement (Part 6) Colledimezzo

 

We arrived in the little village of Colledimezzo an hour early, my fault, my timing was all to pot. It had been a long and tiring journey from Colorado to Abruzzo, a place we had never before visited. The extra hour gave us time to relax and watch the village wake up. We ordered coffee in the Emy Bar, which proved to be the hub of the village. My lovely daughter got a lot of attention from some of the male residents, which made her blush and made me laugh. Everyone was incredibly friendly. We were two strangers who didn’t speak Italian, but it didn’t seem to matter. We sat in the little square and enjoyed the attention and the view.
When Monia, our Realtor arrived, we’d just finished drinking our second cup of coffee, petted a well looked after stray cat, watched a mamma dog play with her young pup, said Buon Giorno more times than I can remember, and decided the village of Colledimezzo was a wonderful place.
The house on Via Badia was the third, and last house we visited in the village. As soon as we saw it, we knew it was the one.

Joanna took a short movie to send back to the US. The house, which was on three floors and built into the side of the hill, stole our hearts. It was an old, lovingly restored, Olive Mill and oozing with character. A nice, shy young man, who was the son of the owner, showed us around. The stone walls, the big windows and the views were wonderful. I was done, didn’t want to see any other houses, but Monia quite rightly insisted we should.
Sitting in the square again, we talked for a little longer, and decided to go ahead with the viewings the following day in Celezna and and San Buono. I was wildly excited, but also a little scared at the thought of parting with a huge sum of money on a house my husband had never visited. It felt right, but it was a big decision! Thank heavens my level headed daughter was there with me, guiding me through it all. I could never have done it without her.

Saturday Morning – Practicing for Retirement

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I’m looking forward to the peace and tranquility of retirement, and of course, the views.

Saturdays are usually spent in a blur of chores, cleaning, changing the sheets etc. You know how it goes.  Even before a hair appointment, I’d rush round the house like a crazed whirling dervish. Why? What did it achieve? It just made me exhausted before I even left the house.

The weekends are always spent cleaning, and then preparing for the next work week. We have to work, but we shouldn’t let it rule our lives should we?

This morning I’m starting afresh, enjoying cappuccino and a spot of breakfast while catching up with the news. When I leave the house, I’ll be relaxed and refreshed.

Who wants to start the day exhausted? Retirement is on my brain and I’m practicing for my Italian life.

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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