Ominous Sky – a day for Soup and Writing!

I took this photo at around 7:30 this morning while drinking my cappuccino. It made me think of soup. Our very favorite soup is Pasta Fagioli. The beans and veggies and garlic are simmering, and already smelling good.
Now what to do while they cook? Write! Many of you may not know I’m a writer, not a great writer, but practice makes perfect, and it’s a hobby I enjoy. I have a couple of self published books, ghost stories, as well as a children’s book, and now I’m working on a book about my move to Italy. It’s a little tearful at times, but also full of laughs. I posted my first snipped of my new project on my other blog

It usually takes me about a year to write a book, but you can check in and share my adventures for free if you like. It was quite the ride.

Winter in Colledimezzo

After a busy morning in Lanciano it was nice to come home and relax. After lunch, I pottered around outside paying attention to the flowers on our terrace and outside the kitchen door. The winters here may feel cold to the locals, but the flowers and plants barely notice them.
The young lemon tree only produced one fruit this year, but my beautiful rose bushes flowered in abundance. One determined bloom is still reaching towards the sun.
In spring and summer (below) the view from our terrace is a dazzling emerald green, before turning crazy bright shades of red and yellow in the autumn. Even now, with the bare trees, it looks beautiful against the bright blue sky.

Every season is very different in Colledimezzo and I enjoy them all.

Colledimezzo – A village in Southern Italy

I’ve been allowing myself to get a little stressed lately. Why? Who knows! Maybe Covid? Anyway today I took a step back, relaxed and remembered where I was and why I was here.
I opened my eyes and was relieved that I had no aches and pains, or other side effects from my Moderna booster jab. I spent a leisurely morning pottering around the house like an old girl…I’m allowed, almost sixty five now.
I showered and made myself presentable for our lunch at La Collinetta, a weekly event, and one I enjoy. It was a glorious sunny day, the picture above was taken this afternoon. After lunch and laughter with four of our best friends, we returned home. On the way to our house we were stopped in the piazza by one of the villagers. He gave us a bottle of home made Limoncello. The good people of Colledimezzo are so lovely and always willing to share their home made goods with pride.
My dear husband, who had a fair amount of wine with lunch, settled down in front of the television, but I decided to go for a walk. The sunshine and bright blue sky beckoned and I couldn’t resist. I walked for a couple of miles and ended up back in the piazza, outside the bar. It would have been rude not to pop in and have an Aperol Spritz!
I passed a half hour or so with Mirella while enjoying my spritz, along with some potato chips, and then down the stone steps home. When I opened the door my husband looked startled…yes, he was snoozing.
“You’ve been gone fifteen minutes already?” he said. I’d actually been gone for an hour. Bless him!

Time to settle down now. Relaxed by the Spritz, and the warmth of our house, I can enjoy my Saturday evening.
Buonasera everyone and stay safe.

New Year, Itchy Feet, New Projects…

This beautiful view is from the top of my village. I leave my house and climb the steep steps through Belvedere Colle to reach this vantage point. When I first moved here it was so difficult, but the steep climb is easy now. I should do it every day, just to remind myself why I moved here. Of course there are lots of other reasons, but the view is very close to the top of the list.
Not everything in life is perfect though, and now I’m at a loose end, looking for a project. Should I concentrate on my writing? Yes I have another book in the works. Shall I explore the countryside on my new electric bike? Yes, of course, but the weather has to get a little warmer.
January is not my favorite month. I don’t feel like it is a month of new beginnings, it’s drab and dreary and chased by February, which isn’t much better. When March arrives I feel much better, but unfortunately March also gives me itchy feet, makes me restless. I know, I’m in my sixties and I should settle down, but I can’t. I’m a traveller, a writer, an adventurer and a crazy Brit who just can’t keep still.

What will 2022 bring…yes, there is a project in the works…what is it? That would be telling.

Stay safe everyone, and keep stopping by to see what this crazy old girl will do next.

A New Adventure!

My e-bike arrived in the Trek store on Monday. I ordered it back in June of 2021, but the Bosh Components were in short supply, so it took a long time to ship! I haven’t ridden a bike in quite a while and I was a little nervous. My husband suggested we take a test ride this morning. He bought a Canyon Grail e-bike almost a year ago and is now an experienced rider. He does 60 kilometers for fun, most of which takes him up mountains…”Sure” I said, “Lets go!” I was as nervous as hell.
All of the villages in Abruzzo are perched on top of a hill. They were all built that way centuries ago to ward off enemies. As I rode down the steep, winding road and out of the village I was filled with trepidation. It was great going downhill, wonderful in fact, but I had to come back up. Down, down, down we went. We rode by Lago di Bomba. I must admit, it was a great feeling. I practiced my gears…I have quite a lot, and switched my programs from touring, to sport, and dabbled a bit with turbo. It was fun. On a regular bike I’d never have made it up and down the hills of Abruzzo. The e-bike doesn’t do everything for you, I did have to pedal, and felt like I was getting a good work out, but it wasn’t agonizing. My heart was pounding, but not exploding.
After about three miles, I suggested we turn around. I wasn’t tired, but I was a little worried about manipulating the steep climb back into Colledimezzo. We stopped at the top of a hill and turned around. It was so much fun going down hill. I let my husband lead the way, but I was feeling more confident and enjoying myself. Soon Colledimezzo was in sight, perched on the top of a hill like a big smile, welcoming me. I followed my husband, keeping up with him, but a safe distance from his back wheel. He is a fitness fanatic and wasn’t even using his battery, but who cares, you do what you need to do. Half way up the hill to Colledimezzo I switched gear and engaged turbo…flying past him like a Porsche overtaking a Golf GTI. It felt so good!
I think it is safe to say I enjoyed my first electric bike ride. It was short, perhaps only five or six miles, but it was fun. Yes it was a good work out, but a manageable one.
I have to thank the Trek Store D’Alonzo Sport, in Atessa, for being a great help to an old girl who hasn’t ridden a bike in years. I think it’s a father and son business. It was the son who helped me and he was amazing. Hopefully in a couple of months, I’ll revisit the store and buy some cycling gear in a smaller size. Not sure I’ll ever wear lycra though…

Happy New Year everyone and stay safe.

Sunny Roma

“Do we visit Rome or not?”

That was the million dollar questions. Omicron was surging, flights were cancelled, some people were scared, but others just didn’t care and ignored the mask wearing mandate. What to do!

We decided to be very careful and proceed with our plans to visit the Eternal City. So glad we did. We arrived late on Sunday afternoon and had a lovely late lunch in a restaurant close to the hotel. Wine, food and fun. Fantastic.

The following day rapid tests were needed for my daughter and son-in-laws return trip to the US. Once completed, with the required negative result, a visit to the Palatine Gardens was scheduled. It kept us out of harms way because it isn’t on everyone’s bucket list. After a lovely sunny wander, we hit the streets and visited my favorite handbag shop on Via Condotti. I chose my Christmas present from my daughter and son in law, a lovely, bright red, shoulder bag, thank you! Other purchases were made, and then we headed to our lunch reservation at Da Pietro. Fantastic lunch, the sort of lunch you don’t have very often, but always remember. There was wine, truffles, Florentine steak, and we even managed to squeeze in dessert. A walk was definitely needed afterwards.
Piazza di Popolo was quite busy so we continued up the steps to Jardins Borghese, which was beautiful. If you closed your eyes, you could forget you were in Rome. The birdsong was almost tropical. We passed a little time in enjoying the tranquility, and then walked back to the hotel, sad the day was over. It all passed too quickly.

There will be many more visits to Rome, it’s my favorite city. Hopefully next time we won’t be battling another COVID strain!

Take care everyone and stay safe.

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!

A Taste of Abruzzo – Oh what a Lunch!

Rinascita Lancianese in Lanciano is our favorite Cantina. I don’t think they make a wine we don’t like. Alessandro, my Italian friend/language coach introduced us to this cantina because it’s run by a very good friend of his! On Sunday we attended a wine/food tasting event at Rinascita Lancianese and it was wonderful. OMG the pork!
The mouth watering dishes above don’t include dessert. We drank their white sparkling wine, Trebbiano and a wonderful Merlot. It was organized for expats. Australians, Americans and Brits. There were 20 of us and we had a blast.
Did I mention the pork?

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.

Italian Friendliness and Creativity!

Photo by Sandra Thompson

I read a newspaper on line called “The Local, Italy” and one of the articles today made me smile. After making a couple of changes to reference Colledimezzo, I’m sharing it with you. It sums up what makes life in Italy so special.

The ten positives you’ll notice when moving to Italy from the US (or the UK)

The beauty
The way you can “stumble upon” beauty anywhere. The gorgeous architecture in churches and other buildings as well as small points of beauty such as the way someone has arranged their garden flowers.

The patience
The patience of the people with my poor Italian, the way they apologize because they don’t speak English! (Not necessary to apologize — this is Italy!).

The church bells
The sound of the church bells ringing, randomly as well as gloriously at 12 noon in the piazza.

The kindness
I asked the pharmacist how to contact the physiotherapist that lives in the village. When she couldn’t reach him by phone, she ran across the street and knocked on the door of his grandmother’s house to see if she knew where he was.

The friendliness
The way at holiday time, everyone greets each other with Buon Natale or Buon Anno.

The openness
The way you can meet people in a restaurant and become friends for life.

The history
No need to explain, it is overwhelming. The tiny village pf Colledimezzo (my home) brags of castles, palazzos and enough WWII stories to keep you enthralled all night.

The seasons
Here in Italy every season unfolds with such beauty and is distinct and wondrous.

The people
The old men sitting in cafes talking endlessly and watching the world go by. And the way every single Italian has an opinion on most things, and loves to share it.

The security
The feeling that I am safe and never alone. People are always willing to help.

The creativity
The creativity used to make everything work… somehow.

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