Monthly Archives: July 2013

Amazing Mountains, Scary Earthquakes and er, Hot Heatwaves…


How is everyone? Good I hope.

Firstly, some good news! I’ve been listed on the Ex-Pat blog site, click here to check it out.  If you like the blog and have a spare minute, it would be great if you could write a quick review and vote!

I’ve been updating bits of the blog this week too:

Last week, I felt a bit like I’d lost my way a bit –  the flat that I liked had fallen through, I was getting nowhere with acquiring a car, I was irked about the language…But I’ve been planning! I’ve devised a new plan of action for the next few months and so I’m feeling a lot more invigorated. I use the term “plan of action” loosely because it’s Italy and it’s impossible to do anything by way of “action” but I have a direction at least 🙂 The summary is: Stay in the current flat, buy a car in the UK and bring it out, really try and get the Italian at a better level, meet more people, teach English and paint and draw. I’ve been making some headway with that already this week…

I met up with Simba, a budding artist (that makes it sound like I’m in her league, I’m not!) with a blog that’s moved to Ancona from the States and had a fab night venting about how nuts things are here but also about how we wouldn’t want to leave. I’m stupidly pleased that she’s not managed to get much of anything done either, despite repeated attempts 🙂 However, she’s managed to get (request at least!) the mythical La Tessera Sanitaria card – if I got this, it might mean I don’t need to get private health insurance to become a resident – I’m going to attempt to get mine ordered this week. It was good to share some hints and tips too – she’s pointed me to the Wordreference App for smartphones – it’s great not just as a English/Italian dictionary (and other languages too), but gives you example phrases and a description of verb tenses and links to forums where whatever you’ve entered has been discussed. Very handy.

I’ve also registered on the Couchsurfing website – it’s fab, seems to be a great little community of people all over the world willing to share their sofa’s with random people (when I say share, I don’t mean that you cuddle up on the same sofa. Or at least, I don’t think that’s what happens). I put a post up seeing if anyone wanted to do a language swap – my English for their Italian and I’ve got enough language swap offers now to keep me occupied every day for the next few years so that’s good! They do some events every now and then so I’m looking forward to that too.

There’s lots of good things going on in Camerano at the moment for the next month or so. Last weekend I went to  a Lucio Dalla tribute act. The warm up act were the best – the lead singer was Scottish (I think) and played mostly English songs but that’s not why I liked it so much, I liked it for the guy on the keyboard who spent the entire night dancing hilariously with his sunglasses on. Fun night and a great atmosphere!

Last Sunday we had another earthquake but this was a scary one that made the Italian national news! This one was 4.9 on the Richter Scale which is just within the bounds of “light” apparently but let me tell you, it didn’t feel light! Last month’s was 3.8. Apparently a full number increase signifies the earthquake is about 30 times stronger.  And then there were aftershocks, meanwhile, the rest of the night was consumed by an almighty thunderstorm… Not the best night!

I’ve had a friend over from the UK this week and we booked a B&B in the Majella National Park. We stayed in a place near to Roccamorice which turned out to be quite a good central location. Alas the B&B was a bit grubby, though it did have cutie cats…

Camera 360

There are genuinely cute pictures of these cats but this one makes me laugh…

We did some walking – starting point was a town called Decontra (there are two within half an hour – go to the one that is closer to Caramanico Terme!), and went on a very picturesque easy going walk. There are a few good websites which give you an idea of walks you can do; this one’s my favourite:

Camera 360

From the walk…

I’m so impressed with the area – I’ve never seen half the insects and flowers that we came across. Apparently there are bears, wolves and golden eagles here…

Camera 360

Pretty unusual looking flower!

I recommend heading up to a place called “Blockhaus” – it’s the top of one of the mountains and the drive is spectacular. It looks a bit industrial in places at the top – it’s got various antennas and whatnot but I don’t think it takes away from the scenery, just adds another perspective. In the winter it’s set up for skiing. It made me yearn to go snowboarding again – it’s only 2 hours drive away! I’ve posted some more photo’s up on a separate page, here.

Camera 360

View from Blokhaus…

What’s a bit odd? This week –aperitivo! I might have covered this before but I think it warrants at least another one. If you go on a pub crawl here, two things will happen: 1) You’ll become fat and 2) you’ll never, EVER get drunk. Or even merry. The papers here are devoid of articles denouncing the youth of today for binge-drinking. And this is because for every glass of wine, you get either a full on dinner free of charge if you go to a decent bar, or if you’ve picked a shoddy bar, then an array of crisps, nuts and pretzels. It’s good, I like it. It’s sensible and fabulous value, but sometimes I do miss the concept of just going to a pub and having a few drinks without feeling like if you stumble on the way to the toilet, people will judge you (rather than laugh).

Camera 360

Simba and just one of our aperitivos!

The last couple of days have been positively roasting and it’s due to get even hotter – 40 degrees in some of the cities. I might just fill up the bath with cold water and stay there this next week. HOT!

Right, onwards and upwards – have good weeks all!


P.S. I feel bad putting up an ugly picture of the cats – here’s a cuter one to offset…

Camera 360


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Apartments, Cars and Traps…

Ciao a tutti!

Hope you’re all well – for those back in the UK I hear it’s been as sunny and hot there as it has been here! News this week:

I went to see the owners of the apartment I saw last week. After meeting the family, I decided I definitely wanted to move there – they’re lovely! And they seemed to like me too – they didn’t want me to go, offered me glasses of wine, showed me pictures of their various relatives that live in London, invited me to dinner etc. and said they hoped that I would become like part of their family. Lovely eh?! We discussed the nitty gritty: costs, how to check the gas etc., dates… and on the dates front they wanted me to talk to the school (who currently let out the apartment). I asked if that was a good idea – the school presumably taking a cut of rent and all. But they said I needed to just to confirm who was in the flat for when. The following day one of the family phoned to confirm the details again and told me to go to school to check dates. So to school I went. Meanwhile, I’d been imagining myself in the apartment and how lovely it would be to have my own space again. Can you guess what’s coming?

It’s all fallen through…  Apparently the family don’t want to let out the apartment on a long term basis.  Why wouldn’t they tell me that?! Why would they go through the hassle of inviting me to look around the apartment on the basis I wanted a long term let, then invite me to theirs to discuss the details, say lovely things about having me stay, phone me the following day to confirm everything is fine and tell me that I should go to the school to discuss dates but then get the school to tell me that they don’t want me there!

It’s exceedingly odd. A bit too odd. The school had an alternative suggestion ready to hand – I could stay in their own flat paying them rent all throughout the winter instead. Indeed.

On a less irksome note, there is an astounding amount of cool, free things do in Camerano at the moment. I’ve been very impressed for such a little village. Tuesday’s event was an open air cinema in one of the piazzas to watch “La Migliore Offerta” (or “The Best Offer” in English). I think it’s a great film – very good plot and nicely put together. But I must say, I’m a bit confused by how they’ve gone about releasing it. The Director is Italian (Giuseppe Tornatore – he did Cinema Paradiso too). It was set in Italy and filmed there (as well as Vienna and Prague) and it has only been released in Italy and other non-English speaking countries. But yet the actors are all English speaking (including Geoffrey Rush and Donald Sutherland). Even though the dubbing was well done, it’s not ideal is it?! If you’re Italian and directing a film that’s set in Italy, and will be released only in Italy and other foreign places, why not use Italian actors? If I was Italian, that would annoy me.


“Sotto le stelle” (“under the stars”) open air cinema event in Camerano – there wasn’t a cloud in the sky so was a brilliant night for star gazing and even spotted a shooting star towards the end of the night.

I had my first Italian lesson for ages last week too which went well. I told him I feared that I might have some kind of grave learning disability preventing me from becoming even partially fluent in Italian. He didn’t seem to think I did. For my homework, I’ve been writing a diary in Italian – it’s sometimes easier to use my smartphone because it’s got a dual language spell checker and you can easily find the accented letters that you need. But I’ve found a reasonable solution using the laptop that involves an Italian online word processor with easy access to the various letters/accents and then you can copy and paste it into another tool for Italian spell checking. Long-winded by works.

Let me tell you about this week’s bureaucracy quest. First off: Car. I went to a car garage and asked them what they needed for me to buy a car. They need a carta di residenza or proof of domicilio. I’m still annoyed about paying for private healthcare insurance for the carta di residenza and I still don’t know what the impact would be in paying taxes in the UK if I did that so this domicilio business seemed easier. So, along I went to the Comune and asked them if I could get one of those things. They said proof of domicilio was an abstract notion that didn’t exist. So back to square one. I’ve since been looking at buying a car in the UK and driving it over – I can get it insured, with breakdown cover for a year and can pay UK tax. After that I think I’ll need to come back to the UK and get it MOT’d etc. After 3 years, I think I have to get it registered in Italy but that process seems to make people suicidal so I’ll probably dump it after 3 years and by then, perhaps I’ll have worked out how to buy another here.

In other frustrating bureaucratic news, I went to the bank to open up an account – it costs 6 euros a month! Apparently everyone pays that, it’s not punishment for being foreign. I’m peeved about paying for the account so I’ve not set one up. It might just be cheaper to pay the cashpoint fee’s. I’ll have a think.

The last bit of bureaucracy was Thursday. I went to the Questura (seems to be a branch of the Police) in Ancona to attempt to register my presence here in Italy again for the umpteenth time. They’re not interested because I’m European (despite the wealth of official police type documents from their own websites that say that I need to regardless). So that’s fine, as long as if it eventually does catch up with me, all of these organisations I’ve been to don’t turn around and say that I should have done x, y and z and why didn’t I let them know! On the way back, someone pointed me to the wrong bus stop so I missed my bus, and subsequently missed the school trip this week which was annoying. I spontaneously decided to do my own trip instead and took the train to Fabriano…


Not the most interesting picture. I’ve merely added it as proof for a later date that I was here and at least tried to tell them I was here!

Fabriano is in a valley further to the north of where I am in Camerano. The train journey is spectacular – lots of mountains (or if not rocky looking hills) on either side of the tracks and it was less than 6 Euros for the ticket for over an hour journey. I’m very impressed with the cheapness of train travel here. I’d heard Fabriano is a nice place to look around and is famous for paper-making. I thought I could buy some art materials there so I got off the train all excited about my own little school trip. But see this sign below? It’s a trap.


TRAP!!! Don’t believe it. The centre is the OPPOSITE direction. It takes 5 minutes. If you go the way it suggests, you’ll end up in Sicily.

Lesson learnt: Don’t be scared to ask the gangs of scary old men loitering around street corners staring at passersby in an unwelcoming fashion for directions. It could save you hours of time and sore feet. And I’m beginning to know some of the individual scary old men in these swarms, and they’re actually very nice.

When I eventually made it to the centre hours later, I was so peeved, tired and hungry and all the shops were shut that I sat in a bar, had a coffee and then headed back to the railway station again (actually takes 15 minutes if you don’t follow the Trap), senza art materials. I might give Fabriano another go at some point. Looks quite pretty – here’s a picture:



Also went for aperitivo in Ancona and headed to the cinema to watch “The Lone Ranger” with Johnny Depp (not WITH Johnny Depp you understand. He was busy that day). They could easily have reduced that film by half.

Every week there’s usually a walk somewhere with the school. This week’s was around Camerano. The sunflowers are out so everything is looking very pretty at the moment…


I Girasoli – The Sunflowers

Next week I’ll be in the Sibillini Mountains for a bit with a friend. I’ve booked a B&B through Airbnb – Airbnb is a bit frustrating. The first place was booked out (it hadn’t said on the website), the second place wanted double the price that was advertised on Airbnb and seemed insulted that I even thought it could be so low, and the third place was finally a go-er so I shall hopefully report back on some places to visit down there next week. So in summary, the website is frustrating but the prices are really very good. Much cheaper than other B&B booking websites.

What’s a bit odd… This week’s feature – cemeteries!  This might sound morbid but they’re actually nice places to wander around! Bodies aren’t generally buried here in Italy, they’re kept in drawers. Albeit large stone un-penetrable drawers. Given a choice of rotting in dank dark coldness 6 feet under and being put in a drawer, I’d go for being put in a drawer every time (to be honest, I’m banking on there being some medical breakthroughs soon that mean I can stay alive for eternity). It’s much clearer to see people’s names etc, they aren’t worn away like in our graveyards. There are fake flowers next to all of the drawers (seems odd calling them drawers but they’re not really “graves” either) and a little electric lamp on all the time making the whole place really pretty (and surely expensive to run) rather than depressing. And there’s often a photo of the person as well which is nice to see. In fact, I think the experience could only be improved if they gave a brief account of how the person died next to each one to satisfy my curiosity!


Camerano’s cemetary

You pay once for the tomb and that’s it. However, if you’ve bought a family “tomb”, then once you’re full up, you can elect to either pay for a new tomb or you can move the family members you don’t much like and that have been dead for ages to a communal bone store which is a big stone tomb filled with other old bones. Initially it seemed a little unceremonious but I’ve since decided that after years of rotting in my own drawer, I think I’d be craving the company of other people’s bones (ooo we could play pick-up-sticks).

Marco was telling us how he used to play around in the cemetery when he was a kid – jumping from tomb to tomb. One of his mates fell in the communal bone store. I don’t know how you’d get over that. I would probably die on the spot if that happened to me (convenient!).

Blog Spot: I’ve decided to introduce a blog spot! This week’s interesting blog is from someone that’s moved over from Texas to Ancona and doing a similar thing as me: Have a look!

Right, onwards and upwards… Have a lovely week all.


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Croatia, Blackmail and Helicopters…


And how is everybody? I know I’ve been doing this blogging thing for a while now but it still feels rude to launch into a monologue about me! Anyway, launching into a monologue about me…  I’ve been out and about a fair bit in the last week with the housemates again and also sailing. So this week’s excursions have been:

  • Offagna: I really like Offagna – it’s a hill top town half an hour or so away with a big castle at the top. We (the housemates and I) went for a pizza at “Sotta la Rocca” – we had a lovely pizza and then wandered around the town a bit. Lovely, lovely, lovely. And the countryside around there is spectacular too. I could live there.


  • Portonovo – I’ve been here a few times now and really like it. I’ve not been to the beach there before for a sunbathing/swimming session but we (still the housemates…) parked up and walked a bit around the corner where it was pretty much empty and spent the afternoon there. Portonovo is FABULOUS for snorkelling… the water was crystal clear and the rocks, though a bit perilous to try and get out for a swim, meant there was a lot of fish, crabs and other things to see.

I snorkelled to that rock sticking out – turns out it was a long way (only realised that on the way back).

  • Croatia – Sailing was great! We had a little flotilla thing going on – 3 boats. There were 5 of us on ours – my friend Catherine and three really nice guys.  We left Ancona on Thursday night and did a night sail to Croatia which took 12 hours. We got there mid morning and headed to a Drogana (place where you take your passports – I hadn’t really appreciated before that you need to sort of check in when you sail places) in a place called Sali (I think) and then off in between some islands for lunch, a swim and some sleep.

Sali (quite possibly) Only stayed here an hour or two.

  • Then we moored up in a lovely little bay somewhere else for the night – I’ve only ever been in marinas overnight so it was interesting! And there’s this well known wind (the Bora) in Croatia which is known for blowing boats off their moorings so we all anchored up next to each other and had ropes tied from the boats to some rocks and trees on the shore and then we tied ourselves to each other as well so all in all, it felt like quite a secure mooring! Or at least if it wasn’t, the plus side was we’d have all been blown away together (and would have taken half the Croatian countryside with us as a souvenir).

We spent a good half an hour motoring around this bay looking for the ideal place to er, park (moor probably)…

  • Next day we headed to another bay (I wish I’d paid more attention to where we’d gone!) with a Caribbean style white sandy beach and crystal clear water. The people around there have a lot of money – we were amidst some very fancy power boats. I’m somewhat envious. Apparently they don’t have pirates in Croatia. I think there’s a clear niche in the market. I’m definitely going to consider becoming a pirate.

Lovely bay… somewhere in Croatia. I recommend it!

  • So in summary, I had a great time and I think I’m more tanned than I’ve ever been, though also more bruised than I’ve ever been. I haven’t nailed walking in a straight line on a rocking boat. There’s not a bit of my thighs that I didn’t bang into something with. I look like a domestic abuse victim.

I’ve been doing a lot of drawing lately – I drew a lot of portraits on the boat but I need to practice more. I’m not good with my shading yet – everyone looks like they have beards. Apart from the people that actually have a beard and then it just looks like they haven’t washed. I’ve decided I’m going to set up a portrait drawing business in Marcelli (seaside resort where all the Italians go during summer) in the next few weeks so I need to get better (Piracy and Portraits R US Ltd?)! Portrait drawing doesn’t seem to be done much in Italy. And the Italian’s seem relatively easy to please on the portrait front so far (fortunately!) so hopefully if I can improve a bit, I’ll be onto a winner. I love doing portraits anyway so even if it doesn’t work out, it’ll keep me amused a bit whilst the piracy business takes off 🙂

I’m still frustrated as ever with the language but after a couple of pep talks from friends I’m slightly less depressed about it – apparently it takes a while! Anyway, the plus side of being inept at Italian is that some of my errors have had me giggling for ages, and still make me laugh. I asked one of the guys on the boat if he wanted his portrait taken… Only I asked him if he’d like to be blackmailed instead. “Portrait” and “Blackmail” are very similar sounding words in Italian!  The best thing was his reply “nah, not today, maybe tomorrow eh?”!

I’ve had two housemates leave and another one move in this weekend. I think I might have yet another soon too. Or tomorrow. Or next week. Who knows! Marco is not forthcoming when it comes to providing housemate information.

I failed dismally at my bureaucracy quest last week – I went back to the Comune armed with every document I could think of but I still require more. I’m less and less sure about this residency malarkey anyway –  the reason I’m questioning it again is that apparently I now have to buy private healthcare insurance because I’d be “resident” as a student. So this is my understanding: if I was working and therefore paying taxes then that would be fine, I don’t need to pay for healthcare insurance. But as I’m not at the moment, then I’d have to pay for my healthcare. But I let out a property in the UK so I’m already paying taxes which go towards healthcare and I shouldn’t have to pay for healthcare twice eh? And by becoming resident in Italy, maybe it means that rather than paying tax to the UK even though my house is there, I pay it to Italy but then I don’t want to pay tax here – the tax is a lot higher (who’d have thought!). So, to sum up – I’m thoroughly confused. The internet only adds to the confusion. So, next stop will be to email the tax folk in the UK and see if they’ll advise. Meanwhile, I’m very seriously thinking about flying back to the UK, buying a car and driving it back here.

This week’s ‘What’s a bit weird’: Look at this graffiti on the wall of my local school (below) – look past the “porn”… “Helicopter”! Isn’t it sweet? Some little ruffian has been practicing their English! Unless of course it means something entirely different in Italian…


Buonanotte all!


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Thunderstorms, Nudists and Overworked Beavers…


This week’s been quiet – the weather’s not been up to much.

There have been a few beach trips – the first one was Marcelli last Sunday. That stretch of beach seems to go for miles between Numana and Porto Recanati. Because of its sheer size, I’d have thought it would be relatively empty and yet it was RAMMED with people. I don’t think there was a single Italian that wasn’t on that beach. There’s regimented colour coordinated grids of umbrellas that people pay for, interspersed with other grids for people that don’t want to pay but who’ve brought their own umbrellas, followed by another colour coordinated set and so on for miles and miles.

Anyway, this was the beach:


Marcelli Beach

 In contrast to that, this was Mezza Valle beach…


Mezza Valle – better eh?

Mezza Valle is known around here as being particularly spectacular. However, you have to have a boat to get to it or be quite fit as it’s a steep 25 minute walk down to it, and more importantly a challenging trek back up!

For that reason, the beach is very quiet. I’ve been there twice this week. The first time was just before the biggest thunderstorm I’ve seen. The weather had been looking a bit ominous but we decided to risk it, had a quick 5 minute swim and then decided that we should probably head back up again before we got caught in the rain. And let me tell you, you should have SEEN it – it wasn’t even rain – I think you have to have “rain drops” for that – it was more like the sky was under water. And it had hail in it!  The weather here is crazy. Thankfully we’d made it back to the car just in time. I feel a bit sorry for the poor guys on the beach behind us. The path would have been a river – they’d have had to have done their best salmon impression to get back up to the top. We’ve had quite a few other thunderstorms this week too. And with thunder like I’ve never heard before. It’s been sounding like the sky has been falling down (anyone else remember Chicken Licken?!).

Anyway, look at me talking about the weather (you can take the girl out of Britain but not Britain out of the girl it seems) – much, much more interesting were the nudists! Family members – you might want to look away now :-). Now, Mezza Valle is not a nudist beach but it’s suitably in the middle of nowhere and big enough to be able to find a discreet location far from anyone and strip off if the desire is there. The housemates and I found a quiet spot far from anyone but kept our togs on. However, within a few minutes, the single naked men on the beach seemed to be edging closer until one started a conversation. I’ve thought about it and come to the conclusion that most of my conversations with people are conducted at eye level. After this guy came over to introduce himself (shook our hands), he proceed to sort of stand amongst us for a bit resulting in an unusual eye / naked groin level conversation. To give him credit, he did apologise for having his bits out, but in a “what can you do eh?” sort of way (put pants on), and then proceeded to squat (oh my eyes…) between us and chat. However, to my surprise he seemed relatively normal and by the end of the afternoon I’d allocated him to the “Harmless Extrovert” nudist category.  In contrast, the other “Filthy Flashing Pervert” nudist category was occupied by a couple of the other men who were patrolling our patch of beach and stopping at random points to face us in a Superman pose (standing Superman pose. The flying Superman pose would have been even weirder).

Anyway, suffice to say, it was an amusing trip and despite the Filthy Flashing Perverts outnumbering the Harmless Extroverts, there were still enough Normal People on the beach for us to not feel threatened. Having said that, I would not go back to that beach on my own. Though I suppose if anything was to happen, at least I’d know exactly where to aim my kick…

Here’s a photo of my housemate and me looking like an idiot with my snorkel:


Jellyfish Watch: The snorkel is great – it’s the only mask I’ve ever had that doesn’t leak so I’m very pleased about that. But because the weather’s been so changeable lately, the water’s been mixed up from the rain and it was difficult to see anything apart from the occasional jelly fish that would appear out of the blue (literally). I’ve considered it and I prefer the idea of swimming without getting stung.

I went to Fermo with the school this week. Fermo’s a hill top town a bit further south than Camerano (where I am). It’s nothing particularly special, though it does have a lovely playground and cathedral on the top of the hill. Further down there’s a large piazza with places to eat and a few shops. There’s an interesting reservoir thing going on under the piazza from Roman times. We had a tour down there with an incredibly fast speaking Italian guide. Something about holes, rain, dirt and water levels. We all forgot where the car was so we traipsed round for an additional hour trying to find it before giving up and going to a bar whilst Marco carried on the search (successfully eventually!).


View from the museum into the piazza

After Fermo, we went to a Trattoria in Camerano where we had great food which was excellent value for money but resembled a school canteen. Still no menus. The conversations in Trattoria’s seem to go like this:

Waiter: Hi there. Do you want something to eat?

Punter: Yes, yes I think I do.

Waiter: Is food alright?

Punter: Yes, food sounds splendid.

Waiter: Right you are. I’ll bring some out.

I went to the cinema this week to see “Hangover Part 3” or rather “Una notte da leoni 3”. The literal translation would appear to be “a night from lions”. Though let me tell you something about the word “da” – it falls into an annoying set of words called “prepositions” like our “on”, “in” etc. but “da” is a particular gem which can mean a seemingly infinite number of things. The usual suspect is “from” but who knows?! Anyway, what a weird translation?! Apparently it means to have a great night out. They don’t seem to have the concept of “hangovers” here. There’s not even a word for it, so perhaps that’s why they’ve changed the title?! Anyway, pleased to report that I picked up the plot line relatively well.

What else? I went to Ancona yesterday with one of the housemates and there was a food festival going on which was a stroke of luck – we spent the morning eating free olives, cheeses and tasting all the oils.  It reminded me of a much more tranquil version of Borough Market in London. I got invited out for a drink by one of the men at the stalls. The pick-up techniques of Italians thus far appear to be stereotypically Italian. He grabbed my hand, spun me around and exclaimed “che bello!” (how beautiful!). Outrageous! You can’t objectify women like that! I let him off because he obviously has fabulous taste (and I’d eaten half of his olive stock). But if a guy tried that in the UK, he’d get a thwack in the stomach with a handbag. If  women did the handbag thwack here, I think most of the male population would be constantly doubled over. I don’t think feminism has reached Italy yet.


Look at these! These revolting looking dried insideless fish that look like they’re screaming (stoccafisso) are a speciality of this region apparently. MMMMmmmmm. Tasty.

On Thursday I should be going to Croatia with the boat folk 🙂 I’ve been sailing before and slept on boats but I’ve always been in a harbour overnight and had a chance to have a proper wash. I’m worried for my hair. It goes all dreadlocky even after I’ve been for a 5 minute swim in the sea. I think after 3 days of not being able to wash it, I’ll have no other option than to shave it all off. I’ve made an appointment with the hairdresser next Tuesday for the occasion.

In other exciting news – I’ve had my first taste of chocolate in almost 2 months! I’m rationing. It’s lasted almost a week (as opposed to the usual 2 minutes). Thank you Lucy for sending 🙂

What’s a bit odd? Given this week’s thunderstorms, it seems apt to point out how sensible and trusting the Italian’s are when it comes to umbrellas. The English, when it’s been raining and when there’s shopping to be done, will close their umbrella and wander around the shops with it dripping everywhere on everything. But the Italians often have a sort of bucket thing going on by the door so that the punters can leave their umbrellas there and if there’s not, there’s a sort of short term adhoc umbrella amnesty outside the shop. I know it’s only umbrellas but I think it shows a sense of trust that’s probably missing in the UK. It’s nice! Next time I’m in the UK, I’m going to leave my umbrella at the shop door and see what happens (I predict I will forget to pick it back up again).


Umbrella Amnesty outside of H&M. The Italians are so trusting. And they’re not cheap umbrellas either. I’m certainly not going to leave that nice blue one I took from outside the shop…

This week I’m bunking off school – I have plans to attack my Italian learning with renewed vigour (why is it talking so long?!?!?! I should be fluent by now!!!! GRRR!!!), sort out bureaucratic stuff, look at a car (specifically with a view to buying one I should add) and do some more painting / drawing (I’m so pleased I can vaguely draw – in the absence of being able to speak Italian properly, drawing people seems to be a reasonably decent bonding factor). I shall as ever, report back.

Have good weeks all 🙂


P.S. It’s been a while since Lizard Watch. Here’s a picture of a beaver instead. It was in Ancona by the beach. Beavers don’t live near beaches usually eh? I think it became exhausted trying to build a damn across the Adriatic. He did not look happy, poor thing.


Beaver Watch? His teeth were red. Do beavers usually have red teeth?

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