Amazing Mountains, Scary Earthquakes and er, Hot Heatwaves…

Ciao!

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…

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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: http://www.walkingworld.com/home/index.asp?nid=503&id=45

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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…

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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.

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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).

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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!

xxx

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

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Cuties…

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7 thoughts on “Amazing Mountains, Scary Earthquakes and er, Hot Heatwaves…

  1. Diana

    Is the food included in the cost of the drink? Doesn’t seem very cost effective if you only order one glass of wine – but certainly different to the measly peanuts offered in this country.

    • I can’t remember how much the aperitivo was here but the one I had a couple of days ago was 4 Euros for a glass of wine and loads of slices of pizza! You’d pay that in London for a glass of wine – without all the pizza – and I didn’t need to eat lunch 🙂

  2. Peter G

    That’s a scary cat picture – I bet Hello Kitty never looks like that!

    We’ve got someone at work who’s done couchsurfing, he seems to like it – he’s had people staying and stayed with others, so has seen both sides.

    We didn’t try the apertivo in Italy, but the free Spanish tapas (in Granada) was all rather meaty.

    • Awww, cute cat picture I think you mean to say Pete! I did admittedly catch her at a bad moment I think 🙂

      The couchsurfing seems to be great – it’s good about the reviews, hopefully it guards a bit against staying with an axe murderer.

      Shame about the Spanish Tapas being a bit meaty – here I’ve got used to telling them I’m vegetarian when I order my drink (which seems incredibly odd), and then they bring out a veg selection! They’re quite accommodating!

  3. Hey, this sounds just like my life! ; )

    Your walk looks lovely. I’ve never heard of Blockhaus.
    The Couchsurfing event was near Apiro, so it was kinda in the mountains, but no pretty snow like yours. I think that at the top of the mountain is the place to be with these temperatures.

    Also, things of interest: Summer Jamboree (starting tihs week) and La Citta’ della Luce (open house this week/weekend).

    Alla prossima!

    • Those mountains are fab! Shame you’re in Milano this winter – could have tested the slopes 🙂 I wonder if you can just “buy” a piste ticket or whether you have to have lived here 5 years and have a degree.

      Thanks for the heads-up on those events! I’m going to miss La Citta’ della Luce ma spero andare al Summer Jamboree Lunedi sera 🙂 Maybe see you there?!

      x

  4. Peter G

    I forgot to say, would have loved to see the Lucio Dalla tribute – I don’t suppose we’ll get a chance to see him over here!

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