Posts Tagged With: caves

Why not to get a bike, being Indiana Jones and chocolate festivals…

Buongiorno a tutti!

How is everyone?

I hope you’re all well. I’m somewhat light on the photo front this week you might be pleased to know!

I had a flying visit to the UK last week. As usual it’s not ever quite enough time to get around everyone I’d like to but it was still lovely to see people. It wasn’t quite so persistently gloomy on the weather front either which was a nice change! In fact, when I left London it was gorgeous sunshine and when I arrived here it was raining… That never, ever happens! It’s always the opposite way around!

My cat Batfink (so named after the cartoon cat that had large ears… but he’s grown into his ears now and he’s a very handsome feline) seemed reasonably pleased to have me back. He’s hormonally active at the moment – I was told he was only supposed to have 3 weeks worth of err, hormones, but he seems to have fallen for his sister and they’re constantly hanging out together now. It would be quite cute if I wasn’t worried for the health of their future children. I was in charge of the neighbour’s dog today and we went for a walk up the road. Batfink came too, weaving in and out of my legs. I think I must look like a crazy cat lady to the locals.

I found an English language speaking group in Civitanova which I met up with on Friday. There was a good turnout with the majority being Italians wanting to practice their English and there was one other English girl. I’ll definitely go again, it’s just a shame it’s not a bit closer to Sarnano (it’s about a 50 minute drive).

Just before I left for the UK I bought a bike. It’s probably 20 years since I rode a bike (apart from one outing in Richmond Park). Anyway, let me tell you!!….. Buying a bike, when you live in the mountains and you live in a country known for the crazy drivers, is the silliest idea ever. I don’t know what possessed me. I have ridden up and down the road a few times on it which is absolutely exhausting and alas far less than a kilometer. Not to be defeated though, on Saturday I went to Abbadia di Fiastra, a lovely, large, flat (woohoo!) park and cycled for about 8km. It’s a great place to go to cycle because it’s all off-road so there’s no imminent danger of being hit by a car. However, I’m not used to cycling and by Saturday night, I felt like I’d been hit by a car anyway! Why do they make the seats so horribly uncomfortable?! I definitely bought the wrong bike – I want to be upright, with a basket on the front (and perhaps with a motor)! Still the deed is done so I better try and get a bit more in shape for it over the next few weeks.

On Saturday evening, I went to see my first play here in Italy. It was Madame Bovary at Civitanova Alta. I didn’t know quite what to expect. All the towns here have dinky little theatres. Having lived in London with the massive professional productions that often carry on for decades, I was expecting, well, less to be honest. However, it was anything but. It was very well performed, with excellent actors and a really creepy and original way of portraying Madame Bovary’s daughter. All-in-all, it was very impressive and I’m a bit sad that it was only being performed for one night, particularly after it must have taken months and months of hard work for them to prepare.

Sunday, rather than not get out of bed (everything ached!), I went for a walk around San Severino with a friend. San Severino is a lovely little town and it’s surrounded by hills (or rather mountains the size of Mount Everest for someone that is already aching everywhere). Walks in Italy are never straightforward. I had a book with me which described the walk, and we had downloaded a GPS map and there was also the occasional sign and yet still it wasn’t clear where we were supposed to be going! Still we made it back. The whole walk took about 5 hours. It was 19km with a climb of about 1km. As exhausting as it was, it was a really nice walk and it was good to see the Eremo di Sant’Eustachio, a monastery built in the 11th century that was partly carved out of the mountain. I felt a bit like Indiana Jones wandering around there. There’s also a lot of caves dotted around and the ruins of a mysterious round looking tower. On the whole, it was very interesting.

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See what I mean about feeling a bit like Indiana Jones discovering some secret lost temple?!

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This was the inside. There’s more rooms underneath and to the side of the Eremo, a cave that looks as if something interesting used to go on inside!

I think I must have burned off a reasonable number of calories over the weekend but after the walk, we discovered a chocolate festival in San Severino so the diet all went to pot. Still, I can highly recommend you all try white chocolate ice-cream and chocolate orange ice-cream 🙂

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Mmmmmmmm chocolate…

 

In other exciting news, I’ve been invited along on another Blog Tour so I’m excited about that 🙂 More details to come as and when I get them but it’ll be in June. I’ve also got a few friends lined up to visit me later in the year which is going to be good.

And I’m famous! I’ve had an interview published on http://www.expatfinder.com – I wrote it probably over a year ago so it’s somewhat out of date but still, I’m famous! Click here for the interview.

Anyway, I hope you all have an excellent week.

Buonaserata!

x

 

 

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Sue’s Favourite Places Tour, Teaching and living rooms…

Ciao a tutti!

Well this week has been a roller-coaster of ups and downs!

Parents

Mum and Dad came out last Friday for a week to see where I live 🙂 It was lovely to show them around all the things I’ve been talking about for so long. Hopefully they liked it (more than France which they keep going on about ;-)) – we pretty much did the “Sue’s Favourite Places Tour” as well as some new stuff I hadn’t had a chance to do before.

The “Sue’s Favourite Places Tour” took us to (Please Note: If you’re coming to visit me – perhaps skip past this section to maintain an air of mystery):

  • San Michele beach
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Lots of fisherman there at this time of year…

  • Sirollo (pretty village by the sea)
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Pretty street overlooking the countryside in Sirollo

  • Numana (another pretty village by the sea)
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View towards Monte Conero from Numana

  • Marcelli (another village by the sea…. there was a theme that day. Anyway, Marcelli only featured because one of the schools is there)
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View from Marcelli towards Monte Conero. One can never have too many pictures of views towards Monte Conero eh?

  • Camerano’s Cemetery (I know this is an odd thing to have on a favourite places list but I think it’s great! And we timed it brilliantly – we went there on their day of the dead which is an excellent time to go – it’s full of people and it’s got a bit of atmosphere about it!)
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Pretty graves. When you die, you’re put into a wall here… no rotting away being eaten by bugs… Well, I didn’t see any evidence of that anyway. Hmm – this photo isn’t in focus.

  • Portonovo (lovely little coastal beach area)
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Pretty bay. Towards Monte Conero don’t you know…

  • Loreto (the hill top town which hosts Jesus’ mother’s house which was carried there by angels from Palestein. Read about it here)
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Rather poor to average shot of Loreto. Mary’s house is inside the basilica straight ahead. People go around the house on their knees. They’ve worn two large grooves into the marble. They should probably put some sort of cushioning around the house if people insist on doing that – I don’t think it can be healthy for their joints!

  • Frasassi Caves (I’d not actually been there before but it’s been on my list for months – the caves are absolutely huge and incredibly impressive. Definitely a good thing to see. Here’s the website)
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You can’t actually take pictures in the caves – so here’s a picture of the parking lot where you go to get to the caves

  • Monte Murano (mountain just up from Serra San Quirico – all my photo’s have parents in so here’s a picture of a nice sunrise instead)

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    Sunrise from the balcony

  • Offagna (hill top town with a castle)
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Offagna’s lovely castle

  • Castelfidardo (to look at the Accordion Museum which, you’ll never guess, was shut. We did meet a very happy singing man that escorted us there though so that was er, interesting).
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The museum was shut but there was a shop with a lot of accordions… (if you’re coming to visit and you’re worried I’ll try and take you to an accordion museum, don’t worry – this was a one off)

So all very nice. I think I could be a happy tour guide when I grow up. However, all that coincided with…

The Scary Week of Teaching Terror

Which involved teaching… let me see… about 260 children English. It has been stressful. And I’ve started the classes in such a random fashion that I don’t really know who I’ve done what with now. However, I’m now famous (or infamous) in the schools. One of these teaching type websites recommends you start the lesson with a hello song and finish with a goodbye song. I’d found some stuff on youtube.com but there wasn’t internet access in the classes so… I did what any nervous, inexperienced teacher would do and took my guitar in and sang to them. All children in the Marcelli and Numana areas can now sing along to “Hello, how are you?” and “Bye bye, see you again” songs. They are incessantly catchy. I can’t imagine ever having a night’s sleep again without them going round and round my head. Anyway, my reputation proceeded me on the last day and I got a song request even before I introduced myself. It’s a good job my embarrassment threshold is relatively high these days.

My language school that contracted me to the state schools suggested I have lunch with the staff on Wednesday as I’ve got a two hour gap between lessons. “Lunch with the staff” was misleading. It was lunch with children. I was at least 20 meters away from the nearest member of staff. I think I was supposed to be keeping them (the children, not the staff) in order. However, by the time pudding came round, there was a little crowd of children around me and the other teacher had to come to tell them to sit down. I suspect I should have done that.

There was only a couple of er, “difficult” classes so I suppose that’s ok. One teacher said I need to be harder on the kids. I’m not entirely sure how without actually using physical violence. I’ll have to look at the regulations in Italy but I’m pretty sure I can’t do that.

The plus side is that the latest teaching stresses have almost removed my driving stresses! On Monday I actually looked forward to getting in the car.

Living room

I HAVE ONE! Marco changed my old bedroom into a living room a week or so back and now I even have a nice flatscreen tv. WOOHOO 🙂

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Living room plus legs…

Right, I’m supposed to be lesson planning, not blogging. <Sigh>.

I hope you all have wonderful weekends.

Buonanotte!

xxx

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