Posts Tagged With: mountain bike

Suspended armchairs, joining clubs and stormy skies…

Buonasera a tutti!

How is everyone? It’s been a busy couple of weeks here as ever it feels! The weather hasn’t been that great which has been good for the photography – stormy skies are definitely more dramatic¬†than gorgeous blue cloudless ones! I apologise in advance for the abundance of photos in this week’s blog post ūüôā

The ruin of UK roads…

I popped back to the UK for a whistle-stop tour. It was lovely to catch up with people¬†that I managed¬†to see, though this trip¬†seemed shorter than ever. This visit included a journey¬†up north to see my friend so there was also a fair bit of driving involved. I never thought I’d say this but I actually prefer driving in Italy. The number of variable average speed checks in the UK these days makes for very painful car journeys! Oh how times have changed from when I was so terrified of driving here that I used to message my parents to tell them that I was going to the shops in the car and, fearful I might not¬†make it back alive, that I loved them.

IMPORTANT TIP FOR BIKE RIDERS!

I am also now fully equipped for bike riding! I have lights, a bag, a pump and a water bottle. I also discovered¬†an interesting tip for bike riding: sometimes, one should pump up ones tires. Who knew?! (Yes yes, don’t be mean! For some reason it just never occurred to me). I have never pumped up my tires. Anyway, I’m pleased to confirm it goes like a dream now, though alas, I do not. It seems pumped up tires do improve things a bit but the whole experience is still unfortunately¬†exhausting. I’m hoping to do my longest, highest ever bike ride in the next couple of weeks so I shall keep you posted on that. If I manage it, I might actually order myself some sort of medal.

Street Performers of Pennabilli

In the last few days there’s been a reasonably well-known festival called “Artisti in Piazza” in a little town called Pennabilli, in the Emilia-Romagna region. From Sarnano, where I live, it’s a bit of a trek but definitely worth a visit. The festival is very impressive – it runs for 5 days and street performers from around the world come to demonstrate¬†their skills, whether that’s singing, acrobatics, comedy, magic, dance etc. It reminded me a bit of Covent Garden in London with the street performers – though these ones generally¬†had a lot more apparatus. In London,¬†you wouldn’t get an acrobatic performance complete with people doing handstands on suspended armchairs so there was definitely an extra dimension to the performances in¬†Pennabilli. It was great¬†to see performers from all over the world; it really was very international!

Unfortunately it rained for the first part¬†of our visit but it didn’t spoil¬†the atmosphere. People still stuck it out with their umbrellas!

Pennabilli and Sassotetto (5 of 35)

I think probably my favourite bit though was just Pennabilli itself Рthe town is lovely and set in the most beautiful countryside.  I could definitely live there!

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Club Alpino Italiano (CAI)  Membership!

I have joined a club! I like clubs! This one is a walking club. Club Alpino Italiano has¬†lots of different offshoots across the country and I’ve joined the Sarnano one. They go walking every Sunday around the mountains. It’s great! Everyone seems really nice too.

About this time every year the mountains are covered in flowers and Sunday was a local “fioritura” (flowering) walk to learn more about them. Look at how pretty my local mountains are…Pennabilli and Sassotetto (27 of 35)Pennabilli and Sassotetto (28 of 35)

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We had a guide who told us about the flowers when we came across them¬†and if they had any interesting features. One of my favourites can be set on fire and used as a torch whereas others you can use to poison people (beware those who cross me). Here are some of the flowers that are in the area¬†at the moment…

In other news, I went to a concert a couple of weeks ago to see Niccol√≤¬†Fabi perform in the theatre at Assisi. Niccol√≤ is a local musician who’s made it reasonably big in Italy so the venue was completely packed out with almost everyone able to sing along¬†to his songs. I think I stuck out like a sore thumb, I only knew the chorus of one of his songs! It’s a good¬†one though with a nice sentiment. If you want to hear it, have a look here.

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I think that about sums up the last few days. I hope you’ve all had good weeks too ūüôā

The next update will be about by upcoming blog tour! I’ve been invited along to Hotel San Salvador in Bellaria Igea Marina to spend a few days checking out the hotel and the local area. I can’t wait. Watch this space!

x

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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 ūüôā

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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 ūüôā 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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