Ciao a tutti,
How is everyone? It’s been a lovely couple of weeks here. I’m pleased to say that Spring has finally arrived! Not only have the clocks sprung forward, I present you with other convincing evidence:
Exhibit 1: Primrose or Primula in Italian
Exhibit 2: Another spring flower but I don’t know what it is – any ideas? Very pretty though.
Exhibit 3: Iced Coffee laced with Mistra the local aniseed spirit only to be enjoyed from the Spring onwards.
Exhibit 4: The fridge magnet thermometer never lies… Hot hot hot 🙂
Exhibit 5: Klaus the Scorpion has made his first appearance. I think I’ve blocked off a potential scorpion entry way though so we’ll see how that goes.
As always in Spring, I struggle with clothing. Italians continue to wear coats, scarves, hats, gloves etc. regardless of the weather/temperature outside. They are quick to point out that if you’re not wearing any of these essential items of clothing, that you are likely to be immediately overcome with bronchitis. Oh the Italians and their oddities… Anyway, the other day whilst out walking in brilliant sunshine and 28 degrees, I dared to take off my coat and jumper to the open-mouthed gawps of the occasional wrapped up passer-by. On a completely separate and unrelated note, I now seem to have something akin to bronchitis :-s
I’ve been charged with looking after the neighbour’s dog whilst she’s at work. It’s quite a responsibility as the dog is an experienced escapologist, particularly at the moment whilst all the female dogs are on heat. Anyway, it’s been quite good because it means I’ve been on lots of walks and I also managed to re-find one of my favourite walks in the area.
Could there by a more idyllic picnic spot? It’s right next to a treacherous looking footbridge so as long as you can make it across yourself, you can have your lunch and have hours of entertainment watching other people brave the crossing as well! Not that it’s a particularly busy picnic spot by any means.
….and friendly horses to feed.
My neighbour also took me to see San Benedetto, a seaside town known for it’s prolific palm trees which make it look quite exotic and nothing like the other beach towns in the area.
San Benedetto has a nice long shallow beach that goes on for miles…
And cool fountains…
And long straight sea front roads complete with flash cars and the occasional rollerblader.
This week has been quite full on with the Easter festivities. I’m not religious at all and it’s been a long time since I was in a church to do anything other than look at the artwork so it was all quite fascinating to see. It’s going to be very easy for me to make a mistake in this section so apologies in advance for any incorrect terminology or information that’s wrong! On Thursday (“Giovedi Santo”) people honor Jesus by keeping him company (it’s the night of the Last Supper) until midnight. Almost all the churches are open all evening and my neighbour took me on a tour of what seemed like all of them. The churches were all filled with flowers and grain (they seem to plant the grain in pots and then keep it in a dark humid place so that it’s clear and short…it must be representative of something but I’m not sure what!). In some churches there was a priest leading some kind of sermon and in others people were just sat in quiet contemplation. Others again, were doing a similar church tour to us so it was quite busy out and about.
This is the church of Santa Maria in Sarnano.
On Friday, to acknowledge Jesus being crucified and finally dying at 3pm there was a procession in the evening starting from the main church in Sarnano and going around all the back streets before ending up in a church towards the bottom of the hill (Sarnano is a hill town). Again, it was really interesting to see (and to accidentally take part in!!!).
This cross looked incredibly heavy! Some poor man had to carry it for a good half hour or so (in fact, I hope someone swapped with him part way down)
There were a lot of men wearing brown all over, including hoods over their faces (with handy eye slits), and wearing no shoes and chains around their feet. The women were wearing black all over and didn’t even have the eye slits to help them work out where to go! My neighbour explained what these people represented but my Italian Religious Dialect knowledge let me down. Feel free to fill me in anyone that knows about these things…
A statue of the dead Jesus was brought down during the procession.
On Easter Monday or “Pasquetta” as it’s known here (which means “Little Easter” as opposed to presumably the big Easter the day before), I saw some friends in Ancona and Jesi and learnt about some traditional Italian and Le Marche food. I can confirm that a Pizza Formaggio is not simply a pizza with cheese but a round loaf with cheese inside which they eat usually for breakfast – very nice! And I’m also thrilled to have discovered Colomba di Pasqua (Dove of Easter), a lovely light cake with chocolate goo in the middle in the shape of nothing at all like a dove. Combined with a wonderful Easter Care Package received through the post from one of my best friends and a rucksack full of chocolate from Pane Caldo following his flying Easter visit, I shall need to diet for the next two months.
So that about sums up my Easter… Pretty good really. An idea mix of culture and chocolate 🙂
Last time I wrote I was about to head to the theatre. I’m pleased to report that it was a good little amateur production of something similar to the Emperors’ New Clothes and thankfully it wasn’t in dialect so I understood a reasonable amount.. It was nice to see the theatre in Sarnano too – it was my first time there.
DIY progress is progressing! I painted the kitchen and hung up some of my artwork around the house so it feels like it’s got a bit more personality now. I’ve been trying to finish off all the niggly bits of DIY that could easily end up being left. It does feel like painting the forth bridge though. In fact, one of my earlier DIY attempts needs another overhaul (note: do not use wood as beading around the bath tub – no matter how many layers of paint and varnish and sealant you use, it will always look rubbish).
Right, I think that about sums up my week. I’m hoping to introduce a new “Property of the Week” section of local houses shortly so look out for that. Have a good week all.