Festival, Thunderstorms & Friends

It is that time again when I update you with what has happened over the past month in our new home of Scalea. Actually, when do I stop saying it is new? Maybe when we’ve been here a year, what do you think?

September has been a lovely month. Most tourists have gone home, and we feel like we have our town back. I know that it is probably good for the town to have the influx of people, but I doubt they all spend their money with the local businesses, I feel it is mainly in the supermarkets. Anyway, we like walking around town with fewer people and a lot less traffic, but with still great weather.

The temperature is a little lower but still beautifully warm. The lidos are still open but not as busy. If you want Italian sunshine, I recommend a visit in September, but be aware that the change of season can bring thunderstorms, we have had a few.
We are very lucky that our terrace is partially covered. This means we can sit outside and watch the spectacular storms whilst staying dry and being warm.

Storm
Lightning over Centro Storico

 

The Festival of the Madonna del Lauro

 

At the beginning of the month there was the festival of the Madonna del Lauro. The town had new lighted arches over the streets in the centre of town, which I liked a lot. They are different to the ones that are out for the other Madonna procession and festival in July.

light arches
Light Arches

It happens every year on 7th and 8th of September. On the 7th there is a service and the statue of the Madonna gets carried by candlelight from the Sanctuary where she sits to the main square. On the 8th there is another procession, where she eventually gets carried to the sea.

Procession
The procession with candlelights

The Italian Navy sent a military frigate to welcome her but unfortunately, the sea that day was too rough. But the music and fireworks still happened.

Frigate
Photo of frigate in sunset on a quieter sea before the procession

The reason for this festival is during the 17th-18th century Scalea was a port for fish and goods transported to the rest of Europe. One night there was a major storm and sailors were stuck in the middle of it. Terrified that they will not survive, they prayed to the Virgin Mary of Lauro and promised to spread the word if they landed safely. The storm quietened and they landed safely in Scalea, the Sanctuary was eventually built in her honour and thanks is given each year in the form of this procession and festival.

Even more work on our home

Just as we thought that we had finished, we have had more work done to our property. As our property was two apartments, we have two bathrooms, one on each of the far side of the apartment. This means that we have two electric boilers that heats up water, one next to our bedroom on one side and the kitchen and the other bathroom using the other boiler on the other side.

Ivan who helps us with our bills, told us we should do something as our electricity bills are high, probably because of having the two electric boilers on. At first, we bought two timers and that reduced the cost a little, but it is still a lot of money. So, it was suggested that we had a gas boiler run on bottled gas as there is no mains gas where we are.

Unfortunately, due to the location of the two bathrooms, it would either cost a fortune and a lot of work to run both bathrooms and the kitchen from one boiler. This would have been too expensive, as the costs of doing so would take years for the boiler to pay for itself. The other option was to have two boilers, but there was nowhere to put the gas bottle for the second boilder. So, we decided to just have the one boiler for the side that runs the kitchen and the other bathroom. Also, as we are here by ourselves 99% of the time, we decided to use the shower that is on the other side of the apartment. Hopefully, this should save us a lot of money.

First Visit from our UK Friends

We have had our first visitors from the UK, yay! John’s ex-work colleague Evan and his partner Dee decided to holiday in Naples and Sorrento and to spend 24 hours in Scalea. We met them at the train station, showed them around Scalea and our home. It was lovely to see them both and we were very grateful that they made the effort to see us and where we live. They loved it which made us happy, we love it, but it was good to have it confirmed by someone else.

In the evening, we had a lovely meal in Tari (where I had my birthday meal last month). It was a birthday of one of the other diners that night too and they had a birthday cake which was shared with everyone in the restaurant as well as little pastries. It was very lovely, but I was very full as we already had our meal including a dessert. It was great idea to walk around the old town afterwards, not only did it help to walk off some calories, it is quite magical at night.

New Friends

We have new friends and neighbours, although they are on the other side of town, Miro, Denisa and their young daughter Laura. They bought a place at the beginning of the month and now live here. They invited us to a meal at their place last week, which was delicious.

Miro
Lovely food

It was a very good evening thanks to you all and welcome to Scalea. Hope you have a very happy life here.

What about the new Bond Film?

Oh yes, rumour has it that part of the new Bond film was filmed in a place called Sapri which is just over 40km north from Scalea, pretty close. We have not been there yet. Apparently, they were also meant to film in San Nicola Arcella at L’Arco Magno beach on the 23rd September but that was when the weather changed and it was raining and stormy, so they didn’t. Typical! Oh well, not meant to be, I guess. But it is a stunning place, it is definitely worth a visit if you’re near here.

Well, that’s it for this month. Next month we have our best friends Sally and Steve coming to stay. We are very much looking forward to their visit. I really hope the weather is good, forecast is OK so far, so fingers crossed it stays that way. Oh, we return to the UK for a week in Birmingham as visitors, it will be interesting to see how we feel…

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