I had forgotten how crazy August can be

August has has flown by and we have spent the bulk of it at home. It is peak season, so like last year it was extremely busy, especially around 15th which is Ferragosto. But this time, it has felt much busier than last year. There seemed to be a hell of a lot more noise at night, when young adults were walking around and going to the Norman castle ruins and screaming from the top to the bottom of the valley all this after midnight sometimes 5am. I must be getting old. Also, it seemed like there’s more traffic around all day and night. Maybe after lockdown everyone is just a little bit er… excited to be by the sea. But thankfully, it is still quiet at siesta, no matter the time of year, the hours between 12pm and 4pm is when we all have some peace. Unless the water bombers are out as they have been quite a few times this month tackling fires.

Visitors to Scalea

August brought lots of visitors to Scalea as I’ve said, it is of course a holiday resort. A good thing was that some of those visitors were friends or family of friends that we have made since living here. We had Trevor, Victoria and family from the UK visit their newly purchased Scalea home for a few weeks. They were busy setting that up and also enjoyed some relaxation in the sunshine. Helen visited her dad Tony E from South Africa, to check he was OK after his spell in hospital earlier in the year. Angela and Tony N had some of their family members from Sweden stay with them. And Tony H’s son and family visited too. So, it was a busy time. We had to restrict when we went out as it could have become expensive and tiring but we managed to see everyone which was good. We did go to a few restaurants, Il Gallo Bianco, Antica Trattoria A’ Taverna and of course Il Corsaro. Also went met in bars da Pietro, La Playa and Bar Dolce Isola and Ottocento. I hope September is going to be a little quieter but it was good fun to see everyone.

Happy Birthday

August brought two birthdays in a week. At first it was Trevor’s big 40 and then it was my birthday. So of course, there were two parties at the restaurant Il Corsaro. They were both great nights and I had a lovely cake made for me which was beautiful. So, thanks to everyone who could make it.

Well we thought May, June and July were hot!!

Like last year August was very hot. The highest official temperature was around 36°C which was on my birthday. Our terrace reached 50°C+ many times in the sunshine so I avoided that until the sun moved and it was shaded. It has been very dry too. It was a month when I found out that coriander doesn’t like the intense heat too much. Yes, my nice coriander plant grown from seeds perished even though it was watered. So, I planted more seeds and with any luck they will grow if I keep them in a shadier place.

But other things survived or indeed thrived. Our fig tree actually produced lots of very tasty figs. Unlike last year where they just shrivelled up before ripening. So, we were eating quite a lot of those. I wasn’t too sure at first, as figs I have had in the past tasted of nothing, but these were very nice, soft and sweet. I couldn’t get enough.

A few of our figs

Also, in early August, our pear tree had lots of pears. Again were much better when you eat a fresh ripe one straight from the tree. So, we shared those around with neighbours and friends as there were a lot.

We did have some quite dramatic weather as a distraction from the sun. There were a few twisters over the sea – waterspouts is probably the correct word. It was a bit worrying seeing them come over from the sea not knowing what will happen but luckily, they fizzled out when they reached land. That was a relief but amazing to witness.

A little travel to avoid crowds and the heat

As we now have a car, we thought we would visit some local towns we weren’t able to visit before. First, we went to Santa Domenica Talao. It is a lovely little village on a hill about 15 minutes by car (Yes, Tony H I know you will think that is slow.) We had a little walk around and had a gelato. It was lovely being higher up as it was fresher as there was a lovely cooling breeze. It had great views to the sea.

Another day we went to Orsomarso. Actually, it was the morning of my birthday. I think we took a wrong turn at one point as one of the roads was very bumpy. I guess it tested our car’s suspension which is pretty hard, therefore, making the journey not that comfortable. We survived and made a mental note not go that way again and return to Scalea a different way.

When we arrived, we immediately saw that Orsomarso is a beautiful town nestled in the hills and surrounded by the mountains of the Pollino National Park. There is a clocktower perched on a very tall rock which we had to walk up of course. There we saw a great view of the town itself. There is also a grotto with a statue representing the Virgin Mary of Lourdes.

We had a drink and a doughnut at the bar on the main piazza and had a good walk around. There were red chillies drying all over the main building. And at the bottom there was a woman outside a grocery shop sewing fresh chillies together to be dried. These dried chillies tend to be deep fried and served as part of an aperitivo or antipasti. We have eaten them in Antica Trattoria A’ Taverna last year, and are very tasty.

It was busier than Santa Domenica Talao as there were walkers and cyclists. We visited on a Sunday which is the usual day for cyclists to take the road in Italy.

We returned to Scalea on a more solid road, so thankfully, the car and our backs survived the return journey.

I recommend a visit to both if you are in the area.

Driving licences

Oh I nearly forgot. On the previous post, we visited the auto scuola 7 times to try to get our driving licences changed from UK to Italian. So, we visited an 8th time and guess what? No licences. We were told that there is a backlog because of Covid, and it is now August so the bulk of Italy is on holiday. So we are to return in September or he could have said he will call us, but we will not wait for that. So, I am sure there will be more visits in September. Hopefully we will get them at some point in the future. We shall see.

As I am finishing writing this, suddenly there was a loud crash outside. Strangely at the end of writing my last post there was also a loud crash. Last time two motorbikes crashed into each other. Police, ambulance and air ambulance were called but everyone seemed fine. This time two cars crashed and now the drivers are sorting that out with fellow drivers stopping and of course taking part in that conversation. Weirdly it is not a busy or a fast road, so no idea how they happened but a very strange coincidence.

Our view of the road – The red and black cars on the bend crashed.

Hopefully no one else will crash when I just about finish writing the next one.

Until next time. Ciao!

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