August is the main summer month in many places across the world and especially in Italy. It is normally the hottest month, a lot of workplaces shutdown and therefore people head to the beach. Scalea is very popular with people from Naples as well as other cities. We have been told that the population goes from just under 11,000 to over 150,000.
This summer is our third summer and was the hottest and seemed like the busiest we have had so far. Pretty much all apartments around us were full. The visiting crowds were very noisy, both in their homes and out and about. And the driving was unbelievable. People driving the wrong way up one-way streets, undertaking, overtaking at junctions if they think you are slightly too slow to name just a few. If you have driven around Naples, you will know they have a very cavalier attitude to driving so imagine that attitude on holiday and that was Scalea in August.
During the rest of the year, we are by ourselves with a few holiday home owners who stay now and then. Obviously COVID had stopped many people coming previously so it was pretty quiet before the summer. So, when August arrived and restrictions were pretty much lifted, the holidaymakers came en masse it was more of a shock than the previous two Augusts, even last year.
The only quiet time during the whole day was siesta between 12.30 until 16.00. So, if we needed to do supermarket shopping, we went at around 14.00 which worked out to be a good time to go. Generally, we timed it well. There were times where we caught the crowds which was a pain when we were slightly too early or too late. Friends even had to queue outside for 30 minutes just to do their shopping as the supermarkets had to restock or the queues at the tills had to have a chance to go reduce. Luckily, we did not have to do that. John did go to a supermarket early one day to see if it was better. He arrived just before opening time and there were a few locals waiting outside. So far so good. Then the crowds came. They barged their way to the front and when the supermarket opened, they ignored what the security man was saying and just stampeded in. Most of them just bought lots of bottled water and lots of bags of crisps. The supermarket checkout staff told John that they just buy those and head to the beach and stay there all day, leaving their car on the supermarket car park avoiding the car park charges at the beach. So much for the Mediterranean diet, ha-ha.
This year it was very noisy all night with lots of people out and about releasing fireworks and shouting and screaming until 6am on some nights or should I say days. I don’t remember it being that noisy most nights last year.
Stupidly hot temperatures continues
August continued to be very hot just like July, if not hotter. Temperatures were always over 32°C. The temperature reached 63°C on our terrace in the direct sun which beat the previous month.
Unfortunately, this heat led to a lot of forest and bush fires throughout Calabria. We saw a few around us and there is a lot of burnt areas like previous years.
One morning we woke up to very smoky air, it looked like fog but smelt of smoke which was not nice. Luckily it was only for that one day. According to news reports a lot of the fires were set on purpose by arsonists and have burned woodland thousands of years old in the Aspromonte area which is further south. This is extremely sad. Why would anyone want to do that?!
Second vaccine and Green Certificate
Italy and the rest of the EU have introduced a Green Certificate which you get when you get your vaccine. You get one when you have your first if it is a two dose one. This lasts until you receive your second dose. In Italy this pass entitles you to be able to enter inside bars, restaurants, museums and such like. From the beginning of September, it is needed if you want to travel by public transport too. It is not needed for outside spaces in bars and restaurants or shops. If you can prove you have recovered from COVID or if you have tested negative in the 48 hours previously, you can get the green certificate . At the moment it lasts nine months if you have the full dose of a vaccine, six months if you have recovered but only 48 hours if you tested negative.
This started from 6th August. I had my first dose in July and was expecting to receive my certificate. But it did not come. We were going to a bar in San Nicola Arcella to see a Queen Tribute band on 8th August and I thought we may have needed it for that.
You get the green pass through various government apps. IO, Immuni and others, but to get one you need a code which gets sent to you via SMS after you receive a vaccine. John received his pretty quickly but I did not. So, I downloaded all the apps and went on the website to recover the code needed but nothing worked. I tried calling but I kept being cut off before talking to anyone. So, I emailed with little hope and received an automated response but nothing else. The day before the concert, I contacted the venue and luckily they confirmed I did not need a pass as it was held outside. What a relief.
My second shot was on the 11th August at 19.50. The same day I finally received my code for the certificate at 11.00. So, I had a certificate that lasted 8 hours – that was helpful. Luckily, we didn’t want to go anywhere that needed it before. Although once I did receive it, I felt like we should have gone somewhere so I could use it.
My second dose went OK not as friendly as the first one but very quick. I was in and out in 15 minutes. So not a lot to say really. I received the code for that the following day, definitely better.
I do have to say that I don’t like the idea of the green certificate, because it causes a two-tier system. If you can’t have the vaccine for whatever reason, do you have to get tested at your own cost every time or do you get a certificate to exempt you? I do not know, but I hope so. Then there is the freedom of choice issue… but that is way too deep and serious for this blog.
The Italian Queen Tribute show
A bar called Caffè Le Mele Jazz Club in San Nicola Arcella puts on events during the summer. They did it last year but we didn’t go as we found out about too late. This year, one of their big events was a Queen tribute band called Queen of Bulsara. I love queen, our cat Freddie is named after the lead singer. I never got the chance to see them live as Freddie Mercury died when I was 17. So we thought we’d give it a go. If nothing else it’ll be a giggle.
San Nicola Arcella which is just over 5 minutes from us, so was easy to drive to. Unfortunately, parking was non-existent nearby as every space was taken and the roads through was very busy. Luckily John said we should leave early as it’ll probably be busy and he was right. We had to park about a mile away from the bar which was OK as it was a warm and dry evening and would be nice to stretch our legs after the meal and concert.
Queen of Bulsara was very good. They sang all the hits and the singer had a great voice and did all the moves. The wigs were a little suspect. Everything you want from a tribute band. We were at the front so had a great view and we chose to have the dinner option as well. The menu was fish based which we love and was very tasty. All in all a very enjoyable evening.
On the 14th we went to Cimalonga Ristorante, our friends’ restaurant with Tony E and Trev, Victoria and family who were over for most of August. We had a great time with lovely food of course. As it is so close, we tend to walk there. It avoids the crazy driving as mentioned earlier and the walk does us good. After the meal, we decided to go to the beach to see what was going on because it looked quite busy. The 14th is the eve of Ferragosto which is a big holiday in Italy. There were a lot of people on the beach eating, drinking with bonfires. We now know that this is how they celebrate. We had seen the fireworks at midnight but not a lot else. So, some go to the beach and celebrate there the night before. A bit like New Year’s Eve, it is all about the night before then relax with family time. I can only guess the mess that was left behind though. John said there were a lot of people complaining about the mess on the following day on Facebook. But it was interesting to see them enjoy themselves and now the beach is clean, so many thanks to whoever cleared the mess afterwards.
We saw Trev, Victoria and family a few times over the month. One was on Trev’s birthday. As they were leaving before my birthday, we shared the celebrations at Cimalonga Ristorante. It worked out well as the Cimalonga team were not well when it got to mine unfortunately. But my birthday evening was saved as our friends Jenny and Ola from Sweden were here. We went to Trattoria di Gallo Bianco with Tony E and we went back to their place for after dinner drinks and I received lovely presents from Sweden.
We visited Bar Valhalla in Centro Storico for the first time thanks to Mikael who is the son of Tony and Angela, his girlfriend Marielle and friend Ebba. It is a late-night bar so we hadn’t really seen it open often before as we are usually going home. The seating is only outside so we waited inside for a table to be available. It is owned by a Danish man and has great décor inside. It was a late but great night and I introduced them to the Negroni cocktail and they all came to ours for G&Ts and dinner the following day which was also lovely.
It was quite a busy month actually, now I have written it all down and there are probably things I have missed. I think we need a rest ha-ha. Thanks a lot for reading.
Until next time.