Cooler Days, we return to Cosenza and Visit to Local Towns

Another Trip to Cosenza

I thought I would carry on where I left off from my last post regarding our good friend Tony E who had to have his aneurysm treated. After the first visit in October to Cosenza Emergency we returned on the Wednesday as Tony was contacted to go. Again, leaving at 6.15am we went by taxi driven by Nino. But when we arrived at the same hospital as last time, he was told that he was not to go there but to the General Hospital in another part of Cosenza. So off we went. Nino drove to the gate and the guard said something to him. He dropped off John and Tony and he told me I can’t leave the taxi. After a very short time Nino returned and moved the taxi from the front of the hospital to the nearest official parking area.

We then walked to the hospital and Nino was allowed passed the gate as he said that John and Tony don’t speak Italian, but I wasn’t allowed passed the gate. Great! After waiting around and a few messages and calls with John. I decided to go for a walk as I felt pretty useless.

I was just about to take photos when an old Italian man walking towards me said “Buongiorno”. So I said the same back. I think that gave him permission to have a chat. He asked me where I was from, why I was there, am I married and where my husband was. I explained in my Italian that I am from England, I live in Scalea, yes I am married and he is with our friend in the hospital. He then held my hand and said when I return, he would like a caffè with us. I said of course and then we parted. I have no idea how to contact him if we did return. Maybe he will just know…

I walked a little further and then John called me to say that they are leaving because the hospital was unable to do the tests that day. They will call Tony and it will probably be on Friday, therefore we had to return to Scalea. As I was walking back talking to John on the phone (bang) I tripped over in the middle of the street – I’m having a different type of morning. A man came running over to me followed by a woman from a different direction and asked if I was OK, if I could move my wrists as I landed hard on my hands and if I needed the hospital. I suppose I was lucky the hospital was so close. But I was fine, just embarrassed, there was no need for a doctor or hospital. I did have bruises on my knees the next day though, not that I’m looking for sympathy. I was so impressed by the concern that two complete strangers gave me and the fact that they didn’t laugh. They were genuinely worried about me.

I then walked carefully towards the hospital and saw John and Tony standing outside the carpark. We then waited for Nino to get the taxi, so we could go home.

It was pretty much a wasted journey, but it was an opportunity to see the beautiful sights during the journey to Cosenza, luckily it was a lovely sunny day. These are the photos I took from the taxi along with the sunrise from our terrace as it is quite rare I see that. Lovely mountains and old towns on top. It will be nice to see it all without the stress of trying to get to a hospital.

When Thursday evening came, Tony contacted John to say he hasn’t heard anything so Friday is off. Moira wanted to get some stuff for her apartment, so as we were not doing anything that day, we decided to take her to the household shop we went to in Belvedere Marittimo and also show her the old town which she hadn’t seen. While we were there, Tony called John to say the hospital called and said that he should have been there, must have been a misunderstanding on Wednesday. But obviously we were in Belvedere. So Tony said he will just go with Nino as no one could do anything anyway. Afterwards we found out that Nino knows someone who lived in America for a long while but has returned to Scalea to look after her aging parents. He asked her to go with them as she can speak English and Italian. It was a lovely thing for her to go as she doesn’t know Tony at all and is busy with her parents and it is also a nice for Nino to think to ask her. More proof that the Calabrese really do care about others whether they know them or not.

Tony ended up staying in hospital for nearly two weeks. Most of the days were waiting for his operation to happen. The actual procedure was very quick and they also gave him a full body check. He was picked up by Tony N and Angela who just returned from some time back in Sweden. He stayed with them for a couple of days as Tony lives in an upstairs apartment and they live in a house so he could sleep downstairs and avoid steps. He was OK and has been in his own home since and said he actually felt better after the procedure which is great. As I write this, he is having a scan on something they saw during one of the checks so hopefully that goes well.

UK Visitors

We have had visits from friends from the UK. Rachel and Tony (Yes another Tony) and Trevor and Victoria. Rachel and Tony are going to live here next year. I say here, I mean their house in Santa Maria del Cedro just a few minutes south of Scalea. So we met up with them at theirs, ours, and showed them Cimalonga restaurant and we answered every question they could think to ask and offer any advice. We are very much looking forward to them making the permanent move.

Trevor and Victoria were here for a long weekend which of course flew by. The last time they came was August which is my and Trevor’s birthday month. They apparently told us or someone that they left my birthday present on the table outside their house as they left. I had no recollection, but when they returned, the present was still there where they left it, on the table outside. It wasn’t touched for three months.

Unfortunately it rained pretty much the whole time Trevor and Victoria was here. Which was a shame but it was great to see them and will see them next year.

Visit to Tortora

We have been living in Scalea for very nearly three years which has gone very quickly. But there are still many places we want to visit, locally never mind throughout Italy. At the beginning of the month, we were in Scalea and did what ever we wanted to do faster than expected. So I said how about going to Tortora. A number of people have told us it is a good place to go and see and it just came to mind.

There are two parts to Tortora. One is called Tortora Marina which is a seaside town next to Praia A Mare, north of Scalea. It can be difficult to see where Praia ends and Tortora Marina begins. Then there is the old town of Tortora. Unlike the old town of Scalea which is very close to the new part, Tortora is about 7km high into the mountains. The town cannot be seen from the road up until you actually arrive there.

Tortora is a beautiful old town perched on a hill in the middle of a valley. In the distance you can see another town higher up across the valley called Aieta. It is a stunning sight.

We noticed that there are quite a few red peppers either hanging in shops or on murals and the word Zafarana accompanying the images or actual peppers. Zafarana is very similar to the word for saffron which is zafferano. But when I did a bit of research I found out that Tortora has its own pepper, not a chilli pepper but a sweeter pepper they call La Zafarana. They also grind them to a powder, I am guessing like paprika. Apparently they have a festival in October, so one to remember for next year.

It was so lovely, we decided to take Moira and Rosa to see Tortora. They are returning to the US early December and we thought we should take the opportunity of the one day clear and sunny weather during Rosa’s visit to show them the old town of Belvedere Marittimo, Cirella and Tortora with a lunch time pit stop in Scalea. Moira had seen Belvedere earlier in the month but Rosa had just arrived so we thought it would be good to show Rosa during that one day of sun.

From 30°C at Midnight to Snow on the Mountains

Talking of the weather, it has been very mixed. Night-time temperatures have ranged from highs of nearly 30°C to lows of 8°C. It has been lovely and sunny, but also very windy, wet, stormy, hail and now there is snow on the mountains. But there has been bad weather all over Europe and of course it is getting late in the year. So it can’t be all fine and dandy.

New Mural in Scalea

Whenever we talk to people who have actually heard of Calabria, one of the first things they mention is the mafia. I have to say we have not seen any obvious signs. I guess they do not go up to random people and say hi I am in the mafia. As I have said a lots of times, people here in Calabria are so friendly, warm and caring. Of course you can search and find out news reports from all over the country but day to day there is nothing for us to see. But there is a reminder that they are still around and we are very lucky to not know.

There are two groups in Scalea called Scalìa Vecchia (Old Scalea) and Insieme (Together) and they joined forces to create a mural on the stairs that lead from the area of the fruit and vegetable market to Corso Mediterraneo. It honours people that were victims of the mafia on the steps and hopes that people will not join. On the front facing the market area there is a mural showing the famous image of the anti-mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino who were killed in 1992 in Palermo. Along with a drawing of the old town of Scalea. There is also a small flower bed below the mural.

It is a very touching thing to do and does make you think.

So that is it from me as I now need to stop and turn our fire on and warm up. I will take this opportunity to wish you a very Happy Christmas. I have put up our Christmas tree of course.

Buon Natale!

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