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The last month of 2021, with Fireworks, sunshine and meeting new friends.

Welcome to 2022. Thank you for reading my blog and here is what happened in December 2021.

We now know where to go for pet passports

Our friend Moira had to return to the US. She was here for 3 months the maximum she could stay on the standard tourist visa. The 3 months has gone super quick, but time does in Scalea. She has 2 dogs, Dwayne and Bella. The problem is that one person cannot travel with more than one dog. So Rosa had to return to Scalea from the US so that both dogs could go back. Obviously, Rosa was very happy to return to spend more time here.

One of the documents that are needed for pets to travel, is the pet passport. So the vet in Scalea completed all the forms needed and Moira had to go to an office in Praia A Mare to have it officially checked and verified and then they would issue the passport. Moira had an address, so off we went (as Moira didn’t have a car) to the address in Praia A Mare. The address was an apartment block, which happens here. So Moira, Rosa and the dogs went in and John and I had a walk around towards the beach, as you do. Further down the road and on the other side, I somehow noticed an A4 sheet of paper stuck to the inside of a window of another apartment block which said ASP Cosenza – veterinario. So I said to John, “Do you think this could be it?”. We then decided to walk back to where Moira and Rosa were and said we think we found the real place. Moira came with us and Rosa stayed there just in case it wasn’t.

After a little while, Moira’s contact turned up in his car, so Rosa headed our way. Yay we found it. Moira went in and Rosa, John and I waited outside with the dogs.

Then a car turned up to the pizzeria next door. Two guys came out so we got chatting with them in our limited Italian. We talked about the dogs really as we had dogs with us and they have dogs too. Just a normal thing for dog owners who meet each other. As we were chatting, somehow, we realised that none of us were Italian. They are American who moved to Scalea recently. So we spoke English. Their names are Justin and Michael and they were in Praia A Mare because that pizzeria called Amici’s is pretty much the only place where you can get a pizza in the middle of the day. Pizza here is a night-time meal only because they use a lot of wood to create the fire, therefore if nobody buys pizza, you waste a lot of wood.

We didn’t think Moira would be long, so they ordered their pizzas and we stayed chatting. But after a while, Moira was taking a long time so we thought we would have a drink. Then the man who runs the pizzeria came out with pizza bread cut into strips and flavoured with salt and rosemary. It was extremely tasty. We need to return.

During our chat we found out that Justin and Michael have a You Tube Channel called PregoItalia. You can find their channel here. They basically show what is happening in their lives. A bit like me with this blog, but obviously it’s video.

Rosa, John and I are actually on one of the videos, we don’t say a lot, but we’re there. Ha-ha.

[As I am writing this, I found out that Justin is not very well. So wish you all the best Justin and Michael please contact us if you need anything.]

Eventually Moira came out, apparently the man completed all the forms again, no idea why. So that’s why she was taking so long. But she finally had the passports so that’s all that matters and we got to meet Michael and Justin, so a good day.

Michael and Justin from PregoItalia

Chocolate Festival comes to Scalea

In the middle of December, a chocolate festival came to Scalea. I had a very quick look around a larger one in Cosenza a few weeks ago, when Nino the taxi driver showed me around Cosenza when we were accompanying Tony E to the hospital. There were a few stalls in Scalea from artisan chocolate and sweet makers along Via Michele Bianchi. Each stall gave us a sample and it was all delicious. We bought some too, pricey but very tasty, so worth it and you don’t need eat a lot as it is so rich. Hope it returns next year.

Christmas

As it is December obviously it is Christmastime, therefore we put our Christmas tree up. We still didn’t place any breakable decorations on there as we were not sure about what our cat Freddie will do. Last year he liked to climb it. This year he is a lot bigger so we daren’t risk it.

But we were pleasantly surprised that he just sniffed it and lightly tapped the baubles on the bottom but not anything else. So I think we will try the delicate decorations next year, maybe keep them on the top though.

Talking of Freddie, he has never been a cat that liked boxes. I know, very strange! I thought all cats love sitting and playing with boxes, even the big ones like lions and tigers. But Freddie just sniffs and walks off, so disappointing. BUT when I was decorating the tree, Freddie climbed into the box the tree was stored in, not for long though. We bought some medication for him online as it is cheaper than in the pharmacies here and he went and sat in that box too and keeps doing so. Yes, we have kept it for him! But finally, he is now officially a real cat as he loves boxes – haha!

Freddie in a Box

Christmas Day

Christmas Day was different to last year. The original plan was that Tony E would come to stay with us on Christmas Eve and leave on the afternoon of 26th. But just before Christmas he had a medical procedure, so he was uncomfortable to leave his home overnight. So instead of trying to persuade him and him being uncomfortable or worried, we thought it was best for him just to be comfortable and stay home. So, we brought Christmas Dinner to him on Christmas Day. We cooked everything we could at home. We cooked a joint of pancetta, pork belly I guess. The crackling was amazing and the meat was so soft. We really enjoyed it. We had roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings, along with vegetables. I made a trifle laced with limoncello too. I ate way too much but enjoyed it. We also returned on the 26th to eat the famous curry he makes. It was made for Christmas Eve initially as he was going to stay with us but we ate it on 26th instead.

It was lovely, we had lots of food, drink, played Christmas tunes and watched some Christmas movies.

New Year’s Eve

This New Year’s Eve we stayed at home. Unfortunately John woke up on 27th December and realised he could not walk on his foot. It was very painful, for him. John is a man who can take quite a lot of pain. So when he says he can’t put weight on his foot, he really means it. He had no idea how it happened but he thinks he may have stepped on something at the carpark at the top of the hill of where we live. The ground there is very uneven with lumps of concrete or stones sticking up. If you catch it wrong with shoes that don’t have thick soles or you don’t look properly, you can hurt yourself.

He rested it for a few days and felt better. On the 30th, he then decided he should be OK to go to the supermarket as everything is flat, apart from walking up and down that hill to the car, obviously avoiding the lumps. But when we returned home, it was worse again, so he couldn’t go anywhere again for a few days more.

As John was unable to walk, I went for a walk by myself a few times along the beach as the weather was beautifully sunny. On New Year’s Eve, during the day I really wanted to do it as it was the last day of the year. It was so lovely, it was such a shame that John couldn’t do it. I took photos, walked along the sea and I was getting really hot because of walking on the pebbly beach in the warm sunshine. It was around 24°C, so I had to take off my jumper.

As I was passing Bar Da Pietro, I heard this voice shouting and I looked and Denisa was running towards me and gave me a huge hug. She, along with Miro and Laura were having a drink at Da Pietro with Erik, Jonna and their children who were on holiday for a week from Sweden who we know too. So I had a drink with them, just water as I was so thirsty, as I had to climb the hill back home. It was wonderful to see them and catch up.

On New Year’s Eve night we stayed in had a nice meal, drank wine and watched the fireworks over Scalea. We watched them on our first New Year, but not since. We were not expecting much because all outside events were cancelled due to increasing Covid numbers. But it was amazing to see the whole of Scalea covered with fireworks, so much so, there was a smoky cloud over the town when it had all finished.

So it is now the end of 2021 and also the end of this post. Many thanks for taking an interest in our life in Calabria.

If you have any questions, contact me on my contact page or leave a comment at the end of this post.

I hope 2022 is great for you.

Ciao and Buon Anno!

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