Hello and welcome to my blog post for May 2022. This post marks the fourth anniversary of writing The Calabrian Dream. When I first started writing, living in Italy was a just a possibility and we were waiting for our house in the UK to sell. Now, we have been living here for three and a half years. The time has flown by, but at the same time waiting for our old house to sell feels like a long time ago. We have experienced a light earthquake, torrential rain, very high winds that bent satellite dishes and shattered windows (still can’t get over that), Covid lockdowns, blistering sunshine (quite a bit of that), wildfires, making and breaking of friendships, going to Italian language classes, fantastic food – I am bigger now ha-ha, seeing amazing views, visiting the local towns and beaches, having a cat just turn up and stay, and more.
Looking back, it has been quite intense in a short space of time. All in all, we have truly enjoyed living in Scalea and hope to enjoy living here for many years to come.
This month has been quite busy. May is the time when more people from overseas want to come as the weather is warming up, but the crowds are not here yet. The lidos are opening with sunbeds on the beach as the weather was getting warmer, later than usual. It didn’t get hot until later in the month and when it did happen, it was a quite a spike in temperatures. We have had temperatures from 19°C at the beginning of May up to 33°C by the end.
There have been some great events happening here too. One of which was a stage of the Giro d’Italia (Tour of Italy). This is a cycle race that takes place all around Italy. Scalea hosted the end of the 6th stage. This stage the riders rode 192km from Palmi in southern Calabria to here in Scalea.
There were pink bikes all around Scalea and some balconies were decorated with pink. Pink is the colour of the jersey the leader of the general classification wears, it is also the colour representing the race itself.
We went down to the town near the time the riders were due to arrive at the finish line. The area around the finish line was very busy so we went further up. It was amazing to see people back in Scalea, after the lockdowns and restrictions. Although, this was the first time a big event such as this was in Scalea since we moved here.
It was quite exciting waiting for the riders to arrive, and when they did it was over very quickly, because as these are elite athletes, they just flew by. At least I managed to get some photos.
Another event that we have seen before was the Motoraduno. This is another bike event, but this time it is motorbikes. So the noise of motorbikes arrived, which is fine during the day but they carry on revving their engines throughout the night. Luckily since the last one we changed our windows to double-glazing so we could reduce the noise somewhat. During the day there were events like stunt bike riders showcase their skills of jumping from a ramp and styling it during the jump. There are street food vans, bars and bike stalls. Again, it was great to see life back in Scalea.
John did some woodworking
Now back at our home, we decided that the table in the kitchen was too big for our daily use as there are only two of us. Also, it didn’t work if more than 2 people arrived for dinner as the legs were on the end. So we decided to buy another one. It is a small one that extends to pretty much the same size of the old one. This means that we can have more space in our daily lives, but if people come to stay for a meal or for a few days we have the table space.
Then, we wondered what to do with the old one. It is made of oak, so we did not want to throw it away. Our downstairs terrace had a small plastic table covered in an old but pretty vinyl cover (John hated it). We use it mainly for breakfast and lunch just for the two of us in the nice weather. We decided that the old kitchen table could be refashioned to a smaller one for downstairs. Instead of having the legs on the side we decided to cross them and place them in the middle (well when I say we, I mean John).
John then decided to paint the top black as we had some paint that he could use for that. And now we have a sturdy table for us on our downstairs terrace. Well done, John x
Quick visit to a beach at Castrocucco di Maratea
On one of the first lovely days, I felt like I wanted to go somewhere but we couldn’t go far because we had plans later. So I looked on the map to see where there was a place that we haven’t been to, which was very close by. I found a beach near the town Castrocucco di Maratea which was less than 20 minutes away on the other side of Tortora Marina. So we thought we would have a look. I like to walk on a beach, but I’m not really a fan on lying on one. Also as a bonus we would be leaving Calabria as it is located just in the region of Basilicata which we haven’t done for ages.
It’s a nice beach. There was not a lot there, as no bars or lidos were open. There were men burning plant material on the beach. I guess they are clearing it so they can get ready for the summer. The interesting thing is that there is a river that flows into the sea. I found out later that it is called Fiume Noce (River Walnut). Looking at the map it divides Calabria and Basilicata from the coastline for a few kilometres inland.
Our friends Trevor and Victoria returned from the UK and we had a meal with them. After which, we returned to theirs. Our (and theirs, also neighbours) friends Angela, Tony and family were watching Eurovision outside on their terrace. So we joined them. I do love Eurovision, Trevor and Victoria less so. Funnily enough, we arrived just when the UK entry was playing, which made me smile. It was a fun night and good to see the UK was very close to winning compared to previous years when they received zero points. But Ukraine won in the end, which was pretty much expected.
We tried a restaurant in Praia a Mare
During one of our trips just wandering around Praia A Mare, we were hungry so decided to stop somewhere. We stopped at a restaurant called Andujamu which is located of the main street. We were pulled in by the offer on the door which was two courses for either 12.90 or 19.90 euros depending on if you want a land or fish dish.
After looking at the normal menu we decided to order off that for very little extra as we were not in the mood for a two-course meal or pasta. So John had mixed grill and I had swordfish. John really enjoyed his grill and my swordfish was a large portion, it was very tasty. We enjoyed itwhat we had, although the white wine we had took a little while to get used to. We wouldn’t say no to go again.
ViGri reopened in another location
Several weeks ago a popular restaurant in Scalea was forcibly closed by the Finanza (financial police who deal with financial, tax and drug crimes). There was a tax issue which was not the fault of the restaurateurs but of the person who they rented from. They could not even go into the building, to collect any belongings until very recently. it was sad to see as it wasn’t their fault and it is very well known. We didn’t think it would ever return.
A restaurant called Ristro Pub at the bottom of the historic centre which we liked, unfortunately closed down, but the owners of ViGri reopened there just over a week later, which was good news. So we thought we would go to support. We went with our friends Justin and Michael who live in Scalea and Jenny and Ola who were visiting from Sweden. It was nice to see them reopen and it means that their work menu is back where you can have a two-course lunch including wine during the weekdays for 13 euros.
Joachim’s birthday party
Near the end of May, it was our friend from Sweden, Joachim’s birthday and he invited us to his birthday party at the restaurant La Rondinella in Centro Storico with lots of his other friends. I just want to say thanks Joachim for inviting us, we had a great evening.
A visit to a new part of Papasidero
We also took another trip to see Giovanni, who was in Papasidero for a little while. This time he showed us round his family’s land in the countryside. They have a plot where they grow vegetables and other parts where there is an olive grove with lots of different varieties of olives, a vineyard, an area where they grow lemons, oranges (we saw the Seville orange tree where the oranges from the marmalade we made came from) pomegranate, carob and lots of other fruit and nut trees grow there too. The grass was very long so we had to make sure we didn’t lose him. He definitely knows the land very well. It was such a lovely afternoon walking around his family’s land. It was also a very good workout. He kindly gave us some produce, wine from his grapes, lettuce from his plot, some edible oranges and more Seville ones too. We also received white wine from his vineyard. Around his land he showed us wild fennel, wild chicory which he picked for us to take home. The bag was bursting. In fact it did burst which was hilarious as oranges were going everywhere. So John carried the bag in his shirt and Giovanni and I had some oranges each too until we got to the church. John and I waited by the church and we sat and drank water from the drinking water fountain until Giovanni returned with another bag. The views from the area were just stunning. Probably one of my favourite types of view. So thank you Giovanni, the afternoon was great, we laughed and the food that you gave us was very tasty.
Freddie in the wars again
During May, Freddie did not return home for well over 24 hours. This is unusual as he always comes home for at least something to eat. When the weather is good, we do see less of him because he loves roaming around the area around us. So we were a little worried, but we had no idea where he could be. He did eventually return, walking with a bad limp on his back left leg. He couldn’t jump up anything, as there was no power in that leg. We could see there was matted fur but could not see what it was underneath. He looked very unhappy and squealed when we touched the area. So off to the vets we went. The vet shaved the area and found two hole-type wounds on his leg. We are not sure if it was another cat or something else like a snake but they were pretty deep. Luckily nothing was broken and the vet didn’t think there would be any long-term damage. So we just had to give him antibiotics and cream for the wounds. Luckily, we had those from the time before he got in to some damage. He is recovering well and can jump around nearly as good as he could before.
I thought I would end with photos of the beach at Cirella. We just went there one day for a wander and decided to buy ingredients from the local store to make a sandwich to eat on the beach. For some reason, I find it really relaxing there.
As the season moves on, I wonder what June will bring. Will it get even hotter? Find out in the next post.
Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed.