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September we visited a river, a mountain town, thunderstorms and friends came to stay

September has disappeared so quickly. I guess being positive with Covid for 10 days didn’t help. Read more in my previous post for August here.

Evan and Dee came to stay

After being well and negative, we could finally enjoy living in Scalea again. Luckily the timing was perfect as our friends Evan and Dee was coming to stay. They arrived on the evening of 12th and left us on the morning of 15th. So we had two full days. The first evening we ate at home as we thought they would be tired. Also we had never cooked an evening meal for them before.

Two days before they arrived, we went to Papasidero to see Giovanni as he was leaving soon to return to Aversa where he lives. He showed us an amazing place on the river where the rafting finishes. There is a lido which has seats and tables overlooking the river and serves panini and drinks. Similar to the ones you get on the beach. It is such a tranquil place as it is away from the road and when sitting, watching the river and hearing only the sound of the river and the wind in the trees just takes any thoughts away.

We thought Evan and Dee would like it. So on their first day we took them there and thankfully they loved it. Giovanni met us there too and we had a lovely lunch. We spent quite a while there sitting, talking wandering around the river. I even sat on a rock and dipped my feet in. The water was very cool, colder than I expected.

Later Giovanni had the idea that we could all see his land where his family grow, olives, fruit trees, vegetables. He gave us plenty of produce and even some plants that Dee could take home and hope to grow.

That evening we ate at ViGri, but unfortunately John was not well before we started eating, we asked Angela from ViGri if we could take the food home. They were happy to oblige. It is good to know that many restaurants in Scalea are happy to box your meals if you want to. So John went to bed and the rest of us ate our meals at home.

The following day, luckily John was feeling a bit better, so we went to Belvedere Marittimo. We walked along the sea, had a gelato and cake and went to walk around Centro Storico. It was a lovely walk around and the views are amazing from the top, which is drivable.

On the way back to Scalea, we stopped off at a Pizzeria called La Dolce Vita. It is one of the few places that do pizza for lunch. Their pizzas are very tasty, I recommend if you are passing. When we returned to Scalea, we dropped of Evan and Dee at the beach so they could have a walk around before they left in the morning. John and I had a rest at home.

That evening we went to Il Corsaro. Evan wanted the Pizza Bomba which is his favourite pizza from anywhere he has ever been. John and I had Zuppa di Cozze (mussel soup) and Dee had grilled lamb. Everyone was very happy with their food. After the meal Gianluca gave us a crema di melone liqueur to try. It was so nice and creamy.

The next morning, we waved them off from Scalea train station to their next destination, Florence.

Met with Ted and Gail

Ted and Gail from the US who we met last year returned to Scalea for a couple of weeks. So we met up with them at Pizzeria La Piazzetta. None of us had pizza, Ted and Gail had Lasagne, I had pasta with shellfish, John had calamari and chips. All were happy, apart from John whose chips arrived a long time ahead of his calamari. During our meal, we found out that Ted and Gail had not seen the view from San Nicola Arcella. So we arranged to meet up before they returned to the US to rectify that. They thought it was beautiful. Then we said we should go for a drink and aperitivo (snacks with the drinks), but unfortunately nothing was open in San Nicola. Therefore, we decided to go to Praia A Mare as it is much livelier. We tried a bar named Sailors for our aperitivo. It is quite a trendy bar, full of younger people, with quite loud music. Ted and Gail had never drunk Aperol Spritz, a typical drink for aperitivo. So they tried it there. They said they enjoyed it which was a relief. On the way back, the sunset was amazing. There is a viewpoint on the winding road back up to the SS18, so we stopped to take photos.

Trip to Verbicaro

Tony and Rachel who live in Santa Maria del Cedro wanted to go a winery near Verbicaro. Tony tried to call but couldn’t get an answer, so we thought we would go anyway as it is not far, especially from their house. So John and I drove to theirs and then Tony drove us all to the vineyard. Unfortunately, the winery was closed but there was a nice church nearby and amazing views, so not a complete waste. We then decided to see what the town of Verbicaro was like as it was only 10 minutes away.

Verbicaro is a busy village located in hills on the edge of the Pollino National Park. As with most towns around Scalea, there is a Centro Storico. So we walked around there for a while. Afterwards, we had a drink outside at a bar in the newer part of town by the road. The barman was very friendly and when he found out that we were from near Birmingham in the UK, he went inside and returned with what looked like a Peaky Blinders cap. He said it was made by his friend it was very nice. I guess Peaky blinders and Birmingham are recognised everywhere now. We have never watched it.

Verbicaro has a feel that it is self-sufficient and cut off from anywhere but it is only around 40 minutes from Scalea and 20 minutes from Santa Maria Del Cedro.

When we returned to Santa Maria Del Cedro, Tony and Rachel cooked us a tasty meal with antipasti and followed by gnocchi. Thanks guys, for the lovely day. Hopefully, we’ll be able to try the winery soon.

Our friend and neighbour, Moira invited me to go on a girl’s trip to a place called Vietri sul Mare. Vietri sul Mare is a town just over 2 hours from Scalea north of Salerno, at the beginning of the Amalfi coastal road. It is famous for selling ceramic products of any description.

The journey up was great until we got close to Salerno where it was raining hard. We continued, hoping that it would stop soon, but it never did. When we arrived at Vietri sul Mare, it was still raining. We weren’t sure what to do and we both thought two-hour drive is a waste just to return. So we thought we’d give it a go. We found a car park and went for a walk. Problem was, we were not dressed for torrential rain. Moira brought a shawl so we shared that until we found somewhere that sold umbrellas. We must have looked a right sight. After a little walk, we came across a small, very local place called Santiago Caffè and thought we’d shelter there for a while. Inside there were only a couple of men. They were friendly and wanted to know where we were from. After some time we thought we’d leave and try outside again. We got soaked!

Eventually we found a shop that sold umbrellas. They gave us more opportunity to walk around and finally look in the ceramic shops. But we were getting disheartened as we were wet and feeling cold. We did go into a couple of shops but being wet and cold didn’t help our motivation. So we found a restaurant called Ristoarte and had lunch. Moira ordered peppered mussels and we both ordered ravioli filled with Amalfi lemon ricotta. When the mussels came, Moira said let’s share, they were so good, especially when you dip the bread in the peppery sauce. The ravioli was equally as good. We had a lovely lunch. Afterwards we decided just to go home as the rain was not letting up. I suppose a four hour round trip is long way to go for lunch, but it was tasty. The best part of the return journey was the closer to Calabria we were, the clouds were lifting and the sun was starting to shine. It was great to be back home.

We would like to return to Vietri sul Mare to actually see it, next time we will check the weather forecast before we leave.

Thunderstorms in Scalea in September

If you like to watch thunderstorms from a dry place, September is a great time of year to see them. Obviously, I can’t guarantee that you will see one but there is a high chance as summer turns in to autumn. On the evening of 30th September, Scalea had an amazing one which we watched from the safety of our terrace. It was quite a light show. Here are some photos I managed to take.

I wonder what will happen in October and hope to see you next time. Thanks so much for reading. Ciao.

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