Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Summer madness and a drive to Italy

It has been several months since I blogged. August in the village doesn't really inspire blogging, what with the neighbour's four dogs, two of them yappy Jack Russells who manage to bark for hours on end if you don't yell at them to be quiet. The yelling got more and more severe as we couldn't have a conversation in the house and hear ourselves. Eventually the two families with the noisy dogs left leaving only one family with a quiet dog. I have often wondered if my yelling encouraged them to leave. I was so frustrated that my last yelling was the “F-bomb."

With each passing day it became harder to find a parking space in the village. One day we couldn’t even have coffee; just nowhere to park. There were more people here than we had ever seen before. It is typical for the population in seaside towns around here to increase tenfold in August. It certainly seemed like that here.

After weeks of beautiful swimming conditions suddenly in August cold currents came in and the water never really warmed up to where it should have been. It didn't stop us from swimming, but getting in the water was a bit bracing.

It wasn't all bad. Our landlord /neighbours invited us out in their cabin cruiser. It was lovely docking in little bays along the coast and going in and out of the crystal clear water from the boat. However, it was a little disconcerting as the bays would always fill up with other boaters.

It was a relief when August was over and some sense of tranquility returned to the village. Our friends from White Rock traveled to Ceriana, their hometown in Italy. What better excuse for a visit to Italy. We stayed in a little village on the sea called San Stefano al Mare. Although the swimming wasn't as nice as in our bay the water was certainly warmer.

One of the attractions in Italy is always the food. We met friends for pizza in a seaside pizzeria in Riva. A week later this area experienced exceptionally high winds, and we heard that the restaurant lost its roof. Fortunately, we were gone by this time. Another night we visited friends in Ceriana for dinner. The highlight of this meal was marinated, barbecued goat meat on a skewer. It melted in your mouth and didn't taste at all goaty. I took some of the marinade home with me. So far I haven't convinced our butcher to make this for us, although he has goat's meat.

Sunday dinner in Ceriana is the best. It was a lovely sunny day so we gathered around the outside table with our friends from White Rock, the hosts and the two nonas or grandmothers. One of the nonas only speaks the Ceranasque dialect and not Italian but we seem to communicate without too much difficulty. She has never actually dipped her feet in the sea, although when she was very young she was sent down to San Remo to carry back water by foot, a distance of 13 kilometers. This evaporated leaving behind the valuable salt. She laughs now at how easy it is to get water and go and buy a package of salt.

This was another simple but delicious meal with oil from our host's trees and wine made new from their vines. Pasta in a simple tomato sauce with porcini mushrooms was delicious. The setting high up in the mountains among olives and vines was beautiful. Everything was so still.

Back in the village we managed to swim when the winds weren't too high. The highlight of late September was the magnitude 3.5 earthquake just a couple of kilometers out at sea. At first we didn't know what it was as there was a very loud bang followed by the whole house shaking. I thought a car had run into the house. Perhaps the other highlight was the builder saying he was coming to fix the leaking roof that we had been complaining about for months.

None of this really seemed to matter as we were off to Athens for a cruise to Venice.

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