A relaxing day in the Abruzzen countryside

Continuation of my 2014 Summer holiday, from my travel journal.

Day 3 – Sunday

I wake up to the sounds of the Abruzzen countryside at 7am.  I wander on to the balcony.  It is 28 degrees already.  There are people strimming their land (in the distance) because it will be too hot to do later on, the tractor is whirring in the field at the farm opposite our house, an eagle cries as it circles over our house, our neighbour’s dog barks, a herd of sheep are on top of one of the hills.  I love these sounds because they are all part of the Abruzzen landscape.

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After we’ve all showered and dressed, we go and visit Maria’s cafe in Pretoro.  She is thrilled to see us and gives us all a hug and kiss.  Maria is making a fresh batch of cannoli con ricotta.  She is desperate for me to try one and I don’t have the heart to tell her that I am not over keen on the ricotta ones.  I pretend my Italian hasn’t quite kicked in yet and motion towards the cannoli con crema, which I do like.  Maria’s husband (whose name we still do not know) appears and is happy to see us, particularly the boys.  We love Maria’s husband too.  He looks like Mr Frederickson from Up!  I promise I will take a photo of him one day to show you.

We go and sit outside and watch the world go by.  This cafe is a constant.  Whenever we visit, nothing changes, but the seasons.  It is an old, familiar friend and a great place to watch Abruzzen people carrying on with their daily lives.  Maria’s cafe is popular with people who live in Pretoro, but many patrons are cyclists who are venturing up (or down) the Passo Lanciano to Blockhaus and people from Pescara who spend their weekends hiking/skiing/mountain biking in the Majella National Park.

Maria appears with a ricotta cannolo.  I pretend to be really excited to try it and I have to take a first bite in front of her.  I do a really good job of pretending I love it (Academy Awards calling) and when she returns inside and the coast is clear, I pass it to Will and get him to eat it.  Will feels quite sick afterwards.  I feel bad for a couple of minutes.

After the cafe stop, which cost €14 for four capuccini (Will and I needed the coffee), 1 bottle of water for the boys, two cannoli, 1 pizza slice (Will) and two small pastries for the boys, we drive back to our village shop and buy prosciutto, apples, drinks and pecorino cheese.

At lunchtime we eat pasta with prosciutto and tomato and mascarpone sauce.  We always have bags of pasta in our cupboard ready for when we arrive.  It is quick and easy and the boys love it, thankfully.

It is 36 degrees.  Will has strimmed the land around the house and wants to strim the olive grove tomorrow.  I am starting to wind down after our fraught journey yesterday.  The boys are settled.  They know and love this house too.  In the distance, the sound of fireworks mildly interrupts the quiet.  Our 6 year old wants to know why Italians let off fireworks in the daytime.  Other than explaining to him that is always during times of celebration, I cannot tell him why they let them off the daytime because I do not know (if anyone could tell me that would be great).

Early evening and we have all had a siesta and wake up refreshed.  Everyone stays out of the sun from 1-4pm, generally.  That evening, we visit our friend Val at Bar Ottavio for one of her delicious frittata’s and a catch-up.  We watch the MotoGP too whilst we are there so the boys are doubly pleased.

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I’ve really enjoyed our first day back in Abruzzo.  We all unwind so quickly whenever we return here.  Not sure what we will do yet tomorrow….

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