Presidents, Markets, Aperitivos, and More
We have been wondering how we would be able to leave this beautiful island at the end of the month. Well, guess what? We don’t have to!! We sign the lease on our new little apartment on Monday! La Maddalena will be our home for at least the next year! I will blog more about the apartment when we actually move in, but for now just know that everything is falling into place, and we are going to be here for awhile.
Something else I am very excited about: We just found out 2 days ago that Sergio Mattarella, the President of Italy, is coming here to La Maddalena for a couple of weeks in August for vacation. I guess he knows a good place, too! He will be staying just down the road from where we are now. We walk by this place several times a day.
In my first blog entry, I didn’t talk about who we are. We are members of lots of travel groups and many of you haven’t ever met us personally and don’t really know us at all. So I feel this time that I need to introduce us to you.
My husband, Ed, and I are just two crazy people who like to travel, see the world, and have adventures. In just the last 2 years we have traveled to Greece, Romania, Barbados, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, San Marino, Mexico, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Denver and cities all over the U.S., and of course, Italy. Even more trips are in the works. Also we enjoy spending time with other people who love to travel, and hearing about all their travels, and even traveling together.
We definitely aren’t rich. It is a good thing you don’t have to be! I have learned you just have to find ways to make it happen. We look for good deals and save up. Two of the trips (Barbados and Maui) cost nothing, because I won them, and on our last tour of the U.S., we found out how wonderful our friends really are. We slept in their spare rooms as much as possible and saved hotel costs. We ate in more than we ate out. I can’t tell you how much that meant to us. I hope we will be able to return the favors.
As I mentioned in my last blog, we sold our home in Texas and moved here to Italy. It has only been three weeks, so far. I am retired, but my husband is still working. He works for himself and writes computer programs and does websites for select clients online. Next year we will have been together for 40 years. We aren’t old, mid 60s, but not young, either. We have a daughter, five grandchildren and a great-granddaughter. They all live in the United States.
Our language classes at the Gaia Institute continue for only one more week. We sure have learned a lot. One of us is way better at Italian than the other, but he is being amazingly humble about it and doesn’t throw it in my face. Hehe.
Our teacher, Valeria, took us to the market, so we could practice buying fruits and vegetables. It was a fun day. I brought a list and bought all kinds of food. The prices were good. There is no haggling here, like some other places we have visited. They post the price per kilo or mezzo kilo, and that is the price. We sampled different pecorino cheeses and fell in love with an extra sharp variety. This cheese is Sardinian, made from sheep’s milk, and it is the very best. They sell so much more than food, but they are only open on Wednesdays, in the morning. So I know how my Wednesday mornings will be spent, when school is done!
At the market, I shorted one of the vendors out of 80 centesimi (about a dollar) and he let me know. It was just ignorance on my part, since the coins look so much alike to me. But I felt bad. I was doing really good up until then.
We got a new student in our class from Switzerland. They speak Swiss-German where he is from. He taught himself English, and speaks it very well. Then he wanted to study Italian, so he came here. He is very nice, but he is also very mysterious. I wonder if he is on the lam or something. He says he is 30 years old, doesn’t have much money and sleeps in his car. He didn’t mind taking pictures of us with the others in our class, but he didn’t want any pictures taken of him. I did manage to get a couple of him when we all went out to a cafe. I was acting like I was taking a selfie of Ed and me, but my camera wasn’t on selfie. Pretty clever, huh? I would never post them, of course. He said he was looking forward to Monday’s class, and then he just disappeared this past week. We found out he called the school from Olbia, a town about 30 miles from here on the main island of Sardinia. I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of him, though. At least I hope not.
This past week we got more students, one from Curacao and one from the Czech Republic. They are a lot of fun, but they are too advanced for us, and so on the second day they had to go into another class. The lady from Curacao speaks many languages, including English very well. She is very friendly and chatty with everyone. We aren’t in the same class but we still see them at the school and at other social events.
Valeria and Giuseppe (also a teacher at the school) took us out for an aperitivo one day and it was fun for all of us. Nothing like a couple of drinks, with munchies (sardines in Sardinia!) at a great restaurant to make everyone unwind. Just saying that made me laugh, because no one here is wound up or uptight, so there is no need to unwind. We just relaxed and had fun.
Giuseppe also took us to Caprera (remember it is the smaller island we visited a couple of weeks ago which is connected to La Maddalena by a bridge) to visit Garibaldi’s house. Giuseppe Garibaldi was the one responsible for getting all of Italy together as a country. Before that it was all city states. I took some pictures of the grounds, but they wouldn’t let you take photos inside the house. He died in the house and was buried there on the grounds. This was in the 1880s, about the time Ulysses Grant was president in the U.S., to put it in perspective. We love the historical stuff.
After leaving Garibaldi’s we went to a small old church on Caprera.
Then we trekked up high on a mountain to another old military fort, also on the island. From atop the hills, there is a spectacular view of the sea and some of the other islands in the archipelago. Here is a video (there is no sound):
You’re welcome, America!
BTW the two people in the video are the lady from Curacao and Giuseppe. Ed ducked down so I would pan over him.
Posted by Vicky Perrone on Friday, July 13, 2018
To celebrate our second week here and successful completion of two weeks of school, we went out to a local restaurant. We drank Cuban mojitos, watched a performance by traditional Brazilian dance/fighters and thought “OK, we are Americans in Italy. What an amazing multicultural experience!!”
Among the crowds of people that night, we ran into our teacher, Valeria, and her friend, who could speak English because she had been an exchange student with a family in Lubbock, Texas. How cool is that!!!
We took our first ride on an autobus. Sounds easy, but not quite. You have to know what bus, and what the schedule is, how much it costs and how to pay, and how to get back. Not so easy when you aren’t all that familiar with the language. But we felt we needed to, so we took the number 1 bus, wanting to go to Conad, a grocery store that we know from when we were in Umbria. They have a really nice store there in Spoleto. We figured out the fare and how many stops until we got there. We got on and paid. We were doing good. But the bus didn’t stop at all the stops. So by the time we realized we were at the stop we wanted, the driver drove right past it, because no one was there waiting to get on. So we rode all the way to the end of the line and when we came back, Ed asked the driver to stop there and he did. It was a nice ride and the view was to die for so we didn’t mind. It just made us laugh.
I have so many more things to say but I will save them for later. I tend to get pretty wordy. Thanks so much for your interest. Please leave comments or questions you might have. I welcome them. Also please share.
I will leave you with this. People who are into the blues will appreciate it:
Ciao for now!