Trip update: This week brought high winds and rain on three of the seven days. With westerly gusts of 27 knots and occasional frog-choking downpours, I worked indoors, and walked to the Tempo Prezioso Literary Café for my WiFi connection. This cozy café opened up less than a month ago. It features comfortable sofas and chairs, abundant outlets and a powerful WiFi signal. Of course, all the usual offerings of an Italian bar are there, from espresso to the harder stuff. I can eat a tramezzino and put off supper until they close and I walk back to the flat. After the storm front passed, the hills above 300 metres had a dusting of snow. Continue reading
Trip update: Last Saturday, we rode our bikes to Vanier Park to watch the first night of the Honda Celebration of Light, an international fireworks competition. The Netherlands put on the most amazing fireworks show that I have ever seen – until Australia put on its show Wednesday night. With colours and artistic forms that I have never seen, the Aussies kept me mesmerized. Continue reading
Trip update: no trip this week, but I have been out every day riding around the Valley. Spring is in full bloom on both sides of the Sangro River. Rain and high winds most nights, but the days feature bright sunshine balancing brisk breezes. On Thursday, I rode a particularly pleasant route to the hilltop town of Castel Frentano. Apart from its view of the Valley and its scenic historic district, the town is famous for the bocconotto, an 18th-century pastry with a charming legend of its own. I bought a box for each of the families in my building.
Trip update: After singing in the choir at St. Paul’s Within the Walls in Rome last Sunday, I spent the rest of the day finishing up a book translation so that I would have the week free to begin working on my move. However, that night, an email arrived from an excellent client, so I accepted one more job. Such is the life of a successful translator. Continue reading
Trip update: I had an appointment at the US Naval Hospital Naples (which is near Aversa actually) at 0830 on Wednesday of this week, so last weekend, I decided to make a week-long trip of it. On Monday I rode to Pescara, and spent the night, so I could take a faster train to Aversa on Tuesday. Most trains up and down the Adriatic Coast don’t stop in Fossacesia; the ones that do stop everywhere. I got to Aversa in two hours less time than ever before. Continue reading
Trip update: The first Sunday in Piane d’Archi (27 September) I was invited to join a charity ride. About 100 cyclists gathered in the rain outside the Bar 45 RPM to register and plunk down their €10 for the privilege. Marco Di Nella, the organizer, told me that they had 200 riders last year. So, in one morning, I met all the cyclists in the Sangro River valley who were dedicated enough to ride in the rain. By mid-October I was no longer l’amico della scozzese [the Scotswoman’s friend] but l’americano in bicicletta [the American on a bicycle]. Old men sipping their beers outside the cafés wave as I run my errands, and neighbours in their cars toot or shout as they pass. My Scottish colleague Denise Muir gets credit for bringing me to this friendly, pleasant town. Continue reading
On Monday, 14 September, we pushed our bikes from the hostel across the street to the train station. We changed trains in Bologna, and sped through the Bisenzio River Valley to Prato. Looking out the window, I thought that the Valley was just as impressive looking up as looking down. In Prato, we switched trains again, and soon found ourselves rolling back in time as we crossed from the train station south of Lucca through the massive gates of the medieval city. Continue reading