Thursday, September 21, 2006

Chieti and Guardiagrele

A church view from a vicolo in Chieti.

This past Sunday was our last weekend day before all of the madness of the spelunking season starts, so I politely asked if we could take a little day trip. After doing an intense weather search (so, did it rain in Siena after all?) we decided that our best bet was Abruzzo. That is: not the moutainous heart of Abruzzo, but closer to the coast. So we chose Chieti, with a stop in Guardiagrele, too. (It took me about 30 tries to pronounce Guardiagrele without pausing mid-way, but now that I can say it okay, it's such a cool city name! Try saying it...)

top: Abruzzese cheeses on display at the market; middle: more market views, and Antonello in the city centre; bottom: windows in a small piazza in Chieti.

Chieti had been my choice--someone somewhere had said that they liked it, so I, being the Abruzzo fan that I am (check out some of our past trips to the area here and here), decided that it would be on our ever-growing list of places to go. When we got there, we found a huge market occupying most of the city center, so much of our browsing was focused on the items for sale instead of the palaces that lined the main streets. Still, we finally got away from the market and sought out little corners of the town. We snapped away photos, found a set of three Roman temples in a grassy piazza off a side street, and almost bumped into the beautiful duomo, coming upon it from an off-road by surprise. Really, though, this is how we love to explore a place: discovering it at random.

Guardiagrele's duomo and famous dolci

Guardiagrele was tiny and almost written-off as a mistake as we wandered through completely empty streets toward disgarded piazzas and more empty streets. Luckily, though, we found the main street by way of the glitter of a goldsmith's shop (Guardiagrele is famous for its filigreed gold jewelry), and the church there made us rethink our entire opinion of the town. The church and its piazza were both perfect, and the town ended up being a charming place to end the afternoon, despite the fact that we were told, by literally everyone, that we should have come that morning (when, apparently, every shop had been open). We left after discovering the one open pasticceria, where we bought four little round, cream-filled cakes, the town's typical dolce. Licking our fingers from the sweet cream and powdered sugar we thought, "Perhaps there are good reasons to return to Guardiagrele some day...if not just to say the name outloud again?"

Enjoy the pictures. More of Chieti are here, at Flickr.

A Bit of Catching Up

Just a few things today. It's been kind of a rough week for us, and I'm really looking forward to Friday. I'm meeting Cyndi in Rimini for a trip to Italia in Miniatura--finally, my chance to visit mini-Pisa and , of course, mini-Venice! I'm hoping we can do a bit of shopping in Rimini, too (not mini-shopping, though)! Anyway, more about that daytrip once it happens.

Yesterday was the first meeting for the new caving course. There are 7 eager cavers-to-be, and yesterday we did the first lesson. It went fine--basically each lesson just covers a different aspect of caving, from the historic background to the geologic formation. It always cracks me up attending these lessons, because I remember four years ago, back when I was a caver-to-be and had to do the course. At that time, my Italian was pathetic, and I sat through the lessons with a dazed look on my face, catching only bits and pieces of the entire presentation. So, the next year, when my Italian had improved quite a bit, each lesson was new to me, and I kept thinking, "so THAT'S what they were trying to tell me!"

Also, it's not long before Corrie and Eric wil be getting here to Italy! Yay! A trip to Genova is in the works, and of course Corrie and Eric can participate in our many caving events, too! Can't wait to see you guys!

Yes, I know--I will post about that trip to Trieste, Slovenia, and Trentino soon...but before hand, I've got some weekend photos to post.


Update: We've got internet access on the new computer, so I've been spending way too much time online. The good news is that I've been doing plenty of blog reading, which has resulted in adding some blogs over to the blog roll--there are so many great expat blogs! The bad news is I haven't even started making lunch yet...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Oh to be a Pirate today...

Ahoy! Sara over at Ms. Adventures in Italy reminded me that today is indeed Talk Like A Pirate Day, one of Corrie and my favorite holidays! Arr matey, we are pirate fans. (This all stems from an incident years back when Antonello was trying to explain to me, using his famous hand gestures, what a pirata was. I made him explain it three or four times just because he looked so funny mimicking a pirate!)

If you haven't already, email a barnacle-covered friend in pirate-speak using this site or this one. Then, take this "what kind of swashbuckler are you" test or this one, and, if you fancy pirate-wear, check out some of the facts about pirates and the matching clothing here. And swill a pint or two of grog while you're at it!

Happy "Talk Like A Pirate Day!" May yer day be glorious and filled with grog!

-Cap'n Jackie

Check out Corrrrrrrie's post about pirate day, too!

Update: Doing some reading through Allora Aspetta's archives, I came across this har-har joke that CoRRRRie posted a while back...perfect for the day of celebration!


Avast! The day has finally arrived. Today is National Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Enjoy these fun sites, me scurvy chumbuckets, and spread the word to all your hearties.

Thanks to all the mateys who helped uncover these treasures.