Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's Summertime, Summertime, Sum Sum Summertiiiiime

The senior blogger is taking the day off and I’m filling in with lots of delightful news to report. Old songs (that give our age away) to the contrary notwithstanding, Summer Solstice is a few weeks away. For us, though, the transition starts today with the end of the year for our Italian classes.  Classes have been great and we’ll try hard to review our work during the summer.  Naturally, Di is doing better than your’s truly, but we both continue to build our skills. Italian is more complicated than we anticipated! 

I promised to write something about my experience with the local golf course.  I’ll start with the disclaimer that I am not an avid golfer.  I am a former, avid-golfer-wanna-be!   Last year I think I played 4-5 times.  I have a friend who plays that much in a week. I’m never going to get good, but enjoy it regardless and dragged my clubs over on the last flight from America.

Last week I returned to the golf course at Grand Hotel San Michele in Cetraro – 45 minutes south.  Indeed a grand hotel – we stayed there in 2007 on our first trip to Calabria.  I played the course once before with an American and a South African.  This time I went alone.

I met the new pro, Marco, at the course and he confirmed that there are only two golf courses in all of Calabria.  Marco comes from Torino up north where golf has been absorbed into the culture more than in Calabria.  He is a kind fellow who gave me a free basket of range balls to practice with, then I took off with only two other players on the 9 hole course.  Most people play weekends.   

The property is an active farm where they grow vegetables, wine grapes and olives for the hotel.  The golf course in jammed in-between various crops, so the fairways are narrow and it is a rather difficult little course.  It’s pretty though with nice views of the sea.


My ball was close to the strawberries.  Unfortunately, the next shot sliced into tall grass where I found the asparagus patch. Never thought I’d lose a ball in asparagus.  I lost other balls that day!

Di went along thinking she could relax on the hotel’s private beach accessed by a 10-story elevator. They were doing maintenance on the lift and she figured it would not be a great place to get stranded.  The beach was also not yet opened with lido, bar, etc.

We’ll return for meals sometime, and I will continue to relax by following the little white balls around – being careful to not trample strawberries or asparagus.

Yesterday, the contractor started work on the guest apartment.  They accomplished much the first day and we learned a lot about what we face.  Di will be renewing her restoration diary-type notes to you all.  It does mean that hammering and pounding begins at 0700 each morning, so our lazy retirement mornings are hereby changed.  Our neighbors are probably not too pleased either, but they won’t complain.  Neighbors stick their heads in to check progress and it gives everyone a new conversation topic on the piazza. Guido.


  1. Not a golfer, but I love the idea of growing food on a golf course!

  2. ha ha strawberries and asparagus are different from the normal golf hazards. The beach looks beautiful so I hope the lift is working next time you go.

  3. Hi Doug & Di, It seems that the women are usually better at the language skills first. I was, but John seems to have overtaken me especially when it comes to catching what is being said to him in Italian. I get too relaxed and into holiday mode and start switching off, then of course when somebody says something to me I am not paying enough attention! The golf course sounds rather interesting with all the strawberries and asparagus. Another case of things are not always what you expect them to be in Italy and prepare to be surprised. All part of the quaintness and beauty of "il bel paese". You will probably find that you will have soon been wanting to get up at 7.00am anyway and then need a siesta in the afternoon to catch up on your sleep. At least that way you can do things before it gets too hot. We find that we do that when we are there and want to go to the beach, otherwise we land up there at about 11.00am and it is too hot to stay for too long.
    Best wishes
    John & Toni

  4. Hi Toni, Yes we know about arriving early at the beaches. We spent 20 years getting up at 0430, so sleeping to 0630 has been a nice treat. We'll be fine with the early hours seeing the workers. We have yet to experience an August here with the hordes and heat, so we'll be adapting to things again then as well. Ciao, DJ

  5. Ciao Doug e Di, we haven't been brave enough to experience August yet either, but we have been told that what is usually a fairly quiet street can sometimes take an hour to get from one end to the other when the August crowds descend. That is one thing we won't be looking forward to when we live there. We were in Italy for the first two weeks of July one year and the beaches were already starting to get a bit packed then, so goodness know what August is like. We expect you will have a blog on it to enlighten us. Not sure if we will be ready for it though! Best wishes John & Toni



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