Friday, June 24, 2011

A Local Resort at Terme Luigiane

Next week we are headed to Sorrento and famous places like Capri, Amalfi, Pompeii, Herculeum. This week we took a look at a fairly unknown resort just a little south of us. Terme Luigiane is a village set back in a canyon just a kilometer from the sea and the SS18 highway. A place we have driven past numerous times without knowing it existed. We zipped down for lunch with a friend and neighbor who’s husband is the Maitre ‘d at the largest hotel, Grand Hotel delle Terme.

The resort has 7 different hotels and they are all there to take advantage of hot mineral springs. They offer various spa treatments and pools. Naturally none of the pools was open when we were there with a camera!  

It’s an amazing little niche in the canyon complete with lush vegetation surrounding the village and nicely maintained streetscapes. With the hot springs, of course, there is a steady odor of sulfur in the air.

We have never made use of developed commercial hot springs other than a swimming pool in Glenwood Springs, Colorado where we lived once. We were more into the natural springs found in the woods and mountains of the west where you stripped down and sat in a pool, often with complete strangers. Several were popular stopping spots after cross-country skiing. There’s nothing more enchanting than soaking in a hot pool with snowflakes drifting down on you. Bah, enough with the snow talk. It’s gonna be 30 today at the beach! 

Ciao a presto, Guido

Friday, June 17, 2011

Niche Finding-What's in a Name?

These birds have problems but they probably don't know it. First of all, they found a niche--seem very self-satisfied about it--but it is not without inconvenience--mostly to their human landlords--Guido and I. Second, they have an image problem. Third, they can't be, well, pigeonholed. 
Their first problem is most likely the least of their worries. They picked the right humans to inconvenience. Suffice to say that we are not bird-haters. These two have picked our little window for the laundry room as their nesting niche.  Nevermind that there are holes all over town, these birds have taste. There will not be either natural light or direct ventilation for the laundry room unless we want to hazard babies falling onto the washing machine.
We all know about their image problem. Guido calls these birds pigeons with a certain distaste that can only be said to come from prejudice. If you check out this website, you will see that labeling them pigeons is just not exactly a scientific  moniker. The italians here call them colombe (doves) not piccioni (pigeons)--but that's not the only problem. It seems they are both (all?) from the dove family and the distinctions are mostly made by irrational judgment--doves are white and live in peace and pigeons are rats with wings. Then why do the Italians call these doves? I'm not smart enough to figure it out so I'll just call them colombe. Remind you of any human problems?

Friday, June 10, 2011

In Memoria di Francesco

Franceso would probably have been surprised to know that he played a big part in our decision to live in Santa Domenica Talao--we found out he loved his home town to the exclusion of all others.

It was his friendliness that mattered in our decision. Guido and I had recently lost the last of our parents. We were motherless and fatherless children about to embark on a brand new life in Italy. We were welcomed so warmly by Franceso and his wife Pina, that we momentarily felt that  feeling you have as beloved children. Everyday life changed that feeling--but their importance in our life remains. You know in the brain that life is fleeting but you always hope each day that the people near you will be there. 

Francesco left us more alone that we expected today. He was 86 years young. He walked up the more than 50 stairs to the piazza each day of his life to his last. We often stopped to chat with him there and understood his strong Santa Domenican dialect more and more--though we still had times when we had no idea what he was trying to tell us! I wish we knew more about him but it seems like we know what was important. The last time I saw him he tapped me on the shoulder and asked where Guido was. He always asked me that. Where are you Francesco? I'll keep my new grape vine tied and trained just as you showed me. 

Ci Vediamo.

The summer of 2007--Francesco listens to my traveler's Italian--gotta love him for that!

Francesco and Pina watch as we get our wood delivered by mule.  He never missed a thing.

Francesco hated the heat. I was looking forward to our summer chats on the steps...this is the saddest picture for me--there is the grape vine he tied to a stake for me.
Silly American letting it grow wild!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Spilling Beauty

We pass this bougainvillea every day on the way to Scalea--it blooms 10 months a year!
Life is a challenge. The main challenge is to appreciate it and be one with it at all times. I can be not very good at that...I let things get to me (whatever they may be--for example, yesterday we found out our neighbor is in the hospital). Then all of a sudden, as I'm lying there feeling sorry for the world and myself, one eye opens and all the love and light of life re-enters my being.  

Guido and I feel better, our body's fight with Egypt is finally over and I'm just now back in awe of the sock-o beauty around here. Most of you know that I love plants. I love how folks do plants in this country. They love veggies and flowers and don't give a hoot about lawns. Give them space and they'll make their own olive oil and wine, thank you very much--but mostly the place is spilling over with the beauty of flowers from window boxes and terraces--everywhere.  I mean everywhere--including at my house. I wanted to capture some nice window planters that I finally got going well. I also snapped some pictures of other people's efforts. Enjoy:

The planter outside the window of our study

My neighbor Pina's window plants
Our kitchen window planter


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