This is the first part of an 8 part story. It is based on a diary I kept when I went to Abruzzo in Italy on my own. I had only just passed my driving test in the uk but decided to hire a left hand drive Fiat to tour the mountains of Abbruzzo. It was a crazy thing to do looking back. I love Italy and hope you will enjoy this series complete with interesting links.
An Italian Adventure
Saturday - Arrival
Things had been very dodgy and stressful at home and I needed a break. I had not been away for a while, but thought I would like to go somewhere that my Dad loved, and where we had gone once on a fantastic holiday to Venice in 1966. My overriding memory of that trip was of watching England play Germany in the final of the World Cup. We had camped on the beach at Lido di Jesolo, it was only a very small campsite then, but we watched the match on a giant screen. I had been to Italy since then but this time I decided to go on my own and have an adventure!
I bought Dalton’s weekly. There I saw a little advert for a holiday in Rocaraso, Abruzzo.
I contacted the person who had placed the advert and she told me all about this lovely place in this National Park and totally told it to me. So, Vanessa sent me some details and arranged my hotel for me and I booked my holiday at work. When I told my friends I was going to Italy, on my own, they were amazed and I think some were a little jealous…
The second week of November 2000 I packed my case, phrase books, and flew Ryanair to Pescara. It was 16:00 on take-off and getting dark in England, but above the clouds, it was a beautiful clear evening. There was a perfect sunset as I was leaving and it lasted for ages. I had the plane to myself almost so put my feet up and enjoyed the view. We flew over Stuttgart then Austria and Switzerland over the Alps down to Venice, turn right at Venice down the Adriatic Coast and then over the sea down into Pescara .
It was a superb flight. The sunset was magnificent and seemed to last forever. There was also a full moon - la Luna. Everything below was clear and twinkling. Flying over Venice you could see the Grand Canal lit up quite clearly. All the boats in the Lagoon were twinkling like stars. A sight I shall never forget. The flight into Pescara was a bit scary coming in from the sea, as it does, to the airport and landing.
On arrival there was a single controllo passaporti and a chap who clearly liked ladies as he questioned the men but waved the ladies through! Suddenly I spied Roberto who met me with a notice saying Sgr Leighton. ‘Buonosera Signora’ He said. I blushed. He was very kind and ushered me to his car. Now I don’t know what I was expecting possibly a very smart Italian car, maybe a Ferrari, even a Fiat possibly? All life was suspended and I drew a sharp intake of breath when I saw it. The car was a clapped out metallic blue Seát and held together with sellotape, string, and electrical wire. He was the direttore of 2 hotels he informed me, but as he spoke 'un poco Inglese' and I spoke 'un poco Italiano' it was going to be fun with sign language and knowing looks, but we did manage to have a 'conversazione' of sorts. He pointed out various places on the route, which was a very scary experience, the driver’s door kept opening and Roberto kept pulling it shut with a piece of string. His mobile constantly rang and he answered it 'pronto, ciao, ciao, si, ciao,' with one hand and pointed with the other as well as slamming the door shut and we still managed to talk! We finally reached the hotel 100 kilometres further on at 22:00. Roberto then introduced me ‘le present la mia signora Barbara,’ to his lovely and very charming wife. They insisted, even at this late hour that I have a meal (cina) cooked by the chef in the restaurant. It was simple but superb, Stracciatella with spinach, peas. Also tomato e faglio http://www.italianfoodforever.com/2012/01/pasta-e-fagioli/ with a very large glass of Montepulciano d'Abbruzzo. http://lacucinaitalianamagazine.com/article/montepulciano-the-real-deal
What a warm Italian welcome and so to bed. Buonanotte