Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Home one week, tears and traditions

Spencer and I have now been home one week. I am not ashamed to say I have cried on several occasions,  mostly for missing my husband,  partly for missing Maiori,  and partly for missing my Italian traditions.
After 5 weeks of morning cappuccinos and crossaints I find myself trying to keep the tradition alive. But of course my cappuccinos don't come close to the Rosy Bar & Cafe's in Maiori.  I did bring home a macchinetta from Italy,  and while it does make a mean coffee, I'm having trouble adjusting to life without my Italian cappuccino.  After a few days home I caved and switched back to my iced latte.   One night a couple of weeks ago Gregg and I watched an Italian cooking show. The host made fresh ravioli. Last night I pulled out my pasta maker and got to work. I made a lemon ricotta ravioli. The kitchen was completely destroyed,  but I have to admit my ravioli was awesome. I made a homemade ciabatta two days ago and used it to slop up the sauce from my ravioli dinner. After 5 weeks in Italy most people would be sick of pastas, but not me. I made enough dough yesterday to feed an army.
I know it will be years before I return to Italy,  unless I win the lottery. But since I don't play, I'll just have to keep my favorite Italian traditions going on here at home until I can hopefully someday call Italy, home.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The long road home

Spencer and I woke up Wednesday in Milan, Italy and went to bed in Carmel,  Indiana. It was a long day of travel. I have to admit I shed a few tears upon leaving Italy. But we had a nice surprise to start our journey. The Captain of our long haul flight came out to the boarding area and gave all of the kids, wings. Spencer loved the attention from our Captain and loved his wings. It took us two separate flights to get home. We were blessed with no delays.
The car service I hired to get us home surprised us with a limo again. I had only paid for a small town car. Great ending to our travels.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Goodbye my home away from home

This morning Spencer and I said goodbye to Maiori, Italy.  We spent almost a month in this Amalfi Coast town. It truly was our home away from home. We woke up at 6:30 to a thunderous sound, fireworks launched from the church. It was to signal one month until the Assumption. And I was worried about over sleeping. The owners of Albergo Riviera made sure breakfast was ready early for us. Spencer had a crossaint fresh out of the oven. We said our goodbyes then headed over to my favorite coffee shop. I had my usual 2 cappuccinos,  but treated myself to a Nutella crossaint. I will miss the Rosy Bar Cafe. Not only for the best coffee in the world,  but for the lovely ladies who put up with my not so perfect Italian. Spencer and I then grabbed some fresh bread for home made sandwiches. I didn't want to risk starving on the 5 hour train ride to Milan. We opted for the Italo train this journey. It's owned by a private company. We are in Prima class this time. It only cost a few more Euros than premium second class on TrenItalia. As I write this post we are traveling at high speed to Milan.  So far I'm very happy with the service on this train.
It's been a fantastic five weeks. I've loved every second and will miss our family friends,  and new friends we made in Maiori. But my heart will bring us home again.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hidden treasures in plain sight

Last night we ventured to the top of Maiori to a medieval castle. Built around 800 A.D. it is the only castle along the Amalfi Coast that was never conquered. We arrived about 6:30 pm but found the gates locked, despite a closing time of 7 pm. I guess the worker figured no one would spend a Friday night visiting the castle. So we tried a walk along a very small path on the outside, only to be turned back by heavy vegetation and steep inclines. Since we had an 8 year old and a dog with us we didn't want to take any chances. We were disappointed that we couldn't get inside, but the views from the top still made this a fantastic trip.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

4 weeks same belt loop, love the Mediterranean diet

I have been in Italy four weeks now and incredibly still using the same belt notch as when I arrived. I know I have gained a few pounds, but guessing only about 3 or 4.  That's amazing considering all of the pizzas and pastas I've devoured over the past month. That is credit to the Mediterranean diet. Everything I've eaten has been freshly made, not processed. The seafood I eat at dinner is almost always caught that morning. And the portion sizes are perfect. Last night for dinner I had shrimp in a lemon sauce. There were only 5 shrimp on the plate. This was my favorite dish so far. I'd try to describe the flavors but it wouldn't do the dish justice. Even the pizzas taste like the dough was made just minutes before. Most of the vegetables are organic,  grown in volcanic soil. I have never seen tomatoes this red anywhere. And the lemons are gigantic. I wish I could bring home some volcanic soil for my garden. Most Italians have a 3 or 4 course lunch and dinner. Lunch is usually my largest meal, especially when our family friend, Sandra cooks. One of my favorite meals she prepared was a mozzarella meatloaf, potatoes,  zucchini,  fennel and cheese. I ate everything and didn't gain an ounce. We always take her dog for several walks a day and we never snack between meals. I've gotten so used to long walks 4 or 5 times a day. I think this will be the hardest adjustment to returning home, not having long walks on the sea front. I have only a few days left in Italy and hope when I get home I can continue this Mediterranean lifestyle. It definitely agrees with my stomach and lifestyle.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Evening stroll

Taking an evening stroll is taken very seriously in Italy. It's not only a great way to walk off your meal, but it's also a social event. Here in Maiori you can walk the sea front or really get a workout and climb up the hills. Last night our family friend Sandra took us on a fantastic stroll halfway up one of the many hills of Maiori. The views alone were worth the extra effort. I will miss these walks when we return home. As much as I love Indiana, it does not offer these types of vistas.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Why make plans?

After only 3 nights in Capri, Italy, fate took another turn. My husband's job brought him back to Maiori and I followed. Before I made the trip to Italy I had my entire itinerary planned out. Milan, Maiori,  Florence,  Lucca,  Siena,  Bagni di Lucca,  Genoa and finally back to Milan. But sometimes the best vacations are the ones you don't plan out. Instead I have traveled to Milan,  Maiori,  Florence, Capri with a day trip to Lucca and Pisa. During my travels I have discovered that I enjoy the smaller towns the most. That is why I'm very happy to be back in Maiori. Spencer is also ecstatic to be here. He has petted and knows every dog in Maiori and loves his nightly walks with our friend's dog. The pace of life here is so much slower than in the States. Everything shuts down from 1-4 in the afternoon. Lunch is usually followed by siesta. Dinner is very late, then everyone walks on the seashore. La Dolce Vita is definitely here in Italy.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

America's birthday in Italy

I was blessed to have another fun evening with my husband, this time on the 4th of July.  It was amazing walking around Capri and seeing American flags everywhere. We had an awesome dinner then went to a local bar for a bottle of wine. We toasted America's 238th birthday under the stars. Capri is much more fun in the evenings when all of the tourists have left the island. The squares were full of locals and people vacationing on the island. Tomorrow I'm hoping to convince Spencer we need another beach day. The waters of Marina Piccola are crystal clear. I took a few pictures when we stopped by it this morning. It's a free beach and that's music to my ears. Plus, Spencer spotted a cat which ensures he'll want to return.