Sunday, 26 September 2010

Absorbing in Italia

A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.  ~Robert Orben

In the early hours of Thursday morning four tired travellers stumbled through their front door, ready for the sweet and familiar embrace of their beds.
Well, two stumbled through the door, hauling the luggage and two slept soundly in the buggy.

And what did they dream of? Italy. Italy and more Italy.

For the past 2 weeks we have been holidaying in our little spot in Italy with nothing to do except absorb.
Oh how I love to absorb - this is just one of the many things my mother has taught me to do well. Not wanting to miss a moment, capturing them and locking them away safely in my Italia Memory Bank which is becoming very rich indeed!

There was lots and lots of absorbing to be done.
Absorbing our surroundings - the familiar sounds and smells of the village.
I love to lie in bed in the mornings, open up the shutters and just listen to the village waking up.
Hearing the soft scrape-scrape rhythm of outdoor brooms sweeping the areas of pavement just outside front doors.
The clink of teaspoons against coffee cups.
Mamma's calling out for the whereabouts of their children.
Senora's telling off their husbands, their voices bouncing off their tiled floors, out onto the cobbled streets.
It is such a lovely contrast from the constant noise of traffic on the roads and planes overhead in London...

Absorbing watching our boys soak up their part of Italy and embracing it and all it has to offer with open arms.
Absorbing seeing them practically become celebrities in the village.
It was almost ridiculous trying to walk down the street with our blonde-haired blue-eyed children as 90% of the people we passed in the street would stop and squeeze the boy's cheeks exclaiming "Bello! Bello!".  To which Beni in particular would exuberantly smile back making them exclaim even more and do more cheek squeezes.
Absorbing getting amongst it all on market day.
The promise of fresh pastries and great coffee {as only Italians can do} was all the encouragement I needed to get out of bed each morning. Our morning stroll included a wander down to the bakery for pastries, a fresh loaf of bread and more than likely a few biscotti treats thrown in for the boys. Then it was back up to the piazza for cafe and general hanging out with the locals.
We managed to get just under 3 days of rain during our 2 week holiday - I was not complaining as it is always a great excuse to stay home {I'm a home-body through and through} and it is so lovely when it rains in the village. The rain clouds don't do any mucking about - they boom and clap and crack with lightning while they drench the village streets and the surrounding hills. When it rains it pours.

There's something about the sound of rain outside that always makes me want to bake... and so for the first time in our nearly 6 years of owning our home in Italy, I baked. I baked and I baked.
I managed to conquer our temperamental gas oven and I made cookies and cakes, their fragrance filling our home with sweet comfy goodness. I am pleased to report the baking was a roaring success so I happily dished out the cakes to neighbours who we have befriended. Nothing cuts through the language barrier quite like food. Where our grasp of the Italian language fell short the baking certainly made up for it!

Aside from the baking, the other thing I put my efforts into while it was raining was a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Now, I haven't done a jigsaw puzzle for years and I had almost forgotten my love for them until I saw one in the supermarket for only 10 Euro and I just had to get it!
And so for the next 2 days Austin and I laboured away on the jigsaw any spare moment we could get and ended up staying up until 1:30am finishing it off. WARNING: Jigsaw Puzzles are very addictive!
In the morning after only a few hours sleep I went downstairs to take a photo of our many-man-hours-masterpiece and was greeted with this sight...
Bizarrely enough there was no tears (on my part - Austin is another story...) just incredulous laughter. I knew that if I didn't laugh I would certainly cry.

Fortunately the remaining days were sunny and warm with clear blue skies - and when handed days like these on a platter it really would be rude not to make the most of them so off to the beach we trotted armed with umbrella, towels, sunblock and a chilly-bin full of fruit, snacks and cold beer. Oh yeeeeeaaaahhhhh.
Beni and Luca just went nuts at the beach - their absorbing tank was full to the brim of sand and salty seawater at the end of each day which left them absolutely shattered.
For Beni he became a little sand-bug as he crawled around in the sand, discovering it's texture and eating it. As you do...
For Luca it was all about building - and then destroying - sandcastles with Papa, playing football with Papa, swimming with Papa. Basically just as long as he was doing whatever Papa was doing he was happy.
The only thing that could tear Luca away from the beach was the promise of Gelato.
The only thing that could tear Beni away from the beach was the promise of sand in his nappies {we never realised how much sand Beni had actually consumed until it came out the other end with gusto...}
The only thing that could tear the grown-ups away from the beach was the promise of wine and antipasti on the rooftop terrace.
Ah the Italian way of life. I just can't get enough of it. And when it came time to say goodbye to our lovely little village it hurt so bad. But we still had a day and a night to spend with our friends in Frascati (in the hills above Rome) before our flight out and there we knew more good times awaited us all.

Our friends live on the top floor of this building
...and have a boy and a girl exactly the same age as Luca and Beni, although our children are nearly twice the size of theirs! All of the children are equally as healthy as each other, but ours are giants that's all...!

It was so great seeing the 3 year olds instantly rekindle their friendship even though they haven't seen each other for a year.  And the wee bubba's spent their time crawling around putting anything and everything in their mouths (who needs to hoover when there's teething, crawling babies in the house!)
How absolutely wonderful it was to spend time with a very cool couple and so refreshing to be around another family with children the same age and to see that our 'family dynamics' are actually normal! On the second day we attempted to eat out for lunch and it ended up being laughable trying to "contain" our children's energy.
I felt normal.
I felt good.
Especially after a generous portion of vino rosso which ended up being compulsory in order for the adults to cope...

Later that afternoon, as our plane lifted off Italian soil my Italia Memory Bank was filled to the brim.
I am thankful, so very thankful, for an amazing family holiday we were blessed to be able to have and for the ease at which we can just 'pop over' to Italy where I feel, this time, I definitely left a bigger piece of my heart.


  1. How lovely! Gorgeous beach photos. I can't wait for summertime here. Today is the first day the washing has been dried outside in quite a while.

  2. Ahhhh ITALIA!!! Loved the blog and your photos, you obviously had a wonderful and relaxing family holiday! So cool seeing the boys getting stuck in at the beach. Go Beni-Boo-sandy-poo!! ;) Love. xxxx

  3. Hey girl!
    so in love with your italy writing, you captured all the memories so well via photos and word! stoked also that you had a holiday from normal life, so great! ta for sharing all the goodness, i am jealous!

  4. I'm at work and trying not to sob! I'll blame the hormones, but also the fact that there was no sun, sand, italian cafe, Gretchie-bday or witnessing of little boy friendships rekindled. So pleased you had a wonderful time. Much love and smiles from Pango-face and I

  5. Love your pics - looks like the perfect holiday!!


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