I’m sorry, it’s true updating a blog is more work than it seems. I was waiting to catch up on some major stuff for my next posts, but I need to complain somewhere. Being an au pair is hard, and there’s really nobody to appreciate the difficulty of the endeavor. My host mother yelled at me today because she’s not h with my job performance. These children are so difficult. They barely function/do what I tell them to let alone learn English. Quote: “My children are smart, they should be speaking perfect English by now.” I know all parents think their children are awesome, but it’s been 6 weeks. Also, Pescara seems like it should be a lot of fun for young people such as myself, but you need to speak Italian if you really want to enjoy it, fair warning. I’ve had fun, but it’s been pretty subdued. I’m really glad I’m going to Naples tomorrow.
Monthly Archives: July 2012
On my way to the center of town I got very distracted one day. I randomly stumbled upon a whole street shut down for an antique market. If you know me, then you know that for a 20 year old I’m freakishly in love with antiques and thrifting. I love the romance of jewelry and knick knacks that have a story behind them, even if most of the time you don’t get to know the story. I find owning antiques so much more fulfilling that something new off the shelf at a department store. And with the added romance of them being Italian antiques? Sold.
I loved walking up and down the street looking at all of the fares. Here’s an example of what all of the stalls looked liked.
Of course most of the stuff was pretty worthless as in all antique markets. More like a garage sale. I fell in love with some larger pieces, but I really didn’t like the idea of taking something large and/or breakable home with me in a suitcase. I kept browsing. Here is some antique crocheted lace that is the traditional craft of the elderly women in the area.
I ended up getting a silver ring, pretty low quality, I definitely overpaid for it, but I fell in love. That’s the problem with my shopping abilities. It is not a beautiful ring. At all. In fact, it’s quite ugly. But it reminds me of some of the gargoyles and creatures I’ve seen around churches in the area, and it was made by a local craftsman (supposedly) either way it will always remind me of Italy. And I love unique things like this.
On my bus ride to Chieti I met a really nice lady on her way to her job as nurse who lives in Ortona. She recommended going there, and I had been wondering if I should, so the next afternoon I had free I headed there on a bus. I didn’t buy a ticket, I was still very confused about how to do that. Sadly this time the bus ticket guys got on and were checking to make sure everybody had a ticket. I had my “I’m foreign” act rearing and ready to be played out for better or for worse, when the girl sitting next to me actually didn’t have a ticket either. So, they wrote her up for what looked like a large fine. I was thinking “there’s no way they won’t give me a fine now after setting the precedence with her”. LUCKILY it seemed, through my quickly beating heart, that they had a fining quota, and had met it, so they didn’t even ask to see my ticket. What?! So lucky. I will definitely figure out how to pay for the bus next time.
I got to Ortona, again, having no idea where I or anything else was. I began wandering and was instantly excited about how much cooler it was here. Not cool as in awesome, but cool as in breezy and significantly more shady, so walking around was quite pleasant. Ortona is another medieval town like a lot of the rest I had visited, but this one was coastal so it definitely had a different vibe to it. It was also another very Italian town, nobody spoke English and I obviously stood out as a foreigner.I started off my afternoon with gelato of course. I loved this baby cone and marshmallow they put on it.
I managed to find the “waterfront” which was actually not a waterfront like I was expecting (like in Pescara). I realized we were actually on the top of a bluff with an amazing view of the port.
I then decided to walk along this road on the edge of town to see what I could find.
I found a Castle!
The castle was built in response to Venetian powers destroying the port there. Here’s a wikipedia link to a brief but interesting summary of Ortona’s history. I was so excited I found a castle.
View from the Castle
Me inside the castle with a view of the port
Me under the Castle
I then headed back into the main town (Ortona is very small) and found the main church which almost every street has a view of.
Some sort of actually religious ceremony was going on so I didn’t get to go inside. Later this led to an interesting conversation with my host mom about religion, where I figured out that she’s an athiest in all but personal declaration of the word. We had a good conversation about how the catholic church dominates Italy and how that hurts their society in a lot of ways.
While Ortona’s history is rich, beginning in ancient Roman times, most all of the monuments have crumbled. I managed to notice that last bits of a monastery near this church. Most everything else is in decay or has been torn down/built on top of. Makes me grateful for the history people have managed to preserve!
I finished up the day with apertivo, the drink was DELICIOUS, something guava based. Perfect in the residual heat of the day.
Okay so the inevitable has happened, my travel blog was largely abandoned for weeks on end. I will try to fill in some gaps here, based mostly on what I have pictures for. Overall my experience has improved immensly as the boys have actually started learning some important English, and I can understand a fair amount of Italian.
So I went on a day trip to Chieti, which is another one of the four larger cities is Abruzzo (Pescara-L’Aquila-Chieti-Teramo), and it’s about a half hour bus ride from Pescara. Unlike Pescara it is a historical medieval town that sits upon a hill top. Really, it’s everything Pescara isn’t. The same university that has it’s faculties of foreign languages, architecture, and social sciences in Pescara has it’s faculties of medicine and science in Chieti. I’ve actually recently met some med school students from South Korea doing internships at the med school there, sadly they’re leaving in 10 days.
I arrived in Chieti at about 2:00 pm, and my first thought was, “shit, it’s like 100 degrees out” as I was greeted with a dense heat that made the air feel claustrophobic. I shortly realized that it actually was 100 degrees out, and I also hadn’t eaten lunch, so my first instinct was to find somewhere to hide and eat for a little while. I started wandering around (by the way, this is what I always first do in cities, I’m not one for researching ahead of time and planning an itinerary). I then realized that a small town, middle of the day, extremely hot out, in Italy, has NOTHING open until about 4:30. I mean nothing. Ghost town. Tumble weeds. It was quite awkward when I did run into the 2 people I saw between the hours of 2 and 4:30, because I was clearly a tourist girl who didn’t know what I was doing. I contented myself with getting pictures of most of the major landmarks. Here is the main church (I couldn’t go inside until after 5:00)
I also found the last remains of a roman temple that had the most amazing brick work.
Wandering around I found many angles of what is supposedly a theatre but looks more just like another church to me.
Wandering around I found some cats, that I was legitimately concerned were dead, as it was so hot out. I did finally find a small cafe open in the viscinity of the cats on a random street. It actually wasn’t probably “open” as the probably weren’t expecting customers, it was just the owner’s family hanging out. But it was physically “open” so I went in and got some water and coffee. They were interested in trying to communicate with me, so it was a positive experience. Around the church area there were a lot of flowers spread out, which by my guess was an indication of a recent wedding.
I completed my wandering around by going to the area of what I believe was an architecture museum? It was the main museum in Chieti. I didn’t actually go in as it looked really small and I wanted to save the euros. The area was really pretty though with a park, fountain, and amazing view of the area. As Chieti’s a hill top town it has amazing views from a lot of different angles. Unfortunately as the day was so hot the haziness obscured what would be most of the mountains and things to see.
I decided to head back to the bus stop as I had plans to watch the Euro Cup final at a beach lido and didn’t want to be late (considering my history with buses). Everything was a little livelier now, people were coming out of hiding. It was good to see that people actually live there. All in all I’d say Chieti is beautiful but I don’t think I really experienced it. I’m going back on Saturday to have my birthday dinner there with a friend who lives in Chieti (she was already inviting people over for dinner, I just told her we were going to make it my birthday dinner).
So it has been a little while since I’ve posted. That’s mostly because the days have settled into a pretty reliable routine and nothing that outstanding has happened. But let me attempt to write about a few notes of interest. It has been the Europe cup for soccer, and Italy did really well getting into the championship game, then they lost really badly to Spain. I watched the last two games at a beach club called Miramare with some new friends I met through couch surfing. I think out of all the people I’ve met so far I really get along with this group. The sad thing is they’re a bit older, all around 30 I’d say (they did introduce me to some young travelers though, and we had a fun night going out on the beach ;). However they understand the situation I’m in, and here I honestly do feel older than my age here. I’ve gathered that people 20 years old here most often haven’t gone to university yet, still live with their parents, basically are somewhere still in the high school level that we have in America. It’s not everybody, but the fact that I’m almost done with my first degree while I’m still 20 really amazed them. They had thought I was much older until I told them I was 20. I’m still trying to meet up with a group of ERASMUS students here though, and I think that will be a fun group closer to my age. Anyways, watching the soccer matches at Miramare was really fun! Unlimitied beer, delicious pizza, and various antipasta during the game, and lots of amaros and salsa dancing afterwards. It was a really good environment and I feel like a good slice of the Italian culture.
On the children front things are going much better. They’re becoming more comfortable around me which means they do a little more of what I tell them to instead of me just chasing after them. Hopefully things continue on this way.
A last update is that going out to beach clubs at night is different from normal clubs. For more reasons than always having large amounts of sad in my shoes. People are more spread out, so I’ve had a hard time finding a legitimate club; people aren’t forced to dance as happens in a crowded room.