Oct 18

Travel Your Way

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Some time ago I received an invitation via email to participate in a photo competition.

The competition is: Travel Your Way by Rhinocarhire.com

At the time I was juggling quite a few other things on my plate and I revisited the email and was surprised the deadline had been extended until the end of this month! So I trawled through some of my photos and found some that I felt reflected the way I travel and perhaps one that was a bit whimsical!

Travel By Road

I had the opportunity to spend some time in Austria last Winter. One thing I never imagined was how much snow could fall and the importance of being able to shelter your vehicle. In Austria they are adept at getting you out of the snow but it’s quite a surprise to find yourself practically buried! Sometimes it pays to take note of the weather reports!

Snowed in Austria 2013

Do I really need to see where I am going?


Travel By Air

I have the weirdest habit – I never seem to take photos from the air. But what better view than that of a Bird’s Eye View parapenting above Lake Geneve in Switzerland!

Parapenter, Lake Geneve, Geneva, Switzerland

Parapenter, Lake Geneve, Geneva, Switzerland


Travel by Rail

My very first trip to Europe found me in sub-Zero temperatures on the 1st June 2006! I was unprepared for the cold and also the intrinsic beauty found there. We took a cable car from the bottom of the hill and found ourselves in a Winter wonderland! Fresh snow dropping from the sky fascinated by the intricate snow crystal designs that landed softly on my lightweight jacket. The wheels you see here are part of the mechanism that pulls the cable car along it’s railway tracks.

Switzerland - Stanserhorn

Cable Cars, Snow in Summer form a Winter Wonderland

Travel by Sea

For those that are familiar with my blog it is more familiar to see photos I’ve taken from the perspective of the Sea. A truly unique experience is that of the Corinth Canal in Greece the most direct path from the Strait of Messina to Athens. I have had the opportunity to pass through it 3 times so far. There are several bridges over the canal and you often see people looking down on you – it was not until my last trip that I realised those on the bridge can get a unique view themselves by bungy jumping off one of them! Fortunately they are not able to jump when there is boat traffic s I can’t enlighten you further!!

Corinth Canal Greece on SY Geronimo

Corinth Canal Greece on SY Geronimo

The final part of the challenge is to nominate other bloggers to participate in this competition and I would like to nominate the following bloggers:

  1. http://www.wanderingsheila.com/
  2. http://dimackey.squarespace.com/
  3. http://www.renovatingitaly.com/
  4. http://laavventura.wordpress.com/
  5. http://www.aroundtheworldin80jobs.com/

Competition ends 31st October 2013!

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Oct 14

THIRTEEN 13 thirteen TREDICI 13 tredici

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What is it about a number you wonder perhaps? I found myself pondering the number 13 last Friday as I left my house. I was leaving having taken 13 photos of the latest works completed on my house.


The house was out of view as I walked to the car hesitating at first but then remembering in Italy the number is not dreaded here in fact quite the opposite it is a lucky number! Just to be sure I asked Roberta my architect’s sister-in-law and she confirmed that indeed it was lucky!

Thirteen photographs, so what you ask. Well, this got me thinking about the number and how auspicious it has been for me in finding Ofena and my house! When I first came to Abruzzo to look at houses to buy, I was shown 13 houses in 2 days.

However, it was always THIS house THIS casa in Ofena that stole my heart when I stumbled upon it by chance on a wintery day in Palma di Mallorca. I knew when I saw it that I would buy it, as dishevelled and unloved as it was I knew it had great bones and just wanted to beloved again.

Ofena la casa

The view I was greeted with back in March 2011

Last Friday after I had taken my 13 photos we drove up through the village and as we were leaving a small murmuration of birds followed us briefly along the road – it was the first I have ever seen myself and it was quite a treat to watch them dancing together in the sky.

La Casa mia - revealing it's beauty

La Casa mia – revealing it’s beauty

I feel very lucky to have been found by this wonderful house, in a wonderful town in one of the prettiest regions of Italy! I also feel very lucky to have lovely neighbours, an amazing/patient architect and a hardworking team of builders.

 View from the new terrace

View from the new terrace

Perhaps it is all down to luck or perhaps it is all just serendipitous? Have you ever be drawn to something not knowing why just knowing that you absolutely HAD to do it?

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Oct 04

Sneak Peak!

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Ciao! So much has been happening for me and the house over the last few months!  I just finished 72 days at anchor – the last 4 weeks we had no way to get to shore or provision except via jetski so it was quite  challenging work conditions to say the least!!

Back in Abruzzo now and I’ve already been to the house to check on progress and it’s looking incredible! As a bit of a tease here are a few photos. I hope you enjoy them!!


Scaffolding up and the new roof nearly finished. New tiles and insulation in the foreground

Scaffolding up and the new roof nearly finished. New tiles and insulation in the foreground

Copper Spouting gleaming in the Sunlight

Copper Spouting gleaming in the Sunlight




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Jun 23

Trabocco, Trabocchi & Pesca di Mare

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On the 3rd of June, I experienced the wonders of cooking, eating and fishing on a Trabocco on the Trabocchi Coast of Abruzzo! The opportunity came courtesy of Fabrizio Lucci from  http://www.italiasweetitalia.com/ and the lovely Maria and Rinaldo of Trabocco Punta Tufano http://www.puntatufano.costadeitrabocchi.info/ . On arrival Fabrizio presented us with aprons and cookbooks before we got started to ensure we had mementos and the opportunity to recreate our memories of the trabocco at home with family and/or friends.

What is a Trabocco? On first impression the Trabocco looks like a long spindly spider and it’s webs sitting at the end of a long pier leading out to the open sea. On closer inspection, one finds it to be a fishing platform (each trabocco varies somewhat in size and design) with a complicated array of ropes, pulleys and nets. The nets are cast out into the sea, then raised and lowered as schools of fish swim across them. Initially I was under the impression the trabocchi were used when the weather was bad but that is not the case; they are best used in good weather and clear visibility as knowing when to check the nets is not a science but rather a visual assessment. When the sea is clear, the fishermen can see to raise the nets and catch the sea’s bounty!

Trabocchi Coast and Punta Tufano

Fishing on the Trabocchi Coast of Abruzzo

Many of the trabocchi (plural of trabocco) now provide a restaurant for guests to enjoy dining on the sea in a unique environment and experiencing amazing seafood. Others are private solely for the pleasure of family and friends. The Trabocco Punta Tufano has been in the Veri family since the late 1700s, the one standing today was built in 2006 after being destroyed by a storm. The trabocco is only used for demonstration purposes today – local fisherman supply direct from a small local fishing port.

Part of our trabocchi experience included Maria showing us the secrets of her small yet adequate kitchen as she prepares our lunch and we assist her willingly! Rinaldo also takes the time to share with us the history of his family and Trabocco Punta Tarfuno.

Making Lunch

Preparation of Stuffed Mussels

Preparation of Anchovies

Preparing Fresh Anchovies

Table Set Awaiting Lunch

Ready, Set, Eat!

We prepared and dined on these delicious delights!

  • Alici Marinate – freshly marinated anchovies with cherry tomatoes and bruschetta
  • Cozze Ripiene –stuffed mussels in a freshly prepared tomato sauce
  • Vongole alla Marinara – clams in a light broth
  • Polpo al Sugo con Polenta – octopus in a classic tomato sauce with freshly prepared polenta
  • Brodetto di Pesce alla Vastese – a rich fish soup utilising the best and smallest fish & shellfish caught locally
  • Pizelle – a local waffle perfect for a light dessert
  • We also drank some lovely local wines and sopped up the juices of our meal with some fresh crusty bread!
Fresh Marinated Anchovies

Alici Marinate

Fresh & Delicious

Stuffed Mussels & Octopus with Polenta


Fresh From the Sea!

Vongole alla Marinara

Fish Soup - Abruzzo Style

The Regional Specialty – a Soup of Whole Cooked Fish & Shellfish

Local Waffles

Perfect After a Large Meal

I will not share the recipes with you today – you may just have to come and see for yourself this wonderful and thoroughly enjoyable part of life in Abruzzo! I am certain you will be welcomed with open arms by Rinaldo and Maria!

Come and Experience it for yourself!

Your Hosts at Trabocco Punta Tufano!

One thing is certain in Abruzzo the more you experience it whether a short break or a longer stay there is so much to do and love here!

I’ll leave you with this short video of Rinaldo setting the nets – I assisted with bringing the nets up to check our catch and I must say it’s hard work! Here’s the link – unfortunately it’s a little large to add to the post.



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Jun 16

Passion Renewed

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After a very hard Winter I have taken time out to renew myself and to push work along on my ‘little ruin’!

I spent the first weekend in June at the amazing first ever Lets Blog Abruzzo and I am hoping this gains momentum to become a regular event in some shape or form – even if it’s an informal weekend with attendees discovering a new part of Abruzzo together!!

Paesaggi d'Abruzzo Founders Alessandro & Fabio

We ate copious amounts of food from Borghi Autentici http://www.borghiautenticiditalia.it/assobai/


And enjoyed a marvelous selection of wine from Cantina Tollo http://www.cantinatollo.it/en

Montepulciano, Trebbiano & Pecorino and much much more

All within the amazing setting of Santo Stefano di Sessanio – the weather was not the warmest but the company kept us cosy for the weekend!

The changeable Nature of the Mountains

Monday 3rd June saw myself and 3 other bloggers whisked away to the Trabocchi Coast by Fabrizio Lucci of Italia Sweet Italia http://www.italiasweetitalia.com/ for 2 wonderful days and nights exploring Vasto and it’s surrounds – more to follow on this in coming weeks!!

Characteristic Fishing on the Abruzzo Coast

One thing taking some time out in Abruzzo has shown me is that Abruzzo is a place where passionate people live or come to explore; all within a rich culture, amazing food and the green heart of Europe! Once you visit the people of Abruzzo will capture your heart forever!!

I am currently updating the blog and trying out a new theme so feel free to pass on your comments including any constructive criticism – without you there is no blog.




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