Monday, 11 December 2017

talking and eating

That about sums up our last few days in Abruzzo. Well trying to anyway. The talking was less than satisfactory when Google translate was involved (but I am thankful that technology made it possible at all) and the eating goes on and on and on.

We loved being in Vasto. My cousin recommended a B and B in the old part of town. It was beautiful and like most old parts of towns sat on the top of a hill, and yet again we had a spectacular view.

Vasto is not too big but big enough. In the old part of town there are winding alleys lined with homes, shops, restaurants etc... (although a lot are closed now in the off season), the piazza is lit with Christmas decorations, the church bells ring regularly and the sea is a stones throw away. We have wandered the streets, perused the shops and been guided by my cousin to see some of the historical sights. We also visited the place where my cousin's olives are made into oil. We have marvelled at the snow capped mountains and the blue, blue sea. We have been welcomed with open arms into homes and been fed the most amazing food.

Pollutri is a small village sitting atop a hill, my father's family were share farmers nearby. Like the rest of Abruzzo the land is dominated by olive trees and grape vines; oil and wine.

We joined my cousin Anna and her husband Giovanni at the festival of San Nicola, an important annual event in Pollutri. It involves a mass, the cooking of fave (broad) beans in large communal pots and the sharing of the cooked beans. There is also a street procession with chanting and the carrying of a silver statue of San Nicola.

sorting the beans the next day
Once again family gathering to eat together around large extended tables was central. It took us a while to figure out the Italian rhythm of entertaining friends and family. First you eat lunch together, a multi course affair that begins around 2 and finishes around 5. Then you head out for a passeggiata  (walk). At this time of year it is dark by then and the Christmas lights and decorations blaze warmth and welcome in the piazza. After a while you return home for round 2 of eating and drinking. The evening finishes with liqueur (or for the Australians an espresso also)

my cousins vines in Pollutri

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