Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Sun 10 Apr - An Antique Chest & A Very Fit Nation

How very exciting!  This morning we discovered, contrary to popular belief, that Italy and Abruzzo not only has antiques but there are bargains to be had too! 

No Sunday papers in bed for us, we were on a mission.  Up and away at the crack of dawn.  Well, it wasn't quite the crack of dawn but, for a Sunday, we were feeling pretty smug. 

Until we were on the road to Lanciano Antiques Market and saw Abruzzo at its busiest and most vibrant.  Everyone was out!  There were people everywhere: cyclists, runners, mountain bikers, hikers.  Absolutely fantastic to see so many of the Abruzzese thoroughly exploiting their own natural playground.  No wonder obesity is a rarity here if this is how they spend their day of rest.  But with a playground like this, how can you not?

Lanciano Market & a very nice antiques seller
On the second Sunday of every month, antique sellers join the Lanciano Market so this, I thought, would be a good place to start hunting out furniture for our rather empty house.  At the very least we might find some good contacts to point us in the right direction.

There wasn't much, but what there was was superb.  No prices were displayed though, which, having been told that antiques in Italy are crazy prices, I took to be an ominous sign.  But no!  Once I'd plucked up the courage to ask the price of a few things I started to get very twitchy with excitement.  Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.  They are here, they are beautiful and they are within reach.

KP spotted a most beautiful, chunky yet elegant chest, intricately carved yet not too fancy.  And it was huge.  All our storage solutions solved in one hit.

Ha ha! Success!
An enquiry of the seller revealed the price to be too high but, loving a good old haggle with a bit of banter thrown in, KP jumped in and the negotiating began.  My Italian numbers are getting pretty good, up to one hundred, but I wasn't sure how we'd fare negotiating into the hundreds.  But we did it!  KP, with some canny hand signals and finger work, knocked the price down to almost half!  Within no time we had tied the chest to the roof of the beastie with our best climbing rope (thankfully still in the back) and were making our way home.  Very happy.

Sunday, as Sunday should be
The rest of the afternoon saw us spending Sunday as it should be spent.  Lazing around in the sun doing not a lot other than researching Italian cookery (me) and guitar playing (KP). 

We also had an interesting half an hour with one of our neighbours who popped round to say hello.  An amazing guy of 82 (testament to the health and fitness of the Abruzzese) who looks after various plots of land for the holiday homers, all of whom, so we hear, will be returning shortly.  Again, our understanding was OK, and it is getting better all the time, but the frustration at not being able to fall into easy chat and learn about our neighbours is immense.  Maybe there's a language school somewhere close?  Perhaps finding a teacher would help speed things up?

As the sun was getting lower we went for another evening walk into the hills to add to the work done yesterday.  A what a walk!  We had no idea just how much we had right on our doorstep!  Our walk this time took us through woods, past streams cascading down over the rocks, up through open country right to the montepiano, a fabulously high and dramatic plane, absolutely stunning picnic spot, that looked down to Roccamontepiano below and seemingly the whole of Abruzzo beyond.  On top of the world!

Sunset over Serramonacesca

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