Monthly Archives: August 2020

Rainy days and Mondays… 🎶

It is the last day of August. The summer has passed. It feels like fall. The temperature was in the upper 90s just a week ago and today it won’t get out of the 60s. It is also raining steadily. Soaking the fields. The growing season is nearly done. The corn is drying on the stalks. The sunflowers are sad and drying as well. The tobacco is halfway harvested. The wine harvest is just starting. I am sure the rain is not appreciated by the vineyards. But it is just raining for today so I imagine the growers can let the grapes dry in the next sunny days and all will be well.

1,365 new cases in Italy. The good news is the summer vacation season is over today. So I hope our numbers will steady, or better yet, decline. 23,000,000 people were on the road going home from vacation over the weekend ! Considering there are only 60,000,000 people in Italy, that is quite the onslaught. I’m glad I wasn’t out there.

School is scheduled to begin in person classes next week. The kids won’t have to wear masks, but the teachers will. I’m not sure of the reasoning for this. They had to scramble for more desks because kids traditionally sit at two person desks. Now they can’t. They also mandated the school buses only carry half of the capacity so there is a shortage of buses. Our Italian teacher told us they have a rule the kids can only be on the bus for 15 minutes. This is creating its own set of problems and issues. For example, her son rides a bus for an hour to his school. Now what? I don’t know the answer.

Stay safe everyone. Sooner or later we will get that vaccine. It is the only thing that will really help end this thing. But we mustn’t rush the process. Better safe than sorry.
🌈 Andrà tutto bene!

Update on Covid here, and my morning walk today

I had a hard time with my title today. It is definitely not a pithy headline!

Numbers here in Italy have been fluctuating. For a few weeks they crept up steadily. Then the last couple of days they dropped from around 1,200 new cases a day to 800 or so. But yesterday it shot back up to above 1,400. Sigh. At least I know the people in charge are watching it carefully.

I am happy to note, since the closing of the discotheques and the new mask mandate our piazza has calmed considerably. No longer does Cafe Centrale have bands or loud music. They have a sign that all must wear masks. This has definitely dampened the party atmosphere. I am feeling good about this development.

There have been a couple of publicized issues here regarding anti-maskers. It is the law you must wear a mask on public transportation. A German tourist on a Vaporetto (bus boat) in Venice, was forced off the boat by fellow riders for repeatedly removing his mask. He was kept from reboarding by the passengers.

The MSC Italian cruise line started limited cruises out of Genoa along the Italian coast. They have taken extreme precautions to keep the ship virus free. They try to keep everyone in a bubble. All transport drivers are vetted. All shore tour guides are vetted. The rules are if you go into port you stay in your tour. A family decided to go off on their own in Naples even though they were told they could not. When they tried to re-board the ship they were denied. They were left in Naples.

I’ve been very good with my walking since I decided to do it first thing when I get up. All my life I’ve excercised in the morning. For 20 years I rose at 5:30am to run. Then I changed to walking with my neighbor In Alexandria and we met outside at about 5:30am everyday. I find if I put off my walk until later, well, I simply won’t do it. It is also more pleasant in the morning. It’s cooler during these hot summer days for one thing. And I enjoy the quiet of the morning.

Today I walked along the river. Behind our house is a colony of feral cats. The latest batches of kittens are out and about. Someone built a little lean-to house covered with plastic and there is food out. No sign of mamma but here are two of the kittens. Tiny ones.

The Tiber in the still of the morning.

Stay safe all…🌈 andrà tutto bene…spero di si!

Today I canceled our cruise…

We booked a cruise in February 2020. Pre-Covid. In a completely different world.

I’ve known for awhile, in my heart, that we weren’t going to be able to do this cruise for so many reasons. But still, I waited until the date we were obligated to pay the big payment. When I called to cancel I could feel the despair in the woman answering my call.

The cruise was from Barcelona to Lisbon stopping in many cities along the way. It was a small ship, just 300 people (if full), so we could even sail up rivers. We would also stop in Marrakech, on my bucket list. The ship was to embark on November 20 for 10 days and it was over Thanksgiving. My sister and her husband were also booked and we looked forward to our only chance to see each other this year, and to celebrate Thanksgiving together.

The Windstar line has almost 100% Americans as passengers. As of now, and the foreseeable future, Americans can’t even fly to Spain to embark. Spain is having a very large spike in virus infections too. Then there is the whole idea that I would be on a ship — in itself a known risk — but also that all the passengers are Americans, from the country with the highest virus infections in the world at this time. Well, it was inevitable we couldn’t/wouldn’t go. I’m sorry, I was looking forward to it. But more important, I wanted to see my sister. Who knows when we will see each other now?

This is the Star Breeze. She is in a shipyard here in Italy being lengthened right now.

An amazing thing. They insert an 84 foot section in the middle. We would have been one of the first voyages after the refitting. Check this out.

We tell ourselves, there is always next year, or the one after. But will Windstar survive? Seems doubtful. And it is sad.
Stay safe everyone. 🌈


Hey all. Nice and very hot day today. We went out to the market this morning and bought some more tomatoes, squash, eggplants and best of all, the famous potatoes from Pietralunga. You may laugh but they have a potato sagra that (in normal years) is pretty famous. But times have changed…alas.

Numbers keep going up in Italy. It is very sad. There are 1,071 cases today. Umbria has 18 new cases. You may remember we had just over 600 cases just two days ago.😢

We did go out for a nice aperitivo with our friend Vera who is going through a bit of a rough patch. We wanted to take her out for a break from her problems. This is lo Scoiattolo (the squirrel), situated high above Lago Trasimeno, where we enjoyed their terrace.


My spritz. Liked the glass.

Scary here as things turn around. I have to accept we went through a very strict lockdown , got it under control, and now we are enjoying our summer, which seems to be allowing the virus to re-occur. Sigh. It seems there is no way out of this thing. We need a vaccine I guess. Keep safe everyone.
🌈 andrà tutto bene.

Here and there…pandemic thoughts

In Europe the virus is making somewhat of a resurgence. France has become the new hot spot in Europe. As for Italy, we had 642 cases here yesterday, that is even with the numbers on May 23. It had gotten down to only 100 cases a day at one point. So, there is cause for concern. In my last post I made an error. The Italian officials have closed all of the Discotheques. The spread here, as in most other countries, is due to the young people flauting the rules, gathering in big groups, no social distancing, and no masks. The new cases everywhere are overwhelmingly among the young. But then, they bring it home to grandma and Mom and Dad who tend to get much sicker. I just heard we have 4 new cases in Umbertide. Kids who vacationed outside of Italy and brought it back.

In every country, people experience this pandemic in different ways, depending on what they do for a living, where they live, their race, etc. If they are poor and live in crowded conditions, must work, and have no health care, they have it much worse than someone who is say, a professional, perhaps a white collar worker allowed to work from home who still has insurance and income.

From a Washington Post article…
“Not everyone is experiencing the same level of stress, and everyone’s pandemic struggles differ. Any “essential” worker exposed to high-risk conditions day after day has more urgent concerns than someone merely stuck at home and missing out on summer barbecues.“

“No question, epidemic fatigue or pandemic fatigue is real. We are experiencing it,” Markel said. “But throughout human history, there have been terrible pandemics and contagious threats. Every civilization, every nation, has come through to the other side. And we will, too.”

I do know about epidemic fatigue. Just about everyone I know has it. Here in Italy we are a bit freer to do things, but everyone feels the threat of the virus, and has the fear of another lockdown. It kind of looms over us. The US hasn’t gotten there yet. They’ve got a ways to go but I see a downward trend so that’s a good thing. Still, that damn virus will loom over us all. Until we get a vaccine. But humans are pretty adaptive and resilient. Amazingly so. We will get through this…as long as we stay careful until then.

Dinner out tonight. With new friends. We went to San Giorgio in the Piazza. It was nice to have a good amount of time to get to know each other better. Here are pictures of what I had to eat.

I scored two big, fresh Porcini mushrooms yesterday at the market. They are destined to become tagliatelle funghi for dinner tonight. I adore these big meaty mushrooms. It is not possible to cultivate them, they must be gathered from the wild.

Stay safe everyone. Now is not the time to let down our guard.🌈 Andrà tutto bene…


I was super gratified with all the support I got after my last post from people who regularly read my musings. Thank you! I will keep on posting, I will try to always be fair and I will just try to tell my story. One thing…we’ve been here 6 years. We left during the Obama administration. Many people now are seeking a way out of the US. But that was not why we came here. We did not leave the US because of any disgruntlement. We came here for the adventure. For the opportunity to learn a new language. To experience a new culture. It keeps us young (ish 😉). I will add, we are glad we are here now where it is easier to ride out the pandemic. At least for now…

I mentioned Rocky has been sick. It came on very suddenly. He began sneezing and digging at his nose and face with his paw. His eyes got very runny. We waited a bit and he was no better so we took him to the vet. We had only had gone to the vet once since we have been here and that was merely an introduction visit.

I had thought it could be a dental problem since he has never had any dental work done. But, in looking at his teeth I saw no obvious problems. Laura, the vet pretty much only did one thing. She listened to his chest and said he had some congestion. She didn’t take his temperature, nor did she look at his teeth. I asked her to do that. She said his teeth looked good for an eleven year old cat. I was kind of disappointed she didn’t do any more extensive examination. She gave us an antibiotic prescription and we made a follow up appointment.

I spoke with our friend Paul who is a retired vet here and he said they don’t want to spend your money so you have to pretty much ask them to do any tests. But if you’re not a vet I don’t know how you’d know what to ask for? It is actually similar to our own care here. We must advocate for ourselves at our doctor and if we want a test we have to ask for one. It’s not at all like in the US where they, many times, do too many tests and procedures.

So, we returned yesterday. Rocky seemed much better. No sneezing, no pawing his face and his eyes weren’t running anymore. She listened to his lungs and said they sounded clear. I hope that is the end of the saga. We have lots of friends who have sadly lost their pets in the last year or two. And some still deal with chronic conditions. They all tended to go to a vet in Foligno, a town about an hour away. Maybe if either of our cats ever gets very sick, and I don’t feel confident in our local vet, I may go there.

In defense of myself…

Recently, I had a comment on my blog that said, “I’ve noticed that people who have made life changes and are thrilled with their choices often will then mock or downgrade those or situations they’ve left ”. Wow. I hope most people who read this blog don’t feel like I come across this way. I certainly don’t feel this way. I am happy with my new life, yes, but would never, ever “mock or downgrade” people in the US.

My Ferragosto blog post had a paragraph at the end where I expressed my concern for my fellow Americans and their difficulties right now. Maybe it was the way I worded it. To clarify…. I’m sure not everyone is experiencing difficulties but I know from what I see, and read, that there are a lot of people hurting out there right now. I do realize there are also many people unaffected financially who can do most of the things they have always done. I am happy for them. I just meant to express my concern for those not so fortunate.

I write my blog because I want to. It is not commercial in any way. It is a way for me to remember my life here. I can go back and re-live things if I want. I am gratified that some folks like to read it…thank you!

Mostly I try to stick to relating everyday events going on here. Back during the lockdown in Italy, I felt like I needed to relay all we were going through. So I posted for 83 days straight. I feel that is quite an accomplishment. As you can imagine it was a roller-coaster of emotions for me.

Sometimes I do compare the US and Italy. They are my two countries after all. I enjoy my life here, but remain interested in all that is happening back home. And I vote. What happens in the US affects us too. We are still US Citizens after all.
OK then. Enough of this. We are in a new week. It will remain hot for the foreseeable future. We have been dealing with a sick cat. We went to the vet last week and she put Rocky on antibiotics. He is much better. I don’t know why he was sick but I am really happy he is feeling better.

This one is Simba, Rocky’s brother. He always looks so comfortable when he’s sleeping.

I recently read that the Italian government has become concerned due to the rise in new cases of the virus here. They have added requirements that anyone traveling here from a few countries, Malta, Croatia, Spain and Greece (for now) must be tested before they can come or return here. They also have instituted new requirements that between 6pm and 6am, everyone inside or out must wear the mask and socially distance at Bars and Discos. There has been an uptick in young people getting Covid and it is related to the fact that the bars and discos have huge crowds of young people partying together and not being careful. Schools are reopening so the concern is the kids will bring it into the schools. We are not out of the woods yet. I’m glad Italy is being vigilant.
Stay safe everyone! 🌈 Andrà tutto bene.

New Covid case in Umbertide

Our first Covid case in months has been announced by our Mayor. A man, who returned from travel in the north of Italy brought the Virus with him. He is being isolated and there is contact tracing so I’m hopeful this will be a one off. We will still stay vigilant.

This is Sunday. Beautiful and hot. Just like August should be. Yesterday I made summer soup. A mish-mash of a few recipes I read. It is delish and people have asked for the recipe so I’ve included in the recipe bar above.


Today, we decided to visit Calagrana for Pranzo. It had been too long. What a big crowd they had! Yay for them. A few pictures. The view from their terrace is always beautiful.

My lunch was excellent. My first course was amazing. Deconstructed gazpacho. But…I ate it before I thought to take a picture. Sorry. But I did take a picture of my next course. Seared tuna with a poached egg. Yum.

This next one is for my friend Jen who always loves anything fashion. These shoes, worn by the lady at the next table, and the purse to match, were amazing.


Last night we had the most amazing cloud formation. I suppose it was a thunder head. It towered maybe 50,000 feet into the sky. Love the sun coming over the top. Or maybe it is not coming over the top. 🤔

Stay safe everyone! 🌈 andrà tutto bene.


Today is August 15, also known as Ferragosto. It’s the holiday in the center of the month of August, which itself is the big vacation month in Italy. It is also a religious holiday — The assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven. Assumption day.

Ferragosto originates from Feriae Augusti, the festival of Emperor Augustus, who made the 1st of August a day of rest after the weeks of hard work of the agricultural sector.

The popular tradition of taking a trip during Ferragosto arose under the fascist regime. In the second half of the 1920s, during the mid-August period, the regime organized hundreds of popular trips through the fascist leisure and recreational organizations of various corporations. The initiative gave the opportunity to less well-off social classes to visit Italian cities or to reach seaside and mountain resorts. The offer was limited to 13, 14 and 15 August, and comprised two options: the “One-Day Trip”, within a radius of 50-100 kilometers, and the “Three-Day Trip” within a radius of about 100–200 kilometers.

Today, here in Umbria, everything except for bars and restaurants, are closed today. If the Italians aren’t at the beach they are eating and drinking and having fun. I’m happy for them after all they’ve (we’ve) been through this year.

It still is a mystery to me, though, that people whose businesses were closed for 2-3 months and with the economy in the toilet, can still go on vacation. I still see “closed for vacation” signs everywhere. I noticed Bar Mary is closed for three days from today. Normally they take a week in summer. At least they are at the beach as we speak 🥰. Maybe it is the safety net the Italian government has put into place for its people. And they even have incentives for people to go on vacation. The people get to go on vacation and it’s a boost to the hard hit tourist industry.

It is certainly a lot different from the US right now. No one seems to be helping our hard hit populace. No one can afford a vacation. I worry about them paying the rent or mortgage, or even having enough to eat, for heavens sake. Molto triste. 😢

Please let’s all work to stop this pandemic. We all can help. Andrà tutto bene 🌈