Home again, home again

Yay, I am back in beautiful U-town also know as Umbertide. Our trip back from Slovenia in the injured Porsche was uneventful I am happy to say. We have an appointment to take it to the dealer on Tuesday. I hope it is not anything serious.

Thoughts on our trip. I liked Udine pretty well. No reason to return that I can think of. Bergenland at the Neusiedlersee was very Austrian if not Alpine. The area is nice. It was unexpectedly cool and wet. The food was not notable but Luther got his schnitzel hit. Budapest is a big, noisy city. The hotel was nice. The people in the city were not very friendly. I, for one will not return to Hungary. The experience with the Porsche dealership there was horrible. It colored my opinions. Bratislava is beautiful and welcoming – I would go back. Our hotel was nice but not spectacular. The food was only OK. Lake Bled in Slovenia was beautiful and relaxing. Our hotel, Berc Garni was very Austrian in feel. Lots of wood. A nice balcony. When a hotel says Garni, in German that means they have no restaurant. But right next door was the sister hotel Berc Pensione. We ate the best food of the trip here, and both nights it was that good. The kitchen was outside which I thought was interesting.

Now that I am back in Italy and “at home” I have time to think about our first year here. Our arrival anniversary was June 25, during our trip. I can’t say that I have hit the place that many have written/warned about where I regretted the move. Oh, sometimes I am homesick yes, and I miss my sister but I do not regret that I came here. Life here is infinitely more interesting than my former life. I am constantly stimulated. Whereas, everything in Virginia was so familiar to me that, unless I had challenged myself with some activities outside my norm, I was bored. So, here’s to Italia and my life here. Still having fun!

When we got home on July 2, our house sitter moved out and life returned to normal. We walked to the grocery store, the wine shop and the butcher to buy provisions. I got hamburgers to grill on the fourth of July. Also marinated chicken to grill on Luther’s birthday, July 5.

The holiday rolled around with little fanfare. Gosh! no fireworks?! What are Umbertidese thinking? It fell on a Saturday so I went to the kilometer zero market to buy veggies. I bought some squash blossoms on impulse. Then I needed to get ricotta to stuff them. Happily there is a stand at the market where there is local pecorino cheese as well as home-made ricotta and mozzarella.

Remember that I now am the proud owner of several hot varieties of pepper plants? The Jalapeno had a couple of plump specimens so I roasted and minced them and mixed them into the ricotta and added some panna granna. Then I stuffed this mix into the squash blossoms, made some batter and dipped and fried them. Yum! they were very good. Happy fourth of July! Here is my pepper plant.

So a few posts back I took a picture of the sunflower fields outside Umbertide. While we were on our vacatiion they bloomed and now are nearly past their prime but I got another picture of them yesterday. It is very, very hot here right now, 98 F! It was about 5PM and they should have been facing us but they were not. SO after all that I couldn’t return without a picture even if their backs were toward me.


And finally, while we were gone a lady pigeon decided our gutter was the perfect place to set up housekeeping. I don’t know what she will do if we get a thunderstorm. The cats are fascinated and sit by the railing. They can’t see her but they either hear or smell her. They don’t seem to bother her in the least. Here is her picture. Good luck to you pigeon!


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