Our week in Italy feels like a distant memory already, it’s amazing how you just slip back into normal life so fast but hey we’re planning the next one already in June so I’m afraid lots of posts about Italy in the future but I’m sure you won’t mind!! Our main concern going was how the princess was going to survive the plane journey but of course after all the worry she was perfect and had a ball. I’m sure Aer Lingus are still peeling off Barney stickers from the back of the seats in row 5, thank god for Barney!! We arrived Easter Sunday night to lashing rain, what’s new, every time we go on holidays it is always raining when we arrive whether it be the summer or winter time and it doesn’t matter what country either. I’ll give you a few examples, Lanzarote a couple of years back, it rained for the week, we even had to buy new shoes because we only brought one pair and they got saturated the first night so we had to go shopping for some warm clothes and shoes. Sicily 2 years ago, we arrived and it was beautiful, we walked down to the beach to have a look around and it started to rain and it continued for 2 days. August in Atina 3 years ago, it rained every day for 2 weeks at 2 o’clock on the button, not just rain either, the worst thunder storms in years, my sister’s wedding 2 weeks ago – it rained all day. The thing is every time this happens everyone says how strange it is and how great the weather has been so I’ve come to the conclusion “yes it is us”, so I’ll give you all advance notice whenever we go away for a weekend or a holiday just so you can make sure you don’t go to the same place as us:) – I’m serious!!!

So we arrived late that night and had missed the Easter feast but there was loads of leftovers so lots of lasagne, lamb, pizza rustica and Italian desserts were consumed before bed.

             

The weather was really bad for the first few days so we did a lot of relaxing, eating, shopping and watching Italian Big Brother and Italian X Factor, yes they have all this rubbish TV too!! I’ve mentioned before that Bru’s aunt has a restaurant in Atina which I will do a separate post on so we didn’t eat out too much as we ate there and at the apartment with “chef MIL” most of the time. We ate at a very simple local fish restaurant for lunch one day and had beautiful swordfish, linguine with clams, fried squid and fish antipasto.

          
           

I’m always amazed at the difference in quality of fruit and veg in Italy compared to Ireland, the market was cancelled because of Easter but this was the selection available in the local supermarket;

Atina itself is very small and is situated between Rome and Naples, it is up in the mountains so it does tend to get a bit more rain than other parts but it is so beautiful and untouched.
 
                                          
We hadn’t been in 3 years and absolutely nothing had changed, it is so old and rustic and very characteristic which is probably boring for the young people that live there which there are very few of anyway these days as most of them move to Rome, it’s inhabitants seem to be on the older side and in the holidays all the returning immigrants and their families. It is the perfect place to retire as there is a very relaxed pace of life and a great little community, they even have a club for the older “gentlemen” where they play billiards etc and all stand outside all day chatting or watching a foot path being fixed,  oh to have the time to stand around watching builders at work:)

           

There isn’t a huge social scene there at night as there are only a couple of local bars to have an aperitif or a couple of beers during the day and it is soooooo cheap, €3 for 2 Peroni and €5 for a bottle of local house wine. I even photographed the receipt to prove it:)

                 

The FIL enjoys himself while he is there and who are we to say no to a couple of proseco at 11.30 in the morning:) God I love aperitivo and the free nibbles “stuzzichini”, I’m sorry but it beats a pint of Guinness and a packet of dry roasted any day!!;)

There are a lot of emigrants like the FIL who return on a regular basis from all over the world and probably most Italian fish and chip shops in Ireland are owned by Italians from this area. One of the FIL’s friend’s has been very successful and has a huge architect company based in Rome which designs all the Armani stores and Italian banks etc. Bru’s cousin Pasquale is working for him and is currently in China as project manager for 2 Armani shops and 2 Armani cafes!! It is this friend who owns the Ferrari pictured in my last post, as successful as he is he is one of the nicest guys you could meet. He gave us the keys to the Ferrari and we had a look around inside and took a few photos much to the amusement of the locals, “tourists” I could hear them thinking but hey I’ve never even seen a Ferrari in Ireland and to maintain Bru’s rep I took all the pics, they all think I’m from Sweden anyway:)!!

The same guy has his own wine “cantina” where he stores his wine collection and opens it to the public during the wine festival in August. This is quite common in Italy, I spoke about the wine festival we went to a couple of years back where we visited about 35 cantina and had a couple of glasses in each one which resulted in a very sore head the next day:)

 

I love the pace of life in Italy, everything is centred around food, cappuccino and cornetti at the bar in the morning, an aperitivo before lunch, a long lunch, a bit of shopping, an aperitivo before dinner, a big dinner and then a digestif and a passigiatta – pure heaven!!! The princess loved it there even though she wasn’t too happy with everyone trying to kiss her all the time “bacioni”, even the other babies kiss each other but she still has too much Irish in her which will have to be beaten out of her;) They even made her “babychino” at the bar every morning – an espresso cup with the froth of the milk and when she’s finished with that her spoon goes into mine, she’s a bit addicted to coffee tbh, she kept trying to stick a spoon into every one’s espresso and of course they were all letting her as they thought it was so cute, it hasn’t been so cute every morning since we came back and she has decided it’s time to move on to cappuccino and “babychino” is only for babies not 16 month olds:)

                           

Ciao!!

p.s. thank god I don’t go to Italy that often because all this photo uploading is driving me crazy!!!:)

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