Sunday, 4 February 2018


Gave my new backpack (and boots) a bit of a trial run, almost 10km carrying almost 10kg. As usual Winnie got tired legs but now she has her very own doggy back pack. Think Colin would have preferred to carry my backpack rather than the Winnie-bago! But I need the practice and he doesn't.

Unfortunately only had Colin's iPhone again

Sunday, 28 January 2018

elite cyclists

The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race goes right past our front door.

Monday, 1 January 2018

a new year

My blogging has been sketchy of late so in 2018 I'm taking a break, kind of. Well making a bit of a change anyway. My aim for the year is to post one photo each week capturing something of the ordinary and everyday. A kind of visual diary of life for us here in Barwon Heads. I am going to focus on black and white, I have very little experience or understanding of this genre and it will be a great way to learn.

So here is the first offering, unfortunately taken on Colin's iPhone so the quality is crap, but the memory is priceless.

A 10km walk to wear in our new hiking boots, someone got tired legs half way through

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

Sunday, 3 December 2017

crazy tourists

We decided to explore the coastal area between Casalbordino and Punta Aderci. The idea was to do some walking along the coastal track. We got sidetracked at Ortona though and stopped to look at the castle overlooking the sea and walked through some of the streets.

We continued taking the coastal road and were rewarded with beautiful towns perched along the Adriatic sea with the olive groves and vines growing almost to the waters edge. It was getting close to lunch time and it seemed like a good idea to eat before we walked, especially at one of the places perched along the coast. Seafood was looking good. As usual a lot of things are closed during the off season. We were milling around the entrance to a restaurant trying to look it up online, an Italian couple in a motor home pulled in and went into the restaurant. They re-appeared and with some gestures and the help of google translate we understood that they didn't think the restaurant was very good and they knew a good one a bit further down the road and we could follow them if we like. So we did, why not?

Once we arrived and the guy had parked his motorhome he proceeded to direct Colin to the parking area and more specifically into the spot he thought was best for us. He took us inside and explained to the waiter about a table, looks like we were all eating together, which was fine by us. Having introduced himself and his wife we quickly figured this was going to be an entertaining lunch. And it was. The seafood was really good, Remo was a character and we managed to understand enough to enjoy a pleasant lunch. Remo and his wife were doing the typical Italian multi course lunch, we opted for a single course (uncouth tourists that we are, also somewhat overfed of late). Fortunately the waiter spoke a little English so we could excuse ourselves and explain the reason for our somewhat rude departure before Remo and his wife had finished their lunch - we wanted to go for a walk and swim in the sea before the sun was gone (it was mid afternoon by now). The waiter and Remo were incredulous at this news, swimming at the beginning of winter!  Remo proceeded to give us further advice about swimming - don't go out too far, the edge drops away, don't swim too long it is too cold (we had already figured this out ourselves) and wait a little while after lunch before swimming.  Good byes and thank you's were given and we were off. It was now mid afternoon and we had neither walked or swum, just eaten more food.

We did make it to Punta Aderci, the promised walking track did not really eventuate (well not in the way we think of walking tracks in Australia) and some of the crazy tourists went for a quick dip. Now they can say they have swum in the Adriatic sea...