#50: A Guide to Surviving Ferragosto
#49: Some musings on Italian Weddings
Everyone knows that most Italians bugger off to the coast in the summer. But Ferragosto is a day which essentially sees the entire nation slap a sign on their shop/restaurant/office window/house reading ‘BRB. Gone to the beach’. For what better way is there to spend a day off than bronzing your bare bottom on a lilo? Or sunbathing in a line with your entire extended family, bottle of beer in one hand, slab of focaccia in the other?
To call the beaches crowded would be a colossal understatement. But there is little way around this, you must either embrace the abundance of bodies or stay far, far away.
#48: My first argument in Italian (/ever)
The good, the bad and the slightly strange.
#47: Seven phrases Italians use when things go wrong
Today I had my first argument in Italian.
I didn't start it. I’m not really one for confrontation. I am somewhat lacking in attitudinal presence and could probably do with going on some sort of assertiveness course.
#46: Italians are just like bees
Italians are an expressive bunch, and what they don't say with their hands they can express very well with a couple of carefully selected syllables.
Here are just seven of the sorts of phrases Italians use to express everything from mild surprise to outright disgust.
#45: Me and My Builder Boys
Mum came to visit me in Puglia. I haven’t seen her in three months. Obviously it stormed (in August, outrageous), so we spent an entire day in a bar on the port front, getting cosily hammered on something which tasted suspiciously like Prossecco but which only cost €3 for a carafe.
#44: 9 really annoying things about Italy
Am now in bizarre situation which has seen me spend the last two weeks snooping on archetypal good-looking hairy type builders, having lots of conversations about things like boilers, tiles and taps.
#43: Its all getting very Italian...
My love affair with Italy isn’t over just yet. But, after you’ve lived here for a while there are a few things which seriously start to get on your nerves.
#42: The mystery of the bidet
Alas, my mini break by the seaside with my middle aged gal pals has come to an end.
On route back to Brindisi my aunt asked if I’d mind popping in to see her auntie. ‘Lovely lady she is’ she said.
#41: The time I went on holiday with three middle aged Italian women
Ah the bidet. That shiny porcelain piece of bathroom furniture which, for Italians, proves they are superior beings to all other nations and foreigners.
Like most people born outside of Italy, I have spent a lifetime ignoring them
#40: I Can See It In Your Eyes
Having arrived in Puglia with no where to stay for the next week, I gladly accepted an invite from an aunt (who I last met when I was 10) to a beach house the other side in Puglia.
I didn't know I was consenting to a four day mini-break with three middle aged Italian women who don't speak English
#39: 10 Phrases which will immediately make you sound more Italian
Today I received a very strange compliment-come-insult. A classic Complisult if you will.
#38: The sweet subtleties of the Italian Language
Aside from nodding vigorously and shrugging my shoulders a lot, I've found the following phrases extremely useful when trying to blag my way to sounding like an Italian.
#37: How to NOT lose you S*** when the Italian trains go on strike
Like the vast majority of the Mediterranean population, I suffer from a serious affliction otherwise known as curly hair.
#36: Marry me?
Today I got to experience that thing of international renown: the Italian train strike.
#35: A few more notes on the Lakes - Garda
Air BnB has served me well in Bologna. I was anticipating a shabby, cheap single room type hovel on the outskirts of town, but I’ve spent two days living with an archetypal good looking, dark and hairy Italian man in Bologna.
#34: A few notes on Como
Lake Garda is everything I expected Como to be. It has bicycles. It has boats. It has kayaks. It has beaches.
#33: The Quest for Risotto Milanese
Como is a funny old place. Google will tell you its the most glamorous and VIP of all the lakes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely beautiful; dramatic mountain backdrops, wide swathes of open water, picturesque villas. But I get the feeling that, if your pockets aren’t heavily lined with sterling, visiting Lake Como is not a dissimilar experience to visiting the 1970s.
#32: Too many experiments
After an impeccably planned few days in Liguria, I decided to treat my chronic FOMO, which sees me frantically googling ‘must not miss (insert destination)' and ‘insider guides to (insert destination)’ before I visit all new places, by doing absolutely no research and ‘going with the flow’.
#31: I am Master of the Market
So, the Italians have broken up for Summer and gone are my leisurely mornings and afternoons alone.
I’m feeling like an total boss. An absolute champion.
Today, I mastered the market. It may have taken me over six weeks, but FINALLY it happened. It was such a smooth and seamless experience, I’d rank it up there with the time I graduated and the time I managed to convince my sister that soap was white chocolate.