2 clueless day skippers with Patience

Bright copper kettles and other favourite things

14 December 2021
Donna Smith
The weather has been changeable over the past few days. The sun has managed to push away the unwelcome clouds and rain, but lordy- have we had some wind! Or maybe it's just that we have forgotten how it is amplified as it howls around the rigging, turning our wind generator into a whirling dervish?

We discovered that Italy has Amazon too and today our purchases arrived which was very exciting. They were; a new tap for the galley (that hopefully won't leak) the dinkiest travel hair straighteners ever and a bright low voltage kettle. Ok, not a bright copper kettle, as the blog title suggests, but allow me some poetic license. All we need now is a chocolate Santa each and that's Christmas sorted. Ricky gets a tap, that he has to fit himself - harsh? Maybe , but he loves a project.

I decided to walk into town to try to buy some Italian Christmas cards, but sadly only found uninspiring ones made in China. I must be able to do better than that. The magnificently elaborate Nativity Scenes in shop windows and inside cafes, complete with water feature streams running through the shepherds fields, rather led me to believe that Christmas was celebrated big time over here. There are glorious Christmas lights on the high streets and fairy lights strewn around palm trees and in peoples doorways, perhaps cards just aren't really the Italian way. That said, the afternoon stroll back from town along the seafront was glorious. I didn't see a soul apart from a lone fisherman with a line out by the rocks. As I walked along with my cardie tied around my waist, I had to pinch myself that this was actually December!

We have met the live aboard community here. They are very welcoming and invited us for a drink in the marina bar. As the group are German, Austrian , Dutch and French the conversations were very interesting. I surprised myself with 'un petite peu de francais ' but mostly relied on my 'miming' skills. Some of the group spoke wonderful English, and were happy to act as translators to keep the conversations flowing when they noticed puzzled faces among us.

While we had the hire car we thought we would check out a town that was recommended to us by Alissandra, the lady who works in our marina office. This town, called Mammola, was reported in the guide book as a gastronmic haven, which sits within the Aspromonte National Park. Great food and a National Park? what more could a tourist ask for? It was also steeped in history. It was founded in the 10th Century, by refugees, who were escaping from Moorish raids. The town sits on the shores of the river Torbido and like so many towns in the region is built within a rocky landscape. Many of the stone buildings still standing, date back to the 17th century. The focal point of the community, standing near the top of the town, a fair hike up for residents, was the stunning church of St Nicholas. Here, Ricky and I sat for a while, looking at the magnificent paintings that adorned the ceiling, sharing the silence and sense of calm with a very old nun, who looked up from her prayers, from beneath her covid mask, and nodded as we left our pew to go and admire the Nativity scene.

We found the whole place charming, with it's narrow streets, where you could touch the houses either side. We marvelled at how people could actually live here, their front doors, opening precariously onto very very steep, slippery stone, narrow roadways, that wound up and down the hillside between the houses, shops, restaurants and cafes. Amazing place for hide and seek as a child, but wow, carrying the weeks groceries up or down? No thanks. There were occasions when I clung to Ricky for fear of slipping and landing unceremoniously on my derrière. That, and also dodging the locals, who drove at great speeds down the steep roads, in Fiats Panda 4 wheel drives, like they were in the Red Bull Soapbox race ! It certainly was a town with character. Despite not getting to taste the traditional 'stoccafisso' dishes before we left, we did get to enjoy a coffee and share a tray of exquisite hand made Italian cakes - one of my favourite things.
(Which, by the way, look much bigger in the photo as they are in the foreground - honest!)

The following day we had a drive out to Bivongi, a town famous for its red wine, park the car and walk up to 'Cascate del Marmarico the famous waterfall. We hiked for (what felt like miles) up the side of the mountain, and eventually realised - firstly how unfit we were and secondly that we were the wrong side of the river. Oops ! The farmers we met when we had almost reached the top were very apologetic as they shook their heads pointed to the other mountain. As waterfalls are another of my favourite things, along with lighthouses and windmills incidentally, to say I was disappointed to not have the energy to return to where we started and climb the right mountain, was an understatement. As a consolation prize, Ricky said that when it got dark, that evening, he would drive me to the little town of Marina di Gioiosa Ionica, along the coast from our boat marina, to see the Christmas Lights and do a bit of late night shopping. This made me feel all Christmassy and fuzzy inside and I actually bought some tasteful Italian cards and a little pressie for Brecon.

Monday 13th December
Sadly the hire car went back today , so 'tomorrow beginneth our 'Get Fit and Healthy Campaign.' We are gonna walk at least 10,000 steps everyday. I'll let you know how that pans out in the next blog ...
Vessel Name: Patience
Vessel Make/Model: Moody376
Hailing Port: Haslar , Gosport , England
Crew: Ricky and Donna
About: 2023 Still clueless , but having fun !
Patience's Photos - Main
Having fun with Gormley’s statues , whilst soaking up the history of the Ancient site of Delos with Debs and Gordon
10 Photos
Created 6 July 2019
Sad times as evidence is piling up on our shores confirming that we are not looking after our planet.
4 Photos
Created 1 June 2019
Look and you may see
6 Photos
Created 19 April 2019
4 Photos
Created 21 October 2016
10 Photos
Created 29 September 2015
10 Photos
Created 29 September 2015
8 Photos
Created 27 July 2015
12 Photos
Created 17 May 2015
8 Photos
Created 31 December 1969