July 15, 2011

Arriving in Lamezia


Lamezia Terme (SUF) is the international airport of Calabria. The greatest thing is that Lamezia is only a 20 minutes drive from our home in Pizzo AND it is an 2 hours only DIRECT flight from Stuttgart - and many other European cities.

However, arriving at Lamezia airport, always feels a bit funny to me. It's probably one of the smallest airports in Europe that gets international traffic. And during the peak season in July and August, there are often 3 or 4 flights arriving at the same time and all luggage is announced to be delivered on one of the two conveyor belts. As in other countries, you already get an impression of Calabria in the arrival hall.
You need patience to wait for your luggage although the plane stands a stone throw away. Be happy when it arrives and nothing is lost or forgotten. The trolleys to transport your suitcases are the oldest and most waggly, but they are for free. Remember, Calabria is said to be one of the poorest region in Europe*), but also one of the most unspoiled.
I am not sure how a tourist thinks of Calabria when arriving for the first time.
When I arrived for the first time in Calabria, it was around 15 years ago by car, after 11 hours of driving from Venice. I thought something like: all that way for this? Okay, I was tired and it was hot, it's also dry and it's a bit shabby down here.
Today, it is still like this. And still people keep clean only the inside of their houses but not the environment. Garbage and plastic bottles still litter the streets and beautiful landscape.

I still need a moment to adjust.
It is a different world down here in the deep South of Italy.
But when you let it happen, the slowing down, the charm of the past, the taste of local food, the siesta in the afternoon ... you can experience a different life style.

A fresh tomato salad with onions from Tropea, or a delicious taruffo nero in piazza helps you to adjust in no time!

However, it is prettier in spring, when flowers are blooming. It's less hot and less crowded. Locals seem more relaxed and friendlier. If you can, avoid the month of August, especially the 15th, Ferragosto, when all Italians are holidaying.

But now I am here, in the peak season, for the first time after 2 years of spring and winter visits.

Yesterday, we arrived with Air Berlin, in an airbus full of tourists. After the plane landed there was a brief and strong breaking... and then, surprise, up we went again.... over the sea and the beaches, for another round over Catanzaro, the many fields of olive trees and the Ionic coast.... The captain (a female voice) explained that the runway here is quiet short and we came in too high and therefore she decided to go for a second landing attempt. Maybe her first time in Lamezia Terme (SUF)?

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*) update:
My father-in-law does not agree with the saying, that Calabria is one of the poorest region of Europe. He sees enough big cars driving around here. Many people tent to not pay taxes regularly like in other regions, maybe, and they do not care as much about the environment. This is probably why villages appear to be poor because they are not well taken care of. - And that some few families down here are the richest from Italy is another subject ...

4 comments:

  1. Europe's poorest region? Maybe Italy's, but having friends being missionaries in Albania, I can't imagine Calabria being poorer than the town they live in... and that's also Europe. (From the pictures they showed it looked like Africa at its worst, but it's still Europe... quite shocking.)

    The airport sounds chaotic though. ^^ Where do you get patience from after being on the plane so long?

    Greetings

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  2. oh, its just so beautiful. we are headed to tuscany for a few weeks in august to "villa sit" for friends... then we are planning to spend a few days up in the lakes. but your tribute to the hot, lazy days of southern italy could change my mind. my husband hasn't ever been to sicily... hmmm....

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  3. Hi Michelle,
    you are right, it is not the poorest, but one of the poorest. But my father in law does not agree... see my update of the post... it is probably the result of being lazy in paying taxes regularly and of ignoring the environment that has the effect that many villages look not well maintained.

    The flight was only 2 hours from Germany, and therefore no problem. I did not arrive from oversea...


    To Aspiring Kennedy:
    on the way to Sicilly you need to stop in Pizzo for a tartuffo nero affogato! (with espresso) Let me know!

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  4. I agree with you about the airport..I came back from a 3 weeks holiday in Norway last week..been living down here since 1991..a lifetime.

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