Summer with Friends (part I)

The evening of our friend's arrival was near. When I had to describe how to arrive from Lamezia airport with the rented car to our home, I came until where they would need to turn left into the piazza - which is NOT allowed after 6pm. Every evening there is this barrier you see in the picture (below) and two traffic police ladies ensuring only residents sneak through. Some evenings before their arrival I took that photo and emailed it. At least they would not miss the turn. Also I talked to the charming traffic police ladies and explained the situation.

turn left into the piazza

I arranged with our friends - and very first guest - that they would call me as soon as they had left the rental car company. Then, I would walk slowly from our house towards the piazza, checking out what's up in Pizzo and end my stroll here at the barrier talking to the charming traffic police.

Around 20 minutes after my friends call I looked excited into every small car that looked like a rented car filled with German tourists. There were many. My son came waiting with me. When we spotted them, we waved them over. My friend got out of the car and walk with son the short way home, while I would co-pilot her husband through the narrow alleys - a fun ride.ο»Ώ

The plane was delayed and we arrived around 9pm at home. We decided to go for a pizza in piazza, although Saturday night in August you better cook at home. The tables outside in the piazza were crowded, and we had to wait long to be served. But life just starts now. Most life you will find around 11pm in piazza. This is when people queue for a table at the Gelateria Belvedere.

The next morning - and this is one of my favorite parts of this holiday with friends - before everyone else is up, T. would go and find a bakery to buy fresh panini for breakfast!!

When I would come downstairs, breakfast would be ready! Ah, what lovely guest! Danke ! Danke! Danke! (Lately, I got guest in Bangkok that were jet lagged the whole stay and didn't come out of their rooms until 11am!!)

Usually, in Italy, I never have breakfast, just a coffee, an expresso with some milk. I never liked the hard bread down here. But T. managed to find the right things. We even had a delicious bergamot marmalade (that I even brought back to Thailand). And he would make me smile with his shopping tour observations early in the morning across the piazza that seemed only inhabited at that hour by elderly and old men, drinking espresso at the bar and chatting. The sales woman in Lo Biancho would always be in a grumpy mood and not having change. And every morning he came up with some other details.

I was pleased to see that the simple life down here was enjoyed by my guest as much as by myself. It is easy to consider life in Pizzo as boring if someone prefers fast exciting city life.

So, slow and pleasant, finally, my vacation started. I enjoyed the company of my fellow countrymen - speaking German for a change was so relaxing! Since it was the first holiday our families spent together, we were lucky to see that we follow a similar "rhythm".

After the very nice breakfast, we would pack for the beach and leave the house never earlier than 10.30. We would walk through the village, pass by all the gelaterie and walk dawn the alleys towards the marina.

Beach of Pizzo Marina

Mothers would lay in the shadow under the blue striped umbrella, chatting and reading. Kids would be constantly in the water, swimming, snorkeling, playing. T. would do it all.

A couple of hours later, around the same time, we would all have had enough from the sun and the heat and walk back home to prepare a late and light lunch.

"Spritz" my favorite Italian aperitif

Preparing food altogether in my beautiful new kitchen was even more fun when everyone was having a drink. The orange colored Spritz, originally from Veneto area, become my favorite summer drink.

Mix a Spritz:
1/3 Aperol
1/3 prosecco
1/3 soda water
just fill it in a prosecco glass, don't shake or stir, add ice cubes and a slice of lemon.

It is so light - like lemonade !
I admit, I use more prosecco and less soda ;-)

After lunch, that we finish, almost like Italians, just a little later, at 3pm we would have a break, like Italians. T., R. and E. would read, LC and A. would play or draw and I would just enjoy the house and having the house filled with life. Sometimes T. would even go with the kids a second time to the beach in the late afternoon and come back before sunset.

our "house beach" in walking distance

Soon we figured out that two times cooking per day for 7-9 people is just too much, even with a dish washer. So when we would have had lunch at home, we would have dinner outside.

my favorite pizza "Tricolore" by SPQR

In piazza there is more competition since the pizzeria SPQR with its good looking and dynamic staff opened directly next to La Ruota. It is difficult to say which one is better. We visited them both by turns. The pizze from La Ruota might be slightly better cooked, but SPQR has a better choice of pasta dishes and the best prices. And their pizza "Tricolore" (prochiutto, ruccola, parmesan) was my summer's favorite.

Paradiso del Sub Beach

Another day, another beach. 35 Years ago, this beach was only accessible by boat. ο»Ώ15 years ago it was still a secret bay. Now, you can find it even printed on postcards: Paradiso del Sub, a few km North of Tropea. I can't believe how many people, young and old, would walk through the heat all the long and steep way to access this "isolated" bay. The water is still beautiful though. For this beach we prepared panini - picnic lunch on the beach.

preparing dinner at PP

Preparing dinner at home might be interrupted by sunset watching and photo shooting. Here, I count 9 covers on my 4 meter something table cloth from the market featuring chili and garlic. This was when CC was still in Italy and we invited his parents over for dinner.

beach below Tropea's balcony

Another day, another beach. Since we had two cars, we used them from time to time to discover new beaches. One day, after a visit of the old town of Tropea and a pizza slice for each, we went down to the beach to cool off in this crystal clear water.

orechietti (little ear pasta) with sweat cherry tomatoes from the market by R.

Tropea's famous beach

another tomato salad for lunch

So we went on and on.
Beach, lunch, siesta, dinner.
Beach, lunch, siesta, dinner.
A real Italian vacation.

Six month later, I finally compiled "summer with friends (part II) and you can read it here