…And how we survived them
Written by Lou Benders
After a three-day drive down south, we reached Italy in a state of exited expectations and mixed feelings about the weather. Why? It was snowing.
Cold, dark and dry
The first week we stayed at La Mano Sulla Roccia in Pratella, because the roads were too icy to drive on. When the weather was semi okay again, we made our first attempt at staying in our villa. Unfortunately, this remained an attempt. After hours of chasing away little animal inhabitants and cleaning the dirt of a house-that-hadn’t-been-lived-in-for-years, while eating a lovely dinner in front of the fire place (because the rest of the house was freezing) – there was a power outage. BAM.
No electricity whatsoever. Now, this wouldn’t be a problem in a city or even a little town. But we don’t live in town, we live 3 kilometers away from it with our nearest neighbor being 400 metres away from us. So, there we sat in this huge house without any light but for the gloomy moon.
With the tiny flashlight we installed on Luca’s phone we managed to find the electricity control point, outside at the end of our porch, but ended up not able to change anything to the dark conditions we were in. Our not-very-handiness was then followed by a small debate whether we would just stay close to the fireplace and sit through the night in an adventurous but frozen fashion. We decided not to, jumped into the car and slept another night at La Mano Sulla Roccia.
The next day, the local handyman Mircea fixed the lights and we could finally start living in our house! This was the 1st of March.
Everything seemed to go rather smoothly from then onwards but for the weather. It was still very un-Italian super cold, so one of our main jobs was keeping the fire going. This merry situation didn’t last too long, when we found out we only had water very sporadically or not at all, which resulted in showers at La Mano Sulla Roccia and cleaning whenever we were able to get water.
While trying to remain warm and meddling with reluctant water, we also had to do lots of shopping. Something I had been looking forward to! Our first day of shopping started off well – everything seemed to be under control and after a session at the Commercial Shopping Center of Campania, we drove to Napoli to visit Leroy Merlin and, of course, Ikea.
We bought our necessary tools at Leroy Merlin, walked to our car down in the parking lot and started loading the trunk with our purchases, happily closing the trunk only to find out that Luca had left the keys in the trunk without opening the rest of the car! A panicky moment, an angry Lou and some heavy Googling later, we called a guy who opens cars for a living for dummies like us. Now, luckily for us, this guy-who-has-been-doing-this-for-a-living-for-11-years appeared in 20 minutes, opened the car in 5 and left us 30 euros lighter, ready to continue our shopping spree.
Back in Ailano, we had a good laugh about our stupidity and started working like crazy. The first weeks were behind us without much progress – so now we had to make up for some lost time.
All in all, with some amazing help from Luca’s mom Maria, Rosa, Antonio, Giuseppe, Rina and many others we had two challenging but fun first weeks. Who these people are and what’s all so peculiar about living in Italy is something for my next blog!
And trust me… you’ll want to read it!
We’re currently still working very hard to make everything as pretty, cozy and relaxed as possible. If you want to see what we’re doing, check out our Instagram: Retreat.in.Ailano.Italy.
We promise to show you more pics on this page soon too!