Pescara is the perfect combination of a thriving city and a sea-side town on the Adriatic coast. Richard's family lives there so we scheduled a full week to catch up.
Our AirBnB overlooks "Il Fiume" - a canal filled with fishing boats that runs through the city to the sea. Each morning outside our bedroom window a brilliant sunrise over the Adriatic was accompanied by the shouts of the fishermen loading their boats.
Down-town is a pedestrian mall with wide boulevards. It's a window-shopper's paradise. Seed Superfood is a deliciously smoke-free café and is great for tea-lovers - checkout the 5-minute tea timer!.
We visited Zia ("Auntie") Concettina - she's 90 and tech-savvy. Richard (or "Riki" as his relatives call him) counted on Google Translate to keep the conversation moving.
Here's Zia using her iPhone to Face-Time with her grand-daughter, Lucia, and great-grand-daughters Maia and Giulia in Boston!
AirBnB Alert - Pillow Power
Packing light means not packing pillows. One night on lumpy old ones had us at the Boutique Casa Outlet store the next morning. We gladly spent 30 euros - and we'll leave the new pillows and cases behind.
One evening we strolled down town past a small restaurant. Were they hosting a wine tasting? We popped in and asked if the party was private. It was, yet they welcomed us in to a sampling of artisanal Abbruzzese food and wine, hosted by Rosarubra winery.
We noshed on delicious bruschetta, melt-in-your-mouth prosciutto, different torrones, and the freshest panettone we ever ate. We sampled a hearty Montepulciano D'Abruzzo, a mellow "Spumante" with an explosion of bubbles, and a deep ruby Rosé. Wine stewards were the best. We cajoled them into selling us some Torrone and a bottle of Spumante.
It was a long walk back. Our reward was a visit to the Gelateria right at the ground floor of our building. Who can choose only one flavor??
Old-style posters are everywhere! Nancy was thrilled to see one for what she thought was a Disco dance party. She talked about dancing for three days. Read the fine print - it was a two-day record swap.
Luckily we also saw one for a jazz concert, on Nancy's birthday, organized by the Society of Theatre and Music. American Pianist Kenny Barron was excellent. Richard yearned for his piano, and we both realized how much we miss live music at Berklee College, Passim, and the Burren.
Pescara means fisherman.
Richard's cousin Francesco and his girlfriend Sandra introduced us to the freshest fish in town at a seafood buffet that went on forever at "Le Frit C'est Chic". We shared plates of shrimp, calamari, a local white fish, and dry white wine from Abruzzo. It was a delicious bargain at 6 euro a plate. We walked it off along the beach and into town. It was chilly - a perfect excuse for hot chocolate, tea, and Richard's favorite dessert, affogato - a scoop of gelato "drowned' in espresso coffee.
Left cheek to left cheek, right cheek to right cheek, each with a loud air kiss creates the soundtrack for Italian family events. It's uniquely beautiful.
Roman Catholicism seems to be thriving in Pescara. The baptism of baby Elena (Zia's great grand-daughter) was officiated by 4 priests in front of dozens gathered in a small baptistery. This centuries-old tradition was followed by a photo session that lasted as long as an Elizabeth Warren selfie line - the baby (who never made the least fuss) and her parents with every possible combination of family and friends.
Zia and her sister-in-law, Lucia, were upset that the ceremony hadn't included a mass - they were counting on meeting their Sunday obligation. So we went across the street to a mass in progress. The church was standing room only. It took us a while to realize that the music wasn't recorded - the "choir" included digital keyboards, bass guitar, flute, percussion, and an army of enthusiastic singers.
The baptism party spread was an array of home-made foods and sweets: tortellini, eggplant parmigiana, pork & potatoes, and Italian seafood "salad" (think ceviche). The "dolce" table tempted us with fruit tarts, cakes, cookies, and Nancy's favorite, Jordan almonds.
Richard's cousin Annerita's neighbor, Elga, practiced her English on Nancy, explaining how she manages to fit Iron-Man Triathlons into her life as a veterinary pathologist and a single mother. This amazing women was our personal Uber home before we collapsed for a quiet evening.
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Nancy McCabe &