Tag Archives: Italy

Italy Day 1 – Great Expectations

This might well be my last time in my house in Italy. I am tired and hot; temperatures here were almost 30 degrees when in my hometown temperatures have dropped quite a bit in the last week or so, down to about 12 degrees average.

I understand now why over here, few people are alcoholics or binge-drinkers. It’s just. too. bloody. hot to get drunk! After one glass of wine just now, I feel shattered and can touch no more.

The next 2 days – Thursday and Friday – are big, important. I’m meeting the agent and the prospective buyers to discuss the next steps / best way forward. A complication has arisen with regard to the sale, and I’m not sure at all whether or not it can be rectified. I’ve already received the first payment in my bank account, so there is some form of commitment from the buyers and I’m sure they’re keen on the house. It’s up to the agents and me now to decide on a strategy with which we can steer the sale through its currently muddied waters.

I’ll keep a record over the next few days. Not only cause it might be my last time, but also so that I have something to remind me of all of this when looking back in a few years’ time.

The good thing about being here is that in a week’s time, I’ll be back home! In the flat! With the cat!


Ryanair now flies from Edinburgh to Rome

Great news which was announced yesterday: Ryanair are now flying to Rome from Edinburgh (starting in March I think).

This means that, whenever I have to go to Italy to see to the house, I can go straight there in one flight rather than having to fly to Stansted first and then take a second flight.

It’s just in time too – I had planned some complicated holiday this year whereby I’d drive to Germany, then get a flight to Italy from there to sort out the house etc. and then take the car back. Now I’ll be able to keep those two holidays separate – i.e. drive to Germany by car with B. in the third week or so of May, and go to Italy by direct flight whenever (probably beginning of May. It might even be June, but by that time it’ll be too hot!)

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Strong Euro –> Potentially rich lenina

Image via Wikipedia

Since the £ has now fallen to under £1.14 against the Euro, I’m seriously considering selling the Italy house next year. The problem of course is that it would mean (potentially) some more investment right now, to get it looking good from the inside (it’s had the roof repaired a couple of months ago where I already lost ££ due to the weak exchange rate).

If I sold it now for, say, €110,000 (which is roughly what I think I could get), and transferred that money to my UK account, I’d have made £96,500!!

Whereas if the rate was still £1 = €1.50, I would only have made £73,300.

I mean it’s still nice to have the house and so on, but I’m very tempted at the moment to at least try and sell it via an agency. Even if it doesn’t fetch the anticipated €110,00 – given the strong Euro, I can’t make a loss either way 🙂 . And it would be nice to have a decent chunk of money in the bank (naturally it wouldn’t be the entire amount – but whatever was left once the mortgage was paid off).

I’ll definitely park that thought and maybe place the keys with an agency in February or so 🙂

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Italy Holiday Day 13: Friends

Just a quick one about my friend P. whom I met up with yesterday. He is LOVELY! One of those people I only see once or twice a year (every time I’m down here basically), but to whom for some reason I’m very close. One reason surely is that his now ex-GF (I found out yesterday they’re no longer together, after 8 years w00t. Must have been something in the air this year 😛 ) was German. East German, if anyone’s interested, and from Berlin.

I’ve met her a few times and she was very nice, and quite organised/structured/strong, and P. was very comfortable with that (he tends not to be too keen on the regular Italian women who are often dolled up and very feminine etc. Of course not all are like that, but this stereotype is very strongly promoted in the media here). Actually I think that GERMAN women on the other hand are very good relationship material! At least those that I know 🙂

Either way, P. is also open-minded and himself quite ‘non-Italian’ in many ways. He’s travelled a bit and did an Erasmus-exchange programme I think to Heidelberg when he was a student (he’s 33 now so it’s some time ago). His being slightly different makes it easy for us to get on and appreciate one another, also he’s very intelligent and has good political views (his dad used to be very involved with the Communist or Socialist party hehe. Now of course Italy is Berlusconified).

It makes me think that I get on with people from all nationalities and ways of life. I.e. nationality, colour, creed, or anything like that doesn’t feature at all in what makes it easy for me to form friendships. Thinking about my friends, they tend to fit into either one or more of the following:

  • lower/working class ‘made good’ (people who didn’t have much growing up but who are sorted due to application of own intelligence, work ethic, and motivation)
  • exposed to other cultures/ways of thinking and seeing (by that I don’t mean having to understand or relate to cultures completely opposite to our Western one. Just appreciation for and engagement with the fine differences even within Europe for ex.)
  • being fine-tuned and sensitive psychologically, enabling a fuller and more complete understanding of social relations between people and the world in general (often, in younger people this has a more negative effect i.e. ‘psychological problems’, which aren’t really problems as such but just arise due to their not being able to manage this special power and different, multiple viewpoints yet)
  • being geeky (techheads including programmers, netheads, into strange films, know their way about the Internet i.e. not just thick consumers)

And I think that’s it! I’m pretty sure that all of my friends fit into one or more of the above. As to criteria for enemies (hehe), I’ll do those some other time. What I can’t stand most of all is people who were born with a silver spoon in their mouth and who have been set up by their mummy and daddy, without any drive inside themselves. People without drive or motivation in general, whatever class they’re from.

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Italy Holiday Day 12: Wrapping Up

pablo with Lidl snacks

Image by AIBakker via Flickr

I’m going to have to wrap up various bits and bobs tomorrow. One thing I’ll be doing for the first time is sending myself an email listing all the food stuff that is here in the house. The reason being that whenever I come here, I drive from the airport past Lidl (…) and pick up shopping for the first evening/first few days. Only that I never know what is actually in the house, so I end up buying stuff that I don’t need and that eventually goes off.

E.g. this time round, I had to eat rice for a week or so and had to use 2-3 tins of tomatoes in my cooking, as the expiry date is 31/12/08! Having grown up with relatively little money i.e. nothing to waste, I don’t throw food and might even have a psychological problem with wasting stuff 😛

Actually it’s not a ‘psychological problem’ at all – the people I’m friends with here (my neighbour I. and her family) are just like me, and so is my family. Might even be a cultural thing. Plus, I get a kick out of being frugal (and look where it got me hehe so I must be doing something right!). It’s a great skill to have 🙂

Either way, tomorrow I shall record whatever is left over in an email to myself. It’s not that much (I wouldn’t spend hours cataloguing every single item if I had cupboards full of stuff). But things like olive oil I’m very low on, so that will have to be bought on the way from the airport to the house via Lidl next time (i.e. next May). It’s just going to be a useful little list and will simply make things easier next time round.

Tomorrow night I’m meeting with my friend P. – I think I’ve mentioned it before. On Tue I’m already leaving – for some reason I thought I had plenty of days ahead, and I wish I did 😐

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