We have spent a relaxing week in Arpino, taking Liam to the pool and attending some festivals. Some would be surprised to know that Liam enjoys playing in the big pool putting complete trust in his arm floaties, he splashes all over even trying some swim strokes and talking to everyone. He doesn't like the "english" they speak!
This week in August everyone goes on holiday and each small region in the towns (like suburbs in Aust) has a festival. They are outdoor affairs with eating, drinking, music and dancing if you wish. The difficult part is having to choose what to eat, buy a ticket, then go to the right stall for the food, so one has to queue twice. The food is usually really yummy, and they have the biggest fire works I have ever seen!
Saturday was the beginning of Arpino's festival which they start with a donkey race up one of the main streets. The donkeys are trained for weeks before the day. On the day about 1 km of road is covered in sand, to protect the donkeys feet. It takes all day to dump sand by truck and grade it flat!! We were told to get there early about 4pm to get a good spot. So as keen tourists to see a donkey race we lined up with a few other locals for the race to start at 17.30 hrs. The Italian's are not good at keeping to a schedule, by 18.30 Rob was sick of waiting and went home with Liam. At 19.05 a donkey came running up the road, I thought was that it!! Then a couple more came along being pulled, I think they were having a trial run to get the donkeys orientated because they paraded up and down a couple of times. Then at 19.25 they all came racing up the hill and the race was over with in 30 seconds:-/ A whole lot of organization for a short event!! And then they spend all night cleaning the sand up. If ever I go back to Arpino I don't thick I will bother with the donkey race!!
21 Aug - today we headed off to Recanati, a town on the east coast where Rob's dad grew up, to catch up with family. It was a pleasant 4 hour drive through the mountains via no less than 35 tunnels and countless bridges. The longest tunnel being 10.173 km long. Once over the mountains the landscape flattens out into farming land, and we followed the Adriatic coast, beautiful blue ocean with many on holiday. Arrived in Recanati about 1 pm, went for a small walk in town, I have a few memories of being here 22 years ago. Recanati is an old fortress town with a wall all the way around the old part of the city. That evening we chatted (Rob did well with the translation again) with some relatives.