seashells *and* ponies!

Good news and bad news.

Bad news first, OK?

I won’t be around for a few days because of various work commitments, so you probably won’t hear from me again until Friday or so (most likely no What’s Cooking Wednesday, sniff sniff).

Just didn’t want anyone to worry about me or my Internet connection, so there you have it.

Now the good news:

As I type this, the cuffs of my capri-length jeans are still damp from the waters of the Ionian Sea (although I have changed out of them) and bits of sand are sprinkled throughout my house.

Let’s start in the early morning.

This morning I was walking Luna when I stopped to take this photo of a pretty tree in the piazza:

Check out the (untouched) color of the sky. I just knew it would be a good day.

Also, you can’t see them very well, but there are some fallen petals on the sidewalk; obviously I got there before the rubbish collector did, otherwise they’d have been swept up.

While I was snapping, P’s sister-in-law came over to me. We chatted for a few minutes–P is currently painting her house–and when I mentioned I had to go down to the Marina (part of the village on the coast, 5 km away), she offered me a ride as she was headed there.

This was an hour before I was planning to leave on the bus, so I took Luna home and packed up everything I’d need for my errands, which included the bank (ATM), bakery, grocery store, market, and beach if there was time (not an errand, but a thought).

But soon the whole plan changed.

As I was finishing up at the ATM machine, I got a call from one of my employers telling me that I could go pick up my paycheck (my first from them–only two months late!) at a bank in another town. So I hurried up with my errands in the Marina and caught the bus to the other town.

When I arrived at the bank, I couldn’t believe it–only five people in line! Oh. Just one teller.

And there’s the rub.

So I waited an hour and a half for a transaction that took literally two minutes. By then, I had missed the next bus back to my village, although I was blessed with the amusing sight of a woman being refused entry into the bank.

[For those who don’t know, in order to enter a bank here, you have to press a button for a little Star Trek-like glass pod to open. You step in and the Controller of the Pod (we’ll call this person “COP”) says yea or nay via a button that opens the other side of the pod leading into the bank.]

This poor woman, probably in her 30s, long black hair pulled back in a pony, stepped in and out of the pod at least five times with no luck. I think she finally went and put her purse in her car because she eventually convinced the COP (with no havoc ensuing, thank goodness).

Anyway, by the time I finally got another bus to the Marina (I’d then need a separate bus, passing through the Marina an hour later, to get up to my village), it was noon and I was starving. So I did what any self-respecting non-Italian would do at mezzogiorno–I got a panino and a peach iced tea and headed for the beach.

Of course at that hour, the seaside was all mine as all the real Italians were home for lunch most likely featuring pasta and not simply prosciutto and provola like I was about to have.

But before I got to the sand and surf, I was greeted by ponies (and a horse and a donkey)!

Circus is in town, you see. Not as funny (and useful!) as these ponies, but that first one really has something to brag about if you ask me.

Soon I got comfy with my lunch.

As this was yet another unplanned beach excursion, I didn’t have any of the usual supplies. I had to make do with a scarf, which I always have in my bag, and rolled up capri pants. In the past couple months, I’ve come to realize that I actually don’t dislike going to the beach as I always thought I had–what I hate is the preparation, the making sure I have absolutely everything I might need.

A trip to the sea is quite enjoyable, I’ve found, when you simply show up.

When my belly was full, I walked along the beach snapping some more photos.

Did I mention that our water is clean, clean, clean?

And then it was time to go.


But not before I grabbed some free souvenirs so that I can always remember those gorgeous few hours.

Ah, and then it got even better!

When I arrived home, a copy of Eat, Pray, Love was waiting for me–my prize for winning Shelley’s (At Home in Rome) La Mia Italia post contest with Conquering Evil (One Plastic Red Horn at a Time)!

Hope everyone’s week is as lovely as my Monday has been!


[tags]sea, ionian sea, calabria, badolato, ponies, horses, donkeys, circus, seashells, shells, beach, sand, southern italy, italy[/tags]

44 Beans of Wisdom to “seashells *and* ponies!”
  1. somepinkflowers

    lucky girl!
    what a magical day…

    seashells and ponies BOTH!

    you must have done something good
    to be so rewarded…


  2. Gil

    You are slowly being converted to a sun lover. I bet it won’t be too long before those feet will be as Bronze as any other Southern Italian!!!

  3. sognatrice

    Hee hee…I love your comment so much I’ve changed the post title to honor it ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And yes, I’m a very lucky gal ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. sognatrice

    Gil, I love the sun in small bursts, but I could never just lie in it for hours. As it was, I got too restless to just sit there and read today. Anyway, sunscreen is always on me *and* in my bag whether I’m planning a beach excursion or not. I know my skin’s limits ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. chris & erin

    LOVE the seashell collection

  6. Paolo

    Miseashell, thanks for the update. I would actually be a bit concerned if I didn’t see a new post all week – and I think that says nice things about both of us.

    And thanks for a really nice post to tide us over. Arrileggerci ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. The (Mis)Adventures of a Single City Chick

    The sea looked so tempting and refreshing! Lovely! I almost felt like I was strolling along the tide break with you instead of being cooped up here at my office desk in the middle of downtown Seattle. I’m only two blocks from the Puget Sound (which leads out to the Pacific Ocean), but the water definitely isn’t anything like yours, not with our constantly running ferry boats leaving residue in the water.


  8. Ally Bean

    *ahh sigh*

    I haven’t had a spontaneously wonderful, go where life takes you, beach day like yours in years. Thank you for sharing it all. Great photos too.

  9. a far away friend

    Sorry to hear about all the mishaps of the day. But, judging from the photos, it turned out to be a lovely one. Thanks, once again, for sharing. Have a great week, I’ll miss your posts!

  10. Anonymous

    your beach looks like mine, apart from today there was RUBBISH floating in it…. I went for a swim, the water is heavenly. And yes, i was there from 2-4pm (came prepared with my umbrella) and no one else on the beach either. Didn’t have any ponies or sea shells though, but lots of coloured pieces of old tiled flooring. Vanessa

    BTW i think that purple flowering tree is a jacaranda. We have lots of them here too….

    PS nice pink nail polish on your toes ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. jek

    You made me laugh out loud about that first pony…

    Super pictures – I’m jealous!

  12. The Other Girl

    It’s so lovely where you are. And it amuses me to see that even your dumpsters look nice.

    Plus: donkey!

  13. Princess Wild Cow

    Good to see your blog, shewhoblogs! And what wonderful shells…

  14. heartinsanfrancisco

    What a perfect day, and lovely photographs to remember it.

    I also collect shells and seaglass, but have never had the unthinkable pleasure of doing so on a beach by the Ionian Sea.

    I think that your life is one I could trade mine for.

    Thanks for sharing.

  15. goodthomas

    That was one huge smile from beginning to end. I loved how you started off the good news and then weaved your way ’round to explaining just how your capris got wet and sand followed you home. I loved the constant battle of good news/bad news that occurred and how you had a great time when you “just showed up.”

    Lovely Sognatrice. Your words live on their own and your images are always so wondrous. Have a good few days away. Try to breathe in that time.

  16. it's me, Val

    What beautiful photos!

  17. Deb R

    Those photos are so beautiful, especially the beachy ones. I love the color of the water. And I think I spy a bit of sea glass in that last photo of the pebbles. Love it!!

  18. jennifer

    Lovely- it reminded me of that John Lennon line- “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”

  19. Alexandra

    i love happy mondays! it makes the day even more special and makes your entire week better!

    and uuhhh that blue water!!!!!

  20. Shelley - At Home in Rome

    Bella…bellissima! Except sorry about the bank. Argh. That’s something that’s universal here in Italy.

    And, I was just about to write you an email to see if the book made it. Yay! Add a another plus point to Poste Italiane’s score card. (Are pigs flying yet??)

  21. Nora

    Gorgeous photos. Thanks for sharing glorious your day – I could do with some sun, it freezing down here!!

  22. my melange

    I’m with you on the ‘not being able to lay on the beach’thing! I am also very fair skinned, which doesn’t help! You have a beautiful beach there though,so I could certainly see myself walking the surf collecting treasures…or having a pincic!

  23. alicia

    GORGEOUS pictures! I envy you ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Wanderlust Scarlett

    Sognatrice, my PSofK ~

    Other than the bank…

    I ACHE for this life of yours.

    SIGH. Loved the photos, of course.

    Will miss you, have a safe & fun trip!
    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

  25. Sara

    So, um, why did you move to Calabria again?

    Ha! Kidding, of course.

    Yes, a day with seashells AND ponies — and the puppy, and the pretty purple-flowering tree (jacaranda?), and the yummy lunch, and the toenail polish that doesn’t even look the slightest bit chipped — is an excellent day indeed. Thank you for sharing.

  26. Carole D/

    What a magical day! I’m missing Sicily even more now since I went to visit.
    I was thinking of you when we were driving through Messina and could see Calabria in the distance.

    I had such a great reunion with family and seeing how much my hometown has changed and developed.

    I found out all about the entering of the bank process while I was visiting in Sicily. How do you explain that one in the States? I like the Star trek thing.

    I will miss your postings while you’re gone, have fun.

  27. Christine

    What a great day! I personally LOVE the beach, just don’t love the sun so much. Give me an umbrella and lots of breaks during the middle of the day and I’m awesome. Or! better…the beach at night. My favorite.

    Hope your hiatus from blogging is good (and not too long!)

  28. Karina

    What a lovely post, beginning to end. I felt like I was part of your wonderful Monday, and as my Monday was pretty rough, I enjoyed living yours much better!

    Thanks for sharing your day and your wonderful pictures!

  29. JennieBoo

    That’s it!

    The scenery’s to nice (and you’re to sweet!) to pass up.

    Now, if I could just find a one-way plane ticket to your “neck of the woods”!

    Thank you so much for sharing. It’s like a mini vacation from my computer!

    Best of luck on your trip! Be careful!

  30. cheeky

    There is something so inviting about the photos of the sea. The blue is magical and makes me want to get right in.
    Sounds like a glorious day, aside from the wait at the bank. Hard to fathom having to wait that long. I hope you brough a novel, oh like say, War and Peace?
    You will be missed this week.

  31. Paolo

    Ohhh — now I know where Sognatrice went…

  32. Beth

    I just have to tell you that your pictures are beautiful. I loved how you used them to tell the story. It makes me want to go on an extended vacation in Italy!

  33. Wanderlust Scarlett


    How absolutely wicked of you!!
    Sea… not SEE…
    Haa ha ahaaa…

    BAD BOY!
    good giggles

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

  34. Eryn

    oh my goodness….i don’t know if i’ve ever commented on your blog before…but i’m a big fan.

    now i must explain my “oh my goodness” which i couldn’t but help but type in the beginning. my fiance and i adopted a dog 6 months ago (her name is Saci) and she’s a year and a half……she must be luna’s sister. i followed your luna link on your post and your and my dog are IDENTICAL!!! we’ve seen a lot of dogs online while trying to figure out which mix she is and i’m certain that luna comes the closest. the only difference i see is that luna seems to have a white patch and Saci is all amber colored.

    also, when i was in Venice in ’04 I stayed with a family who had a puppy whose name was luna and also looks very similar to your dog. please visit my blog to see what i’m talking about.

    we think Saci is a basenji/whippet mix….do you know what Luna is?

  35. bella

    that sea is sooo aqua blue.. just lovely. hope you enjoyed your little detour.

  36. Shan

    Okay I’m paying attention this time…. you’re going to be away from the internet. I will not panic. Although I will miss you tomorrow.

    Oh and gorgeous pictures by the way.

  37. Rebecca

    I certainly felt for the woman at the bank – we had the same kind of system in the Netherlands. We did not have such well hung ponies though!!

  38. W W

    Hey, Love your posts. You will be missed. Come back soon. Thank you for sharing from your heart.

  39. Gina

    Fantastic pictures! The beach looks positively idyllic.

  40. The Freelance Cynic

    Sounds absolutely amazing.

    Loving the pics

  41. Johnaesthetica

    Looks amazing. I too have been snuggling up with the beach/ocean this week. Oh, how I yearn for the Adriatic! Not too much longer, though.

  42. sognatrice

    Wow, thank you all so much for continuing to visit and comment! I’m not going to respond to each individually this go around, but do know that I appreciate very much the time you took to stop by and leave your thoughts.

    Except for Paolo who desperately needs to learn the art of omertร  ๐Ÿ˜‰

    For those of you who are new around here, I’ll be around at your place soon if I haven’t already visited.

    Thanks again everyone!

  43. IRENE

    This is just wonderful! One of my favorite posts by anyone, ever.
    Wishing you beautiful moments of eternity.

  44. sognatrice

    Irene, wow, thank you so much–what a lovely comment!

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

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Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake