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Dream, dare, do: on the way to Italy – part 9

The Murder in the Doghouse

la dolce vita in Puglia
La dolce vita in Puglia (photos: Martine van Groenigen)

A month, 4 weeks, or an x ​​number of days later, Ceglie Messapica already feels quite like home. Because: you quickly get used to good weather, good food and lovely people around you.

Time flies and when we look back on the first month we see (almost) only highlights. I'll take you through our first month of trying to Italian bit by bit. And yes, I know a real italianyou never will. 

The first supper

A first time for everything

If we are on the penultimate day of 2021 arrive at our temporary home in Ceglie Messapica, we are impressed. We knew it would be beautiful, but so beautiful.

To enjoy!

After getting acquainted with the hosts, the 2 guard dogs and the chickens, we walk around the land. Because the work in a B&B (even if it is closed) always remains: the different rooms, the moisture absorbers that have to be emptied, the vegetable garden, the swimming pool, and so on.

The first few days we are in a frivolous holiday mood and I admit, it certainly took some getting used to. But those first days are always the best. Everything, really everything (!), is new.

The first supper on new plates with unknown cutlery, the first morning with a new coffee maker, the first time to 'our village' and getting to know the old men, the first chicken egg...

Discover the local cuisine

Although it takes getting used to, you get used to it quickly here. Because with a clear blue sky the first few days and about 15 degrees on the thermometer you would almost forget that it is just 2022.

This is how you integrate

And with all those first times, integration in the village starts immediately. Our Italian life begins and we immediately notice that slowing down is not going smoothly. we enjoy Capuchin, get lost in small alleys and see at least 3 different weekly markets in the first week.

The bell peppers have come a long way, while the courgettes are just starting to show up. The mandarins vary from mini to maxi and the pickled fish (we still have to try this) is not to be missed.

You get entangled in the cime di rape that are everywhere and you are looking for an ordinary cucumber. The first week we eat our way through mozzarella and burrata from the cheesemonger, so we can't see any cheese for the 2nd to 4th week.

During the first weeks we 'have to' do something every day under the guise of: we are here now. I can now reassure you and we also have the tomorrow tomorrowmentality emerge.

From spontaneity to reality 

Our new life too – tapping water at the well

In our new life as temporary B&B owners and import Italians, there isn't a day that we don't do or see something new. Our green fingers are developing in the vegetable garden and the heads of lettuce and cabbage black shoot out of the ground.

Pim develops into a chicken farmer and puts on a circus act every afternoon when, with the chickens in a row behind him, he leads them to their coop.

But, as a wise man once said, one learns by doing. And so you find out that the nightlife on Ceglie Messapica's lands can be wild.

Because despite the fact that it is light here earlier in the morning than in the Netherlands, the light goes out here too around 16.30 pm. And when the sun goes down, the true nature of the beast emerges.

Scored vitamins on the market again

Battlefield with a clear sky

This is how we found out that the vegetable garden is not only popular with our green fingers, but also with wild dogs, cats or foxes.

They prefer currency. That's gone now too. And you shouldn't lose sight of chickens either, because those fresh cabbage black and red chard look so attractive… So gone too.

You would think: then we have had the worst. But no. In the light of twilight, the chickens look attractive. Not for us, but for the other inhabitant of our yard: a small, sweet, black dog.

One of the chickens is now gone too. We have given her a fantastic resting place in our neighborhood with an appropriate song in the background (Chicken, Fries and Appelsauce) and hope that the suffering of and on the land is now over.

That the plants will grow again and the dogs will frolic with each other again. You get poetry for free in such situations. 

On a puzzle tour along counters

And on, because something also has to be done, and something serious! The booster shot. Because after February 1 we would like to appetizer rolls en Capuchin drinking outdoors.

But to be a Dutchman on a booster shot To get there, you have to complete a puzzle tour that the Scouts can learn from.

Step 1: the fiscal Code (a kind of social security number, ed.) in a very charming Agenzia delle Entrate. After some formal hassle we are outside an hour and a half later with two tax codes.

Proceed to step 2: make the appointment. And now I hear you think: gosh Martien, with that code you can schedule an appointment online.

Well, benvenuti in Italy: Puglia does not participate in the national online system and the planning site for the Puglia region approves the fiscal Code not good. Happy makes a charming Italian mens an appointment for our booster at the appointment desk of the hospital.

Like real Dutchmen on a bicycle - shame about those hills

2 days later we go to the injection site in Ostuni. Here we are turned upside down because - according to Italian rules - after having corona we do not second dose should have gotten.

Better too much than too little, you might think. Once on to the next counter, a pleasant Francesco (again used a very unique Italian name for the story) sprays us full with the booster.

He himself tries to make a trade in 'exotic grass'. Unfortunately. After Francesco we can continue to Angelo (who was really called Angelo) for the registration.

And yes: because of all the previous positive Italian encounters, we trust Angelo on his brown eyes. We become naive. something is not right right with the registration and so we have to go without proof. Angelo will call back tomorrow morning, because then we can collect our evidence.

Do you think Angelo called? Obviously not. 

Written by Martin van Groenigen

In 2016 Martine van Groenigen lived as an au pair with an Italian family for six months. She learned all the tricks of the Italian kitchen and lost her heart there. Not to a man, but to the country itself. Since her return, there hasn't been a day that she doesn't wonder 'what the weather would be like in De Laars.' On This is Italy she writes enthusiastically about her own experiences in Italy and her 'Italian Dream' that is getting closer and closer.


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