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We’re into our second week of school and we’re getting into the swing of things. Last week was stressful. Living in the south of Italy is sometimes like living in a developing (or un-developing country). Chaos reigns and I find the lack of organization frustrating. Take a look at how we pick-up the kids at the elementary school. Where are the school buses, you ask?

There is a bit of a process here. The teacher brings the class out and shoots the children out the gate at the receiving parent as we push and shove to get our children. Yes, it pretty much freaked me out. I noticed it also makes Italian parents nervous when they lose sight of their little ones in the crowd. I definitely do not love this but I’m getting used to it. I’m told that when it really rains that it is a total cluster. Something to look forward to.

After I pick up Duilio, we then hop in the car to go pick up Russell at the Scuola del Infanzia. It’s actually not so bad there except for the road accessing it. It’s a funny thing but people feel the need to drive as close as possible to the entrance of anything and park haphazardly. Even it means getting stuck like this! Most of these cars had to back half way down the street. Of course, Duilio and I had parked way down the street to avoid the insanity.

As expected, Duilio was not happy about going to school Saturday morning while his brother got to stay home. At least we had a holiday on Wednesday to honor the patron saint of Salerno. The boys are also getting a couple extra days off since we’re traveling up to Elba Island for Luca’s Ironman73 ( competition. Wish him luck everyone!


I actually wrote this post in July but debated with myself about whether to post it. I generally keep my posts on the light side but this is also a part of Italy.

This girl is not waiting for a bus. She is a prostitute that sits in the blazing sun all day long. I have no idea whether she also works at night but I hope that she is at least only on the dayshift. All I know is that we see her every time we pass by on the way to the beach in Mattinata. Strangely I think, “I hope she’s wearing sun block.”

Many people travel this state stradale (state highway) on their way to beaches in Gargano and on their way to visit the tomb of Padre Pio, a modern day saint (now, that’s ironic). Along a particular stretch of this highway, prostitutes work, day and night. Most find a shady post under a tree or underpass and wait for customers.

There are specific sections assigned to different nationalities – African, Eastern Europe, who knows where else. Every time we pass, it bothers me more each time that these women are in this situation … selling their “wares” in a field or back of a car. I wish I could say that this is an isolated case but I have seen other areas like this close to Salerno.

Prostitution is actually legal in Italy. Brothels are not. They became illegal in 1959. Somehow this law was supposed to liberate women. Don’t think that worked out as planned.

We saw these old signs in a restaurant. The sign on the right is a price list in Italian Lira.

School has finally started! Duilio started elementary school and Russell returned to the 5 year old class of the Scuola dell Infanzia. They don’t have a kindergarten per se in Italy. In this region of Italy, elementary school kids only go to school for the morning. For example, Duilio goes to school from 8.20 to 12.20. (Generally, they go to 1.20 pm but there is currently a shortage of janitors which in turn shortened the day. Not sure what that is all about but I have learned to not tax my brain on things I cannot possibly change.) However, Duilio also to goes to school on Saturday. It will be interesting when he realizes he only gets one day of the weekend off.

Notice the boys are wearing white t-shirts. Once the weather is cooler, they are required to wear a “grembiule”. It’s a smock which they wear like a uniform. The color depends upon the school. Duilio will wear blue and Russell will wear white. For now, they wear the white shirt and blue pants or shorts.

Duilio on the steps of the school

Carlo Alberto Alemagna Elementary School

Sala Abbagnano Scuola dell Infanzia

The other big deal today was Duilio losing his front tooth. He pulled it out as he was leaving school!

The buildings in Lech Valley, Austria (Yes, I’m still getting through Austria!) looked like they came from a story or fairy tale. I kept looking around for Heidi or maybe Hansel and Gretel.

They paint the detail on to the buildings. It creates an interesting effect.

The woodwork was beautiful and the flowers were brilliant colors.

Typical church steeple

Our next vacation home. What do you think?

Village street

The morning after we arrived, we decided to hike from the campsite. There were several trails and we wanted to ease the boys into hiking this summer. We took a trail to little waterfalls and then on up to a chapel. The chapel was a more difficult hike but, strangely, the boys tend to do better on those. I think it’s more interesting for them. We followed a stream back down crossing several times on the rocks for no other reason than to do it.

The village of Häselgehr

The raging river that we forged

Views from the chapel

Later in the week we went for a couple more hikes. In Holzgau, we took a ski lift up and hiked back down (about 2 hours). The second day we took the lift again but hiked UP. The boys enjoyed riding the ski lift. It helped to sweeten the deal for them so we wouldn’t just be “walking for hours”. They don’t quite understand the concept of hiking for the sake of it. Although, they have fun once we get started. It’s like when we were visiting historic cities earlier this year. Duilio complained, “Why do we keep stopping at these cities that don’t do anything!”

This restaurant is at the top of the lift. After a hike, I had a few memorable moments of tranquility sipping (or swilling) a refreshing beer. The boys were playing at the swings with Luca watching. Did I mention there are no small beers in Austria? Notice the “1800m” sign on the building – that’s 5,900 feet.

Ready for the hike

Village looks a little smaller from here!

Swinging at altitude

This summit was popular with paragliders.

Looks like we’re torturing them, doesn’t it?

The views were spectacular!

These were the trails we hiked up. See the tiny white squares. You’ll see one of these signs a few pictures down.

Looks like fun but….


The hills are alive with the sound of music …

We made it!

We would love to hike from “hütte” to “hütte” some day. Do you see it?

A closer look…

I know he’s my kid but he’s too cute

..and they are too silly

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