A simple kind of life

Friday, Oct. 29

For those of you who are curious about us staying with a stranger, in a desolate area in Italy, wonder no more – here’s the details.

Our house mates:

The woman we are staying with, Pauline, is from Burnley, England. She actually grew up in Italy and knows Le Marche inside and out.

She’s fluent in Italian, is an English teacher, and translates travel guides.

We’ve been sharing the house with her and her lovely Afghan hound, Kira. She is an absolute princess.

She growls when she’s hungry, barks when she’s thirsty, head-butts the door when she wants outside and jumps in circles when you’re eating something she wants. She’s lucky she’s beautiful.

The house:

Pauline’s home is a refurbished farm-house.

It’s all original brick and has about six completed bedrooms and five bathrooms.

As it’s a renovation project, the rest of the property is unfinished.

That includes two small cabins in the field and a two-storey house in the backyard.

The main building is freezing, as it’s too big to heat. The stone floors don’t help either (although, they’re beautiful). We’ve been using hot water bottles, layers of fleece and fluffy socks to keep warm.

We both adore the house – the ceilings are all lined with original wood beams, the shudders in each room are a deep oak and some of the furniture has been imported from Vietnam.

Pauline is hoping to sell the house to someone who will turn it into a bed and breakfast or a wellness centre.

The town:

The home itself is situated on the edge of a village called Monteleone di Fermo.

There are approximately 540 residents.

Its downtown is just one street. On one end there’s the local church and supermarket. On the other, it’s the doctor’s office, post office and city hall.

The mayor is only in on Tuesday mornings for a few hours. He has a full time job running a factory elsewhere. (It’s obvious when he’s in town – the street is packed with about 20 cars.)

Between Monteleone di Fermo and the next small village is a tiny factory.

Of course – it makes pasta. As Pauline explained, the factory was about to go under a few years ago, which would have meant a lot of jobs lost in the area.

To keep their tortellini empire afloat, the factory started making frozen pasta meals. Now, they’re booming.

Beyond pasta, Pauline has informed us that Le Marche is the shoe making capital of Italy. It’s also famous for its hats.

What we’ve been up to:

Besides eating tons of spaghetti and penne, Matt and I have been sleeping. A lot.

The shutters on our windows block out every inch of sun, making us feel like it’s 3 a.m. when it’s really 10 a.m.

Matt’s been doing a lot of little things around the house, like fixing doors and chopping wood.

I’ve been doing laundry, catching up on our blog and going through photos. One afternoon I weeded for two hours – I’ve been sore for about three days.

We’ve also run a few errands into town – which literally takes all day because of the distance.

Yesterday was our biggest day yet.

Matt and I wandered around a beautiful Medieval village for two hours before drinking some tea.

Then we went to the supermarket and prepared for our dinner guest – a gentleman from England who was dressed to the nines.

As you can tell – we’ve been living a very simple life for the past week. It’s been a really nice change from the hustle and bustle of backpacking.

It’s also given us some time to pick our next destination – Switzerland.

I think skydiving in Interlaken will get our heart rates up again.


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