Saturday, November 29, 2008


This is the intersection at the foot of Via 25 Aprile, a four-lane road (that's big for us around here!). If you continue straight on through the intersection, you will arrive at the Prima Cala public beach that I featured in photos this past week.

Sometimes people don't quite make the curve, as you can see (if you click on the photo to enlarge it) from the condition of the road signs. One day a friend's brakes went out and she crashed into the two boxes (just beyond the first car in the right lane) and knocked out the traffic lights. She was fine, but long weeks passed before the lights were fixed...

Friday, November 28, 2008

November Sunset, 2

Here's another November sunset. Although I'm not a member of the Skywatch Friday group, I thought I'd participate today! Note the ever present olive trees poking up into the photo...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Empty Field

I love this empty field near my house. Not long ago it was an olive grove, but one day they (the infamous "they"!) came in with bulldozers and uprooted all the trees. That was very upsetting...the death of an olive tree seems sacrilegious around here! But I have come to appreciate the beauty of the field since then. I couldn't see it before, what with all trees in the way!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Prima Cala...deserted

This is the only decent beach left within city limits. In the summer it is jam-packed with sunbathers and swimmers. In the past it was clean and only *too* crowded on August weekends. But it has been literally garbage-strewn for the past two years. People don't tend to clean up after themselves and the city garbage department has not been doing its job very well.

It's nice to see it clean and empty.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Winter Beach

Sea, pebbles, seaweed...and no people!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Peace of Mind

November sea and sky as seen from the Prima Cala public beach. I love the sharp line dividing the two...the different shades of blue...

I've decided to try to keep the blog going by scheduling posts ahead of time and not spending time visiting other blogs...please don't be offended! I'll be back!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

November Sunset

November is my favorite month for sunsets in Molfetta. They are extremely vibrant and colorful. This is the very tail end of one...I was racing against time to get home and up on my roof to take the photo.

This is going to have to be my last regular post for the next month or so. I have just received a big and important translating job (a whole book!) and will have to work non-stop as fast as I can until it's done. That will leave me little time for blogging.

I will try to post occasional photos when possible, but I must admit that I have also been very frustrated over the past month with camera problems. My little point and shoot Kodak (which drove me nuts, but basically got the job done) died a sudden death a while ago and the quality of the photos I'm able to get with my other camera options is pretty pitiful! I'm hoping Santa Claus will keep in mind what good girl I've been this year! ;-)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saint Martin's Fritters, 2

And here they are...four types of fritters: onion and olives, mozzarella and tomato, tuna and tomato, and just plain dough for the littlest kids. These are eaten together with turnip greens which are boiled and seasoned with olive oil and a dash of salt.
The roasted chestnuts!

Chocolate and hazelnut torrone compliments of Rosa, who was invited, but couldn't make it so she sent the homemade dessert in her place.

Now, I wouldn't want you all to think that we don't do anything except eat around here...but...we actually do spend a lot of time and energy around the preparation and consumption of food. It's a nice way to socialize, especially when everyone helps out in one way or another.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Saint Martin's Fritters

November 11 is the feast day of St. Martin of Tours. In Molfetta this day is celebrated with the preparation of fritters, or frittelle, as they are called in Italian.

Since the 11th was during the week, we invited friends over for a frittelle-making party last Sunday. I'm not the kind of hostess who will have everything ready when you arrive. Our friends know that an invitation to lunch is a collaborative event and so they come ready to work.

In the top picture my husband is preparing the filling for one type of frittelle, with mozzarella, scamorza and chopped tomatoes. The hands across from him belong to my friend Sveta, who is cutting the chestnuts and soaking them in water so that when they are cooked the skins will come off more easily.

To the left is the filling my husband was working on and below is another made of sauteèd onions, tomatoes and olives (my favorite!).

Here Annalaura is frying empty fritters for the little kids, who don't like any of the fillings.

Nicola is roasting the chestnuts in a special pan that has round holes cut into the bottom to let a bit of the flame through.
Tomorrow I'll show you the finished products...
Saint Martin is famous for having cut his cloak in half and given the cut off bit to a poor man. He is a patron saint of France and of soldiers.
But, for some reason, he is celebrated in Italy as the patron saint of cuckolds. I have looked this up on the Internet, but I have yet to find a satisfactory explanation for the association.
Can any Italians out there tell me why?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Solar Panels

After a long, seemingly endless, process...begun last May...we finally have solar panels on our roof! They're not yet actually functioning...but that should happen soon...relatively Italian soon... Things just take a long time around here.

These panels should satisfy our electricity needs, heat our water and be enough to sell some back to the electric company, so as to pay off the investment we made in buying the panels and building the structure to hold them up. For some photos of the building of the structure, click here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Northbound into Town

Behind the graffiti strewn wall lie the railroad tracks as they enter Molfetta from the south end of town. Have you ever seen such a mishmash of crisscrossing wires, cables, posts and who knows what all else is in there?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Let There Be Light

This is a detail of an antique lampshade belonging to my mother-in-law. She inherited it from her mother, so it may be 80 years old, and perhaps even older than that. As you can see in the photo below, the shade itself is made of engraved glass to which are attached strands of glass beads. It hangs from the ceiling by a woven silk rope.
I think it may be Art Nouveau style (which is called Liberty in Italian), but I'm not sure. Does anyone know more about this? In any case, it is simply beautiful!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Grey Bird on a Grey Day

We complain about desertification, we complain about water rationing, we hope and pray for rain...but after a few days of it...we wish it would go away and our beautiful sunny skies would return! Is it just human nature to want whatever we don't have?
Molfetta has been invaded by parrots in the past decade. How they arrived here - in what is definitely a non-tropical environment - is the stuff of local urban legend. The prevailing theory is that a pair of these small green parrots escaped from a ship docked off shore and made their home in a large palm tree in the Madonna delle Rose neighborhood. Ten or fifteen years ago there was just one big nest full of they have spread out all over town. The fields around my house are chock full of them and I hear their squawking and see them zooming from tree to tree every day.

The hard part is capturing them on film. They, like all birds, are fast when they fly by. And they tend to roost in the green trees, where they blend in completely. This morning they happened to be flying by while I shot the photo of the two doves on the telephone lines. I don't think they're identifiable as parrots here, me...they are!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lunch at Lino's - Side Dish and Dessert

As a side dish that day, we had mussels steamed in a bit of water with tomatoes, parsley and bay leaf.
Here they are, steaming away!

And, for dessert, homemade tiramisu...delicious!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lunch at Lino's - Second Course

Lino and my husband share a small motorboat and like to go fishing on Saturday mornings. This weekend they were lucky enough to catch a small tuna. The most common fish found near the shore in the Adriatic locally are small, spiney types so a tuna is a special treat!
First, Lino cleaned the fish and then sliced it into steaks.

He sauteed whole cherry tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil with some chopped basil.

In another pan, he sautéed anchovies, minced onion and garlic with oregano in a bit of olive oil.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lunch at Lino's - First Course

Our friend, Lino, is not a chef. He's just a guy who likes to cook for friends when he has the time. He likes to try new recipes and create food that's as nice to look at as it is to eat. We recently had lunch with his family and he cooked up a storm. In Italy, meals are served one course at a time. The first course is typically a pasta or rice dish, although it could also be a soup.

On this occasion, Lino prepared spaghetti with clams. Below, the clams are sizzling away in their own juice with some tomatoes and parsley.

The pasta should be cooked in a large quantity of salted water for the amount of time indicated on the package (every pasta has a different cooking time) and drained when "al dente" or just slightly firm. Overcooked pasta is considered a disaster!

Tomorrow, the second course...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Don Grittani Retirement Home

This is the entrance to the Don Grittani Retirement complex. The three-storey residence, home to about 70 elederly people, is run by nuns and is located in a large park full of many trees and plants. Facilities include a chapel, a reading room, a TV room, a meeting room, a bocce field and paths for walking among the trees. Residents can choose from a single or double room, all of which have a bathroom, balcony, refrigerator and telephone.

Seems like a nice enough place to live. I just wonder about the giant cell phone tower looming over it all...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Wrong Side of the Tracks

This is a cell phone photo taken at the last remaining railroad crossing in Molfetta. All of the others have been walled off and various underpasses or bridges have been built to get to the other side of the tracks which run right through the middle of town.

The house that seems to be built as close as physically possible to the tracks was once home to the person whose job was to raise and lower the bars blocking off the crossing. Now the bars go up and down by themselves on schedule and the house is home to a family that have nothing to do with the railway company. Can you imagine the noise in there every time a train goes by? And several do go by every hour! They say you can get used to anything...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dry at Your Own Risk

I'd say 90% of Molfettans live in apartment blocks. Single family homes are rare and are certainly not found in town, but only out in the countryside. However, 99% of the apartments have a balcony where one can grow a few plants and, more importantly, hang out the laundry to dry. Around here basically no one has a dryer. The climate is temperate and for most of the year there are enough sunny days to get your clothes dry by hanging them out on the line. They have a lovely clean smell after being dried in the sun.

I'd be afraid to go out on the balcony in the center of the photo below for any reason! Do you think the people who live there have noticed what's happening to the underside of their balcony? (Click on the photo to enlarge it and see the full extent of the damage.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Regional Seminary Pio XI

The Apulian Regional Seminary has been located in Molfetta since 1915. The large complex we see only a small corner of here was built in 1926. Young men study theology and are trained to become priests here. The complex also hosts a large library and a museum.

I have been less faithful than usual to this blog...I have started my full teaching schedule at the university and have a lot less free time. I am also experimenting with a new-to-me camera and not getting the results I'd like, so am a little frustrated with my photos at the moment. Anyway, I'll do my best to keep that daily photo coming!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Not Today, Please

The rain has been wonderful for the past two days and more would be even better. But, today we are celebrating my younger son's 9th birthday with a party outside in the yard and I am really hoping for sunny skies. At least from 3 to 6 p.m.!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Rain, Lovely Rain

It's still raining and that's just fine with me...we need all the rain we can get!

The song below is called "Cade la Pioggia" (The Rain Falls) and is a 2007 hit by Negramaro, a group from the Salento area of the region of Puglia (about an hour's drive south of Molfetta), on the heel of the Italian "boot." They are extremely popular nationwide at the moment.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wet Earth

It finally rained yesterday after a long dry spell. Finally! The water reserves in Puglia were so low that the water supply to households was being rationed. It's a pleasure to see the dark wet earth. And more rain is predicted for today and tomorrow...
But, how's a cat to keep his tail dry?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Making Olive Oil

This past weekend we harvested the olives from the trees in the garden and took them to an oil-mill to be pressed into oil. We only have 16 trees in our yard so it took my husband and a friend just one day to climb into the trees, shake them and pull on the branches to gather the olives. They spread large green nets (see photo above) on the ground below the tree to catch the olives as they fell.
At the mill this machine separates the olives from the leaves and twigs.

This machine grinds the olives down to a paste.

I don't know what this machines does (don't ask difficult questions!), but isn't it shiny?

And, ecco, out comes our extra virgin olive oil for the next year!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Historic Center - Via Amente, 4

This is the Baraka Pub & Wine Bar located just down the street from the home shown in Saturday's post. I haven't been there in about 10 years, so I can't exactly recommend it from personal experience. In any case, it's nice that there are businesses in the old town.

I have been having technical difficulties both with the computer and my camera. I not only forgot to post my book photo for theme day, but I was unable to post anything at all yesterday! That's the first day I've missed since I started this blog! Anyway, things seem to be working a little bit better today...

I have received the Kreativ Blogger award from both Nobu of Funabashi Daily Cell Phone Photo and jm of Oeiras and environs daily photo. Thank you so much, both of you!

They have asked me to list six things that make me happy. So...

1. hugs and kisses from my children
2. jogging
3. taking photos
4. reading a good novel
5. talking with friends
6. chocolate chip cookies

I now happily pass this award on to six other creative bloggers, please go visit...
Takeyoshi, Tokyo City Daily Photo
Jelvistar, Port Angeles Daily Photo
Sean, kyle, texas daily photo
Alejandro, unafotopordìa
E.K. Bensah, Accra by Day & Night
Elier, Lima - Peru' Daily Photo

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Historic Center - Via Amente, 3

This photo fits into yesterday's just to the right of the imploded building. It clearly shows the curved nature of the old town's side streets.

If you enlarge the photo and look down Via Amente to the point where the two sides of the street seem to merge, you can see a building that looks as if it's all wrapped up in is covered from top to bottom by the scaffolding that is used in renovation projects. That is then covered by a net-like material that serves to hold in all the debris that inevitably falls down during the work. It holds in big chunks of stone and wood, but I can assure you that it does nothing to contain the vast quantities of dust that are kicked up during these projects. I know, because during the 11 years I lived in Molfetta Vecchia there was never a time when someone wasn't restoring a building nearby.

Pointless to point out the green shutters...I'll just note that the home in the center of the photo has natural wood shutters which some people have preferred when renovating.

p.s. Best wishes to everyone! Today is All Saints' it's everyone's feast day!