What happens @ V.O. when the guests have left?


First we hibernate for a couple of days, then we start missing you…  Then we get to work.  Tear off all mattress covers, bedding mattress covers, blankets, pillow protectors, bed covers… The washing machine is working around the clock.  Pull out the beds, vacuum here there and everywhere.

It is a bit similar to what Mum has experienced during her 25 years at the bank:

– What do you do at the bank after 3pm when the clients have gone? Coffee, chat, kick back and relax…  Not really, but it is a different kind of work; more silent and definitely more tedious but indeed needed and a part of life. Here are a couple of photos which shall not be used for advertising season 2014 🙂

Spring Cleaning I

Spring Cleaning I

Spring Cleaning II

Spring Cleaning II

Wish this photo came with sound effects as the birds are chirping and the rest is silenziooooo

Wish this photo came with sound effects as the birds are chirping and the rest is silenziooooo



Antique Car Show Oria

Just before Christmas Oria displayed an array of transportation devices, it is lovely to see how they value their motor history:

Car looking for love Car show December 2013 2 Car show December 2013Vespa Oria

Highest number of spectators

Highest number of spectators


Family is here, friends arriving shortly…

…and we are ready to celebrate Christmas 2013, this will be our 4th here in Italy.  Unbelievable how these years has run by and I think we have settled in quite nicely as I look back.

Happy Holidays to All of You,

From all of Us

Ready to have a real feast

Ready to have a real feast

Villa Ottilia looking more and more Italian...

Villa Ottilia looking more and more Italian…

Enjoying the Best Restaurant in town, Vecchia Oria of course.

Enjoying the Best Restaurant in town, Vecchia Oria of course.



AVIS, Blood Donation Oria – Blood donating elsewhere

Lately I’ve been picked on for not blogging enough, but when life spins in 5th gear and nothing is quite “blogable” then the posts come scarcely…

However, Holiday Season is here and that means plenty of opportunities to share the joy and skoj 😉

Today I gave “blood donating” in Oria a second chance and this time succeeded, I’d like to share the differences between the countries which I have donated in as I find it fascinating.

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida I donated for the first time and many, many times after that.  The donation center was run by a group of girls who made the visit worthwhile just for the laughs, it was almost like being part of one of the modern TV shows where everyone shares everything with each others. After donating we got a juice and a cookie, if I recall correctly.  The donations were done all day long, no restrictions on eating before donating.

At “Blodtappen” Stockholm, Sweden I tried donating blood but didn’t succeed although I had donated for years in Florida.  Now I will get a bit personal as I feel that this still upsets me… This place is set up for convenient donating, no scheduled appointment and very well located in central Stockholm just as you exit a subway station.  I went there thinking I’d get to donate that same day, but after giving a blood sample and filling out a form they said they would call me to schedule an appointment.  Already there I got a bit upset; why not take the blood and if it’s not good, throw it!  Anyway, got the call back, scheduled a time (not very convenient) and went there ready to donate.  My number was called and I headed towards the beds, but was re-directed into a small room for consultations:

Nurse: – You have marked on your form that you have changed partner within the last 6 months so you cannot donate blood.

Me (annoyed): – What???  I’ve been here twice, you’ve tested my blood and all is fine but you won’t take my donation?

Nurse: – That is correct, it is our rules and regulations.

Me (livid): – Would you accept blood from married people?

Nurse: – Yes, of course (smiling)

Me (livid): -And you believe that there is no cheating in  this world, that a married person could be sure their partner have not had unprotected sex with someone else?  Instead of accepting blood from me who knows EXACTLY what I have done and not done?

Nurse: – It is our rules and regulations. (not smiling anymore, nervously turning her wedding band on the finger)

Me (livid): Well I guess you don’t need blood then, I will never again go through this humiliation!  

That was my experience in Sweden, however my family donates frequently and have not experienced this kind of stupidity so I might reconsider if I end up in Sweden again at some point 😉                                                                 I know that in Sweden you are advised to eat well the day of your donation as you might need the strength, donations are done throughout the day so no restrictions on donating on an empty stomach. There is a small reimbursement for donating (3€) which most people donate right back and you are offered some snacks after it is done.

At AVIS, Oria, Italy you are welcomed by a team of volunteers as if you are there to donate a Million Euro! As I do not master the language very well I was a bit nervous for medical questions, but they walked me through everything with a smile. I had been told to come there on an empty stomach and timings are 8-12 Sunday morning once a month or so. I figured I’ll go early as I am not a big fan of leaving the house before breakfast, and definitely want to get it done fast and then have my breakfast! As you enter the building you get a number, this number is a keeper throughout the process  and even after you leave, as they use the number as a lottery ticket after every donation. Documents are checked, forms filled and off you go for a blood sample. Immediately you are handed the results on a slip and guided to a doctor who checks your blood pressure and asks a few questions.  This is where my first attempt ended as I had not had a ECG done recently (never, I think…). I returned to the form filling desk and they made sure to have all my contact information and welcomed me back 3 weeks later as the ECG would be in place that day and I could donate.  I was given juice, coffee & freshly baked goodies from the # 1 bakery in town.  A few hours later I received an e-mail, welcoming me for the said date 3 weeks later.  A few days later I got a call from the president of the association asking if I could come and do the ECG an evening this week, which I was not able to do but promised to show up for the next donation.  At this point I started to feel as if it must be gold flowing through my veins..

Today I went to finally donate, it’s been 11 years since the last time due to the “rules and regulations in Sweden”… I arrived early ( I thought) but the parking was already full and as I entered the line to register long…  One of the ladies spotted me from far and called my name pointing on an empty chair by her table,  once again feeling like a celebrity surrounded by smiling faces.  My number was 54, turned out to be the lucky number as today I succeeded to: test the blood, ECG, Blood Pressure taken, shot of espresso with sugar to get it up a bit, then finally I was on the stretcher 🙂  Oh boy did she have to work on me, couldn’t find a good vein, smacked, rubbed and worked it for a good five minutes until she decided to try.  It was a little bit painful but slowly we got it to work, slowly but securely.  The people around be donated in 5 min and off they went, it took me quite a while to squeeze out 390ml…  But they got it, thanked me and made sure constantly that I was not feeling dizzy or faint or or or…  As I approached the exit the ladies spotted me again and I got to finally register as a member, I had passed the ritual! The nice lady at the café made sure I got a seat, freshly baked pastry and a coffee! Before leaving they handed me me these gifts:

Doner gifts


This is Italy:  Rosé wine and aged cheese as a donation gift!

Voluntéers at AVIS


Here is the team of volunteers who are doing a great job and makes me pick blood donating in Oria over other places!!!


Lonely Planet says its praise too…

Lonely Planet’s best value travel destinations for 2014



When times are tight we suggest you travel more, not less – but pick carefully. This is where your wallet will smile at the memories for years to come.

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-tips-and-articles/lonely-planets-best-value-travel-destinations-for-2014#ixzz2lkulDlX4

Italy’s heel

Old fortified farmhouse in Puglia, Italy. Image by Michele Galli / E+ / Getty Images.

If you’ve ever rubbed shoulders with billionaires on the Amalfi Coast or spent the weekend in Venice, you’ll know that Italy can drain travel budgets. This year, look south. Italy’s heel has arguably the best beaches in the country, hilltop towns and ancient sights. But what makes Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria such good value is not just the financial side of being in this part of the country. It’s the fabulous food – cucina povera (poor man’s food), simple, tasty and cheap – and the relaxed pace of life even in peak season, coupled with good-value accommodation for all budgets.

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-tips-and-articles/lonely-planets-best-value-travel-destinations-for-2014#ixzz2lkuIRano


National Geographic says it, so it must be true…

Read an article today that gives me such great satisfaction, a feeling of “I told you so” or “I knew it” or or or… The list goes on, here it comes:


And to top it all off:

RyanAir will continue with their direct flights Stockholm Skavsta – Brindisi, April-November 2014 as well, season 2013 is just coming to an end but arrangements for 2014 are well on their way Yayy!!!!

See you next year!

Feijoa in Puglia

A new fruit for me…  I’ve never seen, tried or even heard of this fruit before:



Last night we had it with goat cheese and chili flakes, it was addictive.

The flowers are beautiful:



And so is the tree itself:



This fruit tree is definitely a must have for me, going shopping soon.



Linda Loves Lena & Lennart

When there is 5 days left of the season and you are really feelin’ it, then I can recommend surrounding yourself with the greatest guests.  This weekend we’ve had a lot of fun with new and old friends, mixed with super hard work to get ready for olive harvest on Friday.

To top off a great weekend this arrived today from 2 of our absolute sweetest guests, guests who were not friends from before but have surely occupied a place in my heart for good!

Dried funnel chanterelles, beautiful card and a surprise...

Dried funnel chanterelles, beautiful card and a surprise…

Gorgeous linen table cloth...

Gorgeous linen table cloth…

Thanks Lena & Lennart!



Fall is here…

… when the Sunday lunch is served inside:

Thanks for a lovely lunch, as always!

Thanks for a lovely lunch, as always!


For some it might be a sad acknowledgement but I truly enjoy all the seasons here.  It is still +20 although we’ve had a cloudy and slightly rainy day and our guests are right now enjoying freshly picked pomegranates on the terrace as they take turns to get a nice massage by Stella.  This evening the BBQ will be lit, hopefully without the need to hold an umbrella over it (and me)!

Buona Domenica Tutti!

Neighborhood Fanatic!



Berlusconi Fanatic


Although we just finished our first Italian lesson I am not sure if this man is pro or against Berlusconi, Google Translate is not helping…  I think it says something like:  May God help those who does not understand the property taxes, no return of Berlusconi…. But I could be completely wrong!  Very creative Oriatani!