The wind started howling last night, banging against the metal shutters and whistling as it skidded under the front door, reminding me that it *is* still winter, even in the south. Not that I really needed reminding; staying in a beach resort in the off-season offers clear enough clues with shuttered up seaside establishments and other shops closed for a month-long vacation.
The town of Santa Maria is pretty, but also pretty small. The main pedestrian street, called the Corso, is lined with shops and cafes and while most of them are open year round, their hours are much more relaxed than during the high season months when the place is packed. Can't say that I blame them; when you put in long hours for three straight months, take the chance to kick back when it comes along. When we were looking for a connector cable to hook up the DVD to the television, for example, the first shop didn't have what we needed but directed us up the street to another electronics store, cautioning us, "he probably isn't there yet, though. He will open around 10:30 or 11:00." Va bene.
The overflowing swimming pool is another sign. While early winter is usually rainy, everyone we've encountered so far is bemoaning the much wetter-than-normal season they've been experiencing. I guess the unremitting rains we had in Ascoli had circled around to this area, too. In fact, they are telling us that they haven't seen rain like this is 40 years. There have been an abundance of rockslides in the hills above town, in some cases stranding residents out of their homes when the roads become impassable. What do you do when you can't get home after work? Boh. (See photos of the wash-outs here.)
Today I'm watching the gray storm over the sea while listening to the wind, catching up on email and projects while nursing a cup of tea. But at least it is a warm wind. It may still be winter, but it is definitely milder than we've experienced in a few years, and being able to watch the weather fronts as they skirt the coast is a new experience. We can see waves breaking in front of a lighthouse located on an isola in the distance. Very cool.
Now where did I put those biscottini? They'd go nicely with my tea.