Gym…Grimace…Go for Gold!

I chose these because they went with my outfit!

I chose these because they went with my outfit!

Rejected these because they didn't match my outfit.

Rejected these because they didn’t match my outfit.

I bought the new shoes! I have all the gear including the water bottle and I am now a keen member of the gym or palestra as it’s called in Italian; well I’m a member anyway.

I told my daughter I was going to the gym…’but you hate the gym’ she quipped. I still hate it but needs must. I managed to cajole a friend into going with me – or was it the other way round? We decided that if we committed together we’d be less likely to pull out. She does have about 20 years on me so I’m trying very hard not to be competitive because obviously she’s going to be able to do more than me, more quickly than me and will be fitter than me in a shorter time. Maybe I should stick to being artistic? Too late now…I’ve signed on the dotted.

My Friend's arms, she didn't want her photo taken

My Friend’s arms, she didn’t want her photo taken..you can see she’s younger than me though!

It’s not a bad little set up in Valmir, Petritoli’s valley town and the closest gym to home. Payment was attractive, €25 registration and a special offer of €140 for five months.

Matteo (photo to follow if he allows it) helped us with the registration form, or should I say we helped him interpret the English and Scottish names and places of birth. In Italy it is a standard question to ask not just for your date of birth but also place of birth and they don’t just want England they want the place, ‘Ux-bri-dge’ I repeat for the fifth time, they’ve never heard of it, can’t pronounce it and I cannot imagine why it is so important. You often have to include your Codice Fiscale in any form filling. It’s like your National Insurance number, how many people in England carry that information around with them I wonder? You must carry documents with you in Italy, your ID card and your Tessara Sanitaria (health card with your CF on it). If you don’t have a card then you have to have on your person the tatty piece of paper with your number on it given to you by the local council office. It’s tatty because bits of paper do get tatty when carried constantly in a wallet or handbag.

Anyway, back to the gym. Matteo (photo to follow) showed us around all the equipment, which looked to me a bit like medieval torture apparatus or sci-fi dentist chairs or even birthing beds. I think he felt sorry for us because he took us under his wing and gave us the personal trainer bit for the first two sessions making sure we didn’t hurt ourselves on the machines or kindly giving us some horrendously horrible floor exercises for toning up parts of me that frankly I had forgotten I had!

Thighs and Bums....

Thighs and Bums….

There are only two running machines and these are very popular. We discovered after only one session that there is a rush to grab one of theses as soon as the doors of the gym are open for business. It’s bit like the sun beds on the beach; you notice there is a towel thrown over the handle, bagging the machine while the owner pops off to do something else.

Dentist Chair...

Dentist or Birthing Chair…

Having shown us the ropes, Matteo (photo to follow) is there to guide us and keep an eye on what we’re doing, I’ve manage to watch him prowling the gym and when I think he’s coming close to me I quickly switch up the resistance on what ever machine I’m working on so he thinks I’m being good. I know, I know….only cheating myself but this WAS just the first week after all!

Weights...obviously

Weights…obviously..oh and my foot.just to prove I’m there. 

Dining, Dancing, Doting Nonna…..

Viareggio

Viareggio in the Evening Sun

Long time no blog. That’s because Olivespastavino has been travelling – a lot!

In the middle of March we drove up to the North of Italy, first to Viareggio inTuscany, then on to Apricale in Liguria and finally a visit to Gubbio in Umbria. It was fabulous. We absolutely loved each place and plan to visit Gubbio again in June, specifically the Relais Ducale. Another Blog post with more info to follow next week.

Apricale

Apricale Piazza

Gubbio

Gubbio Hotel Relais Ducale

At the very end of March I jumped on a flight to the UK to meet up with my lovely daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter, they live in New York so this was an opportunity to meet up. Sadly they were visiting the UK because of bereavement on my son-in-law’s side of the family.

The weather was fabulous and despite a sickness bug (for them not me) we managed to have a wonderful time. A visit to Hampton Court Palace Gardens was the highlight. A truly English experience. Spring flowers, shrubs, trees, foot paths and all beside the river Thames.

flowershcp

Spring Flowers in Hampton Court Palace Gardens

Wide Pathways and Beautiful Trees Hampton Court Palace Gardens

Wide Pathways and Beautiful Trees Hampton Court Palace Gardens

It really is truly wonderful being a grandmother, Nonna in Italian.  I love it! Of course I have got the most beautiful granddaughter in the whole world…who hasn’t? Every moment spent with her is precious, she lives so far away.

Nonna and Grandchild

Nonna and Grandchild

I returned to Italy for just one week and then went off again. This time to Northern Ireland for a grand dinner and knees up…splendid do, The Man polished up quite well for this and he was a lot better than the dog at selfies!

3photo

From Belfast we travelled over to Bristol where again the sun shone. After visiting Cardiff for family business The Man and I went our separate ways for a few days, him to London and I stayed in Bristol where I suddenly got the fitness bug!

My friend Jan took me to the gym, I don’t often like them but this one was rather lovely…Bristol Health and Fitness I did ten minutes on the bike, ten minutes on the running machine and then five minutes on a machine for toning biceps and triceps, it was a bit like riding a bicycle with my arms. Think I only covered a few metres though. We then had a swim, me in the slow lane and Jan in the fast. I never was any good at swimming.

This is Jan not me!

This is Jan not me!

Jan gave me some of her old gym clothing and I invested in a good sports bra – very necessary! The very next day I borrowed a pair of trainers and I went for a run, yes a RUN – well a walk with a bit of jogging thrown in for good measure. It took me half an hour, up the road and round the park.  I felt very proud of myself.

Back in Italy I am determined to carry on what I have started but so far the bra has only had one outing and I’ve yet to buy the running shoes. BUT – today I collected a registration form from the local gym in Valmir. Not quite up to the Bannatyne standard but what the heck. Watch this space.

Hope you all had a good Easter, our Sunday lunch was taken at Parco Galeano again this year, 33 euro for a meal of several delicious courses, wine, coffee and liqueurs thrown in! No wonder I need the gym!

Easter Sunday Lunch

Easter Sunday Lunch

 

easterlunch2

Thanks for the photos Ivo!