Date night at the website for downloading movies and TV...Adapting our pizza recipe for Italy...

As we walked to the pub, we found new roads to explore.

The neat trim look of many of the homes caught our eye. 
There's no doubt that our social life is lacking in Tuscany.  Located in a tiny village at the peak of the mountains of the region of Lucca, we are far removed from contact with English speaking residents and tourists. With few tourist activities within a two hour drive, we've resigned ourselves that making new friends while in Boveglio is unlikely.

For a week, an American mom and her two adult daughters were our neighbors but with only a one week stay, they crammed in as much sightseeing as possible, attended a cooking class, drove to Pescia taking a train to Florence (which is on our to-do list sometime soon). 

Chatting with them only a few times between their activities, they were wishing they had more time to relax and enjoy the scenery here in Boveglio.  They too, dined in most nights except when they were in Florence, due to the distances to drive to restaurants and the winding road back up the mountain at night.

This was one steep road to walk down but back up was more challenging.
We'd hoped that stopping at the local pub, Bar Ferrari, a short walk in the neighborhood which we described last week in a post, would give us an opportunity to meet English speaking people, whether local or tourist.
Its unfortunate that homeowners have to find other areas to park their cars,especially when it  snows in the winter.
Arriving at Bar Ferrari last evening at 5:00 pm, we thought that happy hour may begin at 5:00 pm as is common in the US, to later discover that we were wrong.  Happy hour apparently begins at 6:00 pm.
Two lookalike cats live here often hovering around the entrance to the home.

With the loud Italian soap opera playing loudly on the TV in the bar, we decided our visit, although pleasant with the great prices and the extraordinary view, we decided to head home to make dinner, rather than hang around. 
Of course, no more than two minutes after we walked out the door, we noticed a group of people entering the bar.  Maybe with a crowd, the owner would turn off the TV so people could chat among themselves.  We never found out.  Most likely, we return another night at 6:00 pm to give it another try.
It appears that narrow tractors and trucks can make their way to home to deliver wood and building materials.
In any case, the walk to and from was enjoyable as usual, both of us getting a good share of exercise especially on the return walk.
Another simple but clean looking entrance.
Are we bored with one another?  Hardly.  But, we're both social animals and love to meet new people, making what has proved to be lifelong friends along the way, as we did with our wonderful friends in Belize and people we met on our cruises, many of whom we've continue to stay in touch with via email.

Tom had an Italian beer.  I had a "fizzy" water.  Can you believe the pricefor two drinks at Euro $1.50, US $1.95?  We were the only patrons in the bar. Next Friday, we'll arrive a little later and perhaps meet some of the locals who were arriving as we left.  No food we'd be interested was served in the bar.
In reality, the issue is more the language barrier than lack of people around to meet.  We adore Lisa and Luca and her parents, Cicci and Dano.  Without the language barrier, I'm certain we'd have spent time together building lasting relationships.
Tom enjoyed his beer while I particularly liked the bubbly water. It may be a possible replacement for me when we're out of our Crystal Light ice tea sometime in the next few weeks.
Although Tom has some reservations about our upcoming three months in Kenya, we'll be living in a gated community with ample opportunity to socialize.  Plus, Kenya, primarily is an English speaking country as is our next stop from there three months later, in South Africa.
Tonight, we plan to drive down a very steep road to this area which includes the larger church bell tower to hear it chime as it does only on Saturday evening, at varying times around 5:00 to 6:00 pm.
I wish I had started learning to speak Italian some time ago but that wouldn't have helped Tom.  Its conversation with others we'd enjoy and if I could speak it and translate for Tom it still would be awkward and cumbersome.

The road at the bottom on the steep incline that we'll explore later today.

The next time we'll be faced with a language issue will be when we arrive in Madeira, Portugal next May for two and a half month where, of course, they speak Portuguese. At least here in Italy with my ability to read and understand French, I can translate most road signs, restaurant menus and other written notices in part since there are many similarities in the two languages.

 Flowers are in full bloom this time of year in Tuscany.
It was funny when I was negotiating the cleaning job with Santina, I kept responding using French words.  My brain was searching for a response and French was all I could come up with.  I studied French for four years in high school.  Ironically, its all coming back to me now.

Zooming in for a better look from the vantage point of the pub's patio.
It would make sense for the homeowners to use their tractors to get from the few parking lots to their homes, especially in inclement weather.

While sitting on the patio in the bar we were swarmed by flying things including,  noticed by us for the first time, mosquitoes that were on a feeding frenzy on my bare arms.  Several bites later we left.
The house attached to the bar.  As we enjoyed our drink on the patio, the owner had the TV blaring inside while he was watching an Italian soap opera.

Our evenings at "home" are enjoyable for us, friends or no friends.  Recently, we signed up again to Graboid, the online download center for TV shows and movies, highly rated by BBB and numerous publications.  For $19.95 a month,
we can download unlimited shows and movies.
 FYI:  Graboid offers a free one month trial period during which one can download and watch several recent movies and TV shows.  (We are not associated with Graboid in any manner, other than as a customer paying the monthly $19.95).
Its difficult to determine which homes are occupied.  None of the homes have window screens or screen doors.  Any wide open window or door in a rundown building doesn't necessarily translate to a vacant property.
More beautiful flowers filling the air with heady scents.
Its easy to use.  If you try it and have difficulty, their customer service is impeccable or, if you'd like feel free to contact me on Facebook for instructions.

While in Scottsdale in November and December, we'd signed up for Graboid enabling us to download many movies and TV series to our external hard drive primarily with the intent of watching what we'd saved on the quiet evenings while in Africa, where we'll have no TV at all.  (Here the only shows we can watch in English are BBC News and CNBC to stay abreast of what's transpiring in the world).

One of the few relatively level narrow roads to home, a welcomed relief.
Unfortunately, the Internet signal was weak in Scottsdale requiring us to download the shows during the night with many movies taking several hours to download.  Now, we can download most movies in less than a half hour.

We cannot use Graboid with our portable MiFi.  The service doesn't allow download of videos due to the extensive bandwidth requirements.  With the better signal here in the house, we've been fortunate to be able to add to our  repertoire of shows for Africa, while watching some episodes of our favorite TV shows at night which include:  Dexter and The Borgias. 

Each night we've watched one episode of each of these shows, entertaining us for a full two hours.  Having missed the last few seasons of each of these, we expect to continue to catch up over the next several weeks.

Having paid little attention to movies in the theatre over the last several years, we'll look up movies on IMBD, read the synopsis and the reviews to determine if it is a genre appealing to us before taking time to download it. 
This house didn't seem occupied.  We wondered how long it may have been vacant, if the case.

In old lives, our cable bill was $234 a month.  Paying $19.95 a month for Graboid is a far cry.  Whether using one of our two laptops or our portable HD projector, we enjoy this quiet time to get outside of our heads and become wrapped up in more mindless drivel for a period of time in our day to day.

Not every moment of world travel is filled with wonder and life changing events.  Many hours are spent in the routine and mundane activities that most of us have incorporated into our daily lives.  Fortunately, for us, we both enjoy the "routine" and "the mundane" with the same fervor that we enjoy the unique and enriching.
Thus, tonight, we're having yet another repeat of our homemade pizza which we haven't had since Belize almost three months ago.  In making our low carb, sugar free, starch free, grain free recipe in Italy was surprisingly a challenge. 
There is no such thing at the grocery stores we visited as "grated or chunk US style mozzarella cheese" that we always used for the top.  Also, there is no such thing as Cheddar cheese that we always used for the crust.  The mozzarella cheese we purchased are the damp big balls of mozzarella.
I drained the balls on paper towels, replacing the towels every 15 minutes over two hours, resulting in the balls firming up.  Then, I was able to cut them into slices to place atop the pizza crust I'd made using highly flavored provolone cheese.
We were fortunate to find a chemical free, low carb, sugar free, gluten free red pasta sauce for the pizza, Italian sausage, fresh mushrooms, organic onions and the best green olives we've ever had, topping the pizza with all of these after we'd precooked the crust and, precooked and drained the sausage slicing it into bite-sized pieces.  (The sausages came tied together with string.  Love it)!

An overlook from one of the few parking areas.
 We'll see how it comes out tonight while we have a "movie night" with pizza.   Its odd to experience replacing "processed" items with "the real deal" requiring a bit of adaptation in the preparation.  I'm anticipating that making pizza this "new" way, will be our method into the future, wherever we may be.
Happy day and evening to all.


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