Auntie Adventures: Boardwalk Surprises

I’ve been in southern Italy almost two weeks now and no, I’m still not in the swing of things. You see, this time when I returned from my summer trip to Texas, I wasn’t empty-handed. In fact, I now have not one, but two adolescent boys-my nine year-old nephew, Cole and a friend’s 14 year old son, Jake to show around Calabria.

My friend Lisa over at Wanderlust Women’s Travel Dreams urged me to share some of my Auntie Adventures with you on the blog, so with Lisa’s urging and my sister’s insistence for details of our day-to-day activities, I’ve decided to chronicle some of our adventures here.

Boardwalk Surprises

Our first adventure takes place on a Sunday evening on the Catanzaro Lido lungomare. We have plans-the two boys, my husband and I-to meet up with friends for pizza, gelato and a night of people-watching on the lungmare.

Like many other seaside towns in Italy, Catanzaro Lido’s lungomare is bursting with people of all ages, walking their dogs, meeting their friends, gathering to play in the arcade or just checking out who on the lungomare is checking them out.

As we parked our car into one of too-tight spaces we’d managed to wrangle, our friends call and tell us they’ll be an hour late.

“No problem,” we thought. “We’ll just hang out here with the boys.”

As we were approaching the beach, a middle-aged man with a beagle passes us.

“Look!” Cole said. “A doggie! How do you say, ‘Can I pet your dog in Italian?'”

Knowing “accarezzare” would be too difficult for him to remember in Italian, we told him to just point to the dog and say “Posso?”

And so he did. (Except he said “Cosso?” and the guy had a hard time figuring out what this nine year old American kid was trying to tell him about his pooch.)

My husband came to the rescue, corrected Cole’s pronunciation and on we went.

However, anyone with kids will know that if you do something once, you’re going to get asked again. And again. And yet again.

Not content sitting on the lungomare waiting for dog-walkers to approach us, Cole began stalking them -searching for them, chasing them down the boardwalk, dashing to get ahead of them so he could accidentally bump into them in passing.




They were all charmed and every one of those Calabrians freely offered up their pooch for his petting.

A few minutes before our friends scheduled arrival, we grabbed a seat on one of the orange-slice benches that faces the Ionian.

“Cole,” I told him, trying to give the dogs and their owners a piccolo break. “Most people don’t come to the lungomare to look at pets. They come to look at girls like the one your Uncle Peppe is pretending not to look at now.”

“Oh yea,” his face lit up. “Like her.”

I followed his gaze and it was, indeed, the same leggy blond Uncle Peppe was pretending he hadn’t seen.

“Yes,” I told him. “Like her.”

He glanced around the lungomare and as our friends arrived we began our stroll towards the pizzeria. The previous conversation forgotten by everyone but Cole, he blurted out, “That one! That’s the one I like.”

We looked over to a 30something blond, with a turquoise blue tank and tight blue jeans (“And black boots,” says Cole, as he reads this over my shoulder, “Don’t forget her black boots!”)

A pretty girl woman, indeed.

Everyone laughed at his choice and we continued on our way.

Ten minutes later, we enter the pizzeria and who do we see sitting at the bar? Blue Tank Top, herself.

A quick restroom break, hand-wash and scan around the pizzeria later (since he now knows that is what expected of men in Calabria), Cole and Uncle Peppe pass the bar.

To everyone’s surprise-and to Uncle Peppe’s astonishment, embarrassment, discomfort-Cole walks past Blue Tank Top, turns to look at her and her brunette friend and says, “Ciao bella!”

The table bursts into laughter and shy Uncle Peppe crawls into the hole he mentally blazed into the floor.

It is soon over, though.

Blue Tank Top leaves the pizzeria with her stack of to-go boxes and bag of arancini and walks my nephew’s nine-year-old heart out the door.

But all is well. In just a few days he’ll go to Pizzo and there will be another-albeit just as unattainable surprise waiting for him there.

Traveling south? Click here to see how I can help you plan your trip to Calabria or southern Italy.

13 Responses
  1. Those kids must be having so much fun with you! Can’t wait to hear what else you and they have gotten up to!

    Ha. Yea, I’m kinda scared to tell the Pizzo story-my sis might get molto mad. 😉

  2. I am still laughing that I can barely type – I don’t know which you deserve more kudos for – your unending patience with Peppe and/or with Cole. ROFL
    Brava, Zia, Brava. Pls tell us more

    Ha! Yea, P was trying, but she was super pretty! he he I have more stories brewing. Thanks again for the idea.

  3. Vanessa

    Ha ha awesome!! Great story + photo, he reminds me of that cool kid in Terminator II (Sarah Connor’s son)….

    Well I’ll just have to check that out!

  4. Judy Mancuso

    So what is the 14 y.o. doing! We just had our 7 year old grandson here in Hawaii where there are lots of beaches and beauties!!!, he too was pointing them out to Grandpa! However, you, Cherrye have nothing to worry about…you are a beauty yourself.

    Ha, thanks, Judy! The 14 yo was there “sneaking” glances at the “hot Italian girls” I later I later heard him say. He is MUCH more timid than Cole so no blurting out “ciao bella” from him. 🙂

  5. Judy Davis-Smith

    I’d like more about your adventures with the boys! Loved the story and can just imagine watching the entire day like a movie behind my eyes. Cole reminds me of my grandson when he was about that age – so much energy and not much in the way of verbal self-restraint!

    “Not much verbal self-restraint” … you can say that again! lol

  6. irish jen

    Cherr….i love it…….u have your hands full with all them boys included zio P..I’ve another 2yrs left before i have to lock Lucah up so, them 9yr old kids from K town are very fast!!!

    Seriously, Jenn, you have to watch it-I tell you, Italy made him this way! lol

  7. Ah, the Catanzaro Lido lungomare. Your nephew sure is gutsy! I spent an entire summer eating gelato or granite and walking up and down that boardwalk under the blazing sun. The friends I was with pretended not to check out the women in bikinis while I pretended not to check out the gorgeous Italian guys in abbreviated swim trunks. 😀

    Ha-love it!

  8. Ha. Cherrye this story is too funny.

    At 9 he’s saying Ciao Bella already?! Hilarious. I wonder what will happen when he goes back to Texas.

    Your nephew is so lucky to share this amazing vacation with you.

    Ha! Yes, definitely something to worry about-he wasn’t “this bad” in the US-I am blaming the air in Calabria!

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