Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sunday, March 18, 2007

How we got the House - Part II

… it was in the summer of 2006, about end of July, beginning of August – I cannot remember the exact day as I do not remember days and dates while on holiday – it was just another nice summer afternoon in Calabria. We came for an ice cream (prendere un gelato) to Pizzo. As we sat in the sunshine at the Piazza Republica in our favourite ‘gelateria’ each of us had to make the most difficult decision of the day. Who would go for the famous ‘tartufo’ and who would go for the speciality of the house ‘la Torta Belvedere’?

Enjoying the sweet ice creation and being taken by ‘la dolce vita’ we were musing about owning an apartment in Pizzo – an apartment with a huge roof terrace and great sea view.
So we asked the ice saloon’s owner’s son if he would by chance know someone who is selling such a property. He immediately talked about an apartment a stone throw away from the piazza and five minutes later we were standing in front of a huge Palazzo (not ours). He pointed to the fifths floor and mentioned some details. While talking, a ‘signore’ on a bicycle came by and greeted the ice saloon’s owner’s son. The iceman asked the cyclist right away if he would know who to contact about that apartment. And the cyclist said, that ‘la signora’ from the travel agency is in charge for real estate questions.

Another half an hour later we stood in front of the travel agency that was advertising day trips to the volcano island Stromboli, renting boats and scooters, as well as holiday homes, offering Internet access and selling south Italian pottery. We met with la signora, an efficient businesswoman, and made appointment for the next day.

After showing us the apartment mentioned above she led us to another object down the alley. And this was when we were introduced to that fantastic house on the edge of a rock about 54 meters over the sea level. We were speechless and I almost forgot to take pictures. I took about a hundred pictures that visit and the other visits. Later, when I looked at the persons in the pictures, everybody in every moment was having this sweet enchanted smile in the face.
Maybe we were bewitched when we made the decision. Maybe we were lucky. Time will tell.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

How we got the House - Part I

How did you come to getting a palazzo in the first place?, recently asked Maryam.

The story does not begin in Italy.

Please follow me to Asia - more precisely to the most beautiful country in Southeast Asia: to Thailand. Thailand was our home for about five years. And it is still in our hearts. Since we are back in Asia, this time in China, we still spend holidays in Bangkok or at one of the white sandy beaches of Thailand. Everybody who has lived in Thailand loves the country and the people. And who can afford it buys an apartment in Bangkok or a holiday home at the beach. Although the law does not allow foreigners to own land or a house, everything is possible in ‘Amazing Thailand’.

During a beach holiday in Koh Samui, infatuated by life in paradise, we went on a house hunting tour. Just for fun. The young British real estate agents, one a former DJ, one a bar owner, were not much professional and not much inspiring confidence. However, at the second day they presented us the dream house at the dream beach for a dream price. We immediately fell in love with the location, a little private beach in the north of the Island and we loved the garden with its seven palm trees and direct beach access.

I already had remodelled the house in my mind and relocated the pool. The working title was ‘Casa Samui’. But to make a long story short, legally, we could have bought ‘Casa Samui’, but we could not have used the property for the next 28 years as it was leased by an American guy. His lease was illegally cancelled due to a signature forgery. Later we even met the American and his wife in person for dinner in Beijing. They were on their way back from Thailand where they took part in the court case. They even invited us to stay at ‘Casa Samui’ when stopping by. I think they liked that we played with open cards all the time and even supported their case.

While talking to friends in Bangkok about our investment plans in a house on the beach, our former boss tried to convince us to become his neighbour and invest in land at Natai Beach in Phang Na Province, just 20 minutes north of Phuket International Airport. It is another paradise. Miles of deserted white sandy beach. However this paradise was unfortunately cruelly hit by a Tsunami in December 2004. I feel like I could not find sleep in a house on the beach in this area of Thailand. That was why we thought of Samui in the first place. It is located in the Gulf of Thailand that cannot be hit by a Tsunami.

Well, this is the story why we did not get a property in Thailand (for now). And this was when I told my husband: let’s wait for our summer holiday in South Italy. I am sure, when we look at properties there, we might find something we like. The seaside is always a great place - wherever on this planet.

To be continued…

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Palazzo To Do: Colours

Thinking COLOURS for decorating our house in South Italy I searched for 'Calabria' at flickr.
Yes, the house is in Calabria. About inbetween Naples and Sicily. The sea down here is really fantastic, crystal clear.

The last two pics are from Luca and Paddino on flickr.