I just wanna run

If you’re ever lacking motivation to go on a run, try scouting out a new trail. Or a new town. Or a new country.

When I first arrived in Italy, I made two promises to myself: (1) I would go running several times a week and (2) I would not use headphones. The second promise is kind of a big deal since I’ve never been comfortable running without them. But here we go, cold turkey.

Every time I go running in Porto Potenza, I feel like I’m frolicking through one of da Vinci’s paintings. I’m so busy gaping at the landscape that I hardly notice the uphill climbs. Birds sing and leaves overhead rustle in the breeze. It’s amazing the soundtrack that Mother Nature plays for you if you just listen for it. For me, headphones are definitely a thing of the past.

This morning, Arianna and I decide to do our normal route that takes us up past the cemetery to Casette Antonelli on top of the hill, and then make our way back down to the beach. The route is about 10 km (for those of you who are like me and don’t want to do the conversion in your head, it’s a little over 6 miles) and includes some decent hills and incredible scenery. And just to prove it to you, I’m bringing my camera.

After breakfast, we drop Bianca off at the nursery and start the uphill climb to Casette Antonelli.

The view during our uphill climb.

The view during our uphill climb.

As we run, we exchange vocabulary and pronunciation tips. “Horse,” I say, pointing to one that’s grazing nearby. Arianna repeats the word a couple of times, and then tells me the Italian equivalent: cavallo. I say it until my pronunciation is correct.

Welcome to Casette Antonelli. In other words, congrats on making it to the top of the hill.

Welcome to Casette Antonelli. In other words, congrats on making it to the top of the hill.

Casette Antonelli is a little village a few kilometers away from Porto Potenza. When we finally make it there, I get a little lesson in Italian pronunciation. “It’s not Casette Antonelli,” Arianna tells me. “It’s CaseT-Te AntoneL-Li. When there are two of the same letters, you say both of them.” I have to repeat it multiple times before I say it right.

A "children crossing" sign.

A “children crossing” sign.

This isn’t fair. Even their signs are cute. I mean, the girl has a BOW in her hair.

The view of the Adriatic Sea from Casette Antonelli.

The view of the Adriatic Sea from Casette Antonelli.

In the distance, you can see Monte Conero. The mountain is about a 30-minute drive from Porto Potenza.

In the distance, you can see Monte Conero. The mountain is about a 30-minute drive from Porto Potenza.

Yes, it actually looks like that. Everywhere.

Yes, it actually looks like that. Everywhere.

The run down the hill is just as picturesque.

One of the streets we run on.

One of the streets on our route.

As we arrive at the main road that takes us back to the beach, Arianna spots a tiny kitten sleeping next to the sidewalk. We initially jog past it, but we make it only a few steps before turning around and going back. Arianna picks up the kitty and, just like that, we bring it home with us. We get back with just enough time to shower before lunch. It’s only noon and I’ve already gone on a run, toured some of the countryside, learned a little Italian vocabulary, and made a new furry friend. And who says you can’t be productive on vacation?

C'mon, be real. You'd take the kitty home, too.

C’mon now. You’d take the kitty home, too.