Prologue : Both Patti and I enjoy Frostbite Frank’s adventures and writing. Because we enjoy them we are assuming that some of you also will enjoy Frank’s contributions to dotnet.

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Tuesday Evening, January 23rd 2024

The time has (finally) come to catch up with our Friend and Ally, The One, The Only, Frostbite Frank.

Frank’s current adventure in Italy had to be temporarily set aside because of my involvement first with the Havasu VW Buses By The Bridge show that began on January the 11th (the most recent day that I posted a Frostbite Frank Update) and January the 14th the day the VW Bus show ended then immediately after the VW Buses I was involved with the Havasu Balloon Festival. 

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In the below text Frank mentions riding the train from Rome to Bari, Italy. Then from Bari to Ostuni, Italy.

Where on this good earth are Bari and Ostuni, Italy? 

Below you can see Rome and Bari.

Below you can see Bari and Ostuni.

For a much more detailed view of Rome and Bari and Ostuni, please click onto the below amazing link. 


Don’t forget you can do all sorts of things (zoom in and zoom out) with the above link.

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From Frank on Sunday, January the 14th.. 

I’m on the train from Rome to Bari, where I switch to the train to Ostuni.  Looks like I’m doomed to travel solo: while the Second Class cars are completely filled, I am the only passenger sitting in the Executive Class car, with my own personal stewardess to tend to me.  The car can hold 12 Executives but I suppose no one wanted to pay the fare.  I wouldn’t have either, except I didn’t know there were other classes – Eurail offered me only one option.  It’s expensive, but I’m on the train and learning how to get around.

My dad used to say “A little education is a dangerous thing.  Live dangerously: Learn something!” 

He also used to say “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance!” 

Below are two photos Frank sent from Rome.

In the below photo he said to notice the modern telephone with ancient Roman ruins in the background.

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January the 18th Frank texted..

Below is my new home in Ostuni, Italy. It belongs to a gentleman named Raphaele. 

Frank is house and dog sitting for Raphaele who is off to India on his own adventure. Patti and I have absolutely no clue as to how Frank connected with Raphaele.

Below are two interior views.

A view looking outside.

There is a much older house across the driveway, called a trullo. The trulli are the ancient traditional houses of the area, with conical roofs.  This trullo is a small one room house. The host rents it on AirBnB as a studio in the summer. He also has a modern one bedroom chalet of wood construction that he rents out in summer.

I’m about 3km from downtown Ostuni – a good walking distance for strengthening my back.  I also have a car (Renault Clio) for when I go shopping. Ostuni is a popular beach town on the Adriatic coast, but this time of year it is all locals and retiree expats from England, Germany, and a few from the US.  
I am taking care of 2 Italian black labs (half the size of a North American black lab, with a long, narrow face).  They are as sweet and loving as kittens.
It got down to about 45F last night, but heated way up to 62F this afternoon, with light rain.  Raphaele says I can expect these temps for the next month (and rain a couple of times a week), then it will warm up and be in the high 70’s by April.  Today is sunny and warm: perhaps 58F at 6am and 66-68F this afternoon.
That’s all the excitement here!  Raphaele leaves on Thursday for 2 – 1/2 months in India.  My nearest neighbors (English) are about a km away, and a German family lives a couple hundred meters beyond them. 
Raphaele’s cousin will be checking in on me a couple of times a week, to notify the coroner if necessary –  otherwise I’m on my own!

Ostuni is a 2,000 year old city, so the roads are old cart paths that meander wherever they go – one can’t simply go east 3 blocks , turn right, and go north 3 blocks.  I had to ask directions (anathema for a man!).  The answers tumbled out of various strangers’ mouths and occasionally I would recognize a word.  I finally met one woman who answered with her arms: she held up a finger (the universal sign for “pay attention”), then pointed in a direction and pushed her arms forward, as though she were scooping something, 3 times (3 blocks).  She then exaggeratedly pointed right and pushed her arms in a scooping motion another half-dozen times, followed by pointing an exaggerated circle.  I thanked her, got the car, and followed her directions.  Eventually I came to a traffic circle from which I could see the store. I drove home with no trouble, using my “bump of direction.”

I’ll be getting lots of opportunity to learn Italian.  Today I went grocery shopping: I found the supermarket on Apple Maps, no problem, and asked for directions. All went well until I got to downtown Ostuni, then the internet stopped.  I had a signal, full strength, my phone said I was connected to Vodafone 5G, and the voice calling apparently worked, but it wouldn’t connect to the internet – no GPS.  

When I got here I called ATT Tech Support. After a 15-munute wait I got a tech, who said “I’m sorry to hear that.  You shouldn’t be having this trouble.”  He made a few changes, then told me to disconnect the wifi and try sending him a message.  The message didn’t go through.  He suggested I try again tomorrow from downtown, and call on the voice line to try more settings changes.

I spent 2 hours today on a 15-minute drive, and I got to hear lots of machine-gun Italian.  I’ll try again tomorrow.

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I walk about 10km every morning and evening (I have re-named Hindi “5 miles,”, and Nur “10km”.  I follow Raphaele’s 3km trail that he showed me and the dogs love.  He took me on his 6km route, but I think I would get lost – if you are not on a first-name basis with every one of your 6,000 or 7,000 trees, it’s easy to get lost.  To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, “ya seen one olive tree, ya seen ‘em all.”  I am afraid to try it.  I was just thinking about it on my 3km walk this evening – I should have asked Raphaele to take a roll of orange survey flagging and hang visible ribbons on the branches.  Too late now.

I did get lost in the car this afternoon, but I just turned around and found my way back to Ostuni.  Then I used my “bump of direction” to find my way home. 

I took off for town this morning with 3 stops to make: an auto store for a charger and fix-a-flat, the pellet store where I buy pellets for the furnace, and the grocery store.  Apple Maps led me to all 3 stores just fine, then when I wanted to go home it said it couldn’t connect to the server.  It still showed the map of Ostuni and where I was though, so I plotted a route and took off. 

Unfortunately, all roads may lead to Rome, but they don’t all lead to Raphaele’s Trullo Piccolo.  I ended up in someone else’s olive campagna, where the track I was on abruptly ended.  All’s well that ends well, though – I got home and the dogs were glad to see me.

*Raphaele warned me to drive with the running lights or headlights on (required by law), and stressed that I must be careful to turn them off or the battery would die.  He answered my query whether he had a charger as though it was a completely novel idea – “No.”  He also stressed to watch the road carefully – the car only has one of those mini-donuts and it’s a hassle to change tires: hence the fix-a-flat.

I’ve been trying to teach Raphaele the maxim I have used to survive in the arctic since my surveying days: “It is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”  I can imagine ol’ spaced out Frank forgetting to turn off the lights, the battery going dead, and me having to walk to town and somehow explain to someone (who?), who probably only speaks Italian, that my battery is dead 3 miles away, and I need a jump. 

It was therefore not a hard decision to decide to buy Raphaele a gift battery charger.  So now I’m not staying here rent-free – I’ve invested 24.99€ in a battery charger I’ll probably never need.  I’ll have it if I need it though. 

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And there you have our update on Frostbite Frank.

Over and out for this evening.

Good Wednesday Morning January the 24th to One and All.

Cap and Patti

10 thoughts on “JAN 24, 24 .. FROSTBITE FRANK IN ITALY

  1. Olga from Chita

    That’s a friend! He’s travelled to ANOTHER CONTINENT to look after the house!…. A very brave and positive person!
    Cap, you have only such friends, active helpers of your dotnet! ☼

  2. Frostbitefrank

    Ff: The other part about having an adventure, when things don’t go as expected: I remind myself that the worst that can happen is that it kills me, and I already knew that was going to happen anyway.

  3. Frostbitt Frank

    Oops- the first part of my reply apparently didn’t post: I commented on Olga’s statement that I am somehow brave: No bravery required to traipse off across the globe. My definition of faith is the assurance that it will be OK (it being variable, according to circumstances. OK is absolute). St. Paul said it thus: “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    1. Olga from Chita

      If faith helps you do what you do, your faith is not just faith it is SUPER FAITH, which is enough not only for ONE PERSON but for SEVERAL people ☺
      And your friend, St.Paul, supports you greatly with his wisdom… ♫

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