I bought the new shoes! I have all the gear including the water bottle and I am now a keen member of the gym or palestra as it’s called in Italian; well I’m a member anyway.
I told my daughter I was going to the gym…’but you hate the gym’ she quipped. I still hate it but needs must. I managed to cajole a friend into going with me – or was it the other way round? We decided that if we committed together we’d be less likely to pull out. She does have about 20 years on me so I’m trying very hard not to be competitive because obviously she’s going to be able to do more than me, more quickly than me and will be fitter than me in a shorter time. Maybe I should stick to being artistic? Too late now…I’ve signed on the dotted.
It’s not a bad little set up in Valmir, Petritoli’s valley town and the closest gym to home. Payment was attractive, €25 registration and a special offer of €140 for five months.
Matteo (photo to follow if he allows it) helped us with the registration form, or should I say we helped him interpret the English and Scottish names and places of birth. In Italy it is a standard question to ask not just for your date of birth but also place of birth and they don’t just want England they want the place, ‘Ux-bri-dge’ I repeat for the fifth time, they’ve never heard of it, can’t pronounce it and I cannot imagine why it is so important. You often have to include your Codice Fiscale in any form filling. It’s like your National Insurance number, how many people in England carry that information around with them I wonder? You must carry documents with you in Italy, your ID card and your Tessara Sanitaria (health card with your CF on it). If you don’t have a card then you have to have on your person the tatty piece of paper with your number on it given to you by the local council office. It’s tatty because bits of paper do get tatty when carried constantly in a wallet or handbag.
Anyway, back to the gym. Matteo (photo to follow) showed us around all the equipment, which looked to me a bit like medieval torture apparatus or sci-fi dentist chairs or even birthing beds. I think he felt sorry for us because he took us under his wing and gave us the personal trainer bit for the first two sessions making sure we didn’t hurt ourselves on the machines or kindly giving us some horrendously horrible floor exercises for toning up parts of me that frankly I had forgotten I had!
There are only two running machines and these are very popular. We discovered after only one session that there is a rush to grab one of theses as soon as the doors of the gym are open for business. It’s bit like the sun beds on the beach; you notice there is a towel thrown over the handle, bagging the machine while the owner pops off to do something else.
Having shown us the ropes, Matteo (photo to follow) is there to guide us and keep an eye on what we’re doing, I’ve manage to watch him prowling the gym and when I think he’s coming close to me I quickly switch up the resistance on what ever machine I’m working on so he thinks I’m being good. I know, I know….only cheating myself but this WAS just the first week after all!