We're off on our annual 2-month sabbatical. My husband writes a blog about our travels and I'll post his entries here each time he has a new submission. I'll also put a link so you can see his photos, most of which go along with the story (all photos taken with an iPhone 6s+, some out the car window while driving (me yelling!)). His blog goes back a-ways, so you can look at other entries if you are so inclined!
Here are some generalities:
Start: March 12, 2016 ROME
End: May 7, 2016 PARIS
Transportation: some rental car, some train, some flights
Hotels: In general we stay in agriturismos, apartments, or small boutique hotels. We have been to many of these 6 or 7 times, and have come to know the owners and their families.
Route: here's the route + length of stay + lodging in sequential order:
-- Rome (4 nights) Colonnato di San Pietro "Moon" Apartment
-- Tuscany (5 nights) Agriturismo Savernano
-- Verona (4 nights) B&B Villa Beatrice
-- Bolzano (4 nights) Hotel Hanny
-- Salzburg (5 nights) Bloberger Hof
-- Vienna (4 nights) Pension Suzanne
-- Budapest (5 nights) Kapital Inn
-- Berlin (7 nights) Hotel Am Steinplatz
-- London (8 nights) Rosebery Apartment
-- Paris (9 nights) Apartment in St. Germain
Posting #1: Rome and Tuscany
“Rome was a poem pressed into service as a city.”
“My idea of heaven still is to drive the gravel farm roads of… Tuscany, very pleasantly lost.”
We arrive in Rome, once again to practice being Italian.
With affection, we refer to our cozy marble-faced apartment within the Vatican’s countenance as The Mussolini Arms.
We cover the Eternal City by foot, proclaiming our daily schedule and itinerary: “as and when!” No rush; no compulsive need to cover required attractions – this visit we are “just here” in Italy. Comfortable and quietly exhilarating.
Glorious weather favors our indulgence of familiar pleasures: Caffé Canova – caffé e latte and eye candy on Piazza del Popolo; Ristorante Vecchia Roma bordering the Ghetto – lunch of antipasti and spaghetti carbonara, operatic concert at the Sant’Agnese in Agone Church – a glorious recital of classic arias; half-marathon walks along the graceful curves of the Tevere River, bisecting the Holy from profane.
An Italian SIM card transforms our iPhone into a localized appliance capable of Googling every whim and vocalizing directions with near flawless precision. Our torment navigating foreign terrain is finally over! One comical exception – “she” pronounces Bologna “baloney”.
After 4 immersive days of surveying Roman culture, relaxed and in tune with the latitude, we transition via Hertz to the embrace of Agriturismo Savernano in Toscana. We are the first visitors of the season. “We open for you!” says Cosimo, the charming teenage son of Davide and Eva. We are welcomed by the family with a roaring fireplace and kisses on both cheeks.
This wonderful farmhouse, amid vineyards and orchards, is our base for 5 days. Each day we set out for excursions to Florence, Siena, to hilltop Preggio on the Umbrian border, and on a sleepy Sunday, to nearby Castelfranco where we thrill to a regional pro-cycling race. Evenings we return to the warmth of Savernano and relax with Davide’s Chianti and Eva’s home cooking.
Preggio, which we visited on our first day in the countryside, holds a special place in our memory. It is remote, wildly rural, an almost perfectly preserved hill town. Bruno and Elena live at the base of this Medieval setting among 2000 hectares of vineyards and produce “biologic” (organic) wine, olive oil, and honey.
We are treated to an eight course, four-hour lunch of hand-made delicacies- many of the vegetables and herbs gathered wild from their fields. Their hospitality and field-to-fork offerings are what draws us from Town to Country.
(pics here: http://www.choosewhatworks.com/blog/2016/03/citta-e-campagna-town-and-country-2/)
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2-Month Sabbatical: Italy, Austria, Budapest, Berlin, London, Paris