Jamikins and Bikerscott do Italy!

Old Jul 8th, 2012, 09:27 AM
  #181  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 4,669
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
...another very 'tasty' TR has come to an end, sigh, I hope
you are busily planning your next one. Going to be fun to
read about your Greek sailing adventure...but it's the land-
based ones I love! Thanks for the terrific writing and the
stellar photos.
immimi is offline  
Old Jul 8th, 2012, 12:28 PM
  #182  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,321
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well, another trip has come and gone and we are back in rainy London (seriously this rubbish weather is ridiculous - enough already!!!)

We had an amazing time and cannot wait to get back to Italy!

Some final thoughts:

It was great to see areas off the 'tourist track'. There were barely any crowds and it was great not to have to fight to sit down or get through a square. Very refreshing.

The areas we visited were amazing, but a bit more 'challenging'. Places like Florence, Rome, Venice, Assisi etc lay out their jewels for all to see. Tuscany is a beautiful vista around every corner. Cinque Terre and Amalfi Coast are just begging for people to admire their lovely coastlines. Puglia and Le Marche make you look a bit harder, especially Puglia. The jewels are there, you just have to search them out. They arent the big ticket items in general, and you sometimes need to look past the oil refinery while admiring the lovely olive grove hahahaha!

The people are soo friendly! Even in areas where no english was spoken people went out of their way to communicate.

The drivers are crazy. Seriously. There are no 'rules' just 'suggestions'! However everyone knows the acceptable practices and as long as everyone follows them then everyone is fine. Remember - you can park anywhere hahaha.

Next on our trip agenda is a two week sailing trip in the Dodeconese. I dont think it will be a day by day live report due to internet access challenges, but we will of course be documenting the journey in print and photos and will post on our return or when we get access.

Next in Italy I think we want to visit Naples next spring for a long weekend and then New Years 2013 we are planning a week in Tuscany in the country. Will be interesting to see Tuscany in winter when the tourists are gone, and we can cozy up to our fireplace and discover villages and towns when they are filled with locals. Not your typical time to go so could be interesting hahahaha!

Thanks for following along! We love sharing with all of you and look forward to the planning all year round!!
jamikins is online now  
Old Jul 8th, 2012, 12:30 PM
  #183  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,321
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oh and forget Sicily in Sept 2013 for two weeks. Addicted to Italy!!!
jamikins is online now  
Old Jul 8th, 2012, 12:31 PM
  #184  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,321
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sigh - sorry, FORGOT (not forget) Sicily!
jamikins is online now  
Old Jul 8th, 2012, 12:33 PM
  #185  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 604
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
wow i love that im not the only one who plans so far in advance!! loved he report....thinking of a trip to le marche!! but excited about our paxos trip first!!
HG001London is offline  
Old Jul 8th, 2012, 05:26 PM
  #186  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,478
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for taking the time to write this terrific trip report & post your beautiful photos. It's always fun to following along with the 2 of you. I was considering a driving trip in Sicily in 2013, but now you have instilled the the fear of God in me for ever trying to drive in Italy!
LowCountryIslander is offline  
Old Jul 8th, 2012, 09:31 PM
  #187  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,321
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Haha LowCountry...as long as you follow THEIR rules you will be fine!!!

Glad you guys enjoyed the trip...now off to work boo!!
jamikins is online now  
Old Jul 9th, 2012, 05:50 PM
  #188  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5,741
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Loved the trip report, you two! Thanks so much for sharing. Welcome back to the real world.
sarge56 is offline  
Old Jul 10th, 2012, 05:15 AM
  #189  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,152
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Enjoyed reading another wonderful trip report by you two.

Thanks for spending the time and sharing your great travelling stories. I loved touring along with you. I'll look forward to the next trip.

Thank you!
aussie_10 is offline  
Old Jul 10th, 2012, 05:46 PM
  #190  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,681
Likes: 0
Received 12 Likes on 1 Post
Any final photos to share with us, Jamikins?
joannyc is offline  
Old Jul 10th, 2012, 10:53 PM
  #191  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,321
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for coming along for the ride...

Joannyc - Scott has all his photos to post so will be sure to add them to the link...just have to harrass him to get them posted!
jamikins is online now  
Old Jul 11th, 2012, 02:48 AM
  #192  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,074
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for a great report.I am thinking of adding Puglia to next years trip but without a car it is beginning to look impossible.
I am the 82 year old senior who travels alone. This forum has been very helpful in sugestions in the past.
I have been researching staying in 1 city and doing guided day trips. Not my preferance but it may be the only way that I can visit this section of Italy .
Any suggestions or ideas?
tdk320n is offline  
Old Jul 11th, 2012, 03:13 AM
  #193  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,321
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hmmm it would be quite tricky by train - it is not well seviced by trains. however we did see lots of buses, so that may be an option. I would base myself in a larger town like say Lecce or Taranto as they are likely to have more bus services.

You could try looking up these bus companies and see if they have timetables that may work:

Marozzi: www.marozzivt.it
Marino Bus: www.marinobus.it
Sita: www.sitabus.it
Miccolis: www.miccolis-spa.it

Good luck, its a beautiful area!
jamikins is online now  
Old Jul 11th, 2012, 04:55 AM
  #194  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 29,738
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It's so easy to get hooked on Italy, eh? On two of our favorite trips, we based in Spoleto and Perugia and bussed/trained to towns in those areas. We hired a driver for Montalchino and Montepulciano--you drive though so you'd have even more flexibility.

Sicily will add to your repetoire of Italian driving! You have a bachelor's degree in it now; after Sicily, a PhD!
TDudette is online now  
Old Jul 11th, 2012, 05:56 AM
  #195  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,074
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for your quick response.
My ticket to Rome is bought, I used frequent flyer miles so I had to book early. I have researched buses from Rome to the Puglia area and that seems to be an option.
Thanks for additional bus lines that I do not know about.
Probably my best bet is to base myself in 1 town perhaps Lecce or Brindisi and see if day tours to surrounding areas are available , if not hire a private driver to take me to the towns that I am interested in visiting. Not sure if this will be within my budget.
I am planning the trip for next spring and the only given is flying into Rome.
I usually find that the planning of my trips is fun and educational.
Again thanks.
tdk320n is offline  
Old Jul 11th, 2012, 07:14 AM
  #196  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,321
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think there is a (fast?) train to Lecce and probably other stops from Rome. That would be the fastest way (other than a connecting flight from Rome to Bari or Brindisi). Check out routes on www.trenitalia.it

There really did seem to be quite a few buses, likely for commuters so check the timetables and see if they work for you!

We found food a lot cheaper so maybe that can loosen the budget a bit!
jamikins is online now  
Old Jul 11th, 2012, 07:50 AM
  #197  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 25,912
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Great trip report, I and Mrs Bilbo bicycled through Ostuni a few years ago and wondered why small hill A became a city while small hill B had failed to develop beyond a farm.
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Jul 11th, 2012, 08:42 AM
  #198  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 527
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Bikerscott and Jamikins for the lovely trips report. I enjoyed reading every single word, really interesting and funny at the same time. I could easily envisage every single visit to the towns you described, just as I always imagined Puglia. You really have the skills of an author, Bikerscott, and Jamikins thanks so much for the photos you posted, really really nice of you.

Your description of driving in southern Italy is spot on. You really made me laugh. It really reminded me of one holiday when we drove from Naples to Vico Equense on New Year's Eve, in the afternoon, and our Gaz had taken us to centre of towns along the way - a real nightmare with people and traffic surrounding you because of locals doing their last minute shopping, especially for fish - a tradition that they cook about 7 fish courses. I agree with you that it is recommendable you buy excess insurance, especially on holiday in Italy. It is a bit expensive, about 30 euros a day, but you have total piece of mind that not one cent would be withdrawn from your credit card in case of any accident. However, no one should lose heart in driving in southern Italy, when you start gaining the experience, you then start driving like an Italian, but with some reverence to driving rules. You get accustomed to it after a couple of holidays.

Yes, it would be nice to travel in Tuscany in December, less touristy for sure than in Winter - San Gimignano was literally a ghost town in the evenings (but still had some restaurants open - plus their pastry cafeterias with their delicious cakes and pastries., but Florence always has tourists any time of year, but not like in Summer of course. We travelled 3 times in December in Italy, literally north, central, and south, and the Christmas celebrations are so unique - the Presepe Vivente where so many towns and villages in Umbria/Tuscany/Southern Italy trasform their homes into a huge live crib - the medieval hilltop towns with their narrow streets make a most lovely ambience.and you find many lovely Christmas markets in many localities for those who are fond of them - they make a street party every day out of it - we visited the one of Trento last December. There are so many unique festivities and traditions all over Italy during Christmastime.

You might also consider visiting the Sorrento coast for New Year's Eve for a holiday. The fireworks at midnight are spectacular, like I have never seen before, the whole Bay of Naples lights up like it is under siege, and all the towns and villages on the Sorrento/Amalfi coast coast make their own fireworks display, lasting for hours. You would be in the centre of all the madness in Naples (which I would not really recommend), but would have a much better view from Sorrento harbour area facing the Gulf of Naples. Plus so many streets are lit up everywhere (Positano is like a huge lit up Christmas tree), and cribs to visit or view along the road.

I fully understand how you can easily get addicted to Italy - what I love most about it, is that from north to south all its regions are different and unique, both geographically and culturally.

Must also agree with you that driving up the narrow hilltop towns can be scary and nerve wrecking - at least for me, my husband says he got used to them. But I am always so nervous and on edge when we are going up the narrow winding roads, especially the ones that have no barriers, like that of Volterra. But the worst one was of the Monte Amiata on Christmas eve. At a town up the mountain, in Abbadia San Salvatore, there is a unique festive celebration on Christmas Eve where the locals pile up huge stacks of wood in many squares and streets of the town (this takes them more than a whole month of preparation prior to Christmas), and they are blessed and lit up in the evening after dusk. The locals set up stalls where they offer warm wine flavoured with orange, and really delicious goodies prepared by the locals, for free - you just give a donation, they also roast chestnuts in the streets etc. There would also be carol singing and a lovely atmosphere all night long. Well, I had this bright idea of staying in a hamlet about 10 km from Abbadia San Salvatore, as it had raving reviews on its hospitality and meals - and I really wanted that we have our Christmas lunch there.

So, after joining in the celebrations and stuffing ourselves with the wine to warm us up and the food, we heard the midnight mass at the medieval abbey, and headed for the country relais around 3am in the night. Our Gaz (for which I have a great loathing from that day - but which my husband loves heart and soul - it really now became a competition between us) decided to take us all around the mountain (apparently there was a much shorter easier road as the relais hosts later told us), and we ended going down and again up this small mountain with its narrow winding road that had no barriers or light, road was wet and icy and so dark and misty hubby could hardly see. Believe me I was going to pee in my pants. But thank God, hubby remained calm and drove very slowly and carefully around the bends and for what seemed to me to be an eternity managed to drive us to the hamlet. I was stupid enough not to book accomodation in the town of Abbadis San Salvatore itself. During the day the drive up the mountain was not that bad, given that it was not snowing or raining, though not recommended for the really faint hearted or inexperienced drivers.

After that experience, even driving around the Amalfi Coast or up the Montepertuso mountain near Positano seemed so easy and relaxing, lol. I still tremble to this day when I remember that episode.

I do sympathise with you regarding the hot weather, but in the end you just get used to it, and live with it, I certainly had to get used to the heat waves which are common in all the Summer months around the Mediterranean. Thank God for that person who invented air conditioners - hopefully somebody will invent some sort of very cheap energy so that no expensive electricity would have to be consumed by the precious air conditioners to function (apart from the also very expensive solar panels which in the end I guess are a viable investment). But I guess you can't have your cake and eat it - as the English say, - you can't have the nice weather and sunshine without the heat in this part of the world. We just have to come to the UK or northern countries to cool off a bit.

Really really looking forward to any trip reports that you might post in the future at Fodors(this was the first one that I had read), they prove to be interesting reading wherever you go for sure!! I really appreciate that you spent time writing them, even during your holiday!!!
Anna_Galea is offline  
Old Jul 11th, 2012, 09:42 AM
  #199  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,321
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks so much Anna - sounds like you have had your share of adventures too!!! We will consider Sorrento as well!

If you click on mine or Bikerscotts name you will find our trip reports for:

Paris for New Years 2009/2010
Portugal for New Years 201/2011
Strasbourg for Xmas 2008
Cinque Terre/Piedmonte 2010
Rome for New Years 2011/2012

Enjoy
jamikins is online now  
Old Jul 11th, 2012, 09:53 AM
  #200  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 541
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
And finally my photos - not nearly as many as Jamikins...

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=115b00cf3b
BikerScott is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -