Jamikins and Bikerscott do Italy!

Old Jun 28th, 2012, 01:03 PM
  #101  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 29,570
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Super TR!

A quick chime in also about Monreale vs. Ravenna. DH and I visited both. While I believe Ravenna's are older, both Monreal and the Cappellla Palatina in Palermo moved me more. There seemed to be so much more gold in the latter walls. If possible, please see both. Some of Ravenna's more colorful also according to my notes.
TDudette is offline  
Old Jun 28th, 2012, 01:24 PM
  #102  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,321
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks TDudette!

Modeen - I don't have the name or address but if you park in the main parking lot at the base of the old town you will walk up the main street - at the top intersection you turn right and there is a lift up to the church etc on the hill. If you turn left and walk down it will be on your right before the big hill...it has a wooden patio with a few tables out and white fabric covered chairs (looks quite fancy). The have a menu out front with a degustation menu and another cheaper one plus a la carte. We did the cheaper menu and it was great!

Hope this helps!!
jamikins is offline  
Old Jun 28th, 2012, 02:07 PM
  #103  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 527
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes, Jamikins, it was a good football game, we watched it too. I can't imagine how ecstatic the Italians are for winning the game, and going to the finals. Everyone looked so happy on tv.

It is going to be a big feast all over Italy on Sunday for sure!! Enjoy the atmosphere, if you will still be there!!I find it so funny how Italians kiss and hug each other all the time on the streets, especially in central and southern Italy, even people they barely know!!

Enjoy rest of your trip. I can't wait to hear more about it!!
Anna_Galea is offline  
Old Jun 28th, 2012, 02:09 PM
  #104  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 57,091
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
ooh - missed the match! sounds like it was a goodie too.

fingers crossed for sunday for the azzuri!
annhig is offline  
Old Jun 28th, 2012, 02:15 PM
  #105  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,321
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Unfortunately we willbe back in England for Sunday's match...sounds like a takeaway curry is in order!!
jamikins is offline  
Old Jun 28th, 2012, 02:23 PM
  #106  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,665
Likes: 0
Received 12 Likes on 1 Post
What fantastic photos, Jamikins! And, another great story, BikerScott!

Thanks!
joannyc is offline  
Old Jun 28th, 2012, 05:22 PM
  #107  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 40
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the restaurant info. I'll order a bottle of wine and a Coke and think of you.

Mo
Modeen is offline  
Old Jun 28th, 2012, 07:25 PM
  #108  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,053
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
great story thus far
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 01:12 AM
  #109  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 57,091
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
sorry you've got to come back - especially to this weather, though it looks as if london hasn't been as bad as the rest of the country.

some poor people were on a train from london to glasgow that took 15 hours due to torrential rain, a landslip, and then the train catching fire. as one of the passengers said, about the only thing they didn't have was pestilence.

welcome home!
annhig is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 03:23 AM
  #110  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,321
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
So we shouldn't complain about the 40 degree weather and blazing sun in Matera today?? Oh man, we don't want this trip to end!!!!
jamikins is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 04:04 AM
  #111  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 61,933
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oh, please tell about Matera!
jubilada is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 04:56 AM
  #112  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 57,091
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
So we shouldn't complain about the 40 degree weather and blazing sun in Matera today??>>

no you shouldn't!

in fact I'll never talk to you again if you do, so there.
annhig is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 12:00 PM
  #113  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 541
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
ok - not complaining but it was HOT today


Day Seven – Like Puberty in a Glass

An 8:30am start for us again today, which I’m starting to think isn’t a good time to start the day on a holiday. I had a terrible sleep last night, with a Zantac moment waking me up at 4:30 and keeping me up until that wonderful little pill kicked in. Another day with brilliant blue sky, not a cloud in sight. After a quick breakfast of fresh (although slightly frozen) fruit, pear juice and especially strong coffee, we were off to Appechio for their Friday market, which we’d heard was a chicken market.

Ashley had mentioned that the dirt road between us and the paved bit to Appechio was worse than the dirt road between us and the paved bit to Piobbico, and she wasn’t kidding. Giancarlo the car did fine, but I would’ve been more comfortable in a 4-wheel drive. I don’t want to think about what this region would be like in the depths of winter – getting stuck in your house for weeks at a time would be a real possibility I would have thought.

The road to Appechio was windy and steep. The Italians don’t seem to agree with the North American idea of blasting relatively straight and flat paths through mountains, preferring instead to build entertainingly convoluted roads with switchbacks and blind corners aplenty. We survived the drive and found a free parking spot just off the main road in Appechio.

The market seemed to be the same as the one in Fossembrone a few days previously, with the same porchetta vans, clothing vans, and brick-a-brac as we’d seen earlier (literally – this is a travelling market) with the sole exception of the poultry selling van. He had a small selection of ducks of various varieties, a few chickens looking a little sorry for themselves, a few birds that looked suspiciously like turkeys, and a few pigeons. Not exactly what we’d been hoping for when thinking of what a chicken market would look like.

We gave up on the market fairly quickly and instead walked up the stairs across from the market into the old part of town up on the hill. Old Appechio is actually really interesting, although quite small. Typically narrow streets and cobbles all over the place. We explored for a bit, and then headed back down the hill for a cappuccino at one of the little cafés on the main road through the village.

Ashley had recommended that after the market we visit the local grappa distillery and brewery on the hill just above Appechio. We were parked on the road to it, so thought it a good idea to give it a go. The road turned out to be the most insane bit of tarmac I’ve ever seen, and not really in a good way.

It was more or less vertical, with switchbacks so close to switchbacks that the steering wheel never got back to centre. I spent most of the drive struggling in 2nd gear, having to drop down into 1st on a couple of the steeper and tighter corners. I’ve never driven anything like it, and hope to never again. Not even a road that would be good for a Ferrari – I don’t think you could drive it in a supercar, the inclines around the corners would be too much for the low ground-clearance to handle.

We drove right past the distillery on the first attempt, as they’d forgotten to put any signs up indicating that it was in fact the distillery. It was only after driving for about 15 minutes along the increasingly rural and isolated road into the next valley that we felt that we’d probably gone too far and turned back. We stopped in at the only building we’d seen that might possibly be a distillery, and turned out to be right.

We tasted the only beer they had left in stock, a very tasty red ale, and a small selection of their grappa. I’ve never tasted different grappas side by side like that, and hadn’t realized how different they can be – much like scotch in that respect. I ended up buying 3 giant bottles of the beer and a bottle of the grappa made from Verdiccio grapes to take home. The drive down the hill was a bit easier than the drive up, in that I sort of knew what to expect.

Next on our itinerary for the day was the village of Sant Angelo in Vado, the endpoint on the ill-advised walking trip the Kiwi women went missing on for our first day in La Marche. The road between Appechio and San Angelo was so convoluted that it actually made me a bit car sick, something that’s never happened to me as a driver before. An important thing to remember when planning trips in this area – while the distances between places isn’t necessarily all that far, it can take quite a bit longer to drive than you might expect.

San Angelo was an interesting little town, with narrow little streets and portico lined roads. Like Appechio, it was bustling in the town centre with a few cafés doing fairly good business. We explored for a bit until the heat got to us – it was after noon, so we thought lunch might be in order. We found a pizzeria and sat down for a light pasta lunch (no pizza on offer despite it being a pizzeria – evidently it makes it too hot in the kitchen to turn on the big pizza ovens during the day, so they don’t).

After lunch we got back into the car for our final stop on the list for the day – the fourth little village closest to us, Urbania. The road from San Angelo to Urbania was blissfully flat and relatively straight. Again, Urbania was small but busy, with a few little cafés and restaurants seeming to be doing fairly well despite the time of day. We parked up and went for a bit of a wander, stopping first for a much needed post-lunch gelato.

We walked from one end of town to the other and back before a young American student stopped us to ask if we were touring the town – she wanted to know if we’d found the Ducal palace on the far side of town, and offered to show us at least part of the way there. We hadn’t, so accepted her offer – our third Ducal Palace in as many days – you mustn’t have been able to swing a cat in this part of Italy and one time without hitting a Duke!

By the time we’d seen the palace and walked back to the main square, we were pretty much done with sight-seeing for the day. The temperature was pushing 40˚C and we were in need of some serious pool time. We made the observation on the drive home that one of the biggest differences between this part of Italy and many of the rural and non-touristy regions of France that we’ve been to (other than the architecture, language, and food clearly) is that the small villages around here seem to be very much alive, full of people and small business and thriving communities, whereas villages that seem to be of equivalent size are ghost towns in France. Not sure if this is just the villages we’ve been to both here and in France, or if it’s more wide-spread than that.

We spent the afternoon relaxing at the pool enjoying the heat and sunshine – we’d run out of our spray-on sun block so had to revert to low-tech regular smear on crème, but other than this it was pretty much ideal. As the sun got low in the sky, we were invited to join in the olive oil tasting session that was going on as part of the day’s cooking lesson, and then spent an hour chatting with Ashley as the class put the finishing touches on the evening’s dinner.

Supper was excellent, as prepared by the class. We all stuffed ourselves silly and some of us drank quite a bit of the wine provided – we had a great night chatting to the American family beside us and the Kiwi couple at the end of the table. The quote of the week goes to Nat, the youngest son of the Americans, who heard Jamie say that the homemade grappa was strong enough to put hair on his chest – he came out with “Like puberty in a glass” – classic. We finished the evening by candlelight and little glasses of homebrew liquor, watching the fireflies light up the forest, before blowing out the candles and calling it a day.
BikerScott is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 12:15 PM
  #114  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 604
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
40 degrees...wow its notched up a bit since we left!...not that i'm jealous or anything ;-)

i'm confused are u still off to puglia or am i confused!!?!?

>

ooohhhh relaxing by the pool....(again not that i'm jealous or anything)

loving the report!
HG001London is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 12:18 PM
  #115  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 57,091
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
Not exactly what we’d been hoping for when thinking of what a chicken market would look like.>>

shame about the lack of chucks! when we were in France the year before last, there was a market in the local town [called Thouars, I think], where as well as the normal market type goods, they did in fact have a lot of live ducks and hens for sale. we didn't spend a lot of time looking at them [we have our own to look at at home] but they did add an extra dimension, and some noise, to the proceedings.

>

ok, not complaining but it was bloody awful today. more wind, more rain. worst june on record.

please will you let me know next time you are booking a holiday so that I can book to go away at the same time?
annhig is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 12:22 PM
  #116  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,478
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think I would have spit out my grappa when I heard the "puberty in a glass" comment...that is classic! ;-)

I'm really enjoying your trip report and fantastic photos...As Always! And I was pleased to see the photo of Bar Calice in Bologna, my "go to" spot for aperitivo when I was in Bologna a couple years ago.
LowCountryIslander is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 12:24 PM
  #117  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 541
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
HG - we are currently in Puglia, trip report is about a week behind in posting...

Annhig - Greece for the last two weeks of August - either buy a snorkel and sty in Blighty ortake it to the sun!
BikerScott is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 12:32 PM
  #118  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 541
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
LowCountry - we nearly did! That kid was hilarious!! Classic!

Jamie actually got the recommendation for Bar Calice from your excellent trip report!!
BikerScott is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 12:55 PM
  #119  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 57,091
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
Annhig - Greece for the last two weeks of August - either buy a snorkel and sty in Blighty ortake it to the sun!>>

ooooh, too hot for me. I'll just have to stay here and buy some water wings.
annhig is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 01:00 PM
  #120  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,321
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well we are going to be sailing in the Dodecanese so hopefully we get a nice breeze!!
jamikins is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -