Jamikins and Bikerscott do Italy!

Old Jun 29th, 2012, 01:09 PM
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Well we are going to be sailing in the Dodecanese so hopefully we get a nice breeze!!>>

you don't need to leave the UK to enjoy a nice breeze! [well, a breeze anyway].
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Old Jun 29th, 2012, 01:09 PM
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Talk about a small world...we met our guide Nadia today in Matera (well recommended for Matera on this board...and rightly so!) and met another couple who were also on the tour...funny enough the woman was a fodorite!! How wonderfully random...we spent the afternoon with welltraveledbrit and her partner!! Was fantastic!
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Old Jun 29th, 2012, 01:26 PM
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we spent the afternoon with welltraveledbrit and her partner!! Was fantastic!>>

jamikins - what fun!
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Old Jun 29th, 2012, 02:15 PM
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ahh get ya i thought u were off to puglia-get in now!

And how random we are also (having just got back from puglia) off to Greece (paxos) last two weeks August!
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Old Jun 29th, 2012, 02:26 PM
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We need to align some of these fodorite trips haha!
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Old Jun 30th, 2012, 08:51 AM
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Just getting ready for our last meal in Italy...sigh...

Day Eight – Fano, But Not in a Dirty Way

Morning seems to come too early in this part of Italy. After a restless night dreaming of the Zombie apocalypse (not the most pleasant dream of all time, although I did fairly well once I got hold of an M-16 – I need to spend less time playing my xbox perhaps) and of friends I hadn’t seen from junior high school (no idea where this one came from). Also, the sunlight is brighter here than in London. To be fair, we rarely get sunlight in London, usually just morning drizzle followed by mid-morning rain, after which afternoon downpours are capped with evening showers. A typical London forecast is “sunny with clouds and a chance of heavy showers.” This part of Italy seems to be “bloody hot with a chance of heat”.

We’ve driven most of the roads around here, and visited the local villages. The only thing we haven’t yet done that was on our list was visit the coast, so we headed east to the resort town of Fano, which sounds slightly dirty to my British ears. The only experience I’ve ever had with Adriatic resort towns was Naxos in the Greek Islands, so I was sort of expecting something like that. Fano is NOT like that.

The east coast of this part of Italy is apparently where the Italians come for their summer beach holidays. As such, every inch of beach (and I’m being generous with this description) is covered in pay-to-lounge umbrella covered private fenced-off areas. We walked for about 15 minutes before finding a 50-yard stretch of free beach squished between large signs indicating the private sections to either side were very much private.

As for the beach – when I go to the seaside for recreation and ocean adventure, one of the main things I look for is miles of white sand, blue water, etcetera. The beaches in Fano, and apparently along pretty much all of the east coast are rocky and/or pebbly. To be fair, the rocks are well worn and round like river rock, but still, not my ideal.

It was blisteringly hot, so the 30 minutes we spent walking on the sidewalk separated from the ocean by 50 yards of private beaching was uncomfortable. We’d decided to find a local restaurant that specialized in fish as recommended by Ashley, but couldn’t. We eventually gave up and sat at one of the resort cafeteria/bar/restaurant places for a drink if nothing else. After a glass of wine, we decided that the thought of moving on was too much, as there was likely to be nothing better to be found in the area we were in at any rate.

It turned out that Jamie’s mixed fish grill and my calamari and shrimp skewers were actually quite good and filling. We enjoyed the heat and ocean breeze for what it was, and were entertained by the waves of seeming octogenarians as they came up from the waterfront for their afternoon refreshment (we were the youngest around by several decades as far as we could see from where we were sitting, although the aquafit class in the swimming pool next to the ocean was full of young people – for a little while it seemed like some sort of bizarre alternate universe where everything was reversed).

After lunch we walked back into the old part of Fano to find the gelato place that Ashley had recommended - Maki, on the edge of Piazza Something (the map we have is covered in ink, circling the piazza to show us where it is – at the intersection of Via Nolfi and Via Arco D’Augustio at any rate). It was good gelato – possibly the best I’ve had in Italy, and definitely the best on this trip.

A quick walk around Fano after our icy treat confirmed our impression of the town – not somewhere we’d want to spend a lot of time for the town itself, but probably brilliant fun if you’re into Italian beach town holidays. We walked back to the car and drove west, back to the hills of our part of Le Marche.

We stopped in Piobbico for our now traditional afternoon soda at Café del Corso on the main street in Piobbico (where I got a Ciao! from the woman working there, rather than the usual Buongiorno that I’ve been getting up to now), then a walk to the Conad for dinner supplies.

We spend the remainder of the afternoon basking in the sun at the poolside before making pancetta and melon for our antipasti, followed by tortellini in pesto for our main. We were the only ones at La Tavola for the majority of the afternoon and we loved the silence and peace of it.

Tomorrow we drive south to Puglia for the second week of our holiday. I’ll be sad to leave this part of Italy. We’ve always wanted to move to the Southwest of France and own a small farm and gite. This part of Italy is making us reconsider that plan a little bit – an Italian farmhouse in the hills around here would be pretty fantastic as well. We love the landscape, the people are wonderful, the villages are alive and interesting, and the food is just about as perfect as food can be.
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Old Jun 30th, 2012, 09:07 AM
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you've left out the weather, biker!
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Old Jun 30th, 2012, 09:11 AM
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annhig - I just checked the London weather forecast and I feel like crying!! Rain?? ALL WEEK??? Enough already
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Old Jun 30th, 2012, 09:21 AM
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yes, the forecast is for more of the same - until december. something about warring weather systems meeting over england, apparently.

now where's my sou'wester?
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Old Jun 30th, 2012, 09:34 AM
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Annhig...please tell me you are joking...December??!!
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Old Jun 30th, 2012, 11:04 AM
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well, this was just the butcher talking, but it fits in with how it feels - no decent weather on the horizon for next week according to the BBC.

I did find this predicting a scorching August in the torygraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/we...ck-summer.html

but as they've got the dates of Wimbledon wrong, i'm not over-impressed.
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Old Jul 1st, 2012, 04:00 AM
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<<and the food is just about as perfect as food can be>>

stop making me jealous!!!

Enjoying the report all the same-best ice cream in italy!! i need to go!

Don't be too sad, you have lovely puglia next. Ohh and my vote for your future home is Italy....u can't beat the food.....although having steak frites every day would be tempting too!

On a site note i have just got back from Waitrose and they now do an italian bread range "Crosta & Mollica- just picked up the Pane Pugliese- haven't tasted it but it looks just like the yummy golden stuff we had out there!
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Old Jul 1st, 2012, 05:17 AM
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Thinking about the density of Dukedoms I guess you have listened to the tales of Monte Guano or the Leopard in Autumn at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00s6lgx/episodes/guide
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Old Jul 1st, 2012, 02:14 PM
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Arrived home to be met with grey skies and rainy weather outlook...SUCKS!!

But back to better times...last week at this time we were arriving in Puglia:


Day Nine – Rumour Has It

The day did not start out well. We woke up and had to pack up our bags and load them into the car. Last night was our final night in Le Marche, and I don’t think either of us where particularly happy about it. We said goodbye to Ashley and Jason and drove down to Piobbico one last time, stopping briefly to have a cappuccino at Il Café del Corso (while stealing a bit of internet to get the GPS coordinates for the next place) before moving on.

We programmed Gazza and set off- Jamie had no idea we could put the coordinates in, despite seeing them on pretty much every website we’ve looked at in the last few years. Oh well. We drove for about an hour before getting to the big onramp to the A14, the Autostrada that would lead us south. They were doing construction at our ramp and diverted us north instead of south. No big deal we initially thought, they must have realized that anyone trying to go to Ancona would want to be going the other way, there must be a diversion route planned.

There was not. We had to drive nearly 20km north to get to the next exit, then pay €1.20 to get off the damn autostrada just to go around a roundabout and get back on. 40km out of our way – Jamie was NOT impressed. She ranted for a bit, until she realized that she sounded like the Kiwi’s who’d been staying this last week complaining about pretty much everything (including being charged €10 for two gelatos in Bologna – how they managed this, I’m not sure, unless they had two large ones perhaps?).

The drive south took about seven hours and was mostly uneventful, other than a few observations made along the way:
1) Italian drivers seem unable to maintain a lane choice – they tend to straddle the line between the lanes, and change somewhat at random
2) People driving light blue Fiat Puntos seem to be unaware of where the accelerator in their car is. A possible alternative explanation is that light blue Fiat Puntos are not fitted with regular engines, instead having a team of small rodents under the bonnet, who can only managed 110km/hr at best. Why the light blue Fiat Puntos are affected and other colours not, I have no explanation
3) Italians would apparently rather drill a tunnel under a hill than go over it, and would rather build a giant bridge over a valley than go down into it. I’m not complaining about this, just an observation
4) Italian radio stations seem to be designed to fade out just as a really good song starts to play; you get through a tunnel; or the news/commercials finish. Every 2nd song played apparently must be “Rumour Has It” by Adele, we heard it at least eight times in the seven hour drive
5) Sticking your hand out the window at 130km/hr when it’s 46˚C outside feels very different than doing the same when it’s 10˚C – this may seem obvious, but it feels very odd
6) In Puglia, rather than cutting the grass on the highway verge, setting it on fire is evidently an acceptable option. Alternatively, it gets so hot here that occasionally the earth itself burst into flame. We’re not sure which at this point

The landscape changed quite dramatically between Central Italy and the south. We said goodbye to the mountains and winding roads and hello to flat straight highways. From the brief view I had, they don’t seem to spend much time ensuring that the outskirts of the cities look nice at all, and everything with even a vague view of the sea has been turned into endless apartment blocks. You may get the impression from the above that I don’t like it here – that’s not true, it’s just such a radically different landscape from La Marche that I’m not quite used to it yet.

We found the Masseria http://www.masseriabaroninuovi.it/en/ with no issue whatsoever – using the coordinates from the website was a revelation! We checked in and almost immediately poured a glass of wine to settle ourselves from the long drive (after dropping off our bags of course). We’d made reservations at the restaurant here so didn’t have to drive off right away.

The restaurant is conveniently located on the other side of the little courtyard, so at 8pm when we started to get hungry we just walked the 20 yards to dinner. Tonight was the Italy v England quarter final match in Euro 2012, so they’d set up a television outside so everyone could watch. There was one other British couple, plus 15 or so Italian fans out to watch the game.

Dinner was good and filling (although ended oddly – the desert course was a GIANT slice of fresh watermelon – tasty, but not what I would’ve expected). The game didn’t go as we’d hoped. England was outplayed for most of the match, but it came down to a penalty shootout in the end, which we lost. Disappointing, but the Italians were pleased. Despite the result it was actually a lot of fun watching it with everyone, and we all had our hands shaken after the loss in a friendly bout of good-natured ribbing.

We’re finishing the night in our really quite comfortable room with wifi and air-conditioning, two things lacking in the last place. Tomorrow looks like it’s going to be another blisteringly hot day, although having looked at the weather reports from home in London, I’m not complaining even a little bit…
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Old Jul 2nd, 2012, 07:59 AM
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(including being charged €10 for two gelatos in Bologna – how they managed this, I’m not sure, unless they had two large ones perhaps?).

lol, biker, last year the local paper where i was staying in southern tuscany had an article about these german tourists who'd been charged [or should that be stung?] €20 for one gelato; but the picture showed an ice-cream of vesuvian proportions. i on the other hand later in the week paid €1.50 for a tub with 2 flavours, and got an italian lesson thrown in!

anyway. never mind about the poxy weather, your masseria looks lovely - which type of room did you stay in? not sure that i fancy the one with the jacuzzi in the middle of the room, to be honest!
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Old Jul 2nd, 2012, 09:20 AM
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I've been following along and have to say I seriously love your trip reports! It's the combo of your writing style and what you're reporting on. I'm seriously considering putting no thought or research into my next trip, but rather pulling up one of your TRs and following your itinerary and bookings. If its possible, I'm even more sorry than you that you're back in London IRL!
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Old Jul 2nd, 2012, 12:24 PM
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Great T/R as always...I am still reading your last Rome report...we leave in like 66 days, Rome ready!
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Old Jul 2nd, 2012, 02:42 PM
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Annhig - we stayed in room 10 - a basic one on the courtyard, but very nice

Sidney - thanks very much, that's a lovely comment, love to hear that sort of thing

Denisea - Thanks for the compliment - Rome is amazing I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time
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Old Jul 2nd, 2012, 02:49 PM
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.....but, but, but - what about your eagerly awaited report
on Matera?

Every morning I come on this site to see the latest pics
and installment; how will I go on without you going on?

Of course, I could write a TR on my very recent trip to
the Veneto/Umbria/ER - but you've set the bar too high so
I'll remain bereft until your next adventure.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2012, 02:53 PM
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Immimi - it's coming, just a few more days...
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