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Jamikins and Bikerscott Head Back to Le Marche

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Aug 22nd, 2014, 02:58 PM
  #41
 
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One of the consequences of my spotty internet connections is that I don't bother bringing my laptop here and end up tap-typing on my tablet screen. Occasionally I hit the button that makes the keyboard vanish and just beneath where the space bar was is the "Submit" button. So I'll pick up where I left off when I accidentally submitted the above.

I read that many of the towns who had seceded are regretting it.

Real estate prices are pretty much rock bottom now, even near the coast. By the way, the Adriatic isn't an ocean. Some of the coastal towns, especially those like Pesaro, Fano, and Senigallia, which are not primarially beach resorts, are definitely more expensive.

Passatelli are a typical marchigiano dish. They are long noodles made by putting a dough of egg, bread crumbs, a touch of grated lemon rind, and grated cheese through a special contraption; a potato ricer can be used instead. I like them best cooked in a good meat broth, but some restaurants serve them in a sort of mushroom sauce.

One of my favorite restaurants is in a frazione of San Costanza, the Grotta di Tufo.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 03:02 PM
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I don't much care for Ryanair myself, but their prices are certainly convenient, and we don't have points to use.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 05:11 PM
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Sounds like a great couple of days!
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Aug 23rd, 2014, 12:15 AM
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That's great info bvlenci!

If we had the cash we would certainly be tempted to buy now! We really loved the area inland from Senigallia - we will have to spend some more time there!
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Aug 23rd, 2014, 02:12 PM
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Days Eight and Nine – Beach and Backroads

The day dawned bright and sunny, which was good as we had a beach day planned. Despite the ambitious plan for the day (sitting under an umbrella on the seaside that is) Jamie let me sleep in again. I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying this part of the holiday – no phone service and the conscious decision to not check my work email has meant a relaxing vacation so far and the excess sleep is doing wonders for my internal batteries.

We eventually got on the road and drove towards the coast, ending up in Senigallia, one of the many coastal towns along the Adriatic coast. Senigallia is partially known for its foodie restaurant scene, but we were really just there for the sun and sand. We drove through town until we got to the main street on the waterfront. We saw a sign for parking and turned left, finding the parking area only a few blocks away. We were somewhat put off by the hordes of jingle-jangle men trying to direct us to various parking spots –dozens of them, with a few at every corner. We didn’t feel all that comfortable leaving the car there (there was a scam going in Vancouver before we left – if you parked your car downtown at night, a guy would come up to you and offer to “protect” your car for the night for only $20 – if you didn’t pay it, chances were that you’d come back to it with a smashed window etc).

We instead drove quite a ways down the beachfront looking for somewhere to park, eventually driving under the lowest tunnel I’ve ever driven under (we later walked under it and I had to bend over almost double to get through – I’m glad we had such a small car). We found a spot to park for free just across the train tracks and walked back to the beach area.

Italy does beaches differently than in North America or England. We’re used to a boardwalk or pedestrian-type area, then some beach, and then the water. In this part of Italy at least (and further down the Adriatic coast in Puglia) they have the sidewalk, then a fence protecting a beach establishment offering volleyball and other beach-related sports areas, restaurants, change rooms, toilets, occasionally swimming pools (once with an aquafit class going on), then hundreds or thousands of beach chairs and umbrellas, and then the ocean.

We stopped in at one of the restaurants along the beach and had a relatively average lunch (there’s no such thing as really good food at one of these places, but then we weren’t there for the food – if we’d wanted a really nice lunch we’d have gone a few blocks up into town) before paying our €16 for two loungers and an umbrella a fair distance from the water itself (if you really want waterfront real estate I think you have to get there fairly early, rather than 1pm like we did).

I can tell you that the Italians are big fans of very tight Speedos, even those guys that REALLY shouldn’t be wearing them. To be fair, I’m also one of those guys that really shouldn’t be wearing Speedos, and therefore I don’t. I’m a board shorts kind of guy all the way home (although if I cut eating for a year or so I might be persuaded to slip into a budgie smuggler and strut my stuff on the waterfront).

We spent several hours in what turned out to be an excellent day for the seaside – warm but not too hot, with high wispy clouds to protect our delicate British skin from the unaccustomed burning ball of fire in the sky (we see it so rarely in the UK that it causes panic in the streets when it appears. You can always tell Brits in the sun – we’re the ones turning bright red while everyone is just getting settled).

The drive home was fairly quick, and the evening quiet with leftover pasta fagioli for dinner. We may have cracked into some of the lovely wine from the various wineries we’ve visited over the last few days.

Today was meant to be a bit rainy, which was somewhat expected because Piobbico was supposed to be starting their big festival (apparently it ALWAYS rains when Piobbico has a festival – so often that they have insurance now for it…who knew you could get rained out festival insurance? Although to be fair, I once interviewed for a job at a company that insures the space shuttle for NASA, which leads me to believe that anything can be insured for the right price). We had another driving day planned, because if nothing else the car is filthy from the road to La Tavola Marche and a few hours driving around in the rain would probably clean it off a bit.

We set Kate (we’ve named the Sat Nav Kate – she has such a calm and pleasant voice and doesn’t get upset at all when we make a wrong turn, unlike Gazza and his constant refrain of “recalculating” every few kilometres) for Matelica, mostly because of the name, but also because Jason and Ashley told us about a lunch van parked just past it that sells what they advertised as the best pork sandwich in the history of pork sandwiches. Now I’m a guy who enjoys a pork sammich, and I’ve had some good ones in my time, so I didn’t think there was anything unusual about a two hour drive for a few slices of pig in bread.

We eventually found Risoro da Alberto just outside Matelica on the side of the road. We actually drove past it, but clocked the dozens of cars parked in front of a van in a pull-off on the side of the road. It looked terrible – they’d built a little shed lean-to thing off the side of a converted motor home that had clearly been there for a while. On the other hand, my favourite BBQ place in Georgia (in the US, not eastern Europe – I have no opinion one way or the other on the quality of BBQ in the country Georgia) is a place that looks like it was dropped from a height into a parking lot and then set on fire a little bit on one side (Daddy D’z in Atlanta – a must visit if you’re in the area).

I can tell you that Ristoro da Alberto knows what they’re doing when it comes to pork sandwiches. They start with a HUGE rolled shoulder of pork (braciola) and cook it to juicy perfection. That’s it. They slice it fairly thin, and when you order your sandwich they heat up a few slices and layer them onto a 6-inch bit of Italian bread roll (sort of like a French baguette, but not). That’s it. No sauce, no gravy, no nothing but bread and pork. It sounds too simple to be true, but it’s just that good. We ordered three – two to eat in the parking lot and one to snack on for the drive back. I wish we’d ordered 4 so I’d still have one sitting there. We might have to drive back later this week.

As we finished eating, the heavens opened and the torrential rains started. We programmed Kate with the long route back to La Tavola Marche as we had nothing in particular to do for the rest of the day. We drove past Jesi (pronounced Yessi evidently) and quite liked the look of it, but had forgotten to bring our umbrellas (because this is Italy in August, it’s not supposed to rain here) so kept driving. We actually really liked a lot of the little towns we drove through, and if the weather clears up later this week, we might make a return trip to explore a bit more (and maybe get another sammich or seven).

We’d planned on going to the festival in Piobbico later this evening, but despite the rain stopping on the drive back the clouds looked ominous all afternoon. I had a quick nap, during which it POURED again. When it rains around here it doesn’t mess about – it really lets go. The brits staying upstairs had driven into town for dinner supplies and confirmed that absolutely nothing was going on in Piobbico. We decided to grill some steak and onions we’d bought the other day and ended up having quite a nice evening at La Tavola Marche – the rain eventually stopped and we even got to eat outside.
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Aug 23rd, 2014, 11:43 PM
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The quality of your trip notes definitely exceeds the quality of the 2011 California Cabernet that accompanied my reading of them. Not to worry, I compensated in quantity. For the next installment I have laid in a bottle of an Australian Shiraz that should come closer to meeting the standard. And, fyi, I am absolutely jonesing for a pork sammich right now...
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Aug 24th, 2014, 02:54 AM
  #47
 
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For those that are in the area and are also jonesing for a nice sammich the co-ords for the sat nav are
N43*11.912
E013*03.087

The * indicates degree - the normal degree sign isn't included on the iPhone...
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Aug 24th, 2014, 02:58 AM
  #48
 
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Seamus - also agree that if you can't get quality wine you might as well have a lot of the less good stuff, the reason being that after enough plonk you burn off all the taste buds anyway...
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Aug 24th, 2014, 03:07 AM
  #49
 
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Actually, one of Italy's top restaurants, Uliassi, is right on the beach in Senigallia. Another, Maddonina del Pescatore, is just across the road from the beach. There are other good restaurants along the beach; one of my favorites is Raggiazzurro.

The guys who direct you to parking spaces aren't part of a protection scam. They're happy with an euro or two. A lot of people complain about them, and the city cracks down periodically. I think they're harmless and even useful.
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Aug 24th, 2014, 03:17 AM
  #50
 
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Bvlenci - I guess we should've kept walking, as the ones down at the far south end looked pretty much all the same. To be fair, Jamie wanted a nice lunch, I was more interested in getting to the beach.

Interesting about the parking guys, would have saved us a fair bit of driving around if we'd let them point us to a spot. Oh well, live and learn I suppose...
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Aug 24th, 2014, 03:23 AM
  #51
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I definitely suggested scoping out a nice seafood restaurant as I had done some research on Senigallia and knew there were some good places there...! Looks like we will have to return!
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Aug 24th, 2014, 12:56 PM
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Insurance for rained-out events is common also in the USA. I imagine that no English agency would want to underwrite such a likely event, and the premium would be exorbitant if they did.

It seems a shame to go all the way to Matelica and not see the town. It's a particlar favorite of mine, although I can't quite say why. It just seems to me a quintessential Italian town. There's quite an interesting civic museum, where they have an ancient astrolabe, made in Greece, but obviously to order with the exact coordinates for someone living in Matelica. Matelica has an unusual dialect, which has conserved features of Latin, such as the neuter gender, which have been lost in the Romance languages.

We've recently discovered some new and interesting restaurants in the area between Camerino and Castelraimondo, near where we are now. Camerino is a beatiful little Renaissance city on a hill. It was part of the Duchy of Spoleto, and the seat of a very old university. There are many castles in the area, some still privately owned.

I have terrible internet access here, but I'll try to post a report when ee get home. By the way, we've been sleeping under wool blankets ever since we got here.
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Aug 24th, 2014, 03:05 PM
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We just got back from the Piobicco festival! It was great fun!!!

We would have liked to visit matelica but it was really raining and we stupidly forgot our umbrellas that day! We ended up driving through many interesting villages we wished to stop at but it was pelting down most of the day . We are going to try to make up for it by going back to Jesi via the back roads over the next few days. The scenery on the road looked stunning even in the rain!

Please do post a trip report, we would love to read it!

Just heading to bed and it is freezing!!'
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Aug 24th, 2014, 04:44 PM
  #54
 
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Hi Jamikins! Just noticed your trip report and I am following with interest.
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Aug 25th, 2014, 10:44 AM
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We ordered three – two to eat in the parking lot and one to snack on for the drive back. I wish we’d ordered 4 so I’d still have one sitting there. We might have to drive back later this week.>>

we must have been separated at birth!

BTW, you are not missing any good weather at home - it's turned wet and cold. Ugh - I'm sure that italian rain is warmer. Still enjoying reading about your adventures and contemplating, again, when we might fit in a similar trip.

bvl - you can indeed insure against the weather in the UK:

http://www.britishweatherservices.co...nce-solutions/

in fact you can insure against most everything, including your judge dropping dead in the middle of a long case.
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Aug 25th, 2014, 03:05 PM
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I was being facetious about the weather in England.

Jesi may not be worth the stop. It famous as being the birthplace of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, but that was just an accident.
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Aug 26th, 2014, 01:26 AM
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Thanks for the heads up on Jesi! We had quite the harrowing drive yesterday and we were thinking of sticking closer to home today but have to drop something. Looks like Jesi will be dropped!

Annhig - you can seriously insure against your lawyer dying in the middle of your case??? Wouldn't even have considered that!

Welcome europeannovice!

Happy Tuesday everybody!
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Aug 26th, 2014, 02:13 PM
  #58
 
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Annhig - you can seriously insure against your lawyer dying in the middle of your case??? Wouldn't even have considered that!>>

yes, jamikins, you can, well at least the judge dying, anyway. Those big civil cases that go on for months probably cost at least £10K a day and if the judge drops dead half way through, you have to start again. Not many people can afford that.

if your lawyer dies, you can get another one - in theory anyway. Some of us are irreplaceable of course.
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Aug 27th, 2014, 02:02 AM
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I had no idea! Very interesting!

If I had need for a lawyer I would definitely go for one of those irreplaceable lawyers of course
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Aug 30th, 2014, 07:29 AM
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Well we are sitting in Milan enjoying a bottle of wine in the sun on the way home

We had a great final week but spotty internet. Photos were uploaded last night but it was annoyingly spotty.

Vacations go by too quickly!!!

Scott will endeavour to complete tis report from London, thanks for following along!
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