Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tuscany Dreamin'

The rest of our vacation will be spent in Tuscany, split between a charming little town called Certaldo, and a hilltown called Pistoia. Both are about an hour outside of Firenze (Florence), and near Siena, Pisa, and a few hours from Rome. We'll do a few days in Rome next week before we both fly out too.

Yesterday, we spent a long time on the train....13 hours actually. Our trip to Matera was quick but worth it. The area is intriguing, sad, haunting, ancient.

Can't waste the day. Gotta run.

I miss Sora...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What day is today??

Using a public restroom: 1 euro
Buying Sue's tablecloth with the limoncello recipe: 4 euros
More bread and cheese for lunch: 6 euros
Paying someone to "drive" us down the hills of Capri because Mollie's knees hurt: 3 euros

Spending the day on the island of Capri: priceless =)

Fantastic day. I look like a little brown acorn. Maybe that's a bad analogy. But I'm as tan as I've ever been in the last twenty years. The sun was strong on Capri, the waves were high, and the water was crystal clear. We wanted to take a canoe to the Green Grotto, but the water was too rough, sadly. So instead, we laid on the beach for about 4 hours and gawked at the amount of butt cracks in Italy. It's really something.

On to Matera Italy tomorrow, where the Passion of the Christ was filmed. Probably won't write for awhile. Miss and love you all.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Today's highlights...

slept late
drove all through the amalfi coast - bellisimo!
ate fresh mozarella di buffale for lunch with bread
visited two beaches
saw Paestum, the best preserved Greek Temples

making pancakes for dinner for some Italian friends!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ciao from Salerno

Ciao! We are in Salerno, Italy. I haven't had time to write much, which is probably a good thing, right?! So here are the highlights...

--Four nights on an amazing organic farm in the mountains; waking up to a rooster crowing and the sun bathing the mountainside; meeting many new American, Australian, English, and Italian friends; improving my Italian daily; going on a 140 km/hr ride on the highway over Sora on a Ducati with a Fiat test driver; paragliding through the Abruzzi National Park; horse-backriding and almost dying because my horse thought it would be fun to be un pezzo di merda; learning fun words like pezzo di merda; ANNA!!, our new trilingual, beautiful translating friend; Mollie's willingness to scale a mountain despite her bronchitis; AMAZING pizza in Salerno; gelato three times a day; Pompeii; not eating any vegetables or meat (it's been all carbs, sugar, and dairy in the form of gelato); Italian men that love us just because we're American, despite looking like we crawled out of a sewer; Mollie's new nickname - "Stellina"; scoring a free sweet authentic Italian dinner at a little family restaurant 700 meters above sea level; organic wine; and I miss the farm terribly - it was like a little slice of heaven, and immediately felt like home (Mollie enjoyed relaxing but was getting a little stir-crazy after a few days)...

and the list goes on. I will write more later...maybe much later, but at least you have an idea of what we've been doing!!

We're going to the beach tomorrow and then cooking a pancake dinner for about 10 Italians that speak a little English, then to the island of Capri on Wednesday. We hope to head to Matera on Thursday, and Bari on Friday and Saturday. Perhaps Gubbio on Sunday, and then the rest of our time will be split between Rome and Firenze. Ciao belle!!

xoxo we miss and love you all! m&m

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ciao from Italia!

We're here!! I can't quite figure out the european keyboards, so please excuse my lack of proper punctuation. I didn't think I'd be posting this soon. In fact, I wanted to stay away from the computer for at least 24 hours but alas, not possible, since I had to reprint our itinerary due to unforeseen circumstances...

Mollie and I woke up at 11pm Boston time, which was really 5am Roma time, and got ready to fly to Rome, exhausted but excited. We got off the plane and quickly realized my italian wasn't quite as sharp as I wished. However, I did my best and we attempted to make our way to the train station that would lead us to the bus to Sora, the small village we're staying in for the next few days. We followed the directions I had to Sora, but apparently the internet *my source of information* has not updated the changes to the transportation system. So, a bit confused, Mollie and I took about 5 trains to various parts of the city, and finally ended up on a train back to our starting point. When at last headed in the right direction, I settled into my seat with a suspicion that my bag was lighter than when I had started. Sure enough, in the scuffle to get on the train, my entire wallet was stolen. It had my license, a large quantity of euros, credit cards, marriage certificate, birth certificate, itinerary with directions and important phone numbers, and more. We both took it really well though. I remained calm and think I can count the tears I shed on one hand. I'm in Italy, after all, and we're safe. Still, our entire day was spent trying to figure out how to remedy the situation. Mark and Evie were a huge help, especially considering we called them at 5am. Thank you!!!

We sorted things out, and miraculously, through a mix of Spanish, English, and Italian, we were back on track. We had a humorous three and a half hour train ride which included a very angry Italian man yelling at us because we bought the wrong tickets. Although I knew what he was saying, which was that we owed him $200! for a wrong ticket fee, I gave him my big sad eyes, and shook my American curls in a gesture of not understanding, hoping he would forgive us. A fellow passenger was able to translate our circumstance far more accurately than I ever could, and the conductor not only waived the fee, but found us a local who carried my bags to the connecting train to ensure that we got there safely and on time. Shortly after 6pm local time, we arrived in Sora. It's breathtaking. The tiny train station opened up to the smallest rotary I've ever seen, with a working fountain in the middle. The cobblestone streets are incredibly narrow, and the houses are tall and colorful. The village is set in a valley bordered by magnificent green mountains. And Frankie's pizza shop had the best pizza on the planet - $.25 a slice!! Maria, the owner of the farm, came to ferry us from the pizza shop to the farm. When we arrived at the farm, which sits near the top of one of the mountains, we were welcomed by some Australians, Hawaiians, a couple of spit fire Mid-Westerners, and a crackling fire. Maria immediately served us bread and wine with olive oil. Every single ingredient came from the farm. Heavenly. Mollie's still feeling sick, so she didn't partake in the wine, but I indulged and may be changing my mind about wine after all...

Dinner was homemade pasta with lentils and some kind of egg torte. It was all so good, and the company was fantastic - funny, intelligent, tolerant, curious. We all sat around the table and talked over a drawn out meal. At the end of the meal, one of the Australians, who prefers to be called Stephano, brought out Rambutan that he snuck into the country from Thailand, where he had just come from.

And so it goes. Tomorrow, if the weather lets up, we're going paragliding in Abruzzi National Park.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

All Our Bags Are Packed, We're A-Ready to Go...

Four fifteen in the morning is early. But we're ready. My oatmeal is cooking up as I type, I'm having a good hair day, Mollie is her usually grumpy early morning self, and I'm awake and excited. All good signs.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tomorrow, London!

We're heading out at 5am tomorrow, hoping to catch the 5:30am Logan Express. Our flight leaves at 8:55am. The only issue is a bit of a major passport is in my maiden name, and the tickets are in my married name. Most people would have thought about this - but apparently I am not most people. I made many frantic phone calls trying to remedy the situation, but to no avail. The lovely customer service representatives just told me to pray that the airlines will give me grace when they see my marriage certificate. So, either I will return tomorrow morning and write my third and final entry, or I will land safely in London, no more issues, at 8:55pm...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

T Minus 2!!

In just two days, we will be embarking on the longest, farthest travel adventure of our lives! Mollie and I leave for Italia on Tuesday morning, May 20th, at 8:55am. We'll arrive in London at 8:30pm that night. Maybe we'll go see the city...or maybe we'll crash on our heavenly bed at the Heathrow Westin. =) The following morning we leave for Rome at 7:30am and arrive at the Fiumicino Airport at 10:30am, and we'll head to Italy Farm Stay in the Abruzzi National Park

On our list of places to go:
island of Capri, Blue Grotto
Amalfi Coast - Salerno
Assisi, home of St. Francis
PIstoia, Toscana

Hopefully we'll have some time every few days to give some details about our adventures, so check back!!