Laura C.

Lcollins

Laura C.




Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome October 25th 2013

October 22 The art exhibit in the church basement was, different. First, it took several tries to get into the locked space but while waiting for Saturday night Mass to end, we had a drink at an outside table at the bar next to the church and I remembered to order a Negroni, an aperitivo I had read about. Finally we were let into the exhibit. It really was not traditional art, just some photos of death cards of some sort. But the basement was fascinating! The narrow stairs wound down and where they ended there was a glass partition that enclosed about 100 skulls. Some still had skin which shrunk as it dried leaving a pained expression. There was no explanation about the skulls and it was the first that Doug and Di knew of ... read more
Doug and Sam in Santa Domenica Talao
Infinity pool and feline companion
Happy Sam!

Europe » Italy » Calabria » Scalea October 20th 2013

October 19 Our check out went smoothly and when the girl read my note she said that she would take the cat home with her that afternoon. I am choosing to believe that she will take care of all the cats, and since I'll never know, that is the story I am sticking with. We gave her a generous tip and she was thrilled. After one last stop at Caffe Roma, we were on our way. Our drive to Martina Franca was easy and the rain that was forecast waited until we were eating lunch, which was appreciated. Catherine fixed a fabulous traditional meal (traditional for a Sunday lunch, but we enjoyed it on Wednesday). We had antipasti that included sautéed olives, peppers and prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella. Next we had homemade Orecchiette pasta with tomato sauce, followed ... read more
Martina Franca
Martina Franca
Our trullo

Europe » Italy » Apulia » Salve October 15th 2013

October 15 And then just like that, when you think you are ready to go home, you have another amazing day! Yesterday was like that. We got up early and fed the cats and soon were out the door. We went into Salve (nearest town) and to Caffe Roma, the bar that Catherine and I discovered over the weekend. This time we sat at an outside table in the piazza rather than standing at the bar. Sam had espresso, I had a cappuccino and we shared a chocolate cornetto. It was wonderful. Nearby 4 old men sat together on a bench. They didn't seem to talk much, but they sat together, just as they have probably done for most of their lives. Next we went into the panetteria and bought some focaccia that was filled with ... read more
Olive trees and stone walls everywhere
Beautiful spot
The inviting water and cave

Europe » Italy » Apulia » Salve October 13th 2013

October 13 On Friday our friends Brian and Catherine arrived. They are Americans, originally from Santa Cruz but most recently from Portland, who now live in Martina Franca, in Puglia. I first "met" Catherine through her blog and we connected after I read her post that showed rain in Portland and started out, "This time last year..." and reminisced about how different their lives were a year later in Italy. I could relate. I soon learned that she was a good friend of the President of Willamette University (having worked together at UC Santa Cruz) and had moved to Puglia from Portland. Brian and Catherine export olive oil from their trees in Puglia to the United States and Sam and I have enjoyed several tins of the oil already: pascarosa.com In June they were in the ... read more
Torre Vado
Santa Maria di Leuca
Gallipoli

Europe » Italy » Apulia » Salve October 10th 2013

October 10 - Four weeks since landing in Madrid Yesterday morning we woke up and went down to find the hotel owner, Joseph and his father, Isidoro waiting to serve us breakfast. Joseph immediately said to Sam, "I looked at your passport; you are Italian!" He said that he knew many people in the area with the last name "Petrillo." He seemed so pleased. We talked all through our breakfast of cappuccini, croissants, and cookies. The news was on, so many comments were made about Italy's government woes as well as the ridiculous situation in the United States right now. No one in Europe can believe it. For one, they don't know what's wrong with universal healthcare, and they think that the behavior of the Tea Party is no different than childish playground antics. Ok, back ... read more
Castel del Monte
"Sam's cat" and sunset

Europe » Italy » Molise » Termoli October 8th 2013

October 4-8 We spent four nights just south of Sulmona in a guest apartment owned by a British couple. They live in Bristol England in the winter and then spend the rest of the year in Abruzzo where they spend time hiking, growing grapes and apples and running the guest apartment. It was a very comfortable accommodation and we enjoyed relaxing and preparing some of our own meals in the well-stocked kitchen. On our way to Sulmona we passed through the village of Capestrano. This old town sits high on a hillside and as we entered the piazza we saw that it was market day. We bought some produce from one of the venders and then she added some parsley and carrots to our bag - in all we got lettuce, three large tomatoes, 3 giant ... read more
Capestrano
Sulmona
Pescocostanzo

Europe » Italy » Abruzzo » Sulmona October 4th 2013

September 29, 30 We left Vinchio by 9:00 on Sunday morning. Mario prepared our breakfast as Marisa had flown to Cyprus the day before to meet her daughter for a week of vacation. We packed up and said our good-byes. After a few minutes sitting in the car wondering which way to turn when we backed out of the driveway, Mario came out and helped us with directions. Then he stood in the narrow street to make sure that no cars or tractors were coming so that we could back out safely. Finally we were off. It was pleasant driving on a Sunday morning because there really was no one on the roads. Before long we were on the autostrada. It was raining and throughout the morning we saw impressive lightening strikes in the sky in ... read more
With our friends after Sunday dinner
The tram in San Marino
Hard to see much in the fog

Europe » Italy » Piedmont » Acqui Terme September 28th 2013

September 28 Last night we did not eat in the only restaurant in Vinchio, as planned, because it was closed again due to the grape harvest. We drove to a nearby spot recommended by our hosts (turns out their names are Marisa and Mario, not Maria - ). We arrived at 8:00 and were the first people of the night, but soon there were several other tables including one family group celebrating a man's 35th birthday, and at another table an older man with a much younger, and very over-dressed for the setting, woman. It is white truffle season and on a table in the center of the room, on a cake platter, were displayed several small gnarly white truffles. The cover was lifted when we arrived so that diners could go and smell the truffles. ... read more
Vineyards everywhere
Piemonte Region
Acqui Terme

Europe » Italy » Piedmont » Asti September 27th 2013

September 25, 26 and 27 We enjoyed dinner at El Moli out on the patio. Maria's meals are good, basic Spanish (Catalonian) food. We had a tomato and onion salad, bread, chicken soup, fried fish and potatoes and chocolate flan. We slept well and enjoyed the absence of any barking dogs in the night. Breakfast was a wonderful spread that included chocolate croissants, figs, apples, fresh squeezed orange juice, eggs, cheeses and meats and various homemade jams on toasted bread. Maria came and visited with us and told us that she wanted to give us the night and dinner and breakfast as her gift to us! We were surprised by such a generous gift, but she said this way she will be more comfortable asking to come and stay with us in Oregon. We hope she ... read more
Pont du Gard
Pont du Gard
View from our bed in Saillans

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Girona » Figueres September 24th 2013

September 24, 2013 I am writing this from our balcony overlooking the village of Jerica, Spain. The bells on the clock tower have just let me know that it is 6:15. The bells are what they refer to as the "new bells," as they were installed on December 23, 1622. The town dates back to the Stone Age, but they really start recording things during the Roman period. A Muslim period followed in the 12th century and from that point on, control of the town bounced around. Anna and her husband are down in their vegetable garden gathering greens for our dinner that we will enjoy in a few hours. Tonight we are the only guests at Shariqua - a B&B that I can't even remember how I found. It is off the tourist track by ... read more
Rob and Donna
Calabardina beach in the morning
What could be more relaxing?




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