Christine Atkins


Christine Atkins

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Fiumicino July 15th 2023

And so it is that all roads eventually lead us back here and we must start listing off our ‘lasts’ as we head home. Last morning at the villa, last rally drive down the hill and last visit to a hilltop town…until next time! An early start to pack and get everything sorted, especially the mountain of garbage and empty bottles!! Goodbyes to all our flat mates of the last week and we were off down the freeway to Orvieto, via our last coffee at the autogrill. Another parking arrangement with the marriage in tact and we were off up the hill to Orvieto. Another beautiful town with photo opportunities at every turn. However the highlight was undoubtedly the cathedral - absolutely stunning! I’m not normally a huge fan of religious buildings, but the pope who ... read more
Stunning cathedral
Beautiful tile detail
On the way down in Orvieto

Europe » Italy » Umbria » Gubbio July 14th 2023

After yesterday’s unsuccessful venture into nature, we thought we’d stick with man made beauty for the next few days. Another lazy start before we were on our way to Gubbio. Miraculously didn’t need a divorce to find the parking area and we were on our way up into town in minutes. The town is spectacularly set on a hillside, dominated by the Palazzo dei Consoli. We made our way up up up but thankfully, it was cooler today with a bit of cloud cover, so whinging was minimised. We enjoyed a wander through the medieval street before reaching the top point of our climb at the cathedral. Meandered back down and pottered around in some shops before the requests for lunch became overwhelming and we stopped on a small square. We all enjoyed some pasta, with ... read more
Made it!
Beautiful views
Cute streets everywhere you turn

Europe » Italy » Umbria » Passignano sul Trasimeno July 12th 2023

My meticulous and stringent planning didn’t exactly work on the clan today and I couldn’t get anyone to commit to any lake-based activities. And it’s unusual for me to say this, but just as well, cause honestly, the lake kind of sucked. Crystal clear and idyllic it was not. Murky and kind of wee-temperatured it was. After deciding it was too hot for biking to wineries, we thought a nice swim might be in order. Having (wisely) rejected the idea of boating, the others decided to embark on some SUPping and kayaking. We finally arrived at the shore, only to be underwhelmed by what was on offer - a silty smelly shoreline, green murky water and a dead fish floating by for good measure. We tried some kayaking and the girls went on the SUP but ... read more

Europe » Italy » Umbria » Perugia July 11th 2023

After the glowing reports from the jazz festival the night before, we decided it was worth the journey in to Perugia to see what all the fuss was about. Obviously nothing too early but we found ourselves a parking spot without too much stress and began the long trek up to the town centre. A bit of wandering and we stumbled across a great band called Funk Off, who were performing in the Main Street. Much to the girls’ horror, their funky tunes inspired some parental dancing, but luckily they found some cousins to share their mortification with. The heat and the dancing were becoming too much so we wandered some more before settling on a restaurant for lunch. Some gelato before beginning the downwards trek to the baking hot car. Back to the house for ... read more
Staying in the shade in Perugia

Europe » Italy » Umbria » Umbertide July 10th 2023

After the excitement and adrenaline of yesterday (hmm ok, and wine), Sunday was always going to be a day of rest. Had a nice relaxing sleep in before venturing in to Umbertide for a coffee (accompanied by boa constrictor) and some supplies. Home for lunch, lots of jumping/wall walking competitions in the pool and the great pizza creation began. Much poking was necessary, obviously, and, building on the lessons of the pizzaiolo from Gassino, much throwing of semolina. The oven proved challenging to get to the right temperature so there was some dissatisfaction with the dough, but the masses didn’t seem to mind. Some ventured in to Perugia for some jazz…and some had an early night. Up the next morning to greet the cooking lady who had come unstuck rally driving in, and despite help, was ... read more
Obligatory sunflower shot
Pizza man…and beautiful assistant
Not a bad view

Europe » Italy » Umbria » Umbertide July 8th 2023

After months and months of plotting, scheming and straight-out lying, we couldn’t believe the day had finally arrived! The tightly managed schedule was tracking well when we left but less well when we hit the freeway…headed in exactly the wrong direction. Adding half an hour to the journey when your nerves are already on a knife edge is even less good when you get the message from Heathrow that the intricately orchestrated plan looks to be falling at the final hurdle due to BA’s overbooking. Some tense minutes, some tears and an express trip to Pisa and we received the joyous news that the plan was back on track. Piazza dei miracoli it truly was!! So back on our way to collect our online order which required a significant amount of wondering and wandering but we ... read more
The stress was somewhat offset by this view
She’s here!!

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Aulla July 7th 2023

There’s been a lot in the media lately about how crowded and horrible Italy is at the moment with throngs of tourists etc etc. But we seemed to find ourselves far away from all of that in a beautiful little pocket of Tuscany just over the border from Liguria. We started our journey from Turin and ventured to Albenga to visit with Franca and Luciano. Irene was also there enjoying the seaside with her grandparents. It was lovely to see them and all the girls enjoyed a swim in the sea while I dusted off my Italian and chatted with Franca. We had a quick lunch at the beach and then dropped in on Luciano who was resting at home, not in the best health. We shared some funny memories of when I’d stayed with them ... read more
Monte Marcello
Always cats
Beautiful view

Europe » Italy » Piedmont » Turin July 5th 2023

Being that we were in the birthplace of Ferdi, we thought it only right that we make a pilgrimage to visit his shrine - Mauto, the museum of automobiles. But first, we dropped in on Federica, who was convalescing at home. It was great to see her and catch up. Since we enjoyed the circumnavigation of Porto airport yesterday, we thought we’d try a repeat around the museum. It was particularly enhanced by my desperation for the bathroom so by the time we actually arrived at the museum, I didn’t really care what it housed. But it was a pleasant surprise to wander through the old cars and appreciate what a formative influence car manufacture had on Turin’s history. But there’s only so much ugh history one teenager can endure so we headed to the osteria ... read more
His shrine
Lots of little Ferdis
A hot stroll along the Po

Europe » Italy » Piedmont » San Mauro Torinese July 4th 2023

Considering we were in these parts, we thought we’d make the effort to see what all the fuss about Porto was for. So, amidst howls of protest, we packed up early and headed to the airport to leave the car, in a tactic designed to minimise stress and parking angst. Unfortunately the architects of the Porto Airport parking areas had different ideas and we enjoyed several scenic excursions around the airport. Finally having managed to leave the car, we grabbed a taxi into the city. The next 20 minutes were a blur for me as I frantically tried to contain the mad canine escapee from the other side of the world. When I emerged from that stress, I miraculously found I’d been steered towards a tart shop. What a great way to see out our time ... read more
Just a couple of tarts in front of a bridge

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Braga July 3rd 2023

Following the success of yesterday’s plans, we thought a repeat today was a good idea, but with a different lunch destination. First we thought we’d check out this weird thing I’d seen (not on TikTok) called Bom Jesus. I hadn’t bothered to do any reading at all but the pictures looked cool, so off we set. After a false start at some other stairs leading to heavenly redemption, we found the right place. Despite the pious religious motifs scattered left, right and centre, it was actually pretty spectacular, and we meandered up and down the stairs for some cool photos, in between trans-continental tales of the dog’s escapades around the neighbourhood. Next stop Braga for some lunch. We had a quick look around the historical centre before hitting the main drag for a restaurant where we ... read more
Bom Jesus
Stairs all the way to Jesus
Beautiful building in Braga

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