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Published: April 22nd 2013
Todays gelato flavour = No gelato today but substituted with two delicious Italian sweet treats and cappuccinos in a stylish setting
Back to the 1m x 1m shower cubicle with the wobbly sliding half doors this morning and to add to our showering experience was a semi rigid shower hose that came out of the wall opposite to where the shower head was resulting in a tussle with the hose as you turned in the cubicle.At least there was plenty of hot water.
Although our room at the B&B was clean and tidy it was very basic and no comparison for value to the B&B Nacore of last night and it was another €4.50 for the night.We decided that pilgrims will pay to get accommodation to be part of the Saint Pio experience.
Being Sunday there was no one around except a dog on the terrace above where I was packing up the car.He barked and barked on my first trip down with a suitcase to the point where the owner came out onto the terrace and pulled him inside much to the relief of the neighbours.By the time we were ready to head on our way small
groups of people were appearing on the streets on their way to church or just to stand as they do outside the bars,where they also serve coffee of course.
The road away from the town was as usual in a rough state and we laughed when we noticed the signs for a series of judder bars ahead which were hardly needed when any speed over 30kph threatened to shake the car apart.
In Italy drivers are either going like a bat out of hell or as slow as a tortoise and Sunday this becomes even more obvious as drivers take their families to church.So our departure down the hills from SGR was a slow process.Thankfully all the motor bikers were on their way up the hills and overtaking cars on blind corners made them fearless........and in our minds stupid but that is Sunday for you in Italy.
Three weeks of dry sunny weather came to an end as we hit the fertile plains and a light shower had the wipers working for the first time in 3 weeks except when we have been clearing the road grime and dirt.The outside temperature was still warm at 21C but
we expect that will drop if the showers continue.
We continued on a minor road that Vicky was taking us while we made our way to the SS16 and at a crossroads were surprised to see two people in uniforms
We found our way onto the SS16,the Adriatic Highway and turned in a more northerly direction.This road while not being one of the 'A' motorways was still in very good condition making for fast travel with little in the way of other cars opposing us or behind us.Just before we got onto the SS16 we came across the equivalent of a NZ country traffic jam.....a flock of sheep on the road complete with herding dogs.We couldn't decide what the sheep were being raised for,wool or meat,as they were long legged rather scrawny looking animals.
Despite the showers the girls of the road were back again.From a closer look as we sped by we decided they weren't of the quality we had seen further south.Two of them had some sense sheltering under a bridge that carried the A14 above us.We still can't figure out how they get there or where they do the business as there are no
parked cars or houses near where they station themselves on the roadside.
We know we are back in the 'north' of the country as the rubbish is organised.In other words while there are still the bins in the neighbourhoods they are not overflowing and even if they are full the locals don't put the surplus on the street around the bins/skips.
Although we were making good progress compared to yesterday we decided to do some highway driving which would result in some tolls to be paid as we thought there might be an advantage to be at our hotel in Teramo with enough time to have a stroll around the old city and there was also the large city of Pescara to get through if we stayed on the SS16.So we got ourselves onto the A14 and we were away burning up the kilometres very quickly at 110kph.
We got past Pescara with the 60 odd kilometres costing €5.20 but we had probably saved an hour of driving.
We thought that the rest of the way to Teramo would be on a dual carriageway as indicated on the atlas but Vicky had other ideas and took us up into the hills above the valley where the highway ran up to Teramo through some lovely small villages and farmland and then down to the valley and onto the road we thought we should have joined near the coast.Whether it was faster or shorter we will never know but we were pleased we went that way as the scenery was easy on the eye and the road was clear of traffic.Italy at times on a Sunday can seem like NZ was 30 years ago when nothing was open on Sundays and people all stayed at home.
We had never heard of Teramo before we booked the Gran Sasso Hotel at a great deal of €24.50 including breakfast and we w ere again very happy with the room in the 3 star hotel and the value we got.The town itself,like most others of its size,has a newer area that is often your first sight and then there is usually an old town and Teramo was no different.
We were given parking in a little concrete building next to the hotel as the streets of the old town were very narrow although the cars were parked in an orderly manner allowing vehicles to pass without too much trouble and of course on Sunday there was no other traffic.
We always both take our own suitcases from the car to the front door of our accommodation except if there are steps up to the entrance and this was the case here.I said for Gretchen to leave her case at the bottom of the 10 steps and I would be back for it in a moment.However before I could get back after leaving my suitcase outside the lift(our room was on the 2nd floor)a fireman who was with a small group who had been on a cycling trip,picked her suitcase up and before she knew it she was with him and her suitcase in the lift and on the way to the 2nd floor.And I wasn't sure she had got over the Italian lift problem from Agrigento but it was too late,the lift door closed and she and the fireman were gone.
She told me later when I finally got to the 2nd floor with my suitcase that if there was anyone she was Ok with in a lift if it broke down again it would be a fireman!So is the lift phobia over??we shall see.
It was lucky we took a walk around the town to see the cathedral and part of an amphitheatre from Roman days when we did because as soon as we got back to the car garage to take in our pillows we noticed a very bright flash of lightening and moments later a VERY loud clap of thunder that rattled the old concrete structure.Needless to say with a thunderstorm starting we walked up the stairs instead of taking he lift to our room.
By the time we were ready to have dinner of shrimp and salad the rain had turned to hail and the temperature dropped quickly.
Hopefully what we watched outside our window in rain falling will have cleared by tomorrow morning as we have quite a bit of sightseeing lined up for the day and we pass this way but once.
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