Thursday, 30 November 2017

hill top towns abruzzo style

Everyone has heard of the hill top towns of Tuscany, well Abruzzo, less well known, has many a hidden jewel herself. We chose a few close to us and set off for the day.

First stop was Citta Sant'Angelo

the view from the top

quiet streets in the off season

We forgot that many places are closed on a Monday, especially in the off season so lunch was looking more like fasting. We were headed home when we stumbled across a trattoria that was open. There was a spectacular village perched high on a hill close by, it so happened that it was the home town of our waiter. The late afternoon sun tempted us to make a detour and we were so glad we did.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

a villa in abruzzo

Now we are ten, in a villa, in Abruzzo, in Montesilvano Colle to be exact. The villa has exceeded our expectations and will be a fantastic base for the next 9 days while we immerse ourselves in this region.

the big white house on the hill

snow capped mountains to the left

and the sea to the right

morning exercises

the olive grove

Sunday, 26 November 2017


"What's that?" "Dunno, looks old though"

"Geez, Rome loves a statue"

Insightful commentary on Rome!

We joined the throng of tourists and visited many of the major sights and monuments, joined a couple of tours and by the end were all 'cultured out'
Had an unfortunate lapse in concentration and accidentally deleted all the photos on my camera from the vatican museum and St Peter's Basilica :(


inside the Pantheon

night time tour of the Colosseum 

Amidst the history and art were walks along the river,

a picnic in the park (with the added bonus of segways) and morning coffee at our local cafe.

We have eaten pasta or pizza every day I think, along with gelato.

Four busy and full days and we are ready to head to the country. Abruzzo awaits...

Wednesday, 22 November 2017


The blogging has been a bit sporadic of late, quite a bit going on and the weekly discipline of reflection and recording has gone by the wayside.

And so it is that mid November has arrived and we are on the other side of the world adjusting to a new time zone and a new country. Predictably the long haul flight was unpleasant, long gone are the days where 14 hours on a plane was exciting! On the up side being in Italy IS exciting and tiring and challenging and amazing and so many other things too.

Our first four days were spent in Florence (so far it is Colin, myself, Johanna and my nephew Hayden). We did a lot of touristy things and were severely embarrassed finding ourselves on a Tuscan Day Tour with a big group led by a tour guide waving a flag (yep, exceedingly cringe worthy). However the tour itself was great and San Gimignano was amazing and the organic winery and farm set in the Tuscan Hills where we had lunch was picture postcard perfect.

tour group in the winding alleys of Sienna

Tuscan landscape and also our lunch destination

Tuscan landscape

San Gimignano

A bit of photo taking in the main square of San Gimignano, such a beautiful place and not very busy mid/late afternoon

hold it

yep, got it

Note that Colin is sporting a new hat. Johanna and I vetoed a beanie, can't look like an Aussie bogan in Florence! Now he has an old man Italian cap instead!

We arrived in Pisa at dusk, the last stop on our tour.

Johanna and Hayden climbed to the top

Our other most embarrassing moment (other than the hop on/off bus) was being so tired and hungry (mostly tired) that we ate at 6pm in a cheesy, touristy place called Il David, right next to a replica of the statue of David, smack bang in a touristy square. Not our finest moment, and we were the only ones sitting outside (there were a couple of other culturally inappropriate tourists eating inside, it was a cold evening).

our local morning coffee spot

a couple of locals

a drummer drawing a crowd in one of the many piazza's

the river Arno from the Ponte Vecchio

the Ponte Vecchio

The Duomo

The Duomo

Yesterday we managed to time our arrival by train into Rome with Heidi and Alex's arrival in the country and more amazingly find each other at Roma Termini with ease and a bit of luck. Colin had far more trouble finding the public toilets! My sister arrived in Rome a couple of days ago, so now we are 7. The next few days will be spent exploring Rome and no doubt there will be more touristy and embarrassing moments to come.