A Travellerspoint blog

January 2021

2019 OCTOBER 03 to 04, INDONESIA, Pemuteran Beach, Java

Java road trip day 1 and 2.

sunny 27 °C
View 2019 Adventure - Germany, Malta, Italy & Indonesia on Cindy Bruin's travel map.

THURSDAY 3RD OCTOBER 2019 DAY 104

So today we are leaving the island and my friend Wayan (who Dolly and I met here in Bali last year) is taking us on a 7 day tour to his home island of Java. I have left the itinerary totally in his hands. We will be all travelling altogether in a minivan and Wayan is organizing the accomodation, tours and has the task of finding us places to eat.

A very early start today as we left the beautiful relaxing Nusa Lembongan to start our JAVA TOUR. Wayan and our driver was waiting to collect us at the port when we arrived.
As we were the first boat trip of the day, there was a lovely lady who put offerings on the boats motors for morning blessing.

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We headed north up into the hills, driving up the middle of the island of Bali to the northern coast. Lots of monkeys on the side of the road who did not seem to be scared of man or machine.

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We stopped for lunch at a place overlooking the lakes, it was a bit chilly up there and we all opted for BAKSO - a kind of soup for lunch. Very tasty, as well as the coffee and lemon tea, which warmed us all up.

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After 4 hours travel we reached the north coast and our stop for tonight. We are staying @ Doubleyou Homestay in Pemuteran Beach. Lovely rooms with outdoor shower room. And the pool was set in a beautiful garden. Lucky the temperature at sea level was much warmer and we all had a swim in the lovely hotel pool.

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We crossed the busy road and headed to the beach to watch an amazing sunset. There was some kind of festival on at the beach and there were lots of locals out eating and enjoying the entertainment. We found an assortment of food outlets that managed to satisfy all of us.

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FRIDAY 4TH OCTOBER 2019 DAY 105

This morning we went snorkeling off Menjangan Island. The sun was out and the water was just amazing and we saw lots and lots and lots of colourful fish.

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We stopped at 2 different locations, and had lunch in between.

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After lunch we had another snorkeling stop.

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And now some really good underwater pic our guide took with Dolly's underwater camera.

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After our snorkeling trip return to the beach, Wayan was waiting there for us to take off straight away. We drove the short distance to the nearby port to wait for a motor vehicle ferry that would carry us from the island of Bali to the island of Java. We had a short wait and then the crossing took about an hour, plus we had to wait our turn to berth on the Java side.

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Once on Java we drove straight to our accomodation for the night as it was already late afternoon. Tonight we stayed in bungalows @ Mirah Hotel and after a full day out we all took time out to have a relax before dinner. I found the hotel pool and went for a swim.

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We walked just a short distance up the street and found an restaurant with outdoor seating to have dinner. Wayan had to act as interpreter as the restaurant staff did not speak English. I'm proud of the Bali Seven as none of them complained about the location of our eating establishment. Some of our party have not travelled very much and especially not in Asia so I was a little worried they might be a bit fussy about where we eat. But everyone seemed happy with tonight's (and last night's choices).

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 12:57 Archived in Indonesia Tagged beach java island pemuteran menjangan Comments (0)

2019 SEPT 30 to OCT 02 INDONESIA, Bali, Lembongan Island

Island paradise day 3 & 4 & 5

sunny 30 °C
View 2019 Adventure - Germany, Malta, Italy & Indonesia on Cindy Bruin's travel map.

MONDAY 30TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 101

Lazy day by the beautiful pool of our hotel.

We went out only to eat.

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TUESDAY 1ST OCTOBER 2019 DAY 102

Today we did a day trip to Nusa Penida, the bigger island right next to this one.

We were picked up and transferred to boat near the mangroves. Speed boated across to Penida Island where we bumped around the unkept roads to a couple of lovely sights.

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KELINGKING BEACH - spectacular from above, none of us fancied the climb down or back up.

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Lunch stop before we head to the beach.

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CRYSTAL BAY BEACH - another lovely spot, but a bit rough for us all to go for a swim. I braved the cool water but had to watch for the strong pull out to sea. Punters on the beach opted for a nap in the shade with the sound of the waves hitting the beach.

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We returned to Nusa Lembongan and walked down the street for cocktails, then dinner.

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WEDNESDAY 2ND OCTOBER 2019 DAY 103

After a lazy morning we took a taxi to the Yellow Bridge that joins Nusa Ceningan to Nusa Lembongan.

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We found a nice place to have lunch - OCEAN BROTHERS HOTEL & RESTAURANT that let us use the pool also. It was a very relaxing day and we stayed there watching the sunset. Just on dark we walked back across the Yellow Bridge and ate in a very local place, then struggled to get a taxi back to hotel.

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 14:12 Archived in Indonesia Tagged island lembongan Comments (0)

2019 SEPTEMBER 28 to 30 INDONESIA, Bali, Lembongan Island

Island paradise day 1 & 2

sunny 27 °C
View 2019 Adventure - Germany, Malta, Italy & Indonesia on Cindy Bruin's travel map.

SATURDAY 28TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 99

Moving day today, we checked out of the Grand Kumala Hotel in Legian and were transferred to Sanur Harbour to catch a fast boat to Lembongan Island.

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We watched as everyone's luggage was carried down the beach to the waters edge and deposited on our boat. Then it was our turn to wade into knee deep water and climb in the back of the boat.

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Boat journey was less than an hour, then we waited for our luggage to be unloaded then were transferred to our accommodation. Transfer to our accomodation was included in the ticket for the ferry. The Cozy Villas will be our home for the next 5 nights, and first impressions were good. Great pool, and our villas are great too.

We ventured just to the closest warung for an early dinner as we did not have any lunch. Think we all gunna like this island stay.

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SUNDAY 29TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 100

We spent the morning lazing in and around the pool. Testing our snorkel masks and underwater camera and generally doing nothing. Wonderful.

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Starting to get hungry we walked down towards the beach to see what we could find.

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DREAM BEACH & DEVIL'S TEAR BAY

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We stopped for a late lunch which turned out to be even later as we waited almost an hour for our food.

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Then had to rush home for a quick swim before our 5pm pick up to return to Dream Beach for cocktail happy hour to watch the sunset. Happy hour cocktails were 2 for price of 1 @ IDR100,000 .

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We got the free transport back to our accommodation and returned to the place next door for dinner again.

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 13:42 Archived in Indonesia Tagged island devils lembongan tear Comments (0)

2019 SEPTEMBER 26 to 27 INDONESIA, Bali, Legian

Hello to the Bali Seven!

sunny 30 °C
View 2019 Adventure - Germany, Malta, Italy & Indonesia on Cindy Bruin's travel map.

THURSDAY 26TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 97

Our flight from Rome to Bali was via Bangkok, where we had to change planes. We met Dolly at Bangkok airport and shared a flight with her to Denpasar.
My good friend Wayan was at the airport to collect us and deliver us to our hotel in Legian. There waiting for us, having arrived earlier in the day, was Miss April, Wendy, Jo &Oskar. Welcome to the Bali Seven, let the Indo Adventure begin.

After catching up with everyone, and sorting out the hotels rooms and who was sharing with who, we went to a restaurant just down the street for our first 'group dinner'.

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FRIDAY 27TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 98

So, the Indo Adventure has begun! We had a relax day around Legian today just to get our bearings and to recover from any jetlag - (hey some of us had flown from Europe remember). Weather is beautiful of course and after breakfast we decided to go for a stroll around the nearby streets, do a little shopping.

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Then we headed down to the beach for a drink and a bit of lunch.

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Back to the hotel for an afternoon swim and some relaxing.

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Dinner was had at the Souvlaki Greek restaurant that Dolly and I frequented last year when we were here.

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 13:24 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali legian Comments (0)

2019 SEPTEMBER 22 to 25, ITALY, Vitrochiano and more

Seeing more places off the map.

overcast 23 °C
View 2019 Adventure - Germany, Malta, Italy & Indonesia on Cindy Bruin's travel map.

SUNDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 93

Relaxing day in today. It rained most of the day so it was nice to have a day off sight seeing and what better day than Sunday.

MONDAY 23RD SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 94

Still overcast, but not raining today, so we decided to go out for a drive to the Decathlon store we passed a few days ago. As always could not resists a few purchases.

Our Airbnb
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We stopped for a cafe latte.

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Then on to the town of BAGNAIA. Walked around the old village.

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Next place was just a random pick on the map, but SORIANO NEL CIMINO turned out to be a little gem.

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Time for a gelato.

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TUESDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 95

Our last full day in Italy, sun was shining so we ventured out to Bomarzo to visit the Park of Monsters, this was an interesting place.
Then on to ORTE for a walk around our last medieval town.

History: SACRO BOSCO DI BOMARZO. Bomarzo, a village in Lazio at the foot of Mount Cimino, possesses a unique work, the Villa of Marvels, also called the Sacred Wood or Park of Monsters. lt was designed by Prince Vicino Orsini and the great architect Pirro Ligorio in 1552. The park is unique, even if it belongs to the erudite architectural-naturalistic culture of the second half of the sixteenth century. Refined ltalian style gardens follow geometric and perspective rationality with embellishments such as wide terraces, fountains with water games and mannerist sculptures. On the contrary the learned Prince of Bomarzo dedicated himself to creating an eccentric "wood" having the blocks of peperino emerging from the ground sculpted into enigmatic figures of monsters, dragons, mythological subjects and exotic animals, a crooked house, a funerary temple, fountains, seats and obelisks with carved mottoes and inscriptions. The Sacred Wood is an unusual solution which does not follow sixteenth century usage; the different elements have no perspective relationship between each other and have no coherence or common proportions. Everything is invented with iconological criteria which escape even the most impassioned scholars, a labyrinth of symbols which envelopes anyone who enters. They inspired many artists at the time including Annibal Caro, Bitussi and Cardinal Madruzzo. After the death of Vicino Orsini nobody took charge of the place and it only began to be appreciated by intellectuals and artists such as Claude Lorrain, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Salvador Dali, Mario Praz and Maurizio Calvesi after centuries of neglect.

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Picnic lunch.

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Orte.

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Time for gelato!

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WEDNESDAY 25TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 96

I drove from Vitrochiano to Fiumicino Airport this morning, no hassles.

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Returned hire car, then checked in for our flight to Bangkok. We were 10kg overweight with our luggage, but the bags were sent through without a mention. Bit of drama about Indo visa but all sorted in the end. Lyn and I had a quick snack at airport before our long 11 hour flight.

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 12:35 Archived in Italy Tagged di bomarzo orte sacro bosco Comments (0)

2019 SEPTEMBER 20 to 21 ITALY, Vitrochiano and surrounds

Exploring the unknown places.

sunny 27 °C
View 2019 Adventure - Germany, Malta, Italy & Indonesia on Cindy Bruin's travel map.

FRIDAY 20TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 91

Lyn feeling better today so we headed out to explore the area a little. First stop was the MEDIEVIL village of VITORCHIANO, where we are staying just outside of.

Vitrochiano is a small town about 95km north of Rome, near the local provincial capital of Viterbo. It is built above an Etruscan settlement and like other such sites in the region, it clings to a peperino rock bluff perched above two deep gorges, an impregnable position. The town is surrounded by 13th-century walls and the beautifully preserved historical center can be accessed from the main gate, Porta Romana. Several panoramic viewpoints look over the gorges below.

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View of village from across the valley.

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Next stop was the ruined village of CELLANO, where we had an ice cream.

Celleno is located in the eastern part of the Tuscia area of Viterbo and is set in the countryside dotted with cherry trees. The old hamlet is by now uninhabited and it is located on the top of the hill, a little far from the new Celleno. The old hamlet consists mainly of small red tuff houses, without plaster, for the most part in ruins, because they were abandoned after the disastrous earthquakes that caused great damage to the village. Some finds testify the presence of the first settlements dating back to the 13th century B.C., but probably the area was already inhabited in the Neolitic age as it is proved by the finding of stone weapons dating back to that period. Celleno is located in a strategic position and being on the road for Viterbo , it was invaded by the Romans that seized it in 264 B.C. throwing the Etruscans out. Later it was attacked and sacked by the Goths, the Longobards and the Byzantines.

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Quick stop for lunch with a view.

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Our third stop was LUBRIANO which offered amazing views over the valley where Civita di Bagnoregio stands.

Lubriano overlooks the Valle dei Calanchi, the deep jagged ochre clay gullies that make this part of Tuscia so characteristic, just in front of Civita di Bagnoregio, a little more than 100 km from Rome.

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Civita di Bagnoregio

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We returned home after stopping at a supermarket for supplies. Enough for today, Lyn had done very well up and about.
I cooked pasta with pesto and pork.

SATURDAY 21ST SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 92

Another day out exploring. Today we went for a drive around Lake Bolsena.

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We stopped and visited 3 villages/towns. MARTA CAPODIMONTE BOLSENA

Lake Bolsena is sometimes called Italy’s belly button from its shape and location in the middle of the peninsula. It is located about 100 km north of Rome and is surrounded by the beautiful landscapes of Northern Lazio. Lake Bolsena is the largest lake in the region of northern Lazio, but it is the largest volcanic lake in all of Europe. It was formed about 370,000 years ago, when the multiple volcanoes of the region spewed forth so much that the underlying rock in the area of the lake, the caldera, collapsed into a deep bowl. This bowl was gradually filled by rain water and underwater sources. The volcanoes continued underwater, forming the two islands in the middle of the lake, L’Isola Bisentina and L’Isola Martana. The lake covers an area of 115 sq km (44 sq miles) and has a circumference of 43km or 28 miles. It is a deep lake as well, reaching a maximum depth of 151 meters or 500 feet. Unlike most lakes, Lake Bolsena displays tidelike movements, called “sessa” with the difference between low and high tides being as much as 50cm or 20 inches.

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Marta.

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Capodimonte

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Always time to stop for gelato.

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Bolsena

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Picnic lunch by the lake, then I went in for a refreshing swim.

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Another big day out exploring the area. It's so nice here, no big well know cities or destinations, it's like discovering unknow Italy.

Posted by Cindy Bruin 11:32 Archived in Italy Tagged lake marta bolsena vitrochiano celleno lubriano capodimonte Comments (0)

2019 SEPTEMBER 16 to 19 ITALY, Civita di Bagnoregio

North to some beautiful villages.

sunny 25 °C
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MONDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 87

We picked up a hire car from near the train station in Rome today. The process took over an hour of waiting as it was very busy and we were finally on the road just after 1pm. Car hire desk was very busy. With Lyn driving and me navigating, we managed to escape Rome without any problems.
Then switching to small roads heading north to our destination for the next 2 nights Civita di Bagnoregio (thank you Andreia for the recommendation).

Unfortunately less than halfway we had to stop and change drivers as Lyn was feeling sick and could no longer drive. Just in time she had pulled into a shopping center and threw up in the car park. Hopefully it's not anything serious.

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Civita di Bagnoregio was founded by Etruscans more than 2,500 years ago. The Civita (or City) was the birthplace of Saint Bonaventure, who died in 1274. The location of his boyhood house has long since fallen off the edge of the cliff. By the 16th century, Civita di Bagnoregio was beginning to decline, becoming eclipsed by its former suburb Bagnoregio. At the end of the 17th century, the bishop and the municipal government were forced to move to Bagnoregio because of a major earthquake that accelerated the old town's decline. At that time, the area was part of the Papal States. In the 19th century, Civita di Bagnoregio's location was turning into an island and the pace of the erosion quickened as the layer of clay below the stone was reached in the area where today's bridge is situated. Bagnoregio continues as a small but prosperous town, while the older site became known in Italian as La città che muore ("The Dying Town"). Civita di Bagnoregio has only recently been experiencing a tourist revival.

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I drove the car into the storage car park, as obviously there was no way we could take a car up to the village..
Lyn was still not feeling any better so I took our bags and walked up the causeway to check in to our hotel which was a big splurge @ 80 euro per night, while she remained in the car.

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After returning from my second trip up the causeway and back, it was obvious that Lyn was not well at all and could not even walk. Just lifting her head was making her extremely nauseous. As luck would have it there was a Red Cross person who had a buggy which after a little persuasion and language translation he agreed to drive Lyn and myself up the causeway into the hilltop village.

At the hotel Lyn literally crawled up the steps to our first floor room and went direct to lay down on the bed. I went for a walk around the village as the sun was setting. There was no one around, if perhaps this place is busy with tourists during the day, it is dead quiet after they have all left.

Unfortunately there was nothing open either and I had to make do with the meager supplies we had left to scrape together something for myself for dinner. The accomodation we are staying in is also a restaurant, but it like everywhere else here was not open. Lyn said she didn't want anything, trying to sleep off whatever was ailing her.

I walked around this magical village just as the sun was setting, taking photos of the empty alleyways.

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This place is just so special, I really hope Lyn is feeling better tomorrow so she can appreciate our amazing surroundings.

TUESDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 88

Another beautiful day in this beautiful hilltop village. Unfortunately, Lyn is still ill and spent the whole laying down in bed. She is still suffering from a blocked ear and vertigo. Our landlord when to the pharmacy today and collected some ear drops so we hope they take effect overnight and she wakes up being able to move without throwing up.

So I spent the day wandering around the village by myself. I also walked into the nearby town to buy some food. Our accomodation did supply breakfast with our accomodation, but that was just half a cup of coffee and a small pastry, so I needed to go and have something more substantial.
Lyn was still not eating and only had a cup of tea and some crackers to keep her going.

This place really is beautiful and amazing and I walked around with very few tourists enjoying the old village, taking lots of photos. There was actually more resident cats than tourists visiting today.

Chiesa di San Donato (St Donato Church) was on the same main square as our hotel.

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I went for another walk as the sun was setting to get some photos of the causeway and hilltop village in the golden light. It was dark by the time I returned again.

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WEDNESDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 89

Today we had to leave the beautiful Civita Di Bagnoregio as we only had 2 nights booked there! Lyn is feeling a little better, enough to be able to walk to the car slowly, but we are going to find a doctor for her today because she cannot continue travelling in her present state. Managed to get a quick selfie with Lyn on the way down. Excuse her 'bed hair' as she has been in bed for the last 2 days. I'm sure we will return here on another trip to Italy.

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So we called into the nearest doctors office in Bagnoregio as advised by our hotel owner, but they were not able to help Lyn. Said we needed to go to a hospital. Mr Google advised there was a hospital in the town of Montefiascone which was sort of on the way to our next accommodation location. We arrived there and Lyn was taken in straight away while I parked the car. Doctor confirmed ear infection and gave us prescription for some antibiotics which we purchased from a pharmacy down the road.

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In the emergency room of the Montefiascone hospital.

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Short drive to our B & B in Vitrochiano, a lovely house in the country. Looks like a great place to get well. We stopped on the way at a supermarket to load up on supplies for the next few days in case we are unable to go out. We fly out of Italy in about a week and Lyn's ear really needs to be a lot better before then.

On the road to recovery.

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THURSDAY 19TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 90

Recovery day at our B & B. Our lovely hosts bought us lunch, spaghetti with clams and bruschetta with salmon and lemon. OMG so yummy, how nice are they!

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About 2pm the rain started, lots of sounds of rolling thunder and its quite fresh outside. Good day to be chilling out indoors.

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Lyn is definitely on the mend. She is eating so that is a good sign. The antibiotics seem to be working.

Posted by Cindy Bruin 09:32 Archived in Italy Tagged de bagnoregio civita Comments (0)

2019 SEPTEMBER 13 to 15 ITALY, Rome

ROMA - a town I love!

sunny 29 °C
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FRIDAY 13TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 84

Today we had a long travel day!

We packed our bags and walked out to the bus stop just meters from our apartment. We had a time that the bus would be coming through Bomerano to take us back to Rome, but we made sure we got there early just in case. It arrived on time and we were on our way, tickets only 3.90 euros each.

The bus took us close to the Naples train station which is exactly where we wanted to be. The bag in storage was collected by Lyn, while I purchased train tickets for us from Naples to Rome, 12.65 euros each. We shopped for some supplies for the train journey at the supermarket at the train station. This allowed us to have a nice cold lemon beer after boarding the train.

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The train took about 3 hours to reach Rome and unfortunately the scenery along the way was nothing to get real excited about.

I booked our accomodation for the next 3 nights close by the Termini Train Station for 3 reasons. 1. I know this area around the Rome train station pretty well from previous visits to Rome, 2. it was walking distance from the train station and 3. it was close by where we were going to collect a hire car from in a couple of days.

We had to wait around for our host to come with the key, but we were soon inside the small but adequate 2 room apartment costing 72.95 euro per night - great price for a big city like Rome.

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Even though we had been sitting on transport all day, a travelling day can still be exciting. We headed out for a quick walk just on dark as we needed to go to the supermarket for supplies.

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Tomorrow we will explore more of Rome.

SATURDAY 14TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 85

Today we were lucky enough to catch up with some friends from Australia who are on their honeymoon in Italy. It is just another case of being in the same part of the world as someone we know from the other side of the world.

We had a great day out walking around Rome with these guys. Lunch at a little place near the Vatican was of course amazing (and a lot more up market than Lyn and I would every go to).

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After our delicious lunch we had a stroll around Rome, visiting some of my favorite places in this beautiful city.

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Piazza Navona - with my most favorite statue in Rome.

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Of course the obligatory gelato at the Trevi Fountain.

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It was a great day out in Rome with wonderful company.

SUNDAY 15TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 86

A lazy Sunday, we caught the bus to Porta Portses Markets - did a bit of shopping.

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A lovely night out with Andrew and Nic from Adelaide. Thank you guys for sharing some of your honeymoon time with us!

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 05:56 Archived in Italy Tagged rome Comments (0)

2019 SEPTEMBER 09 - 12 ITALY, Amalfi Coast, Bomerano

We are here to walk with the Gods, and swim in the sea.

sunny 27 °C
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MONDAY 9TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 80

We left the apartment, leaving the keys on the table as requested. Dragging our luggage down the same street we dragged it up a few days ago, we headed back towards the Naples train station.

Today we are heading to the Amalfi Coast! To the village of Bomerano, to be exact. The bus to this village leaves at a bus stop somewhere behind the train station, not exactly sure which one, but hope to find out or ask someone.
We make it to the train station, but before heading to the bus stop we take the escalator down to the underground shopping center under Garibaldi Square. We have found a place a couple of days ago where we could store one of our bags for a few days, rather that take 2 bags on the bus. We will be returning to Naples to get the train to Rome and the price was only 3 euro per day, so totally worth it.

We had to wait in line, but finally the bag was stored and we made our way to the bus stop. There were multiple bus stops along this street and we hoped we were standing by the correct one. The bus ended up being over an hour late, which was not surprising due to the traffic that we saw around the train station. We were worried we had missed it, but there seemed to be a lot of people milling around also looking frustrated at the tardiness of the bus.

The bus did finally show and we were on our way to Bomerano. The bus was crowded and seemed to stop at every light post so the trip was slow going. Distance was less than 50km, but with the constant stopping and an impressive hill climb the trip took almost 2 hours.

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Our Airbnb host was at the bus stop in Bomerano to meet us on arrival and drove us the short distance to our apartment for the next 4 nights @ 53.70 euro per night plus 2 euro city tax per night. Another nice place. This hill top village is a little cooler than Naples, which is nice also.

We went for a walk to check out the village, visited the lookout which gave us a magic view of the coast line from up high. We stood watching the traffic snake down the switchback road, contemplating whether to hire a scooter for a day while we are here. Stopped for an ice cream, really not having enough of these. Found a couple of mini markets for some supplies, and witnessed a funeral arriving at the village church. I found some sunflowers - happy!

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Tomorrow we are going to walk the Path of the Gods - this is the main reason for our visit here.

TUESDAY 10TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 81

Today we walked THE PATH OF THE GODS from Bomerano to Nocelle (just under 9km), and then descended the 1,700 odd steps from Nocelle to Positano.

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The Path of the Gods, or “Sentiero degli Dei” in Italian, is a clifftop trail running between Bomerano (in Agerola) and Nocelle (near Positano) along Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Situated halfway up Mount Sant’Angelo a Tre Pizzi, the trail averages at about 1640 feet (500m) above sea level. It is often referred to as the best hike in the world for its breathtaking views of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Once you arrive at the end of the trail in Nocelle, you have the option of continuing on to Positano. There are three ways to do this:

1. Follow the signs to continue down the steep set of 1700 stairs ending in Positano.
2. Take the bus from Nocelle to Positano.
3. Alternatively, keep walking along the road all the way down to Positano.

The day was quite warm, and the path was not too bad. A bit of up and down and rocks to scramble over, but not too difficult. The scenery along the coastline was of course spectacular, and most of the time we had a birds eye view.

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So when we made it to Nocelle, which was the end of the Path of the Gods walk, I suggested to Lyn that we take option 2 to get down to Positano.
2. Take the bus from Nocelle to Positano. But, no, she said we should just go down the steps to the village below. Option 1. Follow the signs to continue down the steep set of 1700 stairs ending in Positano. This would later prove to be a decision I deeply regretted!

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After the walk and the long climb down all the steps to Positano, we celebrated with a cold beer and a swim in the sea. Positano was crawling with tourists, and the overcrowded public beach was just that, overcrowded.

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We dried in the sunshine, and then caught the ferry from Positano to Amalfi (8 euro each). This 25 minute boat ride gave us a great view of the coastal villages from the water and also the cliffs we walked along earlier in the day.

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Amalfi township was crawling with tourists. We just missed the 5pm bus to take us back to Bomerano, so we grabbed a few supermarket beers and sat on the church steps people watching until it was time to catch the 7pm bus. This was the first time we were to experience the sheer talent of the bus drivers, negotiating the narrow switchback roads was very impressive..

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A quick stop for dinner supplies and we walked the short distance back to our apartment. We were proud of our walking accomplishments today, but going to bed a little muscle sore and weary, I had no idea what tomorrow was going to be like.

WEDNESDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 82

I.CAN'T.MOVE!

Who's bright idea was it to walk down those 1700 steps yesterday? My legs are so stiff and sore it is almost impossible for me to get out of bed. Which I only end up doing due to a call of nature. Unfortunately there is a tiny step (I'm talking about 5cm) into the bathroom and the pain to just climb into this room is killing me. And then to try and sit on the loo, all uses leg muscles, I have never been so sore in my life!

As we had not been out at all today to get any dinner supplies, we had to get up and go out to eat. The closest restaurant to our accomodation was a pizza place that was about 300m up a laneway. I managed to stand and get dressed and soon we were outside and making our way there. Lucky we had not made a reservation as the time to walk the short distance took about 4 times the amount of time it usually would have. I soon worked out the the least amount of pain was encountered when I walked without bending my knees or flexing any leg muscles. So you can imagine what I looked like, 'strolling' up the street, rocking from side to side as this was the only way to move without bending my legs. Finally we reached our destination and lucky for us they were not busy and we were shown to a table inside. Now you know that sitting down onto a chair does involve bending at the knees and using just about every leg muscle that I have. I knew this was going to be painful so I stood by the table taking my time and working myself up to the task. Needless to say the waitress was eyeballing me very strangely as I stood beside the table not taking my seat as any normal person would have done.

I managed to sit without screaming out in pain, by this stage Lyn and I were laughing so much at my pain that there was no room for screaming.

The pizza was ok, good. But the walk home was hanging heavily over my head during the meal. We shared a jug of local wine during dinner, but that was certainly not nearly enough to dull any of my pain. We shared the pizza and bill only totaled 14.50 euro for the both of us.

I braced myself with my hands on the table to try and hoist myself up. Of course that did not do anything towards dulling the pain as I straightened my legs to try and stand. Walking home was the same style as I'd walked up to the restaurant. Legs locked straight, rocking from one foot to the other as I moved down the street. Now I say down as the laneway had a slight decline and as soon as I started moving I was like one of those toys that rocks back and forth just getting faster with momentum. By now I couldn't stop and we both couldn't stop laughing as I gained speed rocking down the laneway.

I soon remembered that this laneway came out onto the main road just opposite our accomodation. Not that there was a heavy stream of traffic at any time of the day, but I just a visions of my arrival at this road would coincide with the local bus timetable. Lucky for me it did not and I managed to negotiate the few stairs need to be climbed to get into our apartment. Getting undressed and using the bathroom were achieved in slow motion.

I crashed onto the bed, praying that tomorrow I would be more mobile and less pained.

THURSDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 83

After waking up and still feeling a bit stiff and sore, it was decided we should get out and about and explore the Amalfi Coast further.

We caught a very overcrowded bus from Bomerano to Amalfi, where we caught another bus to the high village of Ravello.

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This shorter trip we managed to get a seat in the bus. Another beautiful day as we walked around the village admiring the scenery.

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It was another hot day so we needed a coldie to cool us down a little.

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Bus back down to Amalfi where we had a swim in the ocean. This is will our last dip in the sea for awhile as we head north and inland. The public beach was crowded and the water was crystal clear and refreshing.

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We sat right behind the driver in two buses today. The 2 euro each we paid for the bus legs are well worth it just for the thrill of watching the skill of the bus driver negotiate very narrow roads, with cars, bikes and trucks parked on both sides of the road, while being overtaken by crazy scooter riders and impatient Italian drivers. All this while trying not to head on with oncoming traffic which is also addressing the same traffic hazards. All this is done with so much skill and we never travel under 60kmph, and the driver is constantly on his mobile phone (hands free at least).
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When we returned to our village, Bomerano, we stopped at a bar on the square to have a lemon beer and were given free snacks which we called lunch! Good timing too as we got to witness the village religious procession and later in the night there was fire works.

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For those of you interested, yes I was still in a bit of pain today, although not nearly as much as yesterday. All the steps in the pedestrian village of Ravello were a killer and all I can say is thank god for handrails! Apparently, there is a video of me struggling with some stairs, but there is no way I am going to share that on here!

Posted by Cindy Bruin 04:14 Archived in Italy Tagged the of gods path amalfi ravello positano bomerano Comments (0)

2019 SEPTEMBER 05 to 08 ITALY, Naples

My 3rd visit to Naples, and I'm loving it more each time.


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THURSDAY 5TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 76

We caught the bus from Naples airport to near the Naples train station. I had a mud map with directions to our accomodation from the train station. It was a fair distance, especially dragging our luggage and walking through what looked like the dodgy area of Naples. Our apartment is on a little back alley and we did have a little trouble finding it, even once in the correct alley we had problems finding the correct doorway.
Our Airbnb host met us and showed us around the apartment after we each went separately up to the 4th floor in the lift. That shows you how tiny the space was. Obviously the buildings were not originally built with lifts and there was only a small space to put one in later on. I went up first and then Lyn sent up our bags before she came up herself.

The apartment is nice enough, bedroom upstairs with kitchen, lounge, bathroom area on the first level. Will do us nicely @ 44.61 euro per night plus 5 euro city tax per night.

So today we head out early-ish to find some breakfast, because of course we have no supplies in as yet. Our little alley meets a little street that then meets up with a major shopping road. Last night when we walked up all the shops were closed, but in the daylight now, everything was open and it was quite busy.
We didn't really have any plan of where to go so just walked, and about 15 minutes later came across a street market selling everything that a supermarket would, just out in the open, on the street. It was very colourful and the fresh food looked pretty good and at reasonable prices. I hoped we would be able to find this market later on as they were selling fresh mussels that I reckon I could cook up in our apartment kitchen.

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We found a little food outlet with tables and chairs and bought a few things to sit and have for breakfast. Unfortunately, they did not sell any beverages, so Lyn went in search and successfully came back with coffee.

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We met up with my friend Liz and new friend Janie, who we spent time with in Trapani. They had just spent a few days here in Naples and were flying out late tonight. We had a lovely day with them, walking the narrow pedestrian streets of Naples.

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It was a hot day and these refreshing icy lemon drinks being sold on the street were heavenly.

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Being in Naples, of course we had pizza for lunch. Lyn and I shared a pizza 9 euro + 6 euro for a couple of beers.

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After lunch, we walked around some more, then stopped for a beer, and bid farewell to Liz and Janie who had to return to their hotel to prepare to leave.
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Lyn and I walked back home via the supermarket for dinner supplies and some cold beers to enjoy in the comfort of our apartment.

We have a few more days in Naples, the weather is hot. I'm sure we are going to be doing a bit of walking, which is good preparation for our adventure next week.

Oh Naples, you put on the good weather so our feet were sore by the end of the day after walking your narrow streets. We do however thank you for rewarding us with yummy pizza and icy cold lemon slushies. Lyn and I found a street market where we bought a new dress each, and had breakfast at a sidewalk café. Checked out a few supermarkets, found Decathlon and DIDN'T buy anything!

FRIDAY 6TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 77

Today we had good intensions of going out to the town of Sorrento, however due to a train strike this was not possible, so we walked some more around Naples.

Managed to clock up over 20,000 steps, so a big day out walking around. We walked down to the waterfront, window shopping and visiting a few castles along the way. Found a nice local café for some lunch and then caught the funicular up for a birds eye view over Naples.

The day was quite warm so we needed a few refreshment stops during the day.

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SATURDAY 7TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 78

Today we rode the train from Naples to Sorrento (3.90 euros each way per person). The ride took just over an hour and it was pretty crowded. Luckily we managed to score a seat about 20 minutes into the ride.
The weather today was warm, with big black clouds hovering all day but only produced a couple of spots of rain. We walked the touristy streets which were filled with shops selling lots of lemon products and of course were offering sample tastings. It was great, we had enough lemon biscuits, lollies, chocolates and limoncello & limoncello cream tastings that we did not need to have lunch.
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We had a beer at the public beach, but it was not inviting or hot enough for us to get changed and have a swim. Also we didn't want to have to travel back to Naples in the train all damp. We purchased some fabulous smelling lemon soaps and found an Italian map apron for just 2 euro that we could not live without.
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Another full on day for us and we stopped at the pizza place on the corner of our street for another 3 euro pizza for dinner.

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SUNDAY 8TH SEPTEMBER 2019 DAY 79

We had a lazy day today, took a walk to the train station to purchase our ticket to Rome for next week.

We managed to find the street market that we had visited a few days ago and purchased some mussels which I cooked.
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These pictures show how small our lift was, Lyn at the entrance door to our apartment, and of course washing hanging out to dry.

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 14:06 Archived in Italy Tagged market pizza naples sorrento lemon slushies Comments (0)

2019 SEPTEMBER 02 TO 04, ITALY - SICILY

Relaxing and island hopping.


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MONDAY 2ND SEPTEMBER 2019 (DAY 73)

We explored our little corner of Tripani today. Had a swim at the tiny beach at the end of our street.

Took up the position to watch the sunset, easy to fall into a habit here. I am so happy that we have lots of days here and we are able to just relax and do nothing.

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TUESDAY 3RD SEPTEMBER 2019 (DAY 74)

Today we had a day out visiting a couple of islands off Sicily.
Levanzo & Favignana are just 30 minutes off the coast of Trapani. We caught the bus from just down the street from our apartment to the ferry station. It was busy, it seems that a lot of people had the same idea that we do, to visit the islands. Understandably, because its a beautiful day!

We had to sit around for almost an hour for our ferry, but once we were aboard at least the sea was calm so the ride was pleasant, and it was a hydro jet so would have cut through the waves if there were any anyway. The tickets we got to take us to 2 different islands cost a total of 51.88 euro for both of us, and due to the earlier ferries being booked out we finally departed at 11.30am.

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Our first island of Levanzo was only small, which was just as well cause we only had an hour here. We walked through the little village by the port and found the closest stony beach to have a swim. It was now the middle of the day and the sun was hot and the water was clear and looked just so amazing.
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Within 10 minutes of getting off the ferry we were in the water.

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The ferry was on time and we had to rush back so as not to miss the 1pm departure. About 20 minutes later we arrived on our 2nd island of Favignana. The town square was a short walk from the ferry port and with this island being a lot bigger we decided we needed to get some transport if we wanted to see more of the island.

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There were lots of places hiring bicycles, but we decided it was too hot for that caper! and agreed to hire a motor bike.

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With a motor we were able to cover and see a lot more of the island. We had a great time and stopped at lots of beaches around the island for a swim. It was beautiful.

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Returning the motor bike just in time, we really did have to run this time to make it to the ferry. Lol, we'd had a great time on this island and it would have been nice to spend the night here, so, maybe next time.

A smooth ride back as the ferry rose up on its hydrofoils. Heading back into Tripani port, we got a nice water side view of Tripani as well.

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We'd had great weather and a great day.

Back on dry land, An ice cream in town, then back to the end of our street for our last Sicilian sunset.

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I am so glad I included this stop in Sicily into our itinerary. I have had a great time here. We stayed in a great Airbnb and explored a lot of the surroundings on this western side of Sicily.

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WEDNESDAY 4TH SEPTEMBER 2019 (DAY 75)

Our last day in Sicily, later we fly to Naples.

Bus to the airport was not until 3.30pm, so we had a late 12 o'clock checkout.

We say goodbye to our apartment and view.

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Bid farewell to Tripani, have an ice cream and a quick drink before we get on the bus to the airport.

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Bus, then on the plane to Naples.

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 06:15 Archived in Italy Tagged sicily favignana levanzo tripani Comments (0)

2019 AUG 29 - SEPT 01 - ITALY - SICILY - Tripani, Erice

A bit more local exploring with friends old and new.

sunny 28 °C
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THURSDAY 29TH AUGUST 2019 (DAY 69)

How amazing is it to meet up with friends from our own part of the world in a lovely location on the other side of the world. With a little planning, since we were going to be in the same part of the world at the same time, we were able to meet up with my dear friend Liz from New Zealand. Liz is travelling with two other lovely ladies, Janie (from the US) & Julie (also from Brisbane). It was lovely to share time with these ladies, as they generously shared part of their holiday with us.

Travelled up the cable car (9euro rtn) to visit the hill top village of ERICE.

We went early and managed to arrive there before the crowds. It was cooler up the top, as we walked around the cobblestone streets. Great views of Tripani and the salt pans below.

ERICE.
Towering over the west of Sicily at 751m above sea level and often covered in its own personal cloud, Erice is a wonderfully preserved Mediaeval town offering the most breathtaking views and a palpable sense of history. Originally an Elymian city (the Elymians were around before the Greeks ever set foot in Sicily) Erice, or Eryx as it was first called, was a town of no little importance and renown and is said to have attracted the likes Hercules and Aeneas. Like so many Sicilian towns, it passed from one invader to another as all the usual suspects came and went, leaving their architectural calling cards and their cultural footprints. The name changed from Eryx, to Erice to Gebel Hamed and Monte San Giuliano but its essential character remained, obstinately repelling any attempt to change its real identity.

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We had a very enjoyable day out with the ladies and make it back down to our little street just in time for the sunset.

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FRIDAY 30TH AUGUST 2019 (DAY 70)

We did absolutely nothing today, until it was time to grab a beer and walk the 100 meters down to the end of our street to watch the sunset. Even that was not the best today.

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SATURDAY 31ST AUGUST 2019 (DAY 71)

We spent the day with Liz and Janie walking around Trapani old town. So nice to walk the old cobbled streets, check out the old buildings, and enjoy a gelato.

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SUNDAY 01 SEPTEMBER 2019 (DAY 72)

Sunday = lazy day = we did nothing all day!

Posted by Cindy Bruin 06:10 Archived in Italy Tagged erice tripani Comments (0)

2019 AUGUST 26 to 28, ITALY, SICILY, TRAPANI

First time Sicily! Day 66 to Day 68

sunny 28 °C
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MONDAY 26TH AUGUST 2019 (DAY 66)

We woke at about 9am, after not getting to sleep until almost 2am. Breakfast is included in our room rate and we explored the kitchen for what was on offer. Mainly sweet cakey things, but we did find bread which Lyn managed to toast in a sandwich press and that is what we had with coffee and tea. So it seems Italians go more for the sweet things at breakfast, rather than the savory goodies we were offered in Germany. Not to mind, I'm sure we will be able to find enough to get ourselves fed from what is on offer.

Lyn put in a load of washing and we had to wait around for that to finish before we could head out and start exploring.

We have the car for just 3 days so we are going to take advantage of driving to places a little out of town. We can explore closer by foot or the bus.

Neither of us have ever been to Sicily, so everything is new and unseen. So really it doesn't matter where we go.

SALINA CALCARA.
The salt-pans complex came into operation in 1593, but it was built in 1504 by Antonio de Alfonso, a Portuguese man who owned the area at the time. It was in operation until 1955, but after a flood, the traditional activity was suspended and only extensive aquaculture operations have been carried out. When Salina Calcara was bought by the Pollina-Palermo family – in 1998 – the already existing building underwent works of renovation and the salt-pans complex was reactivated making the salt production possible once again starting from the 2008. Salina Calcara has an extension of 40 hectares and is composed, since its original plant, from a small Salina, called Stella (whose meaning is “Star”) and a large Salina, for a total of 33 tanks. Only 23 tanks are currently in operation.

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SALT MUSEUM.
Relais Antiche Saline SALINA MARIA STELLA

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MARAUSA - our first swim in the sea off Sicily and the water was warm and crystal clear.
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We drove on to MARSALA and had a walk around the centre, but everything was closed. Seems all the shops close from 1pm to 5pm. This place is worse than Spain for an afternoon siesta. We sat in the cathedral for a few minutes to cool off and heard the pipe organ being played.

MARSALA.
The town is famous for the docking of Giuseppe Garibaldi on 11 May 1860 (the Expedition of the Thousand) and for its Marsala wine. A feature of the area is the Stagnone Lagoon Natural Reserve — a marine area with salt ponds. Marsala is built on the ruins of the ancient Carthaginian city of Lilybaeum, and includes in its territory the archaeological site of the island of Motya, an ancient Phoenician town. The modern name likely derived from the Arabic مَرْسَى عَلِيّ (marsā ʿaliyy, “Ali's harbor”), or possibly مَرْسَى اللّٰه (marsā llāh, “God's harbor”).

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Time for another swim, so we stopped at LIDO PAKEKA for a dip.
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We then start to drive back to Tripani. Stopped at Lidl supermarket for some supplies for the next few days.
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Stopped at roadside Saline Maria Stella salt piles for photos (and a handful of salt).
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We made it back in time just to see the end of the sunset at the end of our street.
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TUESDAY 27TH AUGUST 2019 (DAY 67)

Today we did a big drive around the Trapani region. So lots of scenery shots today, which were taken from the car.
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Lots of lovely little beaches where we did not stop as they were so crowded and parking was at a premium and for a fee.
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We had a walk around CASTELLAMMARE del GOLFO,
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and stopped in SAN VITO LO CAPO where the water was green with algae and uninviting. We had an ice cream instead.
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MARBLE MINES.
In the province of Trapani, on Sicily's western coast, beautiful rock formations grace the shoreline. They also contain the island's best-known stone export -- Perlato di Sicilia marble. Although Perlato di Sicilia is the general term by which it is internationally known,
there are actually many different classifications and varieties of this marble. It is quite similar to the broad reference to White Carrara marble, which also has many classifications within the general category.
The color is essentially beige, and the variation among classifications depends on the amount and pattern of the veining. The Perlatino varieties have a tighter, more compact pattern on the surface than Perlato. Additionally, the quarries yield some colored varieties, including tones of red and green.
Most of the marble quarries are actually in the town of Custonaci, within the Trapani Province but just outside the city center. Custonaci has a population of 5,000 people, the bulk of which work in the quarries or stoneworking operations. In all, the region boasts 130 active quarries and 3,500 people working in the industry.
Although the marble of Trapani has been quarried on an industrial scale for around 90 years, it has been used for centuries. Today, Custonaci/Trapani is responsible for 85% of Sicily's stone production and approximately 12% of Italy's production.

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Ended up having a swim at ABSOLUTE BEACH just 3 km from home, where the water was again crystal clear.
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Made it for sunset today!
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WEDNESDAY 28TH AUGUST 2019 (DAY 68)

Just a short drive today, before we handed the hire car back.
We went to a local village, Paceco, which was nothing more than a church and an ice cream shop - what more could you want?
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Although it was overcast and cloudy it was still hot enough for a swim so we drove to Lido S.Teodoro. Here we were able to walk through the shallow waters to an island. The water was warm and clear.
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We had to walk back to our accomodation after dropping off the hire car which was a couple of km's out of town.
We missed the sunset today!

Posted by Cindy Bruin 15:00 Archived in Italy Tagged museum salt marsala tripani Comments (0)

2019 AUGUST 24 to 25 MALTA

Last 2 days in Malta. Day 64 & 65

sunny 30 °C
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SATURDAY 24TH AUGUST 2019 (DAY 64)

LiJA, MALTA

Today is our 2nd last day in paradise. Malta is one of my favourite destinations in the world and I never feel sad about leaving because I know I will return again. And I am certain of this as next years accommodation is already booked!

We decided to go to Granny's in Bugibba for a 2.95 euro breakfast. Great value this breaky and worth the drive!

After we had eaten we drove over to the opposite coast of the island for a last swim at Gnejna Bay. This is another spot, and being a weekend the locals were out in force too. The beach was crowded, but its still a nice place for a swim. We stayed for a couple of hours, swimming in the sea then sunning ourselves dry on the beach, only to repeat the process again.
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Lunch stop was at Crystal Palace, of course, for some pastizzi. They had the chicken flavoured ones left today so that is what we had. Sadly, they were out of stock of Cisk Lemon Beer, but we had an ice cream for dessert instead.
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Back in our accommodation in Lija we had a swim in the pool to wash off the sea salt before we showered and walked to Balzan Football Club for dinner. The meal servings are always way to large and we all overate without even finishing our meals. A waddle back to our farmhouse and we crashed.

SUNDAY 25TH AUGUST 2019 (DAY 65)

Dolly cooked us poached eggs for our last breakfast. We packed our bags (still too full) and hung around until it was time to go to the airport.

Dolly's flight is at 5pm and ours at 9pm, but we decided to return the hire car to the airport car park and wait it out at the airport after Dolly left. We really didn't have anywhere to go and we were lucky enough to get the accommodation until 3pm instead of the usual 10am checkout time.

We hugged Dolly goodbye when it was time for her to depart, happy in the knowledge we will be seeing her again in 5 weeks when she joins us in Bali!
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Our flight ended up leaving about 30 minutes late. The flight itself was less than 1 hour, and we landed in Palermo Airport at about 10.30pm. Collected our luggage and went straight to Hertz to collect our car. Woo Hoo, a little while Fiat 500. This car being small will be great for Lyn to drive any narrow streets and hopefully easy to find parking.

It took us a little over an hour to drive from the airport to our accommodation in Trapani. The lovely Francesca was waiting for us outside when we finally arrived a little after midnight.

Our accommodation here is a double bedroom with ensuite bathroom and a shared kitchen, shared with just one other double room. Breakfast is included and it's costing us just under 40 euro per night. Pretty good, the place is spotlessly clean and the balcony over the, what sounds like a busy street, promises to have a view of the sea.

Looking forward to our time in Sicily.

Posted by Cindy Bruin 13:46 Archived in Malta Tagged bay malta lija gnejna Comments (0)

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