After the highs of the last few days I suppose we were due for a few let downs. We had packed a lot into a short space of time and felt very lucky. This feeling was to change, a bit like the weather and we were caught in a thunderstorm. It did result in a stunning rainbow, but also dampened our mood a lot!
With a day ‘spare’ we decided just to do lunch and drove to a hill top town I had read about in a guide book loaned to me by the B&B. It was in a lovely little village called Veroli. We still had to get used to lunches sometimes starting at 1pm, so we had a quick look in the church as we were early. The church was beautiful, very plain on the outside but inside was one of the most opulent we have seen.
Anyway back to lunch! The menu was not laid out like others, no antipasti, primi or secondi, help what are we going to order? J went for Taglirini e facioli and I went for Capacollo all griglia. Well we figured that griglia was grilled so had to be meat! Pasta and beans arrived for J and a pork chop arrived for me. The chefs here are young, but with an ethos of reviving old recipes with a modern twist. That pork was divine. Yes I should have ordered a side veg dish to go with it but it didn’t matter. In our usual habit J and I have mouthfuls of each others dishes. So every now and then I would have some beans, but J didn’t see much of my dish! The seasoning was perfection with the salt having a black appearance, I don’t know why, it wasn’t burnt just delicious. Best meat ever!
Staying at rural locations mean rural smells and noises, which is fine until the dogs howl and bark for over an hour at 2am. I tried to be pragmatic and think, ‘well, we will be at the next hotel soon and it will be better‘. I was wrong. Faded elegance was how you could describe the next hotel, which was situated on a lake, next to a long stretch of beach. Men with pickaxes and shovels were busy with the holes they had made in the garden. A hose from a small septic tank truck trailed into one. Not the best first impression for the hotel (a 4 star hotel). The man on the front desk (which he refused to leave) handed us one of those stupid plastic hotel ‘key’ cards, pointed at the lift door and said “room 204, press number 1“. Great! Up we went and tried to work out how said ‘key’ worked. Once we had eventually got in the room, we sat and wondered if we had made a mistake. Trying not to have a knee jerk reaction and book another hotel, anywhere, we took a deep breath and tried to give it a chance.
In the morning, grey skies loomed and we took off to the beach determined to have a good time and ‘chill out’. How British is it to sit on the beach under an umbrella? That was us, day one. Next day, same beach, sunbathing, 25 degrees and we swam in the sea. You know the way in the UK the sea makes your skin tingle with how cold it is? Well we were in the Tyrrhenian Sea (part of the Mediterranean Sea, who knew?) and it was about 22 degrees. Wow! It was such good fun to splash about in the waves that sometimes caught you off guard and slapped you around the back of the head. I realised that we were having child-like fun, easy, simple and full of joy and laughter. Something I personally find difficult in everyday life and this was why we were taking this time off. Time to remember to live. Back at the hotel, our last night there was dominated by a wedding in the gardens, which went on to 3am. We were happy to leave and start our first weeks self catering in the Amalfi coast region. If for no other reason than I was fed up washing our pants in hotel sinks!
The Amalfi coast was the main reason for our once in a lifetime trip. J has wanted to visit and drive it for years. Over the past few weeks he has experienced how Italians drive and so felt prepared. But as the roads got progressively narrower after we left the autostrada his preparation seemed useless. We met the rep, Gianni, and he drove with us to meet the owner and translate. As we pulled up in the layby next to the lane that the cottage was down we watched as the two men assessed the size (an audi A4 allroad) and quality of our car (90% of cars here have extensive damage). Hmm. “he doesn’t know if your car will fit through the gate” said Gianni. Great. Off we went down hill on a single track dirt lane. Yes it was a tight turn into the drive and gateway, but after a bit of negotiation we were through. Success, we went through the usual intro instructions and breathed a sigh of relief that we were here.
Quick I thought get a wash on. With dirty clothes spilling out of our two small suitcases I stuffed a load into the machine in the outdoor kitchen. After a brief assessment of the dials I chose a setting and waited. Nothing. Ok yes silly me I needed to pull the dial out. Great off we go. No, nothing. I could hear the machine trying to fill but there wasn’t any water. Ok, contact Gianni to contact the owner (who lives 200 meters away). The owner and his wife arrived and she looked at it and yes it wasn’t working. Technician called, a part was quickly fitted and our clothes were spinning around. Joy! That was until the machine refused to open once the cycle had finished. Were we ever going to see our clothes again?
After a glass of wine on the roof terrace and a phone call to my dad, I unplugged the machine, waited and waited and CLICK! Clean clothes! Phew.