A Travellerspoint blog

Home sweet home

overcast 17 °C

Made it home in one piece, unloaded the car, went and got Tess, and unpacked....
The car is now back up high on its suspension and we have taken stock of the items that the poor little Citroen had managed to haul back to the UK!

Looking forward to collating the photos from the cameras and phones all together and deciding which to keep and upload.
This blog has made it worthwhile for us to reflect on what we have done and keep a record.
We hope it has also been interesting for all who have followed

until next time, bon voyage

Ni and Kath

Posted by Ni-Kath-travels 00:40 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Final leg to UK

rain 17 °C

We decided to do the Luxembourg, Belgium and France over night as this is less inspiring than Italy and Switzerland we had a few hours rest in Luxembourg until some Chavs decided to do their sound off's from their Boom boxes waking up the entire Park, still, the bonus was diesel was only €1.18 a litre, we're now thirty miles out from the tunnel, Kath has a sore neck from sleeping funny and Nino is glad that we still can do Lucca to home in 24 hours, should the tunnel not rip us of by being early if so looks like more shopping? xxx

You can tell we're getting closer to England as it has started to rain. BACK TO REALITY ?

Arrived at the tunnel our original ticket was for 8pm tonight. The clerk asked if we wanted the next available train at €130 - I respond with No.... She then looked at the next train which was 20 minutes later and they wanted Nothing extra... Errr. That would be fine then please!
What a difference.
So off to the shop and look at the prices of various bits before deciding to just get a coffee.
Of course, something unusual has to occur and this time it's Kath, she orders a coffee in French (well done hun)
Shame you put SALT in it rather than sugar, but as Kath had made the effort to speak French the guy made a fresh one free of charge :-)

Posted by Ni-Kath-travels 00:46 Archived in France Tagged calais Comments (0)

The long haul

No more glorious mountains

all seasons in one day 17 °C

Driving through all the mountains both in Italy and Switzerland you realize how insignificant you are in this wonderful world. Driving through the night as we had such a long wait to go through the Gottard tunnel.. came out of Switzerland and into Germany.. Nino got the welcome message on his phone but I didn't, a bit of a conspiracy going on here.."I Want my welcome messages !!!?" as it's better than a stamp on my passport, which incedently we have not needed.

This is now a long treck back to the UK with uninspiring territory, with a few stops at some rest points and 40 winks we should be well on our way home by lunch time tomorrow.
Currently in Luxembourg heading towards Belgium xx??

Posted by Ni-Kath-travels 00:29 Archived in Luxembourg Comments (0)

Leaving Wonderful Italy ?

Very difficult !

overcast 19 °C

Having finished packing and loading the car we begrudgingly leave Italy, we make a stop at our bread shop to get more Sciaciatta for the journey we also picked up some wheat and chestnut beer and was gifted a yummy pot of peach marmalade.
Back on the road Nino is doing what he does best through all the scenic mountains whilst I sit and reflect on our time spent in this very beautiful country, as the mountains roll by and fade into the distance I can't help but feel that a little piece of my heart remains in Tuscany.

We make a little stop to enquire about a real genuine authentic pizza oven that can be shipped over to the UK. . Maybe we will have our own little Italy at home. .x

We head through Italy and out the other side, Through Switzerland and onto the Gottard tunnel which is ten miles long.

Posted by Ni-Kath-travels 17:56 Archived in Switzerland Tagged tunnel gottard Comments (0)

Penultimate day !!!

A jar of jam has nothing on us x?

sunny 27 °C

What a day!
Got up with the birds, quick blast around the mountains to the little bakers to get sciacatta then back home to enjoy a leisurely breakfast followed by a quick session of packing.
Went into Castelnuovo to pick up the usual end of holiday bits 12 bottles of Brandy 18 litres of wine and fifteen sausages. Alas no cheese ( had enough of Nino's feet)

Had a wonderful meal with zia & zio which entail a game of billiards (I won against zio which makes me the reigning champion of Garfagnana)

After a tearful goodbye and a Marucciana (cocktail of Brandy, Rum & Vermouth soaked in cherries) back on the road we head up to our own personal mountain (Mount Pisanino).
To where it all began (proposal of marriage using blades of wild grass for rings) 6 years ago, only to find the buggers had cut down our Cherry tree to a stump! ? nevertheless it was still very beautiful and serene. As usual, in true Kathy style, we ventured further up mountain on foot. ..yep you've got it.... Flip flops!
Suffice to say the locals was giving us some strange looks. . Can't understand why! The sun was out. ?

We the went of to our favourite restaurant for a Pizza? we were not disappointed! With this as we were introduced to the local wheat beer.

I attracted more attention this time from the local perv who nearly fell off his seat straining.his neck tho look at me..can't understand why!

We left the restaurant to head home, around the mountains we go in true nino form...where I hang on for dear life whilst we leave the rubber of the tyres on the road.

At home we say more farewells to family and friends followed by some vino and banter.
A good day!

Posted by Ni-Kath-travels 01:10 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Update on Kath versus insects

Insects :30+ - Kath :2 For those who wanna know where my 2 come from. . That's how many I have eaten to which one was quite nutty ? xx

As you may of noticed my entries the last few days have been a little scarce...This is due to the fact that my poor legs have been in so much pain. . Again those of you that know me, know that I suffer terribly with insect bites... recently is no exception... After all the prep that I did before arriving, the one day I forget my armour the buggers attack me. ?
Hope I have given them food poisoning.
Just also would like to mention the size of the ants. . They must be on steroids, they are huge,, bigger than my fingernail. . another insect that like to feast on me, luckily for me I can easily avoid these ?

Today however is a better day, at least I can walk without my legs throbbing even up a very steep hill in which gives my calfs an amazing work out..Although one was very very steep and I was ready to crawl up it, Nino came to my rescue and taught me a neat little trick and that was to walk up it backwards, apart from looking at the beautiful scenery which I might have missed and took my mind off the pain in my legs, made for a more pleasant journey up.. Well done Nino ?xx (he does have his uses) xxxx

Posted by Ni-Kath-travels 16:07 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Equi Terme

sunny 23 °C

Had a trip out via train today, I remember as a lad these big trains with steps up to the carriage from the platform which is at floor level. Glad to say they are still like it albeit more modern.
They are diesel engines with gears and you hear and feel the gear changes, all very romantic.
At the destination the town is all quiet and we suspected that it was due to end of season.... Oh no, nothing so simple for us... The town had an issue with the electricity supply and everything was offline until the afternoon whilst repairs were effected. So we couldn't do the cave tour as it had no power. Hahaha so we went off on our own travels. Found ourselves a little tunnel under the railway lines and then found a nice fig tree, our first fig tree that had figs -apparently Italy has had big problems with the weather this year and the crops have all suffered.
Anyway. I decide to climb the tree and scrump some lovely figs for us both.
Then onto some other road that led to some thermal springs which were 27 °C
Kath was treated to someone's backside as he and his mates changed at the riverside. She even looked away ;-) missed a trick there hun.

On the way back we stopped off for some grub and drink which turned out to be a very nice restaurant so we moved the table into the sunlight so we could sit in the sun and look at the fantastic view of the sheer sided mountain with the old village in the foreground.
As a bonus it had excellent food and superb wine.
Ravioli -home made to a recipe dating back to 1900. The year not the time!
And a slightly fizzy red wine reminiscent of valpolicella but nicer.
The waitress even showed us a shortcut to the station which was just as well as we were running late due to the wonderful time we were having.
A quick walk up some dodgy path at the side of various houses and voila, the stazione...
Caught the train with about a minute to spare

Posted by Ni-Kath-travels 06:13 Archived in Italy Tagged train spa terme themal equi figs Comments (0)

A Day with the Relie's

Catching up!

sunny 27 °C
View Start of our Journey..traveling to Folkstone to get the ferry over the France! then onto Belgium on Ni-Kath-travels's travel map.

Spent the day with all different Aunties & uncle, catching up on the last four years.. Although I don't speak much of the language I am better at the understanding of conversation taking place with the occasional translation from Nino, although in my favour I can hold very polite Greetings, agreement, appreciation & goodbyes. . My task now for the coming year is to learn Italian so Nino doesn't get a sore throat xx Well done hun for all the translations xxx

I am now pleased to say my poor legs are healing nicely after so much pain. X

Posted by Ni-Kath-travels 20:16 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Lake Pontecosi

sunny 20 °C
View Start of our Journey..traveling to Folkstone to get the ferry over the France! then onto Belgium on Ni-Kath-travels's travel map.

Plastering indoors using Stucco too repair a few cracks, hmm, ended up with more cracks as you can't put it on thick. Oh well another layer tomorrow.
Lovely man made lake which must have been a river originally as it has a gorgeous bridge over one of the tributaries.
Very relaxing afternoon.
Kath's legs are still throbbing so a gentle walk in the evening to get the circulation going followed by a medicinal tipple on the balcony watching the clouds roll in around the mountain at eye level.

Posted by Ni-Kath-travels 22:15 Archived in Italy Tagged balcony pontecosi Comments (0)

Lucca. the walled city

sunny 30 °C
View Start of our Journey..traveling to Folkstone to get the ferry over the France! then onto Belgium on Ni-Kath-travels's travel map.

Have driven through the city so many times but never ventured beyond the walls.
This is a stunning town and housed a thriving market, wonderful architecture, and a culture of its own.
One of the towers even has trees growing from the top.
Poor Kath though. She has been eaten alive by the mosquitoes and was walking in pain.
Not even a giant steak could quell the pain, so time to go off to the chemist for some antibiotics over the counter?

Posted by Ni-Kath-travels 09:40 Archived in Italy Tagged lucca Comments (0)

real pizza in italy out of a home made oven

sunny 23 °C
View Start of our Journey..traveling to Folkstone to get the ferry over the France! then onto Belgium on Ni-Kath-travels's travel map.

After a day driving up and down various mountains including mt. Chestnut aka orrecciella all the way to the top and they didn't even have any chestnut doughnuts. We were not impressed. Maybe they didn't get the telegram staying we were arriving. How very dare they!
Still. Later on we had an authentic brick oven pizza at the house of the Irish couple.
What a treat, it was fantastic - need to upgrade the clay oven at home to retain more heat...
Great evening.

Posted by Ni-Kath-travels 09:38 Archived in Italy Tagged pizza poggio Comments (0)

Market Day Castelnouvo

sunny 27 °C
View Start of our Journey..traveling to Folkstone to get the ferry over the France! then onto Belgium on Ni-Kath-travels's travel map.

There's nothing like a good market abroad to show you what you are missing at home.
We found a wonderful coffee machine that is ornate and practical.
Plus the more usual items such as BRA's yes, thats right, BRA's
Kath decided that she liked one of the BRA's on display and of course had to choose the correct size...
Of course Europe uses CM's, UK sizes are in inches, so i have to intervene to calculate the correct size in metric!
So, picture this, Kath chooses the BRA, Nino has to explain it to the guy selling them.
Then once that part - which wasn't at all embarrassing - much - we then engaged a conversation where cup size was discussed
oh dear!!!
the upshot was that Kath tried it on - in public, in a busy market....
thankfully, it was over her existing clothing but still must have looked at right treat
chalk up another one for the mad english woman.

The afternoon however was more normal, visiting relatives, eating lovely foods, drinking the vino
my aunt remembers Kath as she poured her a completely full tumbler of wine, at which my uncle uttered something i didn't understand with my aunt responding with, she doesn't have to drink it all!
Kath however, recalled that its rude to not finish a drink in Italy - although she forgot i admitted it was a wind up when i told her that gesture.

So , comical morning, interesting afternoon, what would happen in the evening?
would it transpire to be uneventful, well the answer would have to be NO

We decide to visit the neighbours, they are a lovely couple from Ireland and very good friends of my parents
Having never met them but heard lots about them we decided to introduce ourselves to them.
So off we go and knock on the door, we are greeted by a very tall person and i state in a full voice, hello, you must be Rodney!
to which SHE answered - no Rodney is out, i'm Fiona
OH! foot in mouth syndrome and for once it wasn't Kath
After some very poor backtracking we still managed to leave there with two bottles of Leffe beer
That said she is a very nice lady and i hope we haven't aliened them

Back home and Kath rustles up a fantastic sausage pasta salad with extra garlic beans
I was outside chatting with the locals the entire village must have been intoxicated with garlic, but it didn't seem to bother anyone here, as you would expect....

Posted by Ni-Kath-travels 13:19 Archived in Italy Tagged tasty embarrassing comical Comments (0)

All Pizza are not made EQUAL!!!!!!

sunny 30 °C
View Start of our Journey..traveling to Folkstone to get the ferry over the France! then onto Belgium on Ni-Kath-travels's travel map.

Got settled in and decided to eat out, we knew of a place that had been recommended for its pizza, so jumped in the car and Nino whisked me away in to the darkened lanes whilst nearly knocking people over like skittles looks like people don't believe in light or reflective clothing even though there is no street lights or pavements.
once through the door ..I sensed something was amiss... THE OWNER! .he was missing, not a good start, Nino went in search for him, found him smoking a spliff..whilst on the phone, eventually nino got his attention, explained that we wanted a pizza to go as we had decided to get an early night...wink wink
we were then told to take a seat in the VERY empty restaurant as he didn't have any take away boxes, after some deliberation we decided that we would eat in... BIG MISTAKE.....Pizza is normally ready in a few mins but we had to wait 40mins..we think it was to go and peel the mould off of all the stuff he put on it judging by what we were served...what turned up was nothing short of regurgitated cow pat!
and tasted as such. YUCK YUCK YUCK.....
Rio Cavo Pizzeria...You Suck!
When complained he didn't seem all that perturbed and said ...it might be nicer next time!!!!

We survived the night by disinfecting ourselves with Brandy..purely medicinal all four glasses as we could not be sure that what ever infestation that was growing on the pizza would be killed!!
the worst part was that on the way back we saw a brand new pizzeria, with lots of happy people eating that we missed on the way out.

Posted by Ni-Kath-travels 13:16 Archived in Italy Tagged pizza scifozzo Comments (0)

Heading to Tuscany - Italy

sunny 30 °C
View Start of our Journey..traveling to Folkstone to get the ferry over the France! then onto Belgium on Ni-Kath-travels's travel map.

Left the beautiful lakes and mountains and onto the motorway. Italy's primary road travels top to bottom line a spine however, around Milan the entire section -over an hour worth is electronically monitored at mph, yes 56!
Anyway after that it's 81
Once off the motorway and onto the local roads then it's time for some fun...
Having a nippy car and some nifty gear changing induced some wannabe rally driving.
Kath decided to add to the ambience by playing Il Divo at full volume as we were burning the tarmac...
I remember that part of the journey taking over an hour but we did it in half the time.
What a buzz. These roads were meant to be driven. And driven hard.. And they were ;-)

Posted by Ni-Kath-travels 22:14 Archived in Italy Tagged tuscany Comments (0)


Champagne taste beer money pockets

sunny 32 °C

What can I say.. Beautiful Stunning & Beautiful
Stresa is everything you imagine and more with the diamond like reflection of the sun on the lake and the boats in the distance it paints an idyllic scene.
This is certainly for the Rich and Famous or the wannabes.....casing point. ... Blond in short white dress with high heels, huge sunglasses sporting, on the arm, a Tiny shopping bag and a very obedient dog on the other side the only give away was that the dog wasn't a Rat size.! She obviously didn't follow Beverly Hills 90210...?

We did attract some attention walking into a 5 star hotel in Flip flops !! (Just to see how the other half lived)

Posted by Ni-Kath-travels 16:21 Archived in Italy Tagged stresa Comments (0)

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