And I am... well... as you can see... venturing back to Italy.
|Outside of L'Aquila, heading back down from Campo Imperatore|
I left you last time just as Hubby and I were heading for the hills. Turning our attention away from the more popular places we'd been visiting, and venturing off onto roads that are far less travelled. Of course we'd been in the hills a lot since we'd left Florence. But nothing like the section of the Apennines we were headed for called the Gran Sasso d'Italia. Barren rocky peaks and high mountain grasslands, in particular the high plain called Campo Imperatore, or Little Tibet.
Once we left Amatrice we had no difficulties. Hubby had worried for two days about roads, possible blockages, and maps (and people) that couldn't tell us what we needed to know. But he awoke in Norcia the morning we left having convinced himself overnight to expect the worst. And after we left Amatrice behind, the devastation there having put our own small concerns firmly in their place, we were determined to just enjoy our drive wherever it took us.
As it happened we had a wonderful day. In fact, just being in this special place was well worth all the confusion and the angst. We stopped the car it seemed like a hundred times, just to get out, breath deeply, and goggle in wonder. We could have been alone in the world; just us two, a few sheep, some horses, and the sound of tinkling bells on the wind. Oddly enough, we heard the bells clearly, but couldn't see the animals wearing them, until Hubby spotted their tiny profiles on the crest of a far away hill.
|The view from our lunch spot on Campo Imperatore|
Then a few miles later we spotted a herd of sheep and goats, a few dogs, and a lone herder, who was, ironically, yakking away on his cell phone. That made us laugh, and I got out to take a video. And as I was standing on the roadside by the sheep and goats, the sound of tinkling bells was broken by the roar of three motorcyclists who sped by, having, I assume, the ride of their lives. Then it was quiet again. Except for the bells and the sound of the herder's voice.
This was a seriously magical place. We wanted to sit down on a rock in that field and just be there. But we'd many more miles to cover that day. So we climbed back in the car and went on our way.
|The road back down from Campo Imperatore|
|Hillside town of Castel Del Monte|
We visited the Canadian War Memorial in Vimy when we were in France in 2015. If you're interested, Canadian writer Jane Urquahart wrote a wonderful novel called The Stone Carvers, about the building of that monument to the Canadian soldiers killed in the WWI battle at Vimy Ridge. I've loved the poetry and literature of WWI for years.
|The Moro River Canadian War Cemetery which overlooks the ocean. A beautiful spot.|
|Part of the monument at Moro River Canadian War Cemetery near Ortona|
|Empty beaches just outside of Vieste.|
|Steps leading up into the "old town." At the top is the Cattedrale Di Santa Maria Assunta.|
|Steps leading down to the coolest restaurant ever.|
|Quite happy with our night in Vieste.|
Okay. Maybe you don't have to love a place where you can hear the crickets over the music. But we did. Don't we look satisfied with old Vieste? And with our three or four days away from the madding crowds? Following our noses along the roads less travelled?
Hubby and I have talked and talked about our trip since we've been home. What we loved. What we hated. Which roads we were happy to have taken. And which roads we regretted not taking. What lessons we've learned, even at this late date, and how we plan to reassess what we want from our travels.
We left Vieste after just one night because we had places to be. Pompeii the next day. And then Agerola on the Amalfi Coast, and then, of course, Rome. But I think the few days I've written about here, as well as the time we spent in Urbino and Norcia, were our favourite in the three weeks we were in Italy.
I'm going to put Italy on the back burner for a while, folks. I've more to say about our trip, and about travel in general, but I need to talk about other things just now. Books. Clothes. Life. You know, the usual.
And right now, I have to close because dinner is served. Hubby has been slaving away in the kitchen. He's made his special pot roast with beef, wine and tomatoes, onions, carrots, tons of mushrooms, and leeks. The red wine is breathing and there's an episode of Vera cued up and ready to go. Ah, I love the fall. And not just because it's sweater weather.
P.S. Apologies to Robert Frost for slightly misquoting his poem "The Road Not Taken" and for making so many lame allusions to it. I can't help it. Old English teacher habits die hard. Or not at all:)
How about you, my friends? Any travel tales you want to share? Unexpected moments of beauty? Roads less travelled that turned out to be wonderful?