Allora. We awoke this morning ready for our trip to Atina. We headed for (what else) coffee at a local bar. We then hit the Bancomat for some cash. We went back to check out of the hotel and lo and behold, we found my reading glasses right where we had looked the night before. Leprechauns. There is some serious stuff going on here.
As we drove about 10 minutes out of town into the Italian National Park, I realized that we had forgotten our passports! Yikes. The Leprechauns struck again! Something seriously amiss in this hotel.
We drove deeper into the national forest, we were again struck by the seemingly unending expanse of mountains, snow and trees. Land of superlatives!
We moved on into Ortona dei Marsi, a steep cliff of a town. Again there is no way to describe these towns. They are breathtaking. We then decided it was lunch time. I can’t do these Italian breaksfasts! Justice, my daughter, always warned waitresses “Please don’t mess up my Daddy’s breakfast. It will ruin his (read “our”) day. Well, sweetie, they do and it doesn’t.
We ascended and descended the mountains. It is so high in these spots that it causes vertigo. I am serious. These people had to be mountain goats. The town is Cocullo. How do they do this? I got dizzy just photographing it. It is literally hanging on the mountainside.
Just parking the Fiat is a dangerous proposition.
We had lunch on the Lago d‘ Scanno. It’s a beautiful little lake resort and possibly the most elegant little restaurant of our Italian tour. The service isn’t great but the ambience is brilliant and the food above average.
We arrived at the Casa Bella Vista at about 6:00 p.m. and Diana is dead tired. She has driven every hour and day of the trip with nary a complaint.
I must tell you that Alan and his wife Carole (our gracious hosts) have outdone themselves. The house has indeed a “beautiful view.” The appointments are first rate and the rooms are huge. This is indeed a great way to finish our Italian holiday. They have obviously put a huge amount of work and love into this place and are justly proud of their home.
By the way (and this is important) the shower would fit 6 people unlike every European shower we have experienced so far. This is heaven. Thank you Alan and Carole.
Alan called and gave us a brief history of the place. It seems that the Italians in the 1600’s used this as an outpost for attacking Greeks across the Aegean. The tower was used as a lookout and when the Greeks attacked the Italians lighted warning fires here.
I can tell you that the casa is something no one should miss. It is beautiful. If you come to Atina (just east of Rome about an hour) you must make time to stay here. Of course, by the time we managed to get unpacked it was 7:00 p.m. We needed supplies for morning so we shopped (kind of) at a local store and the people were, as usual, just as nice as you can imagine.
I can tell you, we bought the last 6 eggs in the place. Eggs for breakfast! Hurray. No sweets! No sweets!
So we are now sitting on the terrace enjoying the sunset and a view to die for. We are overlooking the valley toward Antina.(pictures will follow)
It’s a tiny bit chilly, but still no way to dampen our spirits. We keep looking at each other and saying “Hey, We’re still in Italy.” Another week and we head home, but this is an incredibly exciting trip.
Now for some technical stuff for those of you deciding to tour Italy.
We decided to purchase a Toshiba netbook as our laptops are too bulky to take with us. I bought the best they offer. When we first purchased it, it made 157 updates. (Yes. I am serious). It has crashed more times than I can count and it is the most frustrating piece of crap I have ever purchased. It has gotten us by for downloading but I would never recommend a Toshiba netbook to anyone.
I am not familiar with the other brands, but this one sucks. It works for downloading our files and writing the blog. (barely)
Google announced their netbook today and my guess is, it is more reliable. If you need a netbook look around first. (Understand that we use Toshiba’s for our daily work, but the netbooks are pure close to useless garbage.)
I also bought an Ectaco Italian translator to help with (duh) translation while here. It was an expensive ($379.00) “dictionary” that works when it feels like it. It is a pain to use and the teaching section is useless other than single words. I much prefer talking to the Italians we have met to learn Italian. It barely translates when needed and is certainly not the unit I expected. Please consult an Ectaco owner before buying. (Could just be me). It advertises speech translation which it really does not do. It has been in our glove box since the beginning of the trip. For single word translation, it works fairly well. The only Mechanical thing that has worked for us so far has been the Fiat….go figure….