We hauled ourselves out of bed before the first light hit the skies and by 7am we were speeding down the hills of Le Marche towards the town of Pedaso, where we caught a train to Ancona and then boarded our ferry for Greece. We briefly considered retracing our steps to Ancona by bicycle but decided the busy seaside roads weren’t really worth the trouble and time it would have take us to pedal the whole distance. Instead, we were happy to find modern Italian trains with low floors that almost met the platform and made it easy for us to get on with our bikes. The train conductor even shooed several local school kids out of the bicycle area so we could prop our bikes up in a large space made just for them. In Ancona we made a quick stop at a supermarket for provisions for the 15-hour voyage and then headed to the port, just a few kilometers from the train station. When the boat arrived we weren’t sure what to expect. We’d only bought deck tickets and didn’t know what that entitled us to. As it turned out, we were very impressed. The deck was partially glassed in so there wasn’t much wind and each side of the top floor had a long line of large picnic tables , with a swimming pool and hot tub in the middle section. If only we’d thought to pack our swim suits! Eventually we spread our sleeping mats out and crashed on the floor and on the picnic table and managed to get a few hours of sleep before the boat docked in Igoumenitsa at 5:30am.
You Are Viewing Italy
After a month in the beautiful rolling-hilltop region of Italy called Le Marche, it’s time for us to move on once again. We have truly had a wonderful time staying with the Wills family, earning our keep by doing lots of painting and household chores for them, while sampling the local wine, swimming in the sea and admiring the view. On a good day we have seen mountains over 350km south of here — amazing! We’ve also done a fair bit of work for ourselves, ordering new sleeping bags, applying for visas and renewing our health insurance. So many things pile up when you’re on the road.
All good things have to come to an end though and now we’re up at the crack of dawn, ready to get a train to Ancona and a ferry to the Greek port of Igoumenitsa. From there we’ll take about 2-1/2 weeks to reach Turkey via northern Greece, where again we’ll settle down for a few days to collect various visas for the trip eastwards.
We’re a little nervous about the journey ahead. It’s hard to leave good friends — we get attached easily to people and places — and for the past year we’ve been on relatively well known territory. After Greece we’ll be treading new ground and Central Asia sounds like a challenge: tales of weeks of nothing to eat but mutton and rice and plenty of travellers falling ill with stomach woes. We hope we can rise to the challenge and keep our sanity while also enjoy the fantastic scenery the area has to offer.
One of the fun jobs we’ve had over our time here in Italy has been taking the Wills’ kids to an Italian theme park. For two days, we all rode the roller coasters and splashed on the water rides. You can click on the picture to see all the shots from Mirabilandia or check out the videos below.
We went for an afternoon walk today with the dogs to Moresco, a hilltop village just up the road from the house where we are staying. It’s said to be one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and certainly its archways and views over the surrounding countryside are worth the stop. We took a few pictures to share with you. Click on the photo to start the slideshow.
They don’t look naughty from their pictures, do they? Sweet Dixie and Delilah, the two Abruzzese dogs we are taking care of while their owners are away. Their smiling faces seem to say “Who, us??? We never cause any trouble!”
We know better though.
This morning we had to get up early to drive over to Fermo, a town about 15km away, to get some booster shots before we head east to Turkey and parts unknown. Up we got at the crack of dawn, downed a cup of coffee and put everything in the car, ready to be the first in line at the vaccination clinic. Money? Check. Vaccination cards? Check. European health cards? Check. Map? Check.
This is our worst nightmare, losing someone’s family pet while we’re on housesitting duty. And it was very odd for Dixie and Delilah, who never run out of the yard without us. We called their names over and over, then got in the car and drove up and down all the streets and tracks we walk them on, looking for a clue. Nothing.
We felt horrible but we’d searched everywhere and it was still too early to call their owners in the UK and raise the alarm. We headed off to Fermo anyway, with our fingers crossed. It wasn’t long before we were back though, having grabbed the wrong map on the way out, and as we rolled up the driveway who was there but the two dogs, just coming in from their dawn stroll.
They’ve now been sleeping the entire day, leaving us to wonder just what they got up to. Midnight raid of the local garbage cans? A run around with some other doggy friends? Or maybe they just wandered down to the sea for a swim. Who knows, we’re just glad they’re back!