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Two naughty dogs

Posted August 28th, 2007

DixieDelilahThey 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.

Dogs? Missing.

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!

Swimming in the Adriatic Sea

Posted August 21st, 2007

One of the great joys of the past week or so has been dipping our toes in the warm waters of the Adriatic Sea, along with thousands of other Italians. Here’s a short video we shot of us wading into the water, just outside the resort town of Rimini.

Show 10: Italy in August

Posted August 19th, 2007

It’s August and we are with the rest of Italy, sunning ourselves by the Adriatic Sea. The beaches here are beautiful; teal green water set against dark blue skies with hardly a cloud in sight. The other night we waded into the water and recorded our latest radio show, with just a few thoughts on our time in Italy as well as an interview with Marco and Manon, a Dutch couple we met in Bolzano.

Marco and Manon in Bolzano

They were touring with their dog, a cute little beagle called Hunter. If you ever thought your panniers were too heavy, try carrying dog food for two weeks on top of all your regular gear! We’ll let them tell the story….


81km Portonovo to Lapedona

Posted August 19th, 2007

Le Marche panoramaThe screaming downhill that ended our day yesterday turned into our early morning workout. We huffed and puffed our way up the two kilometers or so of twists and turns and topped the summit, rewarded by fantastic views over the sea from the top. From there it was nearly all downhill to the coast, where we found plenty of Sunday crowds out shopping and heading, as usual, for the beach. We indulged in a Sunday morning coffee or two. The cost is so cheap here in Italy it’d be wrong not to order at least one cappuccino a day. Early in the afternoon we turned away from the coast and into the gorgeous hills of Le Marche to see our friends Tim & Gina and their crew of three kids, triplets!! Once again we sweated our way uphill for about half an hour before being greeted by Tim & Gina with a glass of cool water and a room for the next few weeks. Heaven.

118km Riccione to Portonovo

Posted August 18th, 2007

Friedel in the AdriaticWe started and ended our day with seaside climbs, first waking up with a rolling coastal road which took us up and through groves of vineyards and pine trees to the picturesque town of Fiorenzuola, where we stopped for a cappuccino with several other racing cyclists. Coffee finished, we quickly dropped back down to sea level and the medieval city of Pesaro. The streets were crowded with shoppers out browsing at the local markets and hordes of people heading for the beach. From there, the road was flat and led straight along the water’s edge, making it easy for us to dip our toes in the waves as we rolled along. Just before the port city of Ancona the sandy beaches disappeared and turned into swathes of smooth and white rocks. It was late in the afternoon as we made our way through Ancona, including a fruitless stop at the ferry terminal, trying to get more information on routes across the Adriatic Sea. Everything was closed and, uniquely for most ports we’ve seen, there were no local ticket agents around to ask about where we might go from Italy. We will have to do our research online. From Ancona we had a steep hike up a hill that left us dripping in sweat as we then plummeted several kilometers straight down into Portonovo, a town almost carved into the huge cliffs right on the water. After supper we wandered down to the beach and watched strong swimmers being tossed about in the waves. The sea is quite rough here but the views are stunning and it’s not surprising all the beachside bars are filled with diners and drinkers enjoying the colours in the sky as the sun sets.