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Donegal Castle and getting deliberately lost…

Although today was – according to the weatherman – going to be party sunny, partly cloudy, some shower and some rain… I decided to brave the elements and go exploring.

First stop was Donegal Castle.

From Wikipedia:

Donegal Castle (Irish: Caisleán Dhún na nGall) is a castle situated in the centre of Donegal Town in County Donegal in Ulster, Ireland. For most of the last two centuries, the majority of the buildings lay in ruins but the castle was almost fully restored in the early 1990s.

The castle consists of a 15th-century rectangular keep with a later Jacobean style wing. The complex is sited on a bend in the River Eske, near the mouth of Donegal Bay, and is surrounded by a 17th-century boundary wall. There is a small gatehouse at its entrance mirroring the design of the keep. Most of the stonework was constructed from locally sourced limestone with some sandstone. The castle was the stronghold of the O’Donnell clan, Lords of Tír Conaill and one of the most powerful Gaelic families in Ireland from the 5th to the 16th centuries.

These stone stairs were amazing!!!  Just to feel the parts that were rough and the other parts that were word ever so smooth by centuries of people traipsing up and down…

…and while I was in this room (below) the wind gusted so hard, the window slammed shut…

Next stop was to give Boswell (trusty rental car) some go-go juice – and I observed a strange element…

From there it was off and gallivanting along small, relatively unmarked roads, just to see what we might find…

I think this (below) is what they call a “renovator’s dream” – or nightmare as the case may be!

…and the road was even skinnier than it looks here…

…and yes, as Murphy’s Law would have it, I did encounter a car coming the opposite direction a little later along this road, but with some mutual reversing, and a lot of breathing in, we both went safely on our respective ways…

Now back home and getting stuck into some more work…

Oh, and very excited – about to send Bridgit’s Book Three off to the printer!!!  YAY!  It will be live on Amazon by next week.

Happy Friday to you!

~ Bella

Loch Gill, W.B. Yeats, and Parke’s Castle

The beautiful Lough Gill / Loch Gile / Loch Gill was my destination today for a boat ride, departing from Parke’s Castle.  If you look to the far left of the photo below, you will see Parke’s Castle with the white tower, and our boat moored slightly to the right.

While Robert Parke’s fortified manor house dates from 1610, it was built on the site of the earlier 15th century O’Rourke Castle.

According to Wikipedia:

“The Metrical Dinnsenchus tells the following story of how the lake came to be and how it got its name.

“Bright Gile, Romra’s daughter, to whom every harbour was known, the broad lake bears her name to denote its outbreak of yore. The maiden went, on an errand of pride that has hushed the noble hosts, to bathe in the spray by the clear sand-strewn spring. While the modest maiden was washing in the unruffled water of the pool, she sees on the plain tall Omra as it were an oak, lusty and rude. Seeing her lover draw near, the noble maid was stricken with shame: she plunged her head under the spring yonder: the nimble maid was drowned. Her nurse came and bent over her body and sat her down yonder in the spring: as she keened for Gile vehemently, she fell in a frenzy for the girl. As flowed the tears in sore grief for the maiden, the mighty spring rose over her, till it was a vast and stormy lake. Loch Gile is named from that encounter after Gile, daughter of Romra: there Omra got his death from stout and lusty Romra. Romra died outright of his sorrow on the fair hill-side: from him is lordly Carn Romra called, and Carn Omra from Omra, the shame-faced [gap: extent: two lines] Loch Gile here is named from Gile, Romra’s daughter.””

While cruising on the lake, we listened to Irish ballads, and poems written by W. B. Yeats.  Yeats was passionately fond of County Sligo and it influenced many of his works.  Although he died in France, his wishes were that his body be brought back to his beloved Sligo – he is now buried in Drumcliff, County Sligo.

For lovers of old and classic movies, you might remember the movie, “The Quiet Man” starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.

You might also remember that John Wayne’s character travels to Ireland to reclaim his family’s farm and his birthplace in Inisfree.

Well…  This is (below) Innisfree!

The stone wall you can see peeking through the trees was once a medieval church.

The Castle was basically closed for renovations, but it looks fascinating from the little that could be seen.

From there it was back home to one of my watering holes to upload the photos (the wifi in the apartment I am leasing is extraordinarily slow at the best of times) so that I could post this when I arrived home…

(to put the next comment into perspective, today I was wearing a long skirt (as usual), an off-the-shoulder top, and one of my absolutely glorious Downton-esque hats…)

…and if my day wasn’t already lovely enough, as I was leaving, an elderly gentleman stopped me and said, “excuse me lassie, but you looking like that all dressed proper like, you remind me of the pretty girls back when I was a wee lad” …and I’m guessing he was in import from Scotland, but not being sure, I didn’t say anything other than to thank him and tell him his comment made my day!

Well, although it is going on for 5:00pm, my work day is just starting so I had best get to it…

Sending love and smiles to all…

~ Bella

Exploring Creevelea Friary, County Leitrim

After a lovely sleep-in, Boswell (trusty rental car) and I went in search of a particular medieval abbey that dates back to 1508 – Creevelea Friary.

…and I thought yesterday’s excursion was skinny and windy?  It had nothing on these roads – and I must admit, it was fun!  …although none of these photos show just how skinny nor how windy they were in parts – as the thought of taking a photo while barrelling around a corner wasn’t exactly enticing…

…and again, we took some roads less travelled…

…and blonde moment – when I say the sign below, I wondered why they called it a Tabbey?

…and down a track, the Abbey comes into view…

While there, I had the place pretty much to myself with the exception of a lovely couple I met – Raymond and Vera.  While they live on the east coast, Raymond’s family is from the western side of Ireland and they are frequent visitors to the Friary.

Vera took me to a particular spot that has quite the history…

Father Bernard Peter Magauran was a Franciscan priest who, in 1826 became parish priest of Killanummery and Killery, and Titular Guardian of Creevelea Friary.

After his death on 17thDecember 1837 aged 65 years, he was buried at the Friary, but there was such a strong belief that the clay of his burial site had miraculous healing powers that people to this day come and take a small spoonful of the clay.

Indeed, a section has been cut away and edged to assist those who come to pay their respects and to obtain a spoonful of the curative clay.

Vera was so lovely that she found a silk flower and put a spoonful of clay in it for me…  I was very touched at the gesture.

Actually, Raymond and Vera are off to America in November for the beatification ceremony of Father Solanus Casey, to whom they are related.  (Btw, here is a terrific link that gives you more information on Father Casey: http://www.themichigancatholic.org/2017/05/pope-francis-announces-fr-solanus-to-be-declared-blessed/)

Not knowing a great deal about the practices of the Catholic religion, it was wonderful to spend time listening to Vera and learning more about a subject that is quite foreign to me.

When Vera and I were looking up at the tree that is growing so precariously yet so strongly on the side of the wall (in the photo below), she was reminded of a poem of which she could only remember the last line – but I promised to go hunting for it:

“Trees”, by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

…and finally we head home…

Wishing you a most glorious day, my dear Friends!

~ Bella

Slieve League and the Donnegal Countryside

We have had rain here for the past few days and while I do actually love the rain, I am not particularly partial to going exploring and sightseeing in it…

Although, yesterday evening, the sun began to peek through (these photos below from last night around 8:00pm), so I decided that today would be a road trip!

I left home around 10:00am-ish and the skies were still overcast but Boswell (trusty rental car) and I decided to press on…

We were heading north toward Donnegal…

…and if it you think you see fluffies sitting on the seats, you would be correct!  They are hot-glued to them!  I don’t know why, but I think it’s cute…

You’ve heard of a bird’s eye view – well, this is a bear’s eye view!

I also loved this road trip for several other reasons…  It was a real ‘driving’ road trip day.

While much of it is dual carriage-way, the challenge here is that it often is 100km/hr, and you round a bend, straight into a 50km/hr zone!

…or, you are doing 100km/hr and suddenly find yourself on a bend that is best taken at 45km/hr tops – without warning!

…and this was the first time in over a decade that I have driven a manual – and on these bending roads, I loved it!  I have done some rally driving a gazillion years ago, and while I wouldn’t tackle such an adventure again, it was ever so cool to be able to relive itty bitty bits of it…

On my trip, I was listening to a station playing Irish music – and in the breaks, they were doing a live feed from a local agricultural show.

At one point, they invited a five-year-old boy to join the presenter at the microphone and when he was asked about his favourite part of the show, he replied, “the tractors”.

“What other things did you see that the fair?” asked the presenter.

“Diggers!” responded the boy.

Laughing, the presenter then asked, “so, apart from tractors and diggers, was there another thing you saw at the fair – maybe the cows?”

“The loaders were grand,” said the lad.

…a little later the radio announcer said, “and we have a report that a black cow has gone missing from (forget the name) Farm.  If anyone has seen her, please call the station.”

Boswell and I took several ‘detours’ – as in road off to the right or left that just looked interesting… and this was one of them…

What this road trip also achieved was to allow me to totally overcome my apprehension of driving on ultra skinny, skinny, skinny windy roads!

…and finally we arrived at Slieve League…

According to Wikipedia:  Slieve League, sometimes Slieve Leag or Slieve Liag (Irish: Sliabh Liag), is a mountain on the Atlantic coast of County Donegal, Ireland.  At 601 metres (1,972 ft), it has some of the highest sea cliffs on the island of Ireland.  Although less famous than the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Slieve League’s cliffs reach almost three times higher.

Lunch doesn’t get much better than this…  Fresh lobster roll, made on the spot for me by the same man who caught the lobster, and cooked it this morning!

…and around 4:00pm, back into Sligo County…

..and now I am home, sitting with my bedroom balcony door open, looking out over the same images you saw at the beginning of this post, and listening to a live concert in Sligo, just along the river (so the sound carries wonderfully!)

What a fabulous day!

~ Bella

Farewell Romania ~ Hello Ireland!

First, let me say, “I love Romania!”

I would go back there at any time – but that’s for another post…

Yesterday morning I left beautiful Romania and since my flight was at 07:15, I arrived at the airport at 04:30 – thinking that would be plenty of time…

Hmmmmmm……………

This (below) is a photo of Bucharest airport at 04:30…

This photo (below) was taken at 06:00… and one of the people in front of me mentioned that today was a relatively good day…  Apparently the last time he was there, it took over three hours to just get this far…  I guess Romania is quite popular!

See the yellow lettering in the faaaaaaaaaar off distance (below)?  That is the border patrol through which one needs to pass before one even gets to the beginning of the trek to the gates…

This photo below was taken just before 07:00 (bearing in mind my flight is due to leave at 07:15)…

Standing in line, I saw this gizmo…  There isn’t a red button large enough………..

I finally board the plane (that is scheduled to depart at 07:15) at 07:13 (after arriving at 04:30) and what was mildly disturbing was that while I was in line, there was a drip-feed of other people joining the line…  Ever so slowly…  Not like normal where, where the flight is called, everyone crowds into the line…

…and then when we took off, there was only around 30-40 people on the plane…

Me thinks many of the intended passengers were still standing in line at Bucharest airport!!!

Then, I arrive in beautiful Ireland!!!

What was also exceptionally lovely was that I was speaking with a client who is also a very dear friend and I mentioned that I was arriving in Dublin on July 1st – and he said that he was also arriving that day – and when we cross-referenced, we discovered we were arriving within less than an hour of each other…

So, we met at the airport and journeyed in my lovely rental car (his name (the car’s name) is Boswell and he is taking excellent care of me!) to my hotel in Malahide where I stayed the first two nights before heading to Sligo…

Not only that, but another of my very dear friends who is originally from Ireland but now lives in England is over here visiting family, so we caught up yesterday and today…

I feel ever so blessed!

I am staying two nights at the Grand Hotel in Malahide, built in 1835… just about 5-10 years before my time…  🙂

Here is where we curled up and drank and ate and drank at the Matt Ryan Bar…

…and I said to the waiter that I wanted a double of the best Irish Whiskey they had… and it was luverly!

Then, we went for dinner…

…and the following morning, went for a stroll along the beach road…

…and had a SCRUMPTIOUSLY DELICIOUS brunch!!!

Snoozed for awhile – soaked in the hot-tub (and found the first place anywhere in the world I have encountered that says you must wear a swim cap to go into the pool..!)

…and then enjoyed a delicious steak dinner (of which I could barely get through half, but it was sooooooooo good!)…

…and now about to head up to my room – btw, the bed and pillows are SOOOOOO comfortable here that I will find out what they are!  Seriously!  I think this is the most comfortable bed and pillows I have ever experienced in my entire 172 years on the planted!

Goodnight dear Friends!

~ Bella

Transfăgărășan Road into the Clouds and a 60′ Wall of Snow!

Before I get into the journey from Bucharest up into the Carpathian Mountains, I thought you might like a sneak peak at what a traffic jam looks like on the Transfăgărășan Road…

Being an avid “Top Gear” fan, I had seen the episode they did on what they termed the most amazing road in the world, the Transfăgărășan Road – but for some reason, forgot where it was until the other day I was exploring online and came across it and recalled it is actually in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania…

So, of course, I needed to do a road trip!  🙂

On this trip, as with the trip to the salt mines, I had a private tour guide – and he is soooo wonderful, I will write a separate post about Adrian and his Team before I leave Romania…

(and I need to point out right from the beginning – as I was scrolling through the photos to make notes, I kept thinking about how they sooooooo do not do justice to the majesty and beauty that we encountered)

Anyway, we left Bucharest reasonably early…

…and I have travelled to the other side of the planet, but still am haunted by Las Vegas!!!  (on Adrian’s keyring)

The Argeș River…

This building below is one of many, many now abandoned and dilapidated communist farming co-operative buildings…

…and of course, I had to buy some new clothes and a scarf!

This is the Cathedral of Curtea de Argeș and is stunningly beautiful…

Inside the Cathedral are buried the two favourite Kings of Romania and their Queens – Kings Carol I, and Ferdinand; and their Queens – Elisabeta and Maria (Queen Victoria’s grand-daughter).

Although the Queen’s actual name was Pauline Elisabeth Ottilie Luise zu Wied, the majority also knew her through her literary works under the name, Carmen Silva [Sylva].

In this photo below, you will see a red image on the wall and this is such a sad story…

During construction, everything they built by day was mysteriously ruined by night – every night!  Tormented by the fact that he couldn’t finish his construction, master Manole dreamed one night that the only way that he could complete his masterpiece was to offer a human sacrifice. After he woke up, he and his workers decided that the first person to arrive that morning on the construction site should be the one sacrificed.

Unfortunately, the first person to arrive was Manole’s pregnant wife, Ana who had awoken especially early to prepare her husband a lovely meal and bring it to him.

Undaunted but heart-broken, Manole enclosed his wife and unborn child into the wall, brick by brick… and construction continued…

Manole did not come away with his life either…  After he and his men managed to finish the construction King Neagoe Basarab liked it so much that he wanted to make sure that a construction like that would never be replicated and so he locked all the men in the attic of the building intending never to release them.

Using the only items they had available, Manole and his men tried to escape their captives by building wooden wings and intending to fly down to the ground safely…  Every man died in the attempt…

…and this is King Neagoe Basarab of Wallachia who ordered construction of the building and death to the workers who created it…

On this stall, I found Heaven!

I had no idea about the notion of eating pollen – nor the combination of eating pollen and honey…

Pollen is one of the most amazing super-foods on the planet and is higher in protein than even meat!  http://www.mercola.com/article/diet/bee_pollen.htm

To traditional and ancient beekeepers, the pollen represents the masculine and the honey the feminine – the pollen gives you the protein and the honey the carbohydrates…

Even modern medicine has done experiments and proven the effectiveness of the combination, far outweighing the benefit of either alone.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20645809

…and when you combine them from the same hive…….  Magic!

As a side note, in addition to the pollen and honey I purchased from this woman, Adrian was able to find me some FRESH (as in not dried) pollen here and I now take a large teaspoon of pollen and a large teaspoon of honey – just as is – and the a couple of strawberries (as apparently there is something in the fibres of the fruit that kickstart the reaction…

…and I do this as many times as I feel the urge to during the day – sometimes just twice, sometimes as much as five or six times…

It’s amazing!

 

 

…and now we reach the beginning of the Transfăgărășan Road… and this sign says that the road is only accessible for 104km – you will find out why soon…

…and here we have the real Dracula’s castle, well, sort of…

From Atlas Obscura:  “The true Dracula, (Turk-impaling Prince of Wallachia as opposed to the sultry blood sucker) fell in love with Poenari Castle in the 15th century, and realizing its potential as a major stronghold with an amazing vantage point, consolidated and fixed up the crumbling fortress, making it one of his main places of residence. It’s said that his first wife, Jusztina Szilagyi of Moldavia, flung herself from the towers of Poenari during a siege by Vlad’s muslim brother, Radu Bey. Before flinging herself into the Arges River below, she exclaimed she would rather rot and be eaten by the fish than to be a captive of the Turks.”

…and if you look carefully below, you will see a couple of impailed peasants…

“Ceresit” is simply an advertisement for a concrete company…

…and this little critter decided to come and visit – which is apparently a sign of good luck!

These women are picking the very tips from the new growth on the fir trees.  The Romanians ferment it and then around Christmas time turn it into a drink…

 

 

 

 

There are little temples like this scattered all through the country on the side of the road…

…and despite this being the middle of summer, we come across our first snow… but that is NOTHING compared with what we find a little later on…

 

 

The squiggly lines you see is actually the road…

The railings are destroyed every year by the snow…

Only two weeks ago, this area was under tens of feet of snow…

See the concrete structure in the middle of the photo below?  That’s the tunnel through which we would normally drive!

The wall of snow you see in the picture below is where we would normally drive… but what’s even more amazing is that in around three weeks, it will all be melted!!!

The water from this natural fountain was soooo sweet and pure…….

 

…and our traffic jam…

This slogan appears a LOT through Romania…  “Basarabia e Romania” means Basarabia (the bulk part of Moldova and a minor part Ukraine) is Romania – as there is still a huge push to have Basarabia reunited with Romania.

Want cheap wifi?  That’s certainly what you get here!

…and then back to my favourite restaurant for a late supper… (and this photo does not even come close to doing this meal justice!)

Oh, and I managed to find the Top Gear episode about the Transfăgărășan Road online:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bORvyzgykqw

~ Bella

Transylvania, Castles and more…

Oh my goodness gracious me…  I didn’t really have expectations before arriving in Romania – but even if I did, they would have all been blown out of the water…

I will give you a more in-depth response in a week or so when I update this post, but for now, know that I will be back – probably more than once – and I love this country!  I have made several new friends – find this to actually be the ‘free-est’ place I have ever experienced in soooo many ways – and feel like one month will not be enough to do it justice…

Anyway, here are the photos from my Transylvanian tour (including Peles Castle, Bran Castle and Brasov)…

It was lovely standing outside the Hotel Capitol watching Old Town Bucharest wake up and come to life…  We left reasonably early in the morning for what ended up being just over a 12 hour tour…

One thing I found fascinating was that almost every single house was like a mini-farm.  The Romanians are very self-sufficient and grow, make and produce the majority of what they need.

The gold roof on this building was soooooo incredibly bright and shining!  This photo doesn’t even come close to capturing the brilliance…

I know this photo is blurry, but this little boy was so cute – just standing beside the road waving to passing cars…

…and speaking of standing – they do a lot of that here!  Stand.  …and sit.  As for the standing – I haven’t quite worked that out – but the sitting…  There are seats outside most Romanian houses where the residents just sit – and people will visit and sit – and they chat – they exchange information, gossip, check in on each other – and move to another place to sit.

Life is lovely and slow here…

This building below is a now-defunct vehicle parts manufacturer.

…and now up to a world-class ski resort!

This, below, is Peles Castle.

From Wikipedia:  “Peleș Castle (Romanian: Castelul Peleș pronounced [kasˈtelul ˈpeleʃ] is a Neo-Renaissance castle in the Carpathian Mountains, near Sinaia, in Prahova County, Romania, on an existing medieval route linking Transylvania and Wallachia, built between 1873 and 1914. Its inauguration was held in 1883. It was constructed for King Carol I.

A personal property of the Royal Family from the beginning, Peleș Castle was quickly nationalized after the Communist coup d’etat on December 30th, 1947 that led to the illegal abdication of HM King Michael and his forced exile. After the King’s return in 1997, the castle was returned to the Royal Family after a long judicial case that has been finalised in 2007. However, the King expressed his desire that the castle should continue to shelter the Peleș National Museum, as well as being ocassionally used for public ceremonies organised by the Royal Family.”

The photo below – this is not a bookshelf, but rather a secret passageway…

I am never fond of these signs..!

…and now we enter Brasov to stop for lunch…

Leaving Brasov on our way to Bran Castle – that most people think of as Dracula’s Castle but it actually wasn’t (we will see Drac’s castle in another post on another trip)…

There are a lot of unfinished houses like this one below – but the main reason is not that they have been abandoned.  Rather that Romanians are allowed to build their own homes in their entirety – and many take a few years to complete…  They do the work themselves, with the help of family, neighbours…

…and here we have Bran Castle…

From Wikipedia:  “Bran Castle (Romanian: Castelul Bran; German: Törzburg; Hungarian: Törcsvár), situated near Bran and in the immediate vicinity of Braşov, is a national monument and landmark in Romania. The fortress is situated on the border between Transylvania and Wallachia, on DN73. Commonly known as “Dracula’s Castle” (although it is one among several locations linked to the Dracula legend, including Poenari Castle and Hunyad Castle), it is often erroneously referred to as the home of the title character in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. There is, however, no evidence that Stoker knew anything about this castle, which has only tangential associations with Vlad the Impaler, voivode of Wallachia, the putative inspiration for Dracula. As discovered by the Dutch author Hans Corneel de Roos, the location Bram Stoker actually had in mind for Castle Dracula while writing his novel was an empty mountain top, Mount Izvorul Călimanului, 2,033 metres (6,670 ft) high, located in the Călimani Alps near the former border with Moldavia. Stoker’s description of Dracula’s crumbling fictional castle also bears no resemblance to Bran Castle.”

Important note:  What hardly anyone knows is that just before I left Italy, I was hit by a car!  (Remember the ‘Frogger’ post that broke a bottle of wine?  It was about a week later that I myself was Froggered!).

Anyway, by the time we reached Bran Castle, I just was not up to going walking and exploring anymore so I sat at the bottom with a glass of wine and the following photos are thanks to lovely sisters from Missouri I met on the tour…  They agreed to take my camera and shot the following for me…

…meanwhile, this is where I was curled up…

…and so we leave Bran Castle and head back to Bucharest…

…and I thought it very fitting that I should see this sign just as we arrive home…

~ Bella

 

Farewell Italy, Hello Romania!

Yesterday I left Italy and headed to Romania for the next stop on my “Freedom Life” tour…

(oh, and it was a good thing I flew yesterday as today, Romanian air traffic controllers decided to go on strike to demand better working conditions).

Sitting at Ciampino Airport, it was interesting to see the armed guards patrolling the grounds…  Interesting, also, that there were not as many guards here as there were at Roma Termini each time I was there…

…and this may look like people relaxing in a park somewhere in the city – no, it’s just people waiting to check-in…

I flew with RyanAir and they were lovely – the entire process from check-in to arrival was wonderful.

Arrival at Bucharest…

I saw soooo many wonderful sights in the limo on the way from the airport – will peruse many of them again in the daylight, but this one was worth snapping on my phone as we passed…

…and as I settled in and checked my phone…  Bewitching hour!  🙂

View from my bedroom window…

View from my balcony…

…and funnily enough, I check my phone and it’s the daytime bewitching hour!  LOL!

It’s funny – the apartment itself is lovely – and the outside of the building is lovely – however getting from one to the other, is… well……….

…and I step through those rather ghastly looking doors to this……!

I guess they don’t like frizzy hair in Romania?

All these people (apart from the woman in the white jacket) was standing in line at the patisserie…

I have found my new writing pub while I am here…

…and a bookstore full of Isaac Asimov…  Love it!

Sooooo…….  So far so good!

~ Bella

 

Driving Holiday Along the Amalfi Coast in Italy

What an absolutely fabulous five days we had driving from Lido di Ostia down to Amalfi and Ravello, back up through Positano and Sorrento… (more items now checked off my Bucket List! http://luxuriousnomad.com/bucket-list/)

Our first stop after having picked up a rental car and leaving Ostia was Terracina, an ancient Roman ‘colonia maritima’.

Atop the impressive hill is the equally impressive Temple of Jupiter Anxur.

From there, the following day we drove down to Amalfi… (and the roads do not need elaboration – and yes, they were as ridiculous and squishy as they appear in the photos!)

Oh, and on the wall in the photo below, it says “MURAL NOT FOUND” – someone’s idea of a joke?

Quick stop for lunch…

Then, after two glorious nights in Amalfi, we headed north to Positano (I LOVE Positano!) and Sorrento…

Mount Vesuvius…

Then, for the last night of our trip, staying in the Grand Hotel Vanvitelli, in San Marco Evangelista.

Oh, and why a photo of the map?  Because rather than say “Carlo the third”, it kept saying “Carlo Eye Eye Eye”…  LOL!  It was very funny – ok, perhaps you needed to be there!  LOL!

…and finally back to the Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport…