The beach, rain and the joys of driving in Rome

Posted on June 29, 2009 by sonjabarrie

Monday 8th June 2009 (Day 13)

The trip to Vieste was pretty easy and relaxing, you drive though a National Park which was very nice and the GPS had us turn off onto this narrow one lane road that had us a bit worried for a while but as most of the roads are similar, although maybe a bit bigger we figured the GPS knew where we were going. Well we hoped it did anyway, we went the wrong way when we hit a slightly larger road but another U turn and we were back on the right road. It might have been a shortcut, it might have been the only way to get there, who knows but get there we did.

Saw a few cool things on the way though, for instance we passed an olive grove and took a picture of what looked like the start of the summer crop.

The start of a good crop of olives!

No idea what these were but it looks like it might be a small fish farm

View of the beach from the hotel, as you can see it’s sand and lots of beach chairs.

Wonderful beach and the hotel Gianni booked us into, which I think he has taken Claire to, was perched up high on a cliff. Great views, lots of uphill walking though. As luck would have it, it was raining, just enough when we went out for dinner that we had to take our walk on the beach under umbrellas!

Thankfully we found somewhere to eat just as the heavens opened. Again the only food they could get for me was ‘carne‘ a piece of meat. No vegetables, nothing else just a piece of meat. well it filled a hole and I had room for a nice gelato afterward. I have to admit the Italians make the best ice cream! Cream Caramel flavored no less!

The room was nice and big and clean, big hotel by Italian standards and I get the impression it is full of Germans in the summer as all of the signs in the hotel were in Italian and German. Huge dining room must sit 200 easily. We could have eaten a meal there but apparently you had to put in your order before 2pm the day you want dinner.

So we went to the old quarter instead, that was amazing. Narrow cobbled streets with the house doors right on the alleyway, lots of them very small too, early Italians must have been pretty short or it was a ploy to keep out marauding hordes, hard to fight when you have to duck down to get into a house!

We found a restaurant that looked OK price wise, usual €9 to €15 per plate but as we usually only have one plate no problem. Until we went to order. Again the only thing they could offer me was ‘carne‘ 2 veal cutlets to be precise, well that sounded OK and Tim had some other piece of meat that had some sort of symbol next to it, not idea what it meant but he also was able to order potatoes. His meat was supposedly €9 and another €8 for the side of spuds. When the food arrived he had a piece of meat the size of a coaster but about half an inch thick, I had two pieces of meat smaller than a coaster and as thin as a quarter! Nothing else, just these 2 wafer thin pieces of meat.

The big surprise came when the bill arrived, Tim’s piece if meat cost €28 (that’s $39 or £23.75) just for that small piece of meat. When we questioned the bill the guy said the symbol meant that is goes by weight, now it couldn’t have weighed more than 3 ounces, if that, so how they came up with that price is beyond me. We had also shared a bottle of the cheapest wine they had which was €24 so the total bill came to €69 or $96 and we were both starving when we got done. Thank goodness for gelato, at least that is relatively cheap. usually €2 to €3 per cone ($2.80 to $4.17).

Sampling wonderful gelato in the old quarter.

This hotel in Vieste is €10 cheaper per night than the hotel in Foggia but I can see that this whole trip is going to really cost us!

Tuesday 9th June 2009 (Day 14)

We spent the day relaxing and walking around town, not much to see except in the old quarter, it’s all very hilly so you really get a work out walking around. It seemed nice and sunny but it rained today as well. Here’s some pictures of the old quarter. Note the narrow streets.

An old fort of some kind, still used by the military apparently.

No matter where you are in the world you still have to dry your laundry!

This is a typical ‘garden’ in Italy! No big lawns with high water costs for them.

Tim in the hotel pool, he was very brave, stayed in there long enough for me to take this picture and then I think he levitated out of there because it was so cold!

Wednesday 10th June 2009 (Day 15)

Back to Rome today, the drive was pretty uneventful but you do get the feeling you must be on the wrong road as they are all so narrow like a side road or something, that is until you see a truck barreling down on you taking up his half in the middle.

Of course, we had charged the GPS in order to get back OK and while it did get us into Rome would you believe as soon as we got into the city center and got stuck in rush hour traffic the battery died, story of my life!

So, the map we have is from the hotel and is meant for tourists not car drivers, Italians don’t use maps so they have no idea where they are on the map let alone where you want to go. I kid you not, they look at the map with complete bafflement then start waving their arms and pointing in all directions. We needed to get to the train station and even when I told them what it was in Italian they were baffled (might have been my accent but the picture on the map was pretty unmistakable!)

Also we had to find a gas station so that we could top up the tank before taking it back to Hertz. Another strange thing about Italy, they don’t have ‘gas stations’ as such, they have a couple of pumps beside the road with small pull off area in front of them. I guess because the cities are all old and they don’t tear things down to put up a gas station, they put it where ever there is room which means they are very far and few between and that’s if you can spot them!

Ah, the joys of traveling!


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