A few things, I wanted to finally mention about Italy, which travellers may wish to know:
- Most places close for the afternoons when people have a sleep. Many shops open again in the early evenings.
- There seems to be an obsession, everywhere, with giving out receipts, even for coffee or ice cream. One will be hand written, if there is not electronic one available, and there is definite insistence that a receipt is taken.
- Do not even try to book a restaurant for dinner before 8pm. Many do not open until 9pm. This can come as a shock, to those of us used to thinking about going to bed, after the early evening news on TV.
Our last few days living in our exchange home in the Italian village of Rocca di Mezzo were quite exciting. On Saturday, there was a vintage car rally, which was quite wonderful to watch and totally enthralled Michael. There were vintage cars of all shapes and colours.
On Sunday, there was a huge horse parade, which came through town, which was very enjoyable to watch too.
We then spent a night in Serino, where we had dinner with a lovely couple (Franko – who had helped us make our escape from the house from hell a few weeks before). We had dinner and stayed at the O’Carpino which is beautiful location just outside town. The food was amazing and the rooms very comfortable. I can highly recommend it if you are in the area. www.ristorantecarpino.it
We spent another night in Naples, before flying out early morning to Nice on the Cote D’Azure, France. We stayed at Hotel Clinton, near the airport. For a quick one night airport stopover it ticked all the boxes www.hotelclinton.it although I doubt very much if a US President would have stayed there!
We like our exchange home in Nice very much and we can see the Mediterranean from the balcony of our apartment here.
We have discovered that we can drive for 30 minutes from our apartment in Nice, to the northern French border with Italy. We drove back to Italy on Friday, to the markets in Ventimigglia. There is everything you can imagine in the markets there, including fresh fruit and vegetables at Italian prices rather than the more expensive French ones.
So, it was goodbye to southern Italy and hello again to northern Italy. Changing languages from French to Italian and vice versa has been challenging, and we often say grazie when we should say merci, or bonjour instead of buongiomo. Well, at least we make an effort!
The Cote D’Azure is home to some famous towns and buildings, some of which we have already seen, but many of which we will spend time visiting in more detail over the next few weeks. Monte Carlo, Monaco, Antibes, Cannes to name only a few. The weather is very hot and I feel like Princess Grace (Kelly) as we drive on the windy seaside mountain roads.
My next blog will be about the home exchange from Hell. Here is a very short excerpt………………..”even the television was nothing like the promised satellite TV. It was the oldest television we have ever seen with a remote whose batteries did not work and it had only two stations, both with very poor reception. The most interesting thing about it, however, was that it only broadcast the bottom half of the screen. We tried to watch the news in Italian a couple of times and tried to guess which politicians lips (we only saw the bottom half of full faces) we were seeing, or who the legs belonged to in group shots. We reckon we worked out which were Angela Merkel’s legs compared to the others in the group – the others were all men!”…………………………..more of this blog next time.
Bye for now, from a heatwave in the south of France,