Heading to Sarrebourg 

We woke up very early for a holiday morning to news of a killing of a police officer in Paris. Eric and Bev were in the midst of all the drama but thankfully unaffected. It took an hour and a half to pack up and in that time I walked 1.8km! We left the apartment at 9:30 and drove to Olbia. There we had espressi at Café Bellavista and then gelato from Panne & Caffé. Pistacchio di Bronte for Dave and liquirizia for me. We walked through part of the old city before heading to the airport. 

We put in 30.28L of fuel at a cost of €46.60 after travelling about 478km. We arrived at the airport 2 hours before our departure and waited to check in. Volotea have one counter at the airport and were offering free check in of hand luggage as the plane is full. We declined and our luggage showed something suspicious on the X-Ray so was checked. After we were cleared we went straight to the lounge to relax before our flight. 

We caught a Boeing 717 on Volotea airlines to Strasbourg, arriving 20 minutes early. We were second in line for passport control which was a good thing. After collecting our suitcases we made our way to the station to buy our train tickets. The machine was in French so thankfully someone helped us. We caught the 15:06 train into Strasbourg and missed the 15:19 train to Sarrebourg so had to wait an hour for the next one, which left from track 30, which is between tracks 4 and 5 😂. While waiting we had petit caffé. From the train we could see the canal we are going on. We arrived at the station just after Bev and Eric which was great timing. We caught a taxi to the hotel, checked in and went for coffee at Maison Oswald. Eric bought a quiche which turned out to be rhubarb tart and when we left they gave us 4 croissants. Then to the Lidl for a few things before going back to the hotel. There we had a couple of whiskys before going for dinner at the restaurant attached to the hotel. I had deer and thought the meal was excellent. Today we walked 6.2km. 

Isola Maddalena

We woke up to a thunderstorm which was unexpected.  After breakfast we went to the laundry to do a load of washing. Got that hung up and left the apartment at 10h50. We drove to Palau and bought ferry tickets. We parked the car and walked to La Vecchia Fonte for espressi. We bought pastries at La Dolcezza Napoletane and then went back to the car.

The ferry docked at 11:41 and we left Palau at 11:55 and docked at La Maddalena at 12:13. We drove straight to Carfera which is a large national park with some signs of habitation both current and old. There are a lot of ruins on the island and we walked around Fortificazione Poggio Rasu. We ate lunch in the car in the middle of the forest.

On our trip around Isola Maddalena we bought strawberries at a fruit stall on the side of the road, Il Paradiso della Frutta. We could see on side of Corsica from the island. We then drove back to La Maddalena and tried to get espressi at Bar Madrau but no-one wanted to serve us so we went to Caffé Sporting where they were more friendly. To end our Italian holiday we had gelato at Dolci Distrazioni. Pistacchio for Dave and biscotti for me. While walking along the boardwalk enjoying our gelato we noticed the ferry hadn’t discharged the cars yet with 9 minutes to go before it was meant to depart. We headed for the car and managed  to get onto the ferry which left 5 minutes late. That saved us an hour and fifteen minutes wait.

From Palau we drove to Santa Teresa di Gallura. The ferry to Corsica leaves from here and we got another view of the Island.   It was then back to the apartment where I beat Dave at backgammon. We had a huge dinner, finishing up all the vegetables we cannot pack with us. It was early to bed, having walked 6.7km despite the child weather and the rain.

Markets and more

We are back to weekend waking times.  After breakfast we went to Arzachena to shop at the market. This is our best way of getting fresh produce when overseas. 

We had espressi and pastries at Panetteria Caffetteria del Corso and then walked around the smallest museum in Italy. Describing the history of Arzachena it was interesting to note that the village was occupied from before the Stone Age until 1421. The Saracens invaded the area and the people in the area died from a plague. The village remained devoid of life until the 1700’s. After the market we walked to the archeological museum which was closed. We bought a few things at the supermarket and then went back into the old city for espressi at Margó Café. We then drove through San Pantaleo to Porto Rotondo and Golfo Aranci. Both of which were fairly closed up waiting for the summer tourists to arrive. We ate our lunch in a lay by in the car. 

Our next stop was a wine farm. We could have had 3 tastings and an anti pasti platter at Vigne Surrau for €25. Instead we opted to go to Li Finistreddi, an upmarket hotel with its own helipad, for Prosecci. 

After that it was back to the apartment. Dave is becoming the backgammon champion. He made pasta con vongole for dinner followed by the strawberries we got at the market. We’ve been drinking a local grape varietal called Monica. Today our walking distance was only 3.8km due to the rain. 

Archeological Sardinia

We had a late start to our morning which I suppose is the whole point of being on holiday. While I was getting dressed I noticed a dolphin charm in the suitcase. I’m so glad I saw it as I would be devastated to lose a charm. Hopefully the jeweler can reattach it. We left at 10:20 and our first stop was Tomba dei Giganti Moru. This funerary monument is part of the archeological sites in this area from the Nuragic Age and belongs to the Nuraghe Albucciu, a village of huts. 

This included quite an impressive fortified home of the village chief. 

Our next stop was the Coddu Vecchju Tomb which is the collective burial site for the Nuraghe La Prisgiona, a kilometer away. 

This village covered several square kilometers with complex architecture. These archeological sites were settled between the fourteenth and ninth century BC. The cost for visiting the sites depends on how many you want to see. We chose only 4 as two are closed and one didn’t seem worth visiting. The cost was €11 but if you only want to see one I recommend Ls Prisgiona and that will cost €3. After our exploration we drove into the mountains and stopped in Luagosanto for espressi at Moak. Only the bars were open when we got there. We headed towards Palau and detoured via Port Rafael. The Fortezza di Monterey Altura looks very impressive. But it was too windy to walk around this military fort from 1889. Instead we drove into Palau for prosecci and snacks at Bar Vecchia Fonte. Then we headed to Cannigione and had an hour to kill before the supermarket opened at 16:30. We started by getting gelato at Ls Dolce Vita. Tiramisu for me and limone for Dave. This is a great place if you are looking for dairy free and sugar free ice cream. After a quick espresso at Linus we did our shopping and came back to the apartment. Dave white washed me at backgammon 5:0. Dinner was pasta with a simple sauce followed by Gorgonzola. There were no strawberries to be found on the island today. We walked 5.4km. 

Costa Smeralda

We woke up at 6.30 and loafed in bed. After breakfast and a not hot enough shower we left for Cannigione at 9.30. We had espressi at bar del Porto and bought rolls and cheesecake at Pan Coffee. The market was a waste of time and we did some shopping at Crai before heading to Baia Sardinia. We went into Cinque Doni which is a great place to buy a special bottle of wine if you were looking for one. We forgot to buy coffee so popped into Galmarket to get that before heading to the centre of the village. We had gelato at Mr. Ice, mirto di Sardegna for me and caramel for Dave. Before we left we had espressi at Barracuda. 

Our next stop was Porto Cervo marina and the light house at Capo Ferro which is a military zone. At San Pantaleo we drank prosecco at Caffé Nina in the Piazza della Chiesa before heading back to the resort for lunch. 

We relaxed after lunch then walked to the beach and got our feet wet. Too windy to swim. We had prosecci at Lu Jaddu and came back to the apartment. Dave did some work while I read. Then we played backgammon while sitting on the balcony drinking red wine. Dave won this round. 

We had a simple dinner, strawberries with crème patisserie, and Gorgonzola before heading to bed for an early night. Today we walked 4.4km. 

Civitavecchia to Olbia

The ferry crossing was really good and the bed super comfortable. Woke up at 5am and had a shower. The shower head didn’t stay up so it was like being on the barge in The Netherlands or Midi. Dave went to get espressi and croissants while I packed. We then went to the lounge to wait to disembark and had another espresso. Got off the ferry at 6:15 and seeing as there were no taxis waiting and Google maps showed a short walk to the airport we headed off on foot. However the maps didn’t realize there were no pavements and we adjusted our route until we ran out of sidewalk. With the choice of crossing the motorway or doubling back we headed back to the penultimate bus stop before the airport. By this stage it was 7:53 and we had walked 6.7km. The bus arrived at 8.11 and cost €3 and we got our money’s worth with a drive past the airport, the private airfield, to the end of the cemetery and all the way back to the airport. 

We collected the car keys from Europcar at 8:45 and went for an espresso before leaving the airport at 9:10. Our first stop was shopping in Arzachena. We then drove through Cannigione and along the coast to Capo D’Orso and Palau. First stop was espressi at Il Grillo and then gelato at Villanova. Nocciola for Dave and caffé for me which we ate walking along the boardwalk. We headed back to Cannigione and had lunch on a small beach. 

After that we went to see where the resort was before walking to Spiaggia Tanca Manna. Dave and I got our feet wet and then drove back to the resort complex and had prosecci at Lu Jaddu. 

We checked into the resort at 15:30 and less than an hour later I was unpacked and ready for coffee. We watched the Formula 1 race in Italian and then enjoyed a glass of wine on the balcony overlooking the sea. Dave made pasta sauce and cooked the fresh ricotta and spinach ravioli in the sauce as they had broken open. I was amazed at how well this worked so there’s a great kitchen hack to remember. We had Gorgonzola with biscuits and limoncello and headed for bed at a reasonable hour, having walked 11.3km for the day. 

Rome to Civitavecchia

Dave got up just after 7am and made coffee and we lazed about. Had breakfast in bed and had a slow start to our morning. Left the apartment at 9:55 and went to the station to get our tickets for Civitavecchia. Then walked to the gelateria which was closed. We stumbled upon Leonardo da Vinci’s Big Machines exhibit and this time we decided to go and see what it was about. The man’s mind was amazing. The display was at Palazzo Della Cancelleria and included archeological findings from 43BC.

We then walked to Campo de’ Fiori and bought cheese and porchetta di ariccia at the market. Our walk took us to Sant’ Angelo and at Bocco di Damascus I had Fondente gelato and Dave had fragola. The flavours were seriously intense. We walked to the Jewish Ghetto and saw the ruins of Portico D’Ottavia. The Synagogue is under armed guard. In the Piazza Gerusalemme there is a building with Hebrew writing on the building as well as a depiction of the Crucifixion. We crossed the Fiume Trastevere at Ponte Cestio and again at Ponte Sublicio. This took us to Rione Testaccio which was the port of ancient Rome. We bought a baguette at Punto Simply and ate our lunch in the memorial garden. After espressi at Linari we walked through the indoor market in Testaccio. Totally worth going to if you are cooking in Rome. It was then back over Ponte Sublicio and past Porte Portese to San Michelle and Trastevere. We stopped at Mastro Fidelio for prosecco before choosing a different route out of the area. This involved a steep climb to Fontana aqua Paola and a view of Rome.

We walked down to see Il Mausoleo Ossario Gianicolense and then back up the road before heading down to the Museo della Repubblica Romana. Our walk took us past Villa Aurelia and when we turned into Via Della Fornaci the area was being guarded by the army. This took us into the residential area and we bought water at the Carrefour before stopping again for prosecco. This time at Il Piccolo. We went to the apartment, where John’s mother was waiting for us, to collect our luggage. We arrived at the station at 17:00 and decided instead of rushing to platform 5 to catch the 17:02 train we would wait on platform 1 for the 17:15 train which was meant to be a direct train. But it never arrived so we schlepped our suitcases down the stairs and back up again to get to platform 5 for the 18:02 train. We arrived in Civitavecchia at 18:59 and walked to Trattoria Sora Maria for supper. We then walked into the port and past some ruins before the free shuttle stopped for us. We asked the port staff for late check out on the ferry but they could not do it, and told us to ask the reception staff. We went through security and boarded before 21:00. The reception staff told us we had to book the late check out in the port. So much for a sleep in. After dumping our luggage in the cabin we had a walk around. We then went to sort everything out for our 5am wake up call. I wrote our daily diary while Dave watched the ferry cast off. Today we walked 13.7km.

Paris to Rome

Breakfast was a crèpe, fresh fruit and a croissant. Coffee was most welcome. We were the last to disembark due to having to fetch our case. We had a smooth transition between terminals and Dave nearly walked off with someone’s hand luggage. Dave went to shave and I went to put some mascara and then I had a quick look in the bookstore for something to read. First time ever I had no luck. We bought macarons from Ladurée. Pistachio and lemon for Dave and liquorice and cherry for me. We boarded straight away and again there was no overhead locker space for our cabin luggage. We pack one bag only which is a good thing. We had our macarons followed by coffee and a croissant. The flight was a breeze and as we got to the carousel our luggage was off. We walked to the station where our passports and Visas were checked and got straight onto the train for Roma Trastevere. We changed trains and got off at Roma San Pietro and then had a bit of a round about walk to where we are staying. It’s a shared apartment with a small kitchen run by a young couple. John met us there. The lift is super old fashioned with manual doors you have to ensure are closed to keep the lift in use. We are in the princess room which is pink! It’s clean, very comfortable and has an en suite bathroom with an adequate shower. We have a small balcony with a view of the other apartments buildings surrounding a common courtyard.

We left the apartment at 13:15 and stopped at the Carrefour express for a roll, prosciutto and cheese and ate our picnic lunch in Piazza Sforza Cesarini. Gelato for the day was pistacchio for Dave and nocciola for me at Sweet Life on Corso Vittorio Emanuele II.

We walked to the Spanish Steps which was teeming with people as usual and then through Piazza Colonna to the Pantheon. Our first time in Rome it was just before Christmas and getting into the Pantheon was easy. Now with all the crowds we didn’t try. Our walk took us past the Area Sacra di Largo Argentina which is now a cat haven, before we stopped at Bon Bar in Trastevere for espressi. We walked the cobbled streets of this ancient area, stopping for pastries at Panetteria Romana. Not sure what Dave had but it was delicious. I had sfogliatelle.

We saw part of this walk for Easter. In front of these people was an effigy of Christ after being taken down from the cross. After exploring some more of the area we stopped at Caffe del Prado for prosecco. Our walk took us through Piazza di Santa Maria before we stopped for an early dinner at Ristorante da Massi. We enjoyed a typical Roman meal before walking back to the apartment and having an early night.

The number of army personnel everywhere is noticeable and the police are out in full force. Rome at Easter is very different to Rome at Christmas. Today we walked 11.6 kilometers.

Leaving Gordons Bay 

We woke up to wet and cold weather and left for work in the dark. Managed to pack everything except Dave’s jacket but thankfully Phillip could fetch that for us. Work was quiet for me and hectic for Dave. Finally it was time to leave for the airport. The sun had come out by the time we left and I was grateful for choosing a summer top to wear. Our cases weigh 35kg and check in ran smoothly other than the fact I could not find my Visa. I was looking at the wrong date and had a brief moment of panic even though I know the Visa was there. Our luggage is checked right through to Rome. We had snacks in the SAA business class lounge. Still one of the best ones in the country. Dave did not select our seats for the Cape Town – Johannesburg flight and we got stuck in the middle of a middle row. My absolute worst, especially as the lady next to me was fairly large and I felt boxed in.  The flight was not too bad even though we left late. We were in the first lot of people off the plane and on the bus. Some young lady had half an hour to catch her connecting flight and she hadn’t checked her luggage through. She was checked onto the flight but didn’t have her boarding pass. It was the last flight of the day and I can’t imagine it worked out for her. We got through passport control quickly and made our way straight to the Bidvest lounge.  After an espresso and catching up with emails I headed for the shower. The air conditioning was not working where we were sitting so when I was done Dave and I moved. We had a snack and then made our way to the boarding gate. For some reason our boarding passes on the phone wouldn’t scan so they printed off ones for us. Boarding was a breeze but our suitcase didn’t fit in the overhead locker. They are smaller on the right hand side of the plane for some odd reason. Got everything unpacked and into the locker, which closes with ease but doesn’t open as easily. Finished off the backgammon game we started on the first flight – I won 5:4.  Dinner was Cape Malay hake curry, titanium and brie. We started with champagne, had merlot with dinner and cognac to finish. Then it was time for sleep.  This flight I chose to use a sleeping top which was far more comfortable.