Monday, May 13, 2013

Welcome to "The End Of The Line"

Had we known what would be involved in this journey we would have approached it with a little more trepidation.

So here we are 1 taxi, 1 plane, 2 buses, 1 train, 2 rental cars, 7 hotels, and 1000+ miles later...
...we have arrived at our destination. Where the the Adriatic and Ionian Seas meet at the very sole of the heel of the boot of italy.

Santa Maria Di Leuca

Before the war, Eliza's grandparents were engaged but they had not officially gotten married because it would have made things really difficult for them, knowing what might lie ahead in perilous times. As the war progressed, her grandfather was sent to camp after camp and her grandmother was hiding in her home town in a neighbors' attic. When the war ended, neither knew that the other had survived. Her grandmother had heard that Zeida's name was written on posting board in Modena, Italy of people who were still alive. So her grandmother left the displaced persons camp in Austria to go find him. She had to smuggle her way into Italy from Austria, crossing the Alps; and as the story goes, sliding down the mountain on a suitcase. When she arrived in Modena, she found that he was transferred to this other town. We have no idea how long and hard the road was for her, but now we have a small picture that this was not an easy journey.

 Noah's favorite past time

The Next Great Explorers
This cave (grotto) opened up to the sea by that light behind them.

We actually stayed right at that lighthouse in the background.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Detour - Alberobello

These strange rock houses with pointed roofs were scattered all over southern Italy. I believe that they predate the Romans. This village just happened to have a lot of them. The neat thing is that people today are incorporating them into their current houses.

- The Latimer's

Resting and Exploring

 After we had a little bite to eat we started scurrying around town looking for a place to sleep. One dead end after another, and almost breaking an antique telescope in one place. We were about ready to give up and just drive to another town that wasn't flooded with people, but decided to try talking to one more person, in what looked like a meat shop. He directed us to this little office front, Eliza went in and started talking, sat down and relaxed as he made some calls to his wife. Next thing we know his kids show up with their grandchildren and just start playing out front. It was sort of uncomfortable because we are tired, our car was parked illegally, and trying to figure out if we are going to stay or leave, and they really aren't paying attention to us, just enjoying each other. So we just waited...eventually the wife said, "Come with me." And led us to the most beautiful place we have ever stayed at. This was His gift to us. All just off the main square. She was warm and set up two more beds for the boys and encouraged us to relax. We said, "I think that this is a little bit out of our price range." She replied, "No problem. I will give you a deal on it." And with that we were off to relax and enjoy this beautiful place.
 The steps to our place.

 The lower kitchen, sort of medieval style.

 The clever hidden kitchen cabinet.

 Fresh cup of cappuccino, and some breakfast.

 The rock throwing past time. The boys could have stayed down there forever.

This tunnel led to the other side of this cliff, where there was a sheer drop off into the sea. When standing at the end of the tunnel it felt as though we were one with the undulating waves. So amazing!! I wanted to jump in, but I was carrying one boy on my front and another on my back.

Apparently all the Italians around were trying to tell us that it was too dangerous to be in there. Sort of confusing the only danger I could see was the 6in. of water on the flat floor. Come on Italians, explore a little bit. Even though the beach was super popular, we and one other couple were the only people we ever saw go in there.

We have no idea who this man was, but every person was taking pictures next to him. So we did as well.

-The Latimer's

Breathing In 'Polignano A Mare'

Our, supposed 4.5 hr journey, turned into a 7+ hr journey. So apparently google maps is not always most reliable. Halfway through the journey the boys got restless and had to go to the bathroom and we needed to eat, so we pulled off into this little town and had no idea that we were stepping into paradise.

They shut down the main street through the town, because this town gets flooded with Italians on the weekend (we thought that it was a special holiday, but they assured us that this is how it is every weekend). Everyone was there just enjoying themselves, eating gelato and a special focaccia pizza. No one was in a hurry. Even late at night people would walk to different view points throughout the city overlooking the cliffs and Adriatic sea and just talk.

It was a beautiful reminder that there are some people in the world who don't hurry through every day.

If you look closely you can see that there is a restaurant carved out in the cliff.

 This gelato place in the background gave our boys free cones when they were having a fit. It worked like a charm. We went back there several times just to say thanks, and we had to try the pistachio and coconut and stracciatella.

Walking On

YouTube Video

- The Latimer's

Loading on the Ferry

YouTube Video

- The Latimer's

Long Day of Travel

 Waiting patiently for the next adventure

Crossing the Straight of Messina

 End of the line
Naples, Italy

Relaxing after a long day of traveling

-The Latimer's