Posted by: jimndianne | October 30, 2009

Travelling the east coast.

Vasto – Francavilla al Mare – Pescara – Montesilvano  29-30 October 2009

There were vast tracts of grape vines along the route from Vasto to Pescara, telling us something about the Italian love for vino. In the distance, from the road out of Vasto, we could see looming ahead a huge  snow-covered mountain-top so we knew it wouldn’t be long before winter would arrive in Italy. It is already much cooler here and we need to wrap up warmly as the Italians are doing. Puffy jackets and longer coats (mostly black) are being worn by both men and women now. At Francavilla al Mare we’ve been given directions to a coin-operated laundry but after several efforts to find it we’ve still had no success. Finally, feeling we should be close to the area described to us by a woman running a dry-cleaning shop, we ask  an older gentleman if he knows of the whereabouts of the laundry. Hey, success! He tells us in Italian that it is just around the corner so we thank him warmly and drive right there. Of course all directions to use the washing machines are in Italian as is the means of getting the correct change for them. Jim goes off to get the necessary one Euro coins and after several attempts comes back with what we need! We can now put our dirty laundry into a machine and go off and find a coffee shop! Phew! Who would have thought it would be so difficult to get some laundry done!

Pescara was unlucky enough to have over 300 bombs dropped upon it near the end of World War II so it is relatively modern. It’s quite a large city so we pass right through it, checking at the Italian Automobile Association to see if they can recommend an hotel for the night. A nice young man practices his English on me and tells me where to locate Hotel Piccolo Mondo, 013which turns out to be a nice place, not too expensive and full of more people made homeless by the L’Aquila earthquake in April! A young Albanian man sitting beside us at dinner in the hotel that night tells us in good English how horrific the earthquake was as he himself was one of those made homeless by it. All of those in the hotel, apart from ourselves, the only tourists, are waiting for new accommodation to be built for them but until this is complete they have no choice but to sit tight and hope that it is ready soon.

The food in this hotel is very different from anything else we’ve tried in Italy, more homely and quite authentic. We were given a pasta soup with vodka in (!), some rolled crepes with cheese inside with a hot chicken stock poured over, as well as some chunks of pork in a spicy gravy. This was followed up by either a large ball of soft white cheese in a bowl or a plate of fresh fruit. We chose the latter…

We stayed two nights at Hotel Piccolo Mondo, spending a reasonable time on updating the blog while there. A trip out to Pescara Airport allowed us to  book ahead for Rome to Geneva on 2nd November on a relatively low-cost Swiss airline that we’d never heard of, called Flybaboo, as we discovered it was not  possible to fly from Pescara to anywhere in France at all.

On the morning of the 30th we awoke to the magical tinkling of church bells as is common 015here, checked out of the hotel and drove off in the direction of L’Aquila (and later Rome). As we slowly climb into the mountains once again there are wondrous autumn colours everywhere, yellow, red and orange on the trees and huge piles of leaves already litter the ground. Arriving in L’Aquila, the earthquake town of 70,000 people, the first thing we notice are the tented areas everywhere, housing both those displaced as well as the hundreds of aid workers brought in to help in the rebuilding process. Numerous newly completed apartment blocks can be seen as well as huge cranes, scaffolding, 023homes with gigantic cracks down them and others which are simply large piles of stone and rubble from which it is doubtful anyone could have escaped. Hopefully, such a sad event as this will never happen there again.

024Before too long we are once again back on the huge ring road which bypasses Rome and out to Fiumicino, near the airport, where we locate a nice little B & B, the “Costa del Sol”,  for the next two nights.


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