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Our home at Podere Vallari

Having arrived in Tuscany at our WWOOFing farm, we were set up by our gracious hosts (Ursula & Sigismund) in a beautiful apartment at the top of an olive grove. It is a beautiful place to stay and we’re loving making a life here for the next two weeks.┬áIt seems many people in this area have a couple properties for tourists to rent and since it’s not tourist high season we get to benefit from Ursula & Sigismund’s!

*Is it weird to post photos of your bathroom? I don’t care. It’s got such beautiful light and a gorgeous green view, I needed to share it.

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Campeggio Cecina

We got to Cecina in what I can only assume is record time for regional trains and were at the Ligurian sea in only 6 hours. Since we weren’t expected at our WWOOFing hosts until the next day, we decided to spend the afternoon exploring the forests along the coast and find an open campground for the night. We ended up in a beautiful little place with it’s own beach about 5km north of town. It was called a campsite, but it’s not really what I would consider camping. This campsite came with a restaurant, bar, butcher shop, grocery store, pizzeria, ice cream store, bocce ball court, pool (yes, even though it’s on the beach), ping pong table, etc.

We were the only campers with a tent rather than a ‘caravan’ (RV) and the only campers under the age of 50. It was a great place to spend a night.

Being so close to the beach, we realized the first evening that the Ligurian sea can be a crazy wild scary beast, and the next morning we realized the Ligurian can be a beautiful, calm, soothing place.

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Ancona – Faenza – Firenze – Pisa – Cecina

Hello Italy!

After getting on the night ferry in Split, Croatia we woke up in Ancona, Italy. As we pulled into Ancona, the sunrise over the Adriatic was gorgeous and made for a memorable last sight of this sea. Since we had absolutely no idea how long it would take us to train to Cecina (where we had to be the next day) we decided to make our way across the country right away. When we got through customs we realized (along with a Brit and two American girls) that the shuttle to the train station wouldn’t begin running until 11am. It was 8am. The American girls talked to one of the customs agents and got directions to a bus stop to the proper bus to the train station. Since we had no euro coins yet and since we had no set timetable, we decided their way was a little too complicated and we set out to walk in the rough direction of the station. The Brit weighed his options and thought his best chance was with us. We hefted our packs (30lb for PK and 46lb for me – including camera case) and about 5km later we made it to the station. As it turned out we made it to the train long before our American friends. We waved to them just joining the ticket queue while we boarded our train…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

When we got to the train station, it became very clear to us that the English that got us by in Croatia wasn’t going to cut it in Italy. I’m not sure whether they don’t know it or they choose not to speak it, but English is not common here. This combined with the fact that our Italian is less than stellar has made for some tricky hand motion conversations. In fact, when we got to the train station ticket window, the attendant couldn’t even understand the town we were headed to – Cecina. (sidenote for future Italy travellers…when the C is followed by a E or an I, it makes a “CH” sound). When we got it all figured out, he asked us one word in English..”today?” We nodded yes and 6 minutes later we were on our first of four regional trains taking us through the gorgeous Italian countryside to Cecina.

*Also a sidenote for future Italy travellers – Faenza is a beautiful little town and well worth a quick stop to enjoy an espresso, a pastry (or 5) and to wander through the town centre markets.

Italy

April 10 – 25

Marche, Umbria, Toscana, Liguria