A few weeks ago I wrote about our walking tour on the Chatsworth Estate in England. What I didn’t tell you was that after leaving England, we flew to Italy where we did a week of bicycling, then stayed with friends in a small Italian village, and then headed to Rome where we just happened to run into (figuratively not literally) the pope.
We love to do a bicycling trip in Europe in the fall and specifically, we like to do a bike and barge trip. We have done more 13 (or more) of them. For those of you who are new here, I’ll give you some background. Bike and barge companies convert old cargo barges into passenger boats that hold around 20 people. We spend nights in a private room with a bath on a boat and then leave each morning by bicycle for a day of cycling. We then meet up with the boat in another town around 4 p.m. We enjoy down time, eat a delicious dinner, tour the town, and then go to bed and do the same routine again the next day. Cycling is a great way to get up close and personal with a country, and by staying on a boat at night, we don’t have to pack and unpack each day. We are there for at least a week and sometimes two. By the way, the boats take their own route to that day’s destination by traveling on rivers or canals. Jordan and I did a similar trip in France last July.
We started this tour in Mantova and cycled to Venice, starting on a Sunday and arriving in Venice on the following Thursday evening.
We have been to Venice once before during the winter when they were preparing for lent and Carnivale.
It was very crowded then, and it was very crowded this time. There were lots of Japanese brides there. I guess it was their destination wedding. I really don’t get Venice, but I know there are people out there who L.O.V.E. it. It is definitely one of those “nice places to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there” towns for me.
After Venice we took a two-hour train trip to a small town and stayed with some friends. That was one of the highlights of the trip for me. I love seeing how real people live when we travel. This family owns a small vineyard and sell their grapes to a community cooperative which then turns them into wine. However, our friends also make some of their own wine, as well as vinegar, olive oil, ground corn for polenta, and have their own vegetable garden and fruit trees. We ate risotto, local cheeses, polenta, gelato, and prosciutto among other things.
I was amazed at how many demi-johns (all sizes), olive buckets, baskets, etc. that they had in their barn that we in Blogland love. I teased them that they could make lots of money if they sold those items. He said I could be his middle “man.” This photo is an abandoned building in their village, and it had a lot of demi-johns just sitting there. The building had no doors or windows. I was drooling. There were all sizes and styles.
After a two-day stay, Mr. Right and I then took a five-hour train ride to Rome. It was my first time there, and I loved it. We saw all of the major attractions and really enjoyed it.
In a totally unplanned way, we got to see the pope. We were as close to him as we were allowed, and it was just a coincidence. Seeing the pope was on my bucket list, and I really never thought it would happen. I promise you it was just a coincidence that this happened.
We were only in Rome two and a half days, and so we bought a two-day pass for the hop on/hop off tourist bus with entrance tickets to the Coliseum and the Vatican Museum. Having the freedom to get on and off of the bus whenever and wherever we wanted to was just the perfect way to enjoy that city in a short period of time. I’ll not bore you any more with my travel story, but if you are hesitant to return to Paris right now, you might give Rome a try. It, too, was beautiful and loaded with history.
This will be our last post for the week. We are together in Washington, DC sharing a wonderful Thanksgiving with family. Before I close, though, Jordan and I want you to know that we are thankful to each of you who takes time from your day to read our blog. We wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving.