On June 1st, we cleaned out our apartment in Marina di Ragusa, said our goodbyes, packed up the car and drove away. Both of us were crying our eyes out, it was so hard to leave. The weather made it a little easier as it turned a bit colder that day and looked like rain. Not a day you would want to spend at the beach and we were glad we had taken full advantage of the unseasonably warm days in the month of May and swam in the sea every day that we could.
We left Ragusa around 4 in the afternoon and made good time driving to Messina arriving in that city around 7pm. It was difficult to find a place to eat near the port but we finally found a rosticceria and ate a picnic lunch by the water of roasted chicken and fried potatoes. The sunset was quite spectacular and with all the shades of red and orange, it looked like the city of Messina was on fire. We were so early, we had to wait for a few hours before the ferry would allow passengers to board and we just sat in the car. When they opened up the window for passengers to pick up their tickets (we had purchased them in Marina di Ragusa the day before from Antonio at Ragusana Viaggi) I napped while Bob waited outside. Poor guy, it was pretty cold by this time and he didn't have a jacket with him, as it had been so warm, he packed all his jackets away!
We were so tired we couldn't wait to get into our cabin, only to discover we were in the middle of a teenage field trip to Salerno. These kids partied all night. We tried to get them to be quiet but they just ignored us. Finally I remembered that I had earplugs and we were able to get a few hours sleep before the sound of the captain telling everyone to get ready, we had reached Salerno. Bob swears if he makes this trip again that he is going to drive through Calabria in spite of what everyone says about the roads! (You might remember our sea-sickness when we traveled from Napoli to Catania in December!)
We arrived in Salerno around 9am, waited to be able to disembark and drove to meet Nigel and look at the apartment he had found for us. First he wanted to show us around Salerno and it's obvious he likes this city very much. He's from the UK and has transplanted himself in this southern Italian city and seems very much at home there. Since our car was packed to the gills with all of our possessions, and there was no room for Nigel, he called Monica, whose apartment we were to see, to come and pick him up and we arranged to meet in Cava di Terreni a little later in the day.
I should clarify that this apartment in the Napoli/Salerno area is for next winter and we would be looking at renting it from November to end of March at which time we expect to actually go home to the United States. (Everyone asks how this is possible and how we will do it, but that is the plan at this point, as our litte granddaughter is getting bigger by the minute and we feel certain we will be anxious to get home to spend time with her while she is still little.)
We found the area around Salerno, close to Amalfi, very beautiful and the little town of Cava di Terreni charming. It turned out that the apartment is actually close to the little village of Santa Lucia, very near (maybe 5 or 10 minutes) from Cava. It is in the countryside of Campagnia, with farms all around and the big mountains part of our view from this lovely apartment. It's a two-bedroom place this time and seems to have everything we would need to be comfortable there through the winter including a working fireplace. It's close enough to Napoli for visits to that city and to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast and that entire region and close to the highways that take you there. They are undergoing some construction projects at this time, doing some repainting and building a "tavolina," a sort of den and assured us that these projects will be completed before we get there. We're keeping our fingers crossed but also asking Nigel to keep his eyes open for a second possibility if they aren't. We don't want to find ourselves spending the winter in the middle of a construction site and hope they are certain that it will all be finished long before we arrive.
So it would seem that we are set for the next and last part of our great adventure. It really is hard to think about leaving Italy. It has truly been an incredible experience. And really, it's only half over. We still have almost a year (10 months) left to go. I know it will go really, really fast!
From Salerno, we drove north, headed for Verona and our home for the next 5 months. But not before stopping for a few days in Umbria to visit some friends.
(to be continued. See "Perugia and Massa Martana")
Rosemary & Bob