My parents are world class travelers now and took the train from the airport all the way to our town. It was fun to see them step off the train and look like professionals! I guess I should have made them figure out how to get from the train station all the way to our house! Just kidding guys.
I let them have a little nap and then we were off and running to my favorite weinfest of the year, WOLF! I love this fest. They have the best food, so many bands, and a ton of wine stands all in this tiny little village. Thanks friends for coming out to meet my folks!
Sundays are lazy around here with everything closed so we went for a boat ride on the Mosel river and hit up a few more weinfests.
I had to work for a few days, so back on the train they went to Amsterdam. They got to tour the Anne Frank house, ride a boat along the canals, check out the Rijks museum, stroll the red light district and enjoy some delicious food. They both said that 3 days in Amsterdam is not enough and I completely agree. While it is a compact city, there is so much to do there.
Prior to planning their trip I asked for input on what countries they would like to visit on this trip and they responded with a resounding, Italy! I guess I cannot say this is surprising since it is one of my favorite places to visit as well. Luckily flights around here are cheap because we traveled to Italy two times in September. So off to Italy we went.
We arrived in Bari late at night and just had a little stop over there to sleep. In the morning our first stop was a little coastal town called Polignano al Mare. It is an adorable town with many historic buildings and incredible coastal views. I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves.
Also, how would you like to do your shopping from a little truck like this that roams the street announcing its presence through a loud speaker. Seems like a good time to me!
Next stop, Alberobello. This town is known for its plethora of houses with conical roofs. There are a few different theories on why houses were built this way but the primary one seems to be tax evasion. They could take the roofs off of these structures quickly when the tax man came a callin' and pay less tax because they were not considered permanent buildings since they didn't have a roof. The town has a considerable number all packed tightly down little lanes but there were also a bunch in the country side that we got to see when the GPS decided to lead us down farm roads rather than staying on the main trail.
We drove for another couple of hours across Italy to our next stop, Matera! This one was a winner. It is an ancient city in the world and is historically very intact. It is the set for many movies including The Passion of Christ, and will also be the set for the upcoming new Ben Hur. It is really an outstanding place with a very interesting history. I will not go into it here, but if you are wanting more information I am sure that google will help you. We stayed in a family owned cave home. Most of the homes in this area are built into the sides of caves. It was so neat to stay in a place that had been in a family for many generations and their dedication to service was unlike anything I have ever seen. They provided us with an escort to the apartment (when we were lost). Helped drive our luggage to the apartment. Spent a few hours telling us all about Matera and showing us the Cistern water system used in the town in ancient times and also provided luggage transport again back to our car. You cannot drive into the center without a special permit so it is all very tricky but the lack of cars makes the location all the more magical. There were a lot of stairs in this town which meant beautiful view points. Of course, Italy never disappoints in the food department.
Creepy skull and cross bone church
We had another beautiful drive over to Salerno which served as our jumping off point to the Amalfi coast. Within hours of arrival we were treated to more amazing food.
This area was requested by my parents and I aim to please. So, we took a boat ride all along the coast. There were just 8 of us on the boat. Six passengers, the captain, and the guide. They welcomed us with a Prosecco toast, treated us to fresh fruit and mozzeralla/tomato sandwiches and lemon cakes, and provided swimming stops and commentary about the coast. There were also two stops. One in Positano and the other in the town of Amalfi. I like to stay positive about the places we visit but I have to say that the Amalfi coast is much better when seen from the water. It was so slammed with tourists and tchotchke shops I felt like I was in tourist purgatory. To say that these towns are overrun by tourists is an understatement. But from the water, the coastline is absolutely beautiful.
An incredible pizza throwing contest going on in Amalfi. This was being taped by the local equivalent of the foodnetwork.
Bob wishing he was the captain?
Each night we enjoyed dinner in Salerno which turned out to be quite the nice little city. It has a beautiful walking promenade with shopping and oodles of quaint and trendy restaurants. Each meal was something to be remembered.
Cool way to present a bill.
The next day we went to a wine tasting at a tiny little organic vineyard that had breathtaking views. It was in a very small town up along the hillside. This vineyard not only has wine but they grow pomegranates, figs, anise, tomatoes, peppers.....the list goes on and on. We were treated to a lunch with all homemade food on the terrace overlooking the town. It was such a nice day. The sunshine in Italy has some kind of special healing power or something.
Our stylish Italian tour guide/translator. This guy has the best English in all of Italy and the most Italian flair!
Quinn and I walked back along the twisty road back to the hotel and saw some interesting things.
We had to make the drive back across the "ankle" of Italy to fly out of Bari. We made a little detour to Paestum. This is an old Greek ruin site with some extremely intact structures, including some of the tile work on the ground!!! It was even more impressive than the Parthenon.
I am always sad to leave the Italian sunshine.
We spent the last few days cooking together, visiting a castle (Berg Eltz), and a trip to Luxembourg.
Oops, forgot to take the camera to Luxembourg.
It never feels like a long enough visit but I was happy to have them for 2 weeks this time! Yay. Next vacation, maybe I can convince them into 3 weeks Love you both.