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March 2007 - Western Italy and Islands

Italy | Nettuno | view from marina parking lot

March 27, 2007

Buon giorno, It was a rainy, windy, cold week (50's)in Nettuno. Actually it was warmer in Minnesota and Chicago than here over the weekend. Our friends from Las Vegas on Attitudes a Tayana 55 arrived back in the marina on Friday. They rented a car for two weeks so we drove up to Aprile on Saturday and had our first Mall experience and large grocery store. We had our time change on Sunday so now we are UTC +2 that's 7 hrs ahead of Minnesota. It rained hard, thunder and lightning early Sun. AM but the day was sunny and nice. We walked to Anzio to get some miles in. Once we start cruising again we tend to put a lot of miles in walking so we decided we better get started. It's been a long winter and we're ready to go.

The dinghy is not yet in our possession but it's getting closer. Shipping overseas is quite an experience. Fedex delivered to Malpansa Italy but then the shipment was not released. Finally we found out we needed an External Broker (someone who can receive imports) and a custom code. Of course no one could tell us how to get either one :-> Our good friend Sandy in Minnesota pressured Fedex there, we sent emails, and Sylvia the clerk in the marine store here had a friend who Import/Exports fabrics and she got involved. Long story, many days, emails and phone calls later the dinghy was released and delivered to Sylvia's friend in Aprile Friday evening. She doesn't work weekends and the marine store is closed on Mondays. Today we tried to arrange to pick it up in Aprile by car. But Sylvia kept saying No,no Paride will bring it tomorrow. Paride and Claudio (who speaks English) were out of town. Everything is always tomorrow... this is getting to be quite frustrating.

Meanwhile, another long story for another time, we sent our life raft to be re-packed (necessary every 2 years) and we hope it'll be returned by Friday. Our goal, weather permitting, is to head south on Saturday, March 31. So we'll see what happens as the week unfolds. We have no where we have to be except our son's wedding in Chicago June 16 so we'll simply enjoy what comes. Today I did laundry while Al put snaps on our sunscreens. They hang from the bimini. They do a great job deflecting the sun and wind from the cockpit and we expect July and August to be extremely hot. They came with the boat but we never used them. We have a full set of sun canvas too (covers the entire boat) that we have never figured out how to use. So that'll be our next project. We had great sandwiches at one of the cafes on the quay with Don and Kathy. It's fun having someone to talk English too and they've already been to the places we want to visit next. So we have lots to talk about. Love and God Bless. Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

March 19, 2007

Buon giorno, We're cosy and busy doing inside work today. It's only low 50's and windy SW 23 kts. It rained early before we woke up and it's expected to start again late this afternoon and through the night. Al rebuilt some cabin lights with energy efficient hallorgen bulbs, changed and tightened the alternator belt, removed the old loran to make another switch panel and installed a DVD player in aft cabin...busy boy. I made a pot of beef soup and it's quite tempting as it simmers on the hot plate.

We had a glorious day in Rome last Friday. We arrived at Museo Villa Borghese about 10:30 but had to wait until 1:00 for admittance. It was a beautiful sunny day about 75 degrees so we walked over to Piazza di Popolo and finally after fourteen visits to Rome found the church Santa Maria del Popolo open so we could visit.

Italy | Rome | Piazza del Popolo and Church Santa Maria del Popolo

Italy | Rome | Villa Borghese

We walked in the park surrounding Villa Borghese and had a picnic lunch before going on the museum tour. The exhibit was quite lovely and we enjoyed seeing the Bernini sculptures we had read about. After the tour we walked along the Tiber River over to St. Peter's and went to 5:00 mass. Special prayers for our families and friends especially Al's mom on her 83rd birthday. We did some window shopping and Al tried on a few suits. They seemed to be ones that will quickly go out of style and longer than Al cared for so we didn't buy anything. We caught the 7:00 train back to Nettuno.

Italy | Rome | Villa Borghese gardens

Italy | Rome | Villa Borghese gardens

The end to another lovely trip to Rome. We marvel at how we happened to end up in the Rome area for the winter. We couldn't have chosen a better place to be. The marina is quite busy on the weekends with boat owners and a constant flow of Italian's out for their passeggiare (walk)eating ice cream (of course). People stop to take pictures or to just look, often smiling and saying bel, bel (beautiful, beautiful) Most boats here are newer and don't have the classical lines that Artemis has. Plus being flagship blue, a ketch, and lots of teak makes it stand out amongst the white boats. Our walks down the beaches are now shared with others who have come out to enjoy the sunshine. We've had them all to ourselves during the winter months. It must be time to start heading south. We are awaiting the arrival of our new dinghy we had shipped from the states while we were home. Last seen on Fedex it is in Italy awaiting clearance. Hopefully it'll be here tomorrow. Love and God Bless. Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

March 14, 2007

Buon giorno, We've been back in Nettuno for a week and slowly getting our bodies to adjust to the seven hour time change. We didn't have any problem adjusting when we came home in January but it's been tough traveling this way. We lay awake until 2 or 3 AM before we finally fall asleep. It's been sunny, mid 60's low 70"s most days. The nights continue to drop down into the 40's. The trees and shrubs are budding and blossoming out. There seems to be a lot more people out and about than when we left. Everyone has Spring fever. We've noticed that since we left Minnesota the weather has improved significantly for you too. :-> Sunday we walked the beach to Anzio and watched the sailboats race.

Monday and Tuesday we sanded the cockpit and upper decks of the boat and put on a coat of Sikkens finish. Today we did the lower deck. It's a big job. We had contemplated letting it all go gray and so we didn't do anything to it last season. But we were home and looking at old pictures and we decided we liked the way it looks finished. So having made that decision the up-keep is a simple touch up now and then unless the Mediterranean hot summer just "eats" it up! We plan to go to Rome tomorrow. We've been wanting to visit Villa Borghese-Museo and Galleria Borghese. I'll start a daily log again once we start cruising in April. Our plan is to head down the Italian coast to Capri and Amalfi coast, around Sicily, up the boot of Italy and then across to Dubrovnik, Croatia. We have our tickets to fly home from Dubrovnik on May 28 - June 20 for Chris and Mary's wedding June 16. So for now I'll write when the mood hits. Love and God Bless. Ciao,

Love Sally and Al

March 7, 2007

Buon giorno, Al and I flew out of Minneapolis Monday around 5 PM to Chicago. Our international flight left about 8 PM and we arrived in Heathrow about 9:15 AM Tuesday. (6 hr time change) We had to go through security and body searches twice before boarding our flight to Rome at 12:40. The second search was after they posted our gate departure 30 minutes before departure. We were a little anxious as we waited in another long line but when they made a final call for our flight, all the Rome passengers were allowed to move ahead. We arrived in Rome about 4:15 PM.(another 1 hr. time change) Customs was easy. They stamped our passports and asked no questions. While heading for the Fast train to Rome, a guy tried to sell us on a taxi ride to Nettuno. "I can get you there in 40 minutes." "How much?" "200 Euro's!!" ($260) No thank you! In less than 2 hours we were on the boat and we only spent $28 Euro's.

We slept until 5:30 PM, I guess we were tired! We had New Orleans's sweet potato pancakes, courtesy of our friend Rich for breakfast, or was that late lunch? It was cloudy 55 degrees but everything is green and it was fun to see hanging baskets of flowers. We re-installed the inverter and started up the refrigeration. All seems to be working well and the boat looks great. We had rice stuffed tomatoes and rolls for a late dinner. Stayed up late hoping to sleep the night and get up at a more normal time in the morning. Love and God Bless.

Love Sally and Al

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