Help Support Hungry Children

I have never tried to monetize this blog and I do not intend to. Life is good in retirement and now I try to pay back and pay it forward.

That said, please consider a donation to the PAN FLORIDA CHALLENGE.  This is a 200 mile ride I will be doing next week from Naples, Fl back to my home town of Vero Beach, FL.

Consider the following:This is our mission. Our creed. And our battle cry. Call it our manifesto –It moves us.  Hunger in Florida’s children is solvable. It’s doable and we are the ones doing it.  Here and now. Today. And we are not too few. We are thousands already. And we are starting a movement. The Pan-Florida Challenge to end childhood hunger. This is a call for you and thousands of others just like you to join us. End hunger in our local kids with us.  All together, once and for all, we will End Hunger in Florida’s children.  We know how. We have cracked the code. And We have been doing it already. Join us.

WHAT WE BELIEVE.

If every child in Florida was fed, no local children would go hungry.  Not one.  

This is no longer a wish or a far-off dream. It’s here, today. For just such a time as this.We can solve this problem. It’s doable and we are doing it.  We are the Pan-Florida Challenge. We are a movement – not another cause. We are on mission to get to No local kid hungry.  Not one. This is our creed. And It moves us.  How about you? Step up and become the hero to Florida’s next generation of kids who need you. Find your spot. We have been waiting for you. Great things will be done here. This is your chance of a lifetime. Step into your spot. Do something extraordinary. Become a hero to kids. Legends will be told about us all years from now.

Take the Pan-Florida Challenge. No Local Kids Hungry, Not One!  

On Friday, March 10th, I will embark with several hundred other fund raisers on a ride acorss Florida, from Naples to Vero Beach. A two hundred mile challenge for  mdy 75th birthday.  My wife and I have donated to the cause. So have some wonderful friends who have helped me come close to my goal.

Please consider donating to the cause. One Hundred Per Cent goes to feeding children.  All riders pay the cost of their ride and meals.  If you would click on the link at the bottom of the page.  Please enter my name Greg Speck which will help be get some credit for your kind donation. This goes in the search participants section.

The Pan Florida Challenge is 501 3 c non profit.

Thank you and keep on enjoying gregsitaly.blog

http://support.panfloridachallenge.org/site/TR?fr_id=1040&pg=entry

 

Monterosso Al Mare and Up the Coast

So many beautiful sights to see.   I have been having some software problems, so sorry for the delay in posting.

 

 

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A Quick boat  ride to Monterosso Al Mare made for a nice day trip from Vernazza.

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We were  here in April and it was warm enough to enjoy the beach. Totally uncrowded at this time of year.

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Perfect spot to unwind and relax from travel stress.   Cinque Terre is best reached by rail. It is possible to drive, but parking and access is difficult. We parked up at the top of a hill in Vernazza, got a shuttle and then had two walk about half a mile to reach our hotel.

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Fishing boats by the shore.

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Places to shop and stroll.

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Cinque Terre is definitely worth a visit.  Plan ahead and avoid the peak travel periods of June through August.

We stayed an additional night in Santa Margherita and were able to take a boat trip to Portofino. A beautiful seaside village.  Helps to be a bit on the rich side.

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No margins here and these are 2007 Prices. But it is worth doing some window shopping in Portofino.

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Seaside dining.

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Beautiful view of the port area.  There is much to do in the in the area from Portovenere to Santa Margherita Ligure  is good for several days of exploration.  This is a great place to visit, Hope you have the chance  to visit and enjoy all the attractions. Next time I will bring my hiking gear and explore all the trails.  Ciao

Another Wedding

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We have never been it Italy without seeing a wedding or wedding photo shoot. Any day of the week. It always bring a smile to our faces.

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Never a day with out a a bride.

 

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Location, location, location.IMG 2088

 

Not much more to say, these were all in Rome. 

Rome in 18 days

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Spending 18 days in Rome and traveling mostly on foot bright this city into a new light. Every time we left the apartment we got closer to the city and discovered new and exciting things. Our first visit was in the mid 80s. We did not return to Italy until 1998. Since then we have made several more trips to Rome if only for a few days. This was the chance for discovery and getting a feel for living somewhat like a local.

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Our Airbnb was close to Campo de Fiore. We walked just about everywhere. The market is picturesque but highly oriented to tourists.  Still many locals go each day, as did we. Fresh produce and fruit came back to our apartment. A small supermarket was also close by to supplement what the market did not have.  There were several salumerie  in the area, and well as several Macellerie for cold cuts and meat.  This became a daily ritual.

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During the next several blogs post, I will be describing the interesting happenings during our stay in Rome.

 

Caio for now.

Per dire la verità recensioni di Airbnb non dire tutto. To tell the truth Airbnb reviews do not tell it all

When you stay in an Airbnb you get to know the owners and managers well. Some times they gloss over something saying no problem. As you stay, you may be reluctant to say anything bad. One time we had no hot water in a rather nice apartment in Orvieto.  The problem was quickly resolve by resetting a breaker. Some time that location of the apartment can be a problem. In Rome we are next to a restaurant which has some early morning noises. We knew about this from the review. NO  BIG DEAL.  

Next to us, the apartment was undergoing renovation. Part of the wall was knocked out in two locations and repaired withy concrete. Plaster was not repaired, looked like a basement wall with a hole int it.  Workmen began each morning at 7:30 am and each day stone and wall fragments from this job were on our terrazzo floor. Not nice. 

Shower was difficult to use with out having water go on floor.  Floors were a little dusty, and could never be really cleaned without a professional floor machine.  Walls have marks that should have been cleaned off. The kitchen is decent, but the stainless steel sink area where you put plates does not drain into the sink.

As I looked at many, many reviews for this property, I think people are afraid to bring these items into their reviews. 

On the very positive side, the location was perfect. A two block walk to Campo de Fiore with markets and restaurants. Ten minutes to Vatican, bus stops about a two block walk away. One nice restaurant was behind our building, Polese. 

Arnbnb does not visit these places, so  you need to review ALL the reviews.  Reviews are not in chronological order. Go through all of them and see if there are negatives that are repeated. Bad reviews seem to be hidden. 

If you have a problem, use the email in the Airbnb app to connect to the host. If you can not get a resolution, than use the help button on the app and go directly to Airbnb.  We have received an offer of a 300E REFUND from our host. The construction goes on but the equivalent of $$360 US makes it a little less painful. 

Go through ALL of the reviews, it may be time consuming but it will be worth it in the end.  

I have enjoyed our visit to Rome. The location a short walk from Campo dei Fiore is wonderful. Our host has tried to make our stay enjoyable. The construction will take some time and hopefully will be complete by next years high tourist season. 

Campo de’Fiore, Alice Pizza, Rome
Market Campo de’Fiore, Rome A MUST SEE
Since construction was going on could not use closet had to use small cabinet and hang excess on windows
Concrete patched the plaster, very beautiful. Pounding continued each morning as we stayed.
A large butterfly was put up to hide the damage.
It did not do a good job.

Would I stay here again? I am not sure. The host did what could be done to improve the situation, which really was not all that much.  In researching I found another Airbnb about 2 city blocks away which had a modern kitchen and new furnishings  which  I would rather go to. Did I enjoy my stay, immensely.   No coins in fountain this year, too crowded to get in throwing range,  but I will return.

Caio.

Rome for 18 days, it is a trip.

Castel Sant Angelo, Rome
We arrived Rome on the 17th of September coming from Desenzano del Garda.  I nice trip on the high speed train from Verona. Our apartment is next to Campo de Fiore. This location has enabeled us to walk about 70 miles ( according to my pedometer app) since we arrived. To me this is the way to see the city. St. Peter’s, to the Ghetto we have been able to see so much.

A day at the Zoo in Rome

We have seen the museums, visited the ancient ruins, but most importantly is to have interacted with the people we need. We sat down to dinner last night and began talking to the couple next to us. They were celebrating the twenty fifth wedding anniversary and just arrived from Wales.  Just before they left an young man sat down next to us who was an ambassador from Belize to The Holy See, and another long conversation  began.

Antica Trattoria Polese, Rome

We enjoy being centrally located with our favorite trattoria just steps from our Airbnb apartment.  Being in the same place for so long enables us to get to know some of the shop keepers and vendors. It makes it feel like home.

A Salumeria in Campo de Fiore
Relaxing in in the Piazza Navona

Our trip will be over in a few more days, Many more posts will come from the many photos my wife Angela, and I have taken on our trip. We will have been in Italy for seven weeks, taking us from the beaches of Sicily to the shores of Lake Garda and finally to Rome.  Close to two thousand photos and visdeos will give us a number memories to share. 

St Peters at about 8pm. Uncrowded.
Colosseo

Getting Around In Rome With Google Maps

I always thought using public transportation was a good way to get around, but it takes a little getting used to in a new city.  Rome has many maps of the bus, subway and tram routes available. They use a 3pt font ( at least from the perspective of my old eyes ).  Google Maps offers real time routing for public transportation. In this case, I searched for Piazza del Popolo so I could visit the church that houses some Caravaggio paintings.  I like the fact that the map will update as you walk, or take the bus. Helps to know when to get off. 

We used this routing to get from our apartment to the Porta Portese flea market. It was a fairly quick ride with only one transfer. 
At all bus stops, fermata, you find a route listing with the sequential stops listed. The arrow points to the direction of travel. 

Some stops have the video board listing buses arriving at your stop and approximate time before arrival. We found this to be very accurate. Most of the Google routes are easy to follow. Expand the map section for details as you walk to a stop or between stops to final destination.  This does require cellular data, and I would advise on an unlocked phone and purchase a SIM card on arrival in your country of choice.  TIM has a great store at the Rome airport. Very helpful and my phone was activated in 10 minutes with all questions answered. 

Opera Arias In Rome

We happened on a small theater which presented Opera Arias and Neopolitan Songs in a small theater near the Pantheon.  The performance starts at 7:30 pm and runs a little over an hour.  The performance was wondefful and they got several ovations. You can not get a bad seat in this theater. It is in a old church building on Piazza Santa Chiara.   Google Opera Arias in Rome and you will get the web site. Tickets were 40 Euros, but the cheaper seats would have been just as good.  There is a small bar in the theater that serves drinks beginning at 6;30 PM. 

Inside of the theater
Performers on stage.
Outside on our walk back to our apartment near Campo De Fiore
Photos from the theater lobby.

Garda to Rome

After 12 days in Desenzano del Garda, we head for Rome.  Garda has been a slower paced visit than our time in Sicily. Driving is less challenging. The temperatures are cooler. I love Sicily, but the more controlled pace of life in the lake region is definitely more relaxing.

One of the nicest things about the lakes is the boat transport that is readily available.  From Desenzano you can get a lower lake travel pass for about 23E. 

Villa Romana Desenzano del Garda
Villa Romana Desenzano del Garda
Villa Romana Desenzano del Garda
 
The Villa Romana is an amazing place. Small enough to visit in an hour and filled with information.  They heated tha baths with underground fires that went through the walls and under the pools.  We worth the visit. Cost 4E. The mosaics are exceptionally beautiful. 

Library, Desenzano del Garda
Library, Desenzano del Garda
Library, Desenzano del Garda
Library, Desenzano del Garda

For a quite experience in Italy try to find a library. Free entry, and sit down. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Ciao 

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