On the road to La Marche

Trip Start May 22, 2010
Trip End Oct 31, 2010

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Where I stayed
Cantinone BnB

Flag of Italy  , The Marches,
Saturday, June 26, 2010

We had an 8.30 breakfast having already packed. Nico kindly gave us an apron and some pasta then took us to the Austrian border – pre WW1. It is only 5 minutes or so up the road and on the other side of the river. One of the houses did have an Austrian flag outside.

There are a lot of bridges over the river including one that I had assumed was a walking bridge only. Silly me!!

We finally got under way to La Marche at about 10am, after taking a series of farewell photos. We stopped once on the autostrada for a stretch and also a cache. The owner had put one cache on each side but we didn't bother crossing the highway. That is not as silly as it sounds as there was an Autogrill spanning the road.

We made good time until we were suddenly in very slow moving traffic near Bologna for about an hour. It was weird because there appeared to be no reason for the block then no reason for it to clear although we did notice the very full car-parks in the motorway café area. Jan and Ian said it was probably just lots of people going to the coast and they would have pulled off for lunch. The Italians are people of habit. 12.30pm would be their lunch time.

It was basically a boring drive which we expected but it got more interesting as we got closer to the coast and to La Marche and the flat plains turned into rolling countryside. There are a lot of vines here but also fields of sunflowers and white roads. The charge for the motorway was 21euros for 400km - quite reasonable. We stopped off at a nearby town for a sandwich then drove on to the apartment.

Jane had sent us a message with a couple of suggested stopping places and final directions to the house but we had not been able to get emails so we hadn’t stopped and the Tom-Tom was very accurate so the directions weren’t needed. She had bought a few supplies for us in case we arrived late but that saved us going out again for milk.

The apartment is great It is bigger than the one in Meersburg (about 50 square metres) with a full kitchen and lovely high ceiling which makes it very cool. We have a little terrace area but it is 'sublet’ (a bird on a nest in one corner) so we will just have to sit by the pool instead.

We had a very relaxed time for the rest of the day. We sat and talked about the attractions of the area (with a vino) then came back down with guidebooks and maps. Then at 7pm we went with Jane and Ian to a town known as the balcony of La Marche, Cingoli. They took us via their nearest town, Cupramontana, and pointed out places for food, money, diesel etc. In the guide in the apartment they list local markets and there is one on everyday in different towns.

We went to a viewpoint in Cingoli and watched a hot air balloon. We all thought it had landed on a roof or similar but then realised it was taking off from the edge of the town near the road. There was a helicopter buzzing around that we decided was taking a video. When we got near the pizzeria there were market stalls that were still open when we left later at about 11.30pm

We were part of a group of 12, the others being English couples living in the area and two of their older children. They all had stories about their various renovations. Jane and Ian fortunately had very few issues and they certainly have a lovely home here. New houses are not allowed to be built in the countryside we were told, so you need to find an existing property and renovate.

The pizzeria was basically empty when we arrived but it filled up after 9pm with family groups. When we left near 11pm there were heaps of children everywhere. The Italians are people of habit – they rest for 2 or more hours from about 12.30pm and they eat their evening meal normally after 9pm.

We had a very nice evening – good food, nice wine and pleasant company. What more could you ask for….
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