I left Rome in a downpour. While walking to the Metro, someone behind me talked. I thought that I had dropped something. He was trying to sell me an umbrella. My new rain jacket with hood was working just fine. Right then I wished that I knew an Italian swear word.
I took the Metro from Termini to Tiburtina and then found the bus depot. Later in the day, I saw a photo of Metro stairs with water pouring down. Both the Red and the Blue lines were closed for part of the day.
Luckily I found the bus depot easily and bought my ticket with some time to spare. The map shows the bus route from Rome to Pineto. There were many tunnels and much rain. At one point we went through a tunnel and there was no rain. The driver continued on through another tunnel and the rain returned. The bus made several stops when we got close to the Eastern seaboard. I asked the driver to let me off at the Hotel Lunik in Pineto. Then I walked to my hotel on the northern side of the town.
Calascio is the red dot above the line and near Santo Stefano di Sessanio.
My first view of the Adriatic as I walked to my hotel.
This was the door to the balcony.
The room was advertised as having a sea view. If I stood on the balcony, I could see the sea.
The room was newly painted and the owner was working on updating the hotel.
During the night, I could hear a storm coming in from the Adriatic. Suddenly, along with the noise of the tempestuous wind, there were loud scraping noises downstairs. I realized that when I came in there were two entry doors. One door was sitting in its frame, but the wall was not finished around the frame leaving gaps open to the outside. I think the owner was trying to fix this before the storm hit. So I had another night with little sleep.
When I sprained my ankle, surprisingly, I stayed relatively calm. I was tired and dazed. I determined to take one step at a time. Finding out that my ankle was not broken was a huge relief. When the doctor said I could hike after a week of elevation and ice I hoped he was right. However, my plans to take a bus to Calascio on Saturday morning had to change when I returned to my room at midnight Friday with almost no sleep for over 24 hours. On Saturday, I called Marissa and Fred to say I could not come to Calascio that day. Marissa informed me that there were no buses on Sunday to Calascio. Then to top it off, they were leaving on Monday to stay at a hotel near the airport before flying back to the states. As we talked, it was evident that Calascio with its steep streets and stairs was not a good place for a sprained ankle. This was the first time I felt like crying. I thought I would stay with them for two days in Calascio and walk in the plains behind the Santa Maria della Pietà. Maybe I would find out more about my grandparents. It was time to change plans. Mi manca Calascio – I miss Calascio or more literally, Calascio is missing to me.
Santa Maria della Pietà and Rocca Calascio from my 2011 trip.
Cross Pollinate posted this video on taking the train to Fiumicino from Termini. I wish I had seen it before I took my trip!! I stood in the long line to buy a ticket. I didn’t know how to use the machines. This young girl makes it seem like a snap. It is good to know about the 15 minute walk to the train gate. I used cross pollinate to book a room at a B&B in Rome. They were very helpful.
It was also fun to watch the video and recognize a street corner near the Termini Station, as well as parts of the train station and airport.
Most people today will not need this advice. It is easy to buy a Sim card for your cell phone that will work in Italy. Just call your company and discuss your travel plans with them. It is not that I am a luddite, but I have not bought into a cell phone plan. I use a cell phone only for travel and the Virginmobile phone that I bought years ago with the pay as you go plan works fine for me at under $10 per month. Of course it is expensive per minute, but I use it very seldom. And don’t leave me a message on that cell phone, because I never retrieve the messages. That costs me money.
Before leaving, I told my neighbor that I wanted to rent a cell phone in Italy. He said – hey, remember the 70’s and those people called hippies? They traveled without cell phones. They survived. Yes, I survived and the lack of a phone made for some adventures. In all of the seventeen days I was in Italy, there were two or three times when a cell phone would have saved me time and hassle. There are few pay phones left in Italy. I still have the phone cards that I bought to use at a pay phone. I never used them.
There are two major cell phone companies in Italy, Vodaphone and Tim. Marissa told me that Vodaphone works in Calascio. She bought a vodaphone track phone at the post office, I think in Rome. You can find Tim and Vodaphone stores in major cities. The National Geographic site has phone rentals for cellular phones abroad.
I used Rick Steves’ Packing list for women almost to a T. I packed light and used only my carry on luggage on wheels plus a briefcase. This worked well as I took buses and trains and hiked up the hill to Rocca Calascio with my luggage. (Well I hiked part way up and then stuck out my thumb.) I packed a light weight nylon duffel bag and filled that with gifts on my last day in Rome. Then I checked one bag on the way home. Note to myself: Next time, check the duffel bag. Fill it with clothes. It is not fun to lug the duffel bag around the airports. Keep the wheeled carry on bag with plenty of room to add gifts as you use up your Euros at the duty free shops in the airport. Or keep it light and enjoy walking around the airport. There is also a lot of walking at Termini Station to get to the train for Fiumicino Airport. Plan accordingly. Then, rent one of those airport trolleys for luggage when you get into line for U.S. customs. I was in a slow moving line for over an hour.
Bring an extra luggage strap or two to wrap around the duffel bag before you check it. This can keep it tight and strengthen it for the luggage handlers. I also used the luggage straps when my luggage started to bulge a bit or to tie things together when I walked with all of my luggage.
Shoes were the biggest weight. Make sure your shoes work well. Since I was hiking, it would have been nice to bring hiking boots. Instead, I brought old gym sneakers and ditched them after the hiking. They were comfortable and I did not miss them later. I brought two good pairs of sandals and that worked well for summer. Keen and Ecco sandals were my choices. One pair more rugged and one more citified.
I read that you can bring an old pair of jeans and leave them behind. It’s a thought. I found the jeans even too warm for hiking in June. Lightweight pants and capri pants were a good investment before the trip. I bought one pair of pants that you can roll up into capri length and two other very light weight cotton capris. They were all easy to wash and dried quickly. I brought a skirt and some tops that I never wore. I never used the scarf, but I did not get to the Vatican where it would have been handy as a head covering.
Life in Abruzzo shared Porta dei Parchi’s recipe for Shepherd Steak. We ate this wonderful cheese dish at the end of the transhumanza. It is a good way to use day old or dry bread. We were at the shepherd’s hut in the alta plano and ate Shepherd’s Steak and a stew with wild greens. This is truly one of the first times that I had mint and liked it! Maybe I am not allergic after all.
I took this picture of the sign in the tourist office in Scanno. It is the first time I actually found the tourist office in a smaller town. Of course, it was not open. According to the sign, the office is closed for vacation on the 18th through 26th of June. I was there on the 18th along with hundreds of other tourists.
Joyce B. introduced me to the book, Italian Hilltowns by Norman F. Carver. Carver’s beautifully evocative black and white photos of hilltowns across Italy included several photos of Calascio including one of the Rocca Calascio castle. The mystery of the photos worked on my imagination and my wallet. I bought copies for several relatives. Carver, who is also an architect, wrote about the history of the architecture and the urban design of the towns. Small diagrams showed the organic town structures.
Archway in Calascio
I met Joyce B. when I lived in Seattle in the early 80’s. She worked in a weaving store and I was a weaver. Joyce had just returned from living in Italy for a year. She visited Calascio where she still had relatives. For a brief time we thought we might be related. Then my Aunt Ida explained that she and Joyce’s mother were good friends. So Joyce and I are Calascini cogine, but not technically related.
Count the sheep as they jump over the water trough.
Porta dei Parchi is hosting the third and last (ultima) transhumanza of 2011 from August 26-August 28th. This video shows the transhumanza very well. Still no matter how many pictures you see, it does not compare to being there in person. On the first day, they will walk from Anversa to Old Frattura. You can find them on facebook on the Adotta una pecora page.