Truly Scrumptious

I am excited that another European vacation is in the works. It has been five years since James and I have been "across the pond." We will only be gone for 2 weeks this time and will mimic the Rick Steves Southern Italy tour. His itineraries are so good and well thought out.  It just makes sense to follow along that route.  I am finding our own hotels though as we tend to like a little higher quality lodging in general.

We will start in Rome and end in Rome.  The first stop outside of Rome will be Tivoli where we'll tour Hadrian's Villa.  That will just be a day thing and we'll move right along to our night-time stop somewhere in the middle of the Molise area in the mountains on our way to Vieste on the Gargano Peninsula.  Vieste is a beach haven with sun, beach umbrellas and will be a nice relaxing spot before heading on south and back to the interior a bit to Alberobello.  Alberobello is a UNESCO World Heritage site with unique trulli buildings where we'll stay at the Trulla Holiday Hotel (picture shown above). It is definitely not anything like what we've stayed in before (love the name - reminds me of Mary Poppins).  While we're there we will visit another UNESCO site: Matera.  Matera was founded around 3 B.C. and, believe it or not, Troglodytes lived here.

From Matera, we move on to the Amalfi coast, which is one of my all-time favorites.  This is where we discovered Pasteum in 2004.  Pasteum has some of the best preserved Greek ruins of all time that still exist.   I'm not sure we'll make it to Pasteum this time or not, but I highly recommend it to anyone visiting that area.  We are planning on staying in a small town near Positano called Praiano.  A friend from Boeing had family from there and recommended we stay there as it is only a few miles away and MUCH cheaper and has the same spectacular views.  She was right.  We stayed at Hotel Holiday when we were there before and I've booked us the superior room there again.  The balcony rooms overlook the most incredible views of the Tyrrhenian Sea.  The slider leading out to the balcony stretched the entire length of the room; we left it open each night and let the sea breeze blow in and cool the room.  It was heavenly.

Here is what our route looks like. We'll rent a car for about a week of it and then use bus/train for the part along the West coast.

We plan on visiting Mt. Vesuvius and probably Pompeii when we head up to Sorrento to stay a couple of days.  We also will do some shopping in Sorrento.  Sorrento is our splurge hotel city where we'll spend more than normal.  Even with the splurge city, our average cost per night still is only $150 U.S. due to several of the town having inexpensive rates (off the beaten path).

All-in-all this will be a great trip.  We'll have some relaxing time at the beach and historic sightseeing.  I am very hopeful that we can have a great romantic trip.  We've had a tough last year and a half and we both need the time to reconnect.

I'm excited about planning this trip.  It is fun watching videos on the history of where we're going, making plans, looking at maps, picking hotels, and generally dreaming about taking time off.

I wish it we were leaving next week; sigh...


If silence was golden, I’d be rich.  Or maybe only the recipients of the silence would be rich; that means you, the reader – if there are any of you. I guess the fewer the readers the more gold there is to split amongst you.

So the question is to blog or not to blog?  I love to write, but so many times either my initiative to write, or my blogger agenda wobbles such that it is unclear to me what to write about. Do I write about the state of the world we live in?  Goodness knows I have very strong opinions on that, but fear of “big brother” retribution sneaks in.  Mental videos of my front door being bashed in and me being carted off for subversive behavior doesn’t strike me as something I’d like.  Initially it was about travel and other funny stuff, but then my ability to travel (funds) and illness meant life being not so funny for a long time kept that lineup out of the picture.  Baring one’s soul is painful and I can only bleed so much on the paper of blog. 

Maybe I should consider it though.  I know that there were two years in the recent past where I didn’t say much, except to my husband, and even then not to complain much, but keeping it held tightly inside was probably an unhealthy placebo of martyrdom.
Anyway, that period is done.  I’ve gotten mostly healthy again.  We have moved away from the house situation we were in (beautiful home, but bad commute).  Unfortunately, my beloved daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren moved far away to Florida. 

James and I are now working hard at recovering from the 2008 recession and scrambling fast to build up our retirement again (we lost a lot of net worth in the real estate bust).  It makes me very nervous about going from making really good money to being on a fixed income (James, not so much).  It might all be OK initially, but if inflation ever were to kick in, then a fixed income would be disastrous.  I saw an article today about Venezuala’s inflation hitting 700%.  I thought it was bad at 275% last year!  If we are able to make 95K a year in retirement, but then even 25% inflation hit.  Our money would only be worth 69K.  I can’t even fathom what the Venezuelan’s must be going through at 700%.  An article on June 22nd said that an iPhone cost $47,000, or almost 2 ½ month’s pay for a worker who works at minimum wage.  And that was last year. Of course, this means the theft of smartphones is phenomenal and you don’t ever pull it out when you’re on the street or someone will mug you for it. Anyway, I hope our economy doesn’t go all “Venezuela” on us. 

I would like to have a vacation home in Florida for the dreary, rainy winter months.  We also have to find some kind of solution for a smaller housing solution here in the Puget Sound; unfortunately, one of the more expensive places to live in the U.S.  We’re not sure how that is going to work yet.  Thankfully, we have time and housing prices are still going up which means our houses are all going up in value – again.