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To save ourselves four hours we sucked it up and took a bus (sigh) to Naples.Which we confess we found chaotic, noisy and litter-strewn. Our most uncomfortable travel day was the long journey down to Sicily.
Armed with an Inter Rail pass it was particularly stress free as except on some of the fancy trains (where we needed reservations) we could jump on any train without a ticket.
Despite a hectic travel schedule Simon even managed to very nearly complete Trail Wallet 2.0, a shiny new version of our travel expenses tracking app.
We just couldn’t warm to it (but how could it compete with Matera? Mostly we ate pizza (delicious but was it really any better than the pizza we ate in Rome? The train rocked so much I felt like I was on a bus.
The whole train was put on the ferry, an impressive display, but of course all that dismantling/putting the train back together business made us late to Milazzo where we barely made the ferry over to the Aeolian Islands.
A leisurely journey through the Austrian countryside brought us to Ljubljana, the tiny, laid-back capital of Slovenia.
Like everyone else we know who has visited we promptly fell in love, and who wouldn’t with scenes like these. We visited the dramatic Škocjan caves and met the gentle Lippizaner horses at Lipica stud farm.
I spent the entire two hour journey struggling not to join the others with their heads in plastic bags, but it was worth it when we arrived in Salina and woke up the next morning to this view at Hotel Il Principe di Salina.
We loved the sleepy village of Malfa where farmers were harvesting grapes to make the local dessert wine, the wonderful, honey-like Malvasia. We hired a scooter and reliving our Thailand days (ah, we miss scootering about) explored the island including the colourful village of Lingua.
A long train journey took us down Italy’s Adriatic Coast where we passed scenes like this…
Our focus for the next eight days was Puglia, the region in the heel of Italy’s boot and one of our favourites.