We love castles, we love tiara’s, we love villages with old warm charm, cold beer, wine, music, vineyards and adventures. Germany was going to fit the bill nicely for us girls. We like grumpy people who we make smile. We like happy people who already smile. We got lost, we got found, we danced and were sung to by older German men. We were scolded. (mild infraction regarding touching something on display) We rode boats, horse carriages, cable cars, buses, trains and we made friends. We ate & drank everything! We had one flasher but that’s for later. Now a lot of that above is really a reminder list of what I need to write about for this report. Germany gave it all to us and more. First stop – Rudesheim My first tip – pronounced Ru des hime , at first we thought it was like “shine.” This part of the trip includes three Maryland girls (me, Kelly & Vivian) Ellen from New York and Kathleen from Ireland. We moved around far more than usual on this vacation because there was a lot we wanted to and accomplish. At times it was grueling but I’d do it over again.

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Day One –  after the long plane ride and a train here it was a matter of find the hotel, eat and rest. Day Two – GREAT DAY ! We start our Rudesheim exploration with the Ring & Romantic ticket.  This gets you a chairlift to the Germania monument, cable car to Assmannshausen town and a riverboat tour.  If that’s not enough there is a bonus, a deer sanctuary plus you get to feed them!  Oh and did I tell you the chairlift goes over vineyards?  It does!  Coolest thing ever! You want to get over jetlag? You get this ticket! http://www.ruedesheim.de/en/discover-ruedesheim/cable-car/ Scenes from the day: oh and Ellen laid an egg and Kelly had to run with an omelette !!!

 

 

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Funniest thing ever is when that egg fell out of Ellen’s bag at the restaurant.  I’m going to stick to the story that she laid it though right in that town we nicknamed Assman.  We did indeed run with Kelly’s omelette!  The food came too late at another place and the boat was pulling up and we had to “Runnnnn Forest” with the omelette.  It was delicious.   When I go back to Rudesheim I am going to do this ticket again.  The photos speak for themselves. Our evening leads to merriment! The lively road and place to be in Rudesheim is Drosselgasse.  Okay you can call it touristy but as a tourist I just loved this lane.  It is lined with shops, entertainment, beautiful buildings and charm.  I was so happy to see nice crowds of elderly folks who took advantage of every moment.  One place we went into had a band playing and all of them hit the dance floor!  One man I swear he was 100, danced every dance and swung the ladies to and fro, young, older you name it, he wore them out!  It warms my heart watching them enjoy their life.  We actually spent two evenings at this place.  At one point, the girls were looking at shops or something and I decided to go in and sit at a table.  A table of elderly gentlemen were all seated and singing what I imagine to be great German songs.   I didn’t understand a word but their enthusiasm was contagious.  An accordion player somehow coaxed me down to the table and they all sang to me.  Cutest thing I ever saw.  My friend Ellen has a video.  It was loud, boisterous singing and a great deal of people were taking photos from the street.  My friends had moseyed in and were looking at me like what in the world are you doing and I just threw them the look “stuff happens in Germany !!!

 

 

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Don’t miss out on the Rudesheim coffee with the brandy.  The waiter lights it up adding that special flare to the enjoyment.  Ellen & Vivian bought the brandy to take home and the cups from a shop that are perfect for the hand. Thankfully Kathleen has visited this town before because I don’t know if it would have been on my radar since we were traveling the Romantic road.  Big thank you Kathleen for arranging this. Our highlights for tomorrow is the KD boat on the Rhine.  We are secret princesses who’s quest is to spot castles where we belong!  The Rhine doesn’t disappoint! The KD day cruise can be used as hop on and off at the villages you pass by which is another reason I’ll need to return.  I saw quite a bit of beautiful villages I would like to explore.  Our only stop would be the Marksburg castle.  This castle has been preserved.   Do try and get the English tour if you don’t speak German.  You will need to time that right.  Wear good shoes because there are hills and rocks but it’s worth every step.  Wait you see the views from the castle!  All the princesses were very happy!

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After a totally satisfying day, we head back to Rudesheim by train.  We missed Kathleen on this jaunt. On this evening, we decide to have dinner at Ellen’s hotel Breuer’s Rudeshimer Schloss on the Drosselgasse.  They have music into the night and we get a table out in the courtyard.   After dinner the place gets rocking.  At some point, a couple of musicians banging a drum and I forget what else start to form a line of people and start a parade through the restaurant.  A huge line forms and everyone is smiling big and dancing in and out of the restaurant.  We are sitting at our table outside clapping away for the dancing line that moves by us.   Several people passing waved to me come on and join them.  All the sudden there was one  sweet face I’ll never forget nor the girls.   A young man with Downs Syndrome looks at me from the dancing line and puts his hand like a telephone to his face and mouths, “call me” as he dances along!!!  Ellen almost got that on video.  We never knew it was going to happen.  One second before it happened she had switched it off.  I so would have loved to have that on video.  Sweet sweet sweet !!!   God Bless him. Drunken Humor, Lost and a Flasher Okay I’m going to blame it on the merry crowd at the restaurant where drinks flowed easily.  Too easy.  I do believe I was three-sheets to the wind by the time we left.  We take a different route home and that’s a no-no for me because I’ll get lost in a New York minute.  Vivian is ahead of us.  Me, Kathleen and Kelly are a bit behind her and stop to look at the map under a street lamp.  We shout to Vivian where are you?   She replies:  I am in a parking lot!  We can see that parking lot ahead but we head to a street lamp to consult the map than lights out!!!   With this we move back to the road and head in Vivian’s direction. We call out “Vivian”!  Vivian!  No answer.  We head into the parking lot and see some bus drivers.  We ask, “did you see a lady just come through here”?  No they reply.  We than retrace our step and I’m calling out Vivian’s name like Stella in the movie get very paranoid something has happened to Vivian. I keep telling Kelly over and over again (which is a thing one can do on the drunk) nearly in tears, “Oh my God that last thing she ever said to me was I AM IN A PARKING LOT”!   “Kelly do you understand?”  “The last thing”  “I am in a parking lot”  “She was in the parking lot Kelly”  “Yes I know, Kelly replies. (multiple times)  Me:  but you don’t understand, the last thing she ever EVER said to me is that she is in a parking lot.  Kathleen suggests we split up and she is to take me.  She does and we walk and I’m yelling for Vivian again.  All the sudden I guess paranoia sets in again I look around and see Kathleen is not there.  I tell Kelly, “OH MY GOD, YOU LOST KATHLEEN” !!!  Where is Kathleen?  She informs me of the split up.  We go back to hotel, Vivian is not there and we meet Kathleen again.   Kathleen very distraught while searching for Vivian on her own comes across a fellow heading toward her.  He’s about 25 years old and a nice looking guy, she noticed that.  Next she notices he starts fumbling with his pants as he gets closer to her.  He’s going to pull them down. Kathleen being in no mood to be flashed male body parts looks straight into the eyes of this fellow and tells him this with a very strong conviction: ” “I don’t know if you can understand me, but this is REALLY not a good time for this…. if I see anything come out of there, you’re going to lose it”    He pulls the pants back up and runs away like greased lightening!  Later we have some big jokes about that but I’m saving it for later.  Kathleen than tries Vivian’s cell phone, she answers and is back  at the hotel.  She did get lost but used her GPS on her phone to find her way back.  Big sigh of relief all around. The next day and my aching head is going to take it easy in good ole’ Rudesheim.  The plan is to get back on the cable car, pass over the vineyards and walk back to town.  An easy hike except in Kelly’s eyes who doesn’t want to walk unless she’s going to a place so I tell her, “we’re walking back to town” that’s the place.  Fresh air and walking does a body good which would have been the case if she didn’t step in dog doo doo.   By the way, we didn’t get to do this but you can take the cable car at night.  That would have been cool.  On round two we learn that Elvis rode this and we know what number.  We stay in the vineyard looking up waiting for his car to come by since they all are numbered and to get a photo.  If we had known that we could have tried to get his car.  Lot of others have tried the same. For your viewing pleasure:

Elvis in the cable car  /  GI Blues/ #76 http://youtu.be/7OLIgqfJyDY

scenes from the day:

 

 

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Isn’t it so pretty here?  Now we are headed to the museum and castle. Rheingau Wine Museum Broemserburg Castle  I liked this place.  You get an audio guide to take through and can have wine tasting when you finish. There are some tricky climbs to the tower but go for it because the views are well worth the climb. Here is some background on this link: http://www.kulturland-rheingau.de/en/travel-experience/well-worth-seeing/enmuseums/enrheingauwinemuseumbroemserburgcastle/ scenes from our visit:

 

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We have to leave Rudesheim but we won’t soon forget our time here. I can’t forget to mention our lovely hotel.  Hotel – Gasthaus Rose I used booking.com to reserve the room and here are photos I have taken during my lovely stay. The staff was fantastic and rode us and all that luggage to the train station.

http://www.booking.com/hotel/de/gasthaus-rose.html

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Next stop:  Rothenburg I was a goner once I saw a photo of Rothenburg.  Kathleen and I have been trying to get to Germany for about four years.  One country or another seemed to steal us away.  Kathleen gives me contact info to receive brochures on Rothenburg.   A huge packet arrives one fine day in the mail.  This girl is hooked and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve looked through the packet.  Can a place be that pretty?  Yes it can!  Of course, that leads to research and yes I did hear oh it’s touristy but touristy or not — in my opinion it needs to be visited.  I’m a happy tourist anyway and would shout it to the world if they asked me.  Nothing to be ashamed of and everything to be grateful for is my attitude. Rothenburg has some very interesting history and luckily wasn’t bombed to total destruction.  I hate to think that Nazi’s loved it too but well, they did and you can read about it on wiki if you like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rothenburg_ob_der_Tauber I stayed near the train station but had an easy walk into the center of town.  That first walk in and viewing it in person was priceless!  Not one photograph has lied.  It’s that charming. This is my house for the next three nights.  I stayed at Hotel Rothenburg Hof.  I will do a review later.

 

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Ellen is staying in the center and Kathleen and Kelly are around the corner and down the street from us.  Their landlords were not too nice at times but really when you hear the stories it’s funny in it’s own way and God Bless them. After checking in and unpacking me and Vivian head to the center.  We catch up with Kathleen & Kelly and join Ellen who has a table in the main square.  It’s time for the first cold Rothenburg beer in a setting to die for, so beautiful it’s unreal.  I would like to add that for having a drink in a beautiful square it was not that expensive either.  Here is the place on the square where we had drinks: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187319-d1099468-Reviews-Rattstube-  Rothenburg_Middle_Franconia_Franconia_Bavaria.html First glimpses:

 

 

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Kathleen makes a friend !!!

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This is a restaurant I do not want to forget to write about so I’m plugging it here for now till we get to this evening.  Had a hard time finding the name. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g187319-d668802-Reviews-Altfrankische_Weinstube-Rothenburg_Middle_Franconia_Franconia_Bavaria.html So we are off to explore the lanes and the beautiful town of Rothenburg when heavy clouds decide on sending down some rain.  We dash into a restaurant near the gate to the park.  We had a nice meal here.  A little hiccup with the meal which we were trying to explain and he say’s “can I talk now” with such a serious little face.  He was right though.  A bit of Italy meets us here.  A man and his nephew I believe come to our table and chat.  They are from Venice and are on vacation going around in a caravan (RV)  He was a character and  the welcome charm and smoochy of the hands can always make a girl feel good.  I had an admirer.    All great lunch time affairs have to come to an end so we pay and head out to explore. The next day is Ellen’s birthday.  We meet at the main square after breakfast.  I had brought a candle that plays Happy Birthday music.  Ellen is on the steps waiting and as we approach the candle blares and we are singing Happy Birthday and others in the square all clapped for Ellen.  We present Ellen with her gifts one of which is a stunning tiara.  A princess is born.  She was a great sport and wore her tiara the whole day.  It was gorgeous and she sparkled like a diamond.  Today we will visit the Christmas shop, a church, find a cat in a tree along with random exploring till we do the town walk on the walls.

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They say the best things in life are free.  In Rothenburg, that would be walking the Medieval Town walls.  This wall surround the town and is covered so if it’s raining you still have a great activitity.  From this vantage point, you see wonderful views, homes, gardens, picturesque rooftops  and enchanting lanes.  If you look carefully you will eventually even see some blue sheep.  Pay attention to some of the plagues along the wall.  I could come back and spend time reading much more of them.  This is a lovely lovely walk and I can’t recommend this enough !  Do it !!! Scenes from the day:

 

 

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Tonight we are going to be very safe.  The night watchman is going to be escorting us for a walk.  We’re to meet at the market square at 8 p.m. In a long black robe, he enters.    Oh this going to be a hoot and it was, very entertaining with the history of Rothenburg to boot.  I won’t tell you all his secrets.  Best 7 euro’s spent and make sure you pay at the end becomes karma comes back!

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http://www.nightwatchman.de/index.php?&sprache=ENG Tonight we are having dinner at for Ellen’s birthday. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g187319-d668802-Reviews-Altfrankische_Weinstube-Rothenburg_Middle_Franconia_Franconia_Bavaria.html

This place has great atmosphere, friendly staff and good food.  If it’s your birthday you’ll get some bubbles.   A staff member at the end of the meal popped suddenly up at our table blowing bubbles and birthday wishes.  What a neat surprise !

 

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The next day I am POOPED.  I decide on a day of rest .  I didn’t leave the hotel.  The plan for dinner was to go to Hell.  The night watchman recommended this place to us and we did pass it along our walk.  Zur Holl. Hell is in a beautiful old charming building.  The staff is very friendly, the food is good and it gets crowded.  I would recommend getting their at 8 p.m. so that you are seated before the night watchman’s tour finishes.

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It’s our last night in Rothenburg and how can that be ?   Rothenburg we are going to miss you but we have a castle waiting for us and our tiara’s are itching because all good princesses belong in a castle.   Neuschwanstein is next!

 

 

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Castle oh castle, I have stared at so many photos of you for years.  Dreaming of the day to actually see you up close and personal.  Mad King Ludwig?  I love you! We’ve only got one night in the village of Hohenschwangau to see our baby.  This village is under the castle and is a better place to stay than Fussen.  You are closer and thankfully Kathleen figured that out for us.  Our timed tickets are for the next day so our first will be exploring the village a bit and making our way to Mary’s bridge for the best views of the castle.  I’m afraid of heights and bridges like that but for Neuschwanstein castle I will shuffle along that bridge with tiny steps holding the arm of whoever will let me while I stare straight ahead and never down.  Scared ****less and ecstatic all at the same time.  One cannot stop taking pictures it puts you in a trance.  After taking pictures, we made our way down to the castle and want to explore the grounds around the castle and see how far we can get in without a ticket.  The weather is not going to cooperate and at times it pours.  We won’t be deterred.    Me and Kathleen pinch ourselves, are we finally here?  Gosh she is a beauty! Views from Mary’s bridge (Marienbrucke)

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and they lived happily ever after….

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Yes that’s my castle !

Views once we reached the castle to wander:

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Hohenschwangau castle

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We had to tear ourselves away.  It was getting dark and one princess was very thirsty.  We make our way back to town and I had Germany’s answer to thirst and oh was it GOOD !

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Time for nite nite…..

Our ticket will be for a tour of Hohenschwangau castle, Neuschwanstein castle and the Bavarian King’s museum.  We planned on a carriage ride to Hohenschwangau.  We actually boarded and paid.  Snapped pictures and had a heck of a laugh!  Vivian is allergic to horses and as a joke she had that mask on for the photos.   Somehow we are on the wrong carriage.   This one is going to Neuschwanstein!  Oh no!  We get out and now have to walk uphill to get to the castle.   No time to find the other carriage.  We can’t miss our timed entrance.

We are all wearing our tiara’s and the guide was smiling.  Hohenschwangau is a real beauty inside.    We saw so many pretty rooms, art and furnishings in this castle.  The views out the windows are incredible and is the only place you are allowed to take photographs.

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After this tour we decide on the shuttle bus up to Neuschwanstein than we can walk downhill instead of up.  We will save the carriage ride for after.  The bus line was very long and we were a bit concerned if we would make our timed tour.  One bit of good news we did learn was if the bus didn’t make it on time, you show your ticket to the office and they will give you another timing.  Thankfully we did not have to use this resource.  We line up and suddenly the guards who see us in our tiara’s shouts “Welcome home”  !!!  “We’ve missed you,”  !!!  He waves us out of the line and opens the gate to let us through.  We were tickled pink!   So fun!  On the tour, ladies had said to us that they have a tiara and now wish they had brought theirs and we joke that there needs to be more tiara wearing in the world and Kathleen is designing a new line “tiara’s for everyday wear”   🙂

I don’t want to leave this castle but we have a train to catch to Munich.  Sigh…… Ludwig we love you.

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Thank you Princess Kathleen for leading me to this castle.

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Again you cannot take pictures in this castle either but here are some views from a balcony above.

Next stop Munich!

We’ll have four nights in Munich which includes a daytrip to Linderhof palace & Oberammergau, a 1/2 daytrip to Dachau, and lots of neat things in Munich.  Since we had a late train to Munich, once we arrive we get something to eat nearby and hit the sack.

Highlights of our activities in Munich:

the free walking tour of Munich with Sandeman.   http://www.newmunichtours.com/

Our guide was Ciaran from Ireland.  We enjoyed our tour with him.  You get a nice balance of history, humor and some sights you may not have come across on your own.  It is free but you should tip the guide.  Here are some photos from our walk and of a bathroom wall.  Things strike me as funny sometimes.  Ciaran knew it was Vivian’s birthday and as a surprise had the group sing Happy Birthday.

Marienplatz, Odeonplatz/Feldherrhalle (like the loggia in Florence)  sight of the Beer Hall Putsch by Hitler (failed coup) Dodger’s Alley, the Juliet statue from Verona Munich’s sister city which you touch the boob for good luck and some people leave flowers, a Michael Jackson memorial and much more.  I recommend this tour if you are in Munich.

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the birthday girl !

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The English garden is an incredibly beautiful park !  There is river surfing which is such fun to watch, nude sunbathers in a meadow , Chinese tower beer garden and still a lot of it we did not get to even visit.  This will be on my Munich list for any visit in the future.

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One evening the girls wanted to go in but I had not visited the Hofbrauhaus Beer Hall so I opted to take myself for a beer or two.  It is communal seating and I got a place around an assortment of beer loving characters.  A German group let me sit with them and taught me that for a photo you thrust up that arm with the beer glass which I did arm shaking because that is HEAVY!  Next, a group of Scotland sat with me.  A very merry group and one day I’m going to Scotland.  Next I meet a couple of guys from America in the service and a father and son from Germany.  The dad must have had a lot of beer because he was three-sheets to the wind and would grab his son’s head saying over and over, “my son” “my son” and took a lot of pictures of his son with my camera.  It was great fun!  I took some videos also.  It was crowded, hot in there and full of music and chanting so I imagine this must be a glimpse of what Oktoberfest is like during the season but more intense.   Munich you are a cool city!

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Videos:

I don’t know why I don’t have photos of the Viktualienmarkt (market).  This is a GREAT place to people watch with the many many food stands, beer garden and is decorated with a maypole.  Do go there!  Next time I will spend more time here.

A restaurant we ate at on the last day was Ratskeller.  Excellent service and atmosphere.  We ate inside the dining room but you can have food in the open-air courtyard as well which is very beautiful.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187309-d964526-Reviews-Ratskeller-Munich_Upper_Bavaria_Bavaria.html

Next I want to show you Linderhof palace & Oberammergau.  We visited both on a day trip which was fun, beautiful and very doable from Munich.   We did not go with a tour instead took the journey on our own.

Loving Ludwig like we do a visit to Linderhof palace was in order.  He actually lived here so it was going to be very cool to see this place and hearing it’s modeled after Versailles made the journey even more exciting.  We toured the palace and the grounds. In a word, incredible !   Here are the photos from our visit.  After Linderfhof, we had time for a meal in Oberammergau with some exploration of the town and caught a wedding party nearby.  You can’t stop taking photos here!

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Dachau –

We took a 1/2 day to visit the concentration camp Dachau.  We decided to go with a guide.  It’s with a heavy heart we go but each had decided before going to Germany that it was important to pay our respects.  You read about this in the history books, see it on tv movies and documentaries but I don’t think anything prepares you for witnessing it in person.   One thing I did not understand was some houses being built very near to the camp.  I myself could not live there and am not sure why houses are that close?

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I was glad to leave this sad place and the ghosts of Dachau.  God bless them.

The next time I go to Munich I plan on staying much longer.  It’s a beautiful vibrant city.  It’s a good base for exploration.  The people are friendly and the beer is great!  At first I did not think that some of the Germans were very friendly.  I am used to smiling at someone you are approaching while walking and didn’t get a return smile.  Also getting bumped, you did not hear excuse me much either.  What I realized is that it is just a different culture.  Germans are very friendly but they will take their time to warm up to you.  It is not instantaneous.  Hey and that’s okay, if I wanted my travels to be like home I wouldn’t venture off around the world.  I like the differences.  Germany is an incredibly beautiful country.  I still have way more to see and I look forward to the exploration, the people and the places.

Next stop Italy….than back to Frankfurt for one night before the flight home.

Puglia Italy

I don’t know how you can fall in love with a place you have not visited before but I can tell you it happens.  I was trying to figure out around when my love affair started taking place with Puglia and actually found it:  around 2008

pugliasnip

Since than and now I’ve visited many places in Italy but guess what, never Puglia!  That didn’t stop my pining away for the place and while dreaming of my place under the Tuscan sun, mine always centered around Puglia.  I would look at all the real estate links I could find, study them, make notes all the while not having one dollar to buy a place somehow knowing I would one day get there and who knows maybe even buy a place.   I was completely smitten with the look of a trulli house.  They look like stone igloos to me.  The white pathways in-between, reminded me of Greece which if you’ve been or looked at photos is a stunner.  Not to mention there are other captivating places like Lecce, Ostuni, Galatina and more.  Far as I was concerned, it’s Italy’s best kept secret.  Hey readers, maybe I shouldn’t even be telling you this!  Kidding  🙂   Part of my Puglia dream was that I would buy a b&B.  A friend from Trip Advisor, Tanya also shared the B&B in Italy dream and we would chat and talk about a plan.  She often traveled to Italy while taking language courses there and one year I told her , why not change the destination to Puglia for a course and see what you think of having a B&B there so she did and during her journey at an airport meets a man from Holland who is going to be her future husband one day.  She gets a husband and now I have no partner for a B&B!   Their love story is awesome I think and they travel the world together and have built a beautiful life.

Now for a bit more information.  I travel with a group of ladies I met on trip advisor to Rome.  Best girls on the planet as far as I’m concerned!  My first trip to Italy was with my friend Kelly.  This trip was to be like Thelma & Louise trip without going over the cliffs.  Well, Thelma and Louise did go to Italy and un-expectantly did bring their moms in tow.  It wasn’t part of the original plan but was one of the funniest trips I have ever been on, hysterical at times with experiences you couldn’t make up.  I am so incredibly glad we took the mom’s.  It is memories for a lifetime.   I am going to post two links – one of the trip with the mom’s and of the first trips with the girls because both of these trips & people influenced everything I have done since and how I got to Puglia in 2014.  It has also brought new people in life as well.  One thing always leads to another they say!  While you look at this, I’ll continue writing about our Puglia trip and post segments as I complete them.

I hope you enjoy them.

#1  –  https://giannettaj.com/2012/07/11/i-rather-like-the-smooches-of-italy-how-a-2007-trip-changed-my-life/

#2 –  https://giannettaj.com/2013/03/03/flash-back-sisterhood-of-the-traveling-scarves-trip-one-2009-rome-Italy/

#3 – video of our trip to Rome for Katina’s bachelorette party in Rome 2010 & other bits of Italy during that visit

Katina, who you meet in the trip report above shares a passion with me.  She too has dreamed of a place in Italy.  She lives in Australia and one day while we were just chatting online and she was telling me she was seriously now considering buying a place in Italy but the prices are were really high in the North where she was looking.   Prior to this I had been chatting to Jim a fellow who’s quest to buy in Puglia was featured on a show in England called “A Place in the Sun” I would say it’s equivalent to our House Hunter’s International in USA.  Jim had given me lots of info regarding the areas in Puglia, his experiences with his friend in buying a renovation and the company they used Puglia Estates. I was saving every morsel and he was so wonderful to share his experience and wisdom with me because I am never going to give up on that dream. Their place :  http://www.escapetoitaly.co.uk/

So back to Katina and our conversation, , I said I want to give you some links of an area to have a look at, it’s beautiful, much cheaper and has a ferry to Greece, it’s in the South of Italy. I just had a very strong feeling she was going to fall in love with Puglia plus this will be handy because her parents own a home in Greece and had immigrated to Australia. I also shared with her the information that Jim gave me. After much research, she is really interested. To make a very long story short, Katina and her husband Mario traveled to Puglia several times on a quest to explore the area and if they like it—find the dream home. Well indeed they did find it, a place with amazing potential that will be a restoration by Puglia Estates. This is the same company that Jim used for his restoration. Great guys. I could have fainted when she told me I was so deliriously happy! This year all the restoration is complete. Mario & Katina were going in August to start making it a home. We are going to leave Munich and join her. Some of the other ladies in our travel group will be meeting us there as well.  It’s time to witness a dream for us.

Now if you don’t feel like exploring the above links, just know, a group of ladies who meet under some unusual circumstances travel the world together.  Sometimes new people come along.  One marries an Italian fellow, restores a house in Italy and we are all going to meet, see her place and have a reunion.

Puglia Estates:  http://www.pugliaestates.com    STUNNING !!!!!!!!!

Like Katina always says “Happy Days” !!!

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our Katina

Day One:

My tootsies are finally going to be in Puglia!

Our flight from Munich, arrives early evening.  The taxi driver knows the town but can’t find our place.  It is small lanes and roads you are not allowed down so it surely is understandable.  We stop often asking people than finally the driver calls the landlord from where I am staying and he meets us with the car and takes us there.  In my excitement of all things Puglia, I just to show you some images now.  I’ll explain what we did shortly but here is a taste of Puglia Italy.

Galatina:

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Little fellow who lives on the lane

Little fellow who lives on the lane

he's headed my way

he’s headed my way

greets me at the step with morning coffee

greets me at the step with morning coffee

guilty face after he sipped my coffee

guilty face after he sipped my coffee

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By the time we had unpacked and showered, it was after 8 pm and the girls (plus Mario & Tom) were going to dinner earlier so me, Kelly & Vivian had our first dinner at a restaurant by the Cathedral on a rooftop with a fantastic breeze. I will not tell you how hard it was to find Kelly’s place. WE GOT SO LOST ! Our landlord, who was kind enough to drive Kelly to her place due to the large luggage pointed out to us how to get there but in the dark, holy moly we couldn’t find her. Second, we couldn’t communicate because her phone was not working at that time.   Alas we show up, her landlord seeing the distress on our faces gives us both a glass of nice chilled white wine and it was so good like you had been in a desert without a drink. After dinner and back at my place, I crawl into bed with the happy thoughts, I am in Puglia and tomorrow I get so see Katina and the girls.  Guess who slept like a baby?

One thing I’ve always loved is the star vaulted ceilings I’ve seen in photos of Puglia.  My hotel had them and I couldn’t have been more pleased. I got a great price on this stay and was upgraded to the family room.  I had  one very large spacious room with an extra bed, table & chairs, fireplace (I didn’t use of course) than a smaller room with another twin bed and a decent size bathroom. The landlord told me the bathroom light was magic!   It had a motion sensor. This was great but one thing you need to know is when you get in the shower make sure the light is fully switched on or you will be like me in the dark mid suds opening the shower door and kicking your wet naked leg out like the Rockettes in New York City trying to get the light to come back on.  I lived!

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Here are some photos of my hotel and the review I have written:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g652002-d2550089-r233109670-B_B_Nel_Centro_Storico-Galatina_Province_of_Lecce_Puglia.html#CHECK_RATES_CONT

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The plan is to meet at the Cathedral square and we are going to Alberobello. Try to say that five times very fast! Alberobello as the highest concentration of the trulli homes. There are many theories to how the design originated. One of the more popular theories is that due to high taxation on property, the people of Puglia created dry wall constructions so that they could be dismantled when inspectors were in the area.

The Trulli of Alberobello are part of the World Heritage sites in 1996. Here is a website if you want more detailed information on the village of Alberobello.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/787

We take two cars to visit here to fit everyone and Mario is the best driver in Italy. I was not happy with the taxi in or out of Galatina meaning speed and tailgating to and from the airport. I am a sissy that way. I think Kelly said I beat her arm but I can’t remember while paralyzed in fear. Next time I will investigate a train arrival. With Mario, Katina’s husband I was very comfortable. Thank you Mario! Now Tom, Maxine’s husband had a car that he is not used to, a six speed. I did not even know there was such a thing as a six speed. I don’t know how he did it but he did it!

It’s a beautiful day and a beautiful place plus we are all together. Happiness!

Katina & Mario have learned so much about the area since they have been coming here and I am loving every minute of it, Ellen has been coming to Puglia as well and learning things and she gets around too driving. Not me, again I am a sissy. I’ll have a surprise regarding Ellen at the end of my report.

Some of the Trulli’s have symbols painted on them.  It is just lovely wandering hre.  Through the main lane let’s call it, you will see many shops inside the trullis.  Wine, lace, knick-knacks, lots of things really.  We watched one fellow making a trulli model souvenir and I bought one.  Now some people don’t like all the shops but I didn’t mind it, it didn’t take anything away from the experience for me and people carving out a living is always a good thing.

I think the photos of them speak for themselves.  Charm!

The trullis that truly steal your heart:

Alberobello – World Heritage Site

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where I belong :)

where I belong 🙂

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more photos:

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love this picture of Pat

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walk this way…..

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and that way

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and put your hands in the air !

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