Saturday, May 26, 2007


Jane: We spent our first day of cycling heading to Piacenza. My cousin Amanda, her husband Sean and their two kids (Claire 2 and Nina 12 weeks - so cute!) are there for a year while Sean learns a base of skull surgical specialisation. It was another hot day but we arrived by 14:00 and so avoided the worst of it. Mostly the navigation was pretty easy but it will take a while to get used to Italian maps and roads and directions given quickly in Italian. We cycled through some really beautiful country side - very picturesque old farm houses and buildings. And lots of water - I don't think you don't realise how much a drought affects your physche until you go to a country that has no water issues. At one stage we saw two little canals crossing each other at right angles - on above the other.

The city of Piacenza is delightful - but not a touristy city at all. Population only about 100,000. It has an amazing old 12th century cathedral half built of marble and the rest of ordinary brick because they ran out of money (or something, never let the truth get in the way of a good story). The shopping seems really good, not my specialty, but another cousin Stacey (who was also staying here with her husband David and their little Olivia 2 and my Aunt Dell as part of a little holiday from London) vouched for it.

We've spent a really lovely couple of days here just stuffing around, enjoying a convergence of family. They all ran away to the Cinque Terra for the weekend and very kindly let us stay in their lovely 3 storey apartment close to the centre of town. Sean said there was a swimming pool here so we set off on our bikes and were delighted to find a very well maintained 25 metre pool mainly used for water polo (a very popular sport here). We had a good swim but only after we were both given swimming caps by the very kind pool staff as we didn't have our own and they are mandatory - "sorry, we're Australians...." we seemed to get away with it.

More great food - we've actually cooked for ourselves for the first time here. The produce is fantastic, we bought skewers of meat (we think it was chicken and sausage, might have been rabbit?) for one meal and trout for another - all very good.

The weather finally changed and it was much cooler, it even rained a bit - very welcome.


niallniallorangepeel said...

Ciao Jane (and hi Geoff)

I'm feeling incredibly envious - though at least the weather's still warm here. I swam at Clovelly yesterday (and what's more, injury free)

Melissa Butcher said...

woo hoo - do you guys have moblees with you for texting? See you in Amalfi in a few weeks. Am dying for some sunshine and HEAT - it's feckin freezing and raining again in Dublin.

David Ritchard said...

Jane and Geoff
See you cannot escape the FAMILY

Your Dad emailed me a photo of the old house my parents and then your father lived in during WWII in Wagga

Enjoy your trip

David Ritchard