Friday, April 8, 2016

Our Third Trip - Work, Work, Work

Work, Work, Work - at least we're in Guardia!

Let me say one thing about Guardia in March.  It is cold, windy and COLD!  We arrived to find that we had no power and no heat and almost froze to death that first night.  But the very next morning we purchased a brand new propane heater and it was worth every euro! We still had no power for several more days, but it was manageable with candles (almost romantic) just so long as we had heat. We had a gas stove, too, so we didn't starve.  Even with no power, we were able to complete a lot of painting! Here are some before, during, and after pictures of our progress!

BEFORE (Trip # 1, Househunting, November 2014)

Main Living Area

DURING (2nd Trip, After Closing, Making it Functional, May/June 2015)

AFTER (3rd Trip, Making it Ours, March 2016)

Courtney sponge-painting for days and days

Our new divano letto had to come through the balcony!


One last look around before we leave.

Most of these "after" photos were taken as we were leaving- one last look around
 Kitchen (before)

Kitchen (during)

All the debris is removed - now we have a blank palette


Kitchen (after)

Turned out great. Maybe cabinets and countertops next trip?

Master Bedroom (before)

Master Bedroom (during)

Master Bedroom (after)

I had a feeling that my friend Vicki's shower curtain would make a great accent wall to match the bedspread.  Thanks Vicki! A little piece of your home is now a part of our home in Italy!

No more pink walls either - yeah!


A new scrolled candle sconce for the master bedroom balcony.

Courtney's Room (before)


Courtney's Room (during)



Courtney's Room (after - but still not finished)


Bathroom - new toilet, rugs, shower curtain, hung towel rack & a little paint at top

(Thanks Benny for all of your assistance!)

We did, in fact, work-work-work this trip.  But there was a little time for play, too!
Here are some of the highlights!

Dinner at La Meridiana's.  And our friend Giovanni Sanzari took great care of us, as usual!

Mozzarella & tomatoes

Yummy bruschetta!

Mushroom pasta - so delicious!

Thanks Giovanni for the wonderful dining experience!

I fell in love with the Crème de Limoncello!

We also finally had the opportunity to meet face-to-face the fabulous, the charming, the one and only Carlo Roberts!  Pizza at Vittorio's was magnificent!  We had a wonderful time.  Thanks for stopping by Roberto!  And thank you Roberto and Benny for your assistance with my new electricity contract - you are a blessing!  And thank you Carlo for informing me about the Guardia Information Center located in the Municipio building (ground floor on the left) where I met my new friend, Nora DiSanto, who is so very helpful and patient.  She has information in English on lots of stuff regarding Guardia, like bus and train schedules and garbage pickup info.  A great source of info for those of us who are still struggling with the language gap.

Carlo Roberts, Courtney, Christine & Monga (nona)

Off to Napoli.  We took the train from Telese (thanks Glen Martin Gainsbrugh and Jody Cortese).  Glen was so nice to give us a lift to the Telese train station.  It was a nice train ride to Napoli.  We had to transfer trains in Caserta and I had a panic attack when I left one of my bags behind on the train, but luckily realized it in time and grabbed it before the train left the station. What a close call! But that was my mistake. The train ride was splendid and it cost less than 5 euros per person.
Nice, roomy train!

When we arrived in Napoli Centrale train station, we took the Alibus to the port where our hostel/hotel was located.  The Alibus only makes three stops...airport, train station, port.  It only costs 3 euros if you buy your tickets at the Tabaccinist, or 4 euros from the driver.  It dropped us off at the Molo Beverello port terminal and we walked a short distance to our hotel, Bella Capri. It was fairly easy to find because they had a sign on the main highway pointing down the side street.  We chose this hostel/hotel because of its location to the Alibus port stop and because Courtney may travel with her friends in the future and we wanted to learn more about hostels.  Although it was low budget accommodations, it was quite nice and very secure. How about that view?

Mt. Vesuvius shrouded by clouds

Down below our balcony - Napoli gets real busy at night!
Restaurant right around the corner
I have never had pizza with "mais" corn before - it was surprisingly good!
Castel Nuovo is right around the corner from our room
These talented women were rehearsing and they sounded so beautiful! Their music filled the courtyard!
Yes, that's a glass floor so you can see excavations below.
Piazza del Plebiscito
Courtney says it means the Square of the Common People
I'm trying to stay out of the way of busy traffic while they ask for directions
Fresh seafood!
Lunch by the Bay of Napoli, in view of Mt. Vesuvius

The majestic Mount Vesuvius


At this point my Kindle lost it's battery and when we arrived at Castel dell'Ovo, it was closing for the day.  We continued to explore Napoli until dark, shopped for souvenirs, and then went back to the room and packed for our flight to Paris tomorrow.

Our plane to Paris was delayed by an hour, so that meant even less time to explore Paris. So after checking into our hotel near the airport, we decided to take a cab as far as Notre Dame, which cost 65 euros (including the tip).  Maybe we'll take the Metro back.

Beautiful Notre Dame (and this is only the side of the building)

Working our way around to the front - hello lovely Courtney!

Went down to see if the boats were still running, but they were not

Locks of Love

The keys to the locks are tossed into the river to symbolize eternal love
 Locks are no longer permitted on bridges due to the danger of the extra weight causing the bridges to collapse.

My favorite girls under that perfectly centered moon - wow!

Seine River


Eiffel Tower

Roaming the streets of Paris in search of dinner


Duck with mashed potatoes for Courtney

Salmon and rice for Mom

What an evening in Paris!  We found a Metro station near Notre Dame and road it back towards the airport as far as it would go. Then a short ride by bus back to the airport and realized our hotel shuttle wasn't running anymore.  We walked to the nearest hotel and asked them for a cab.  The cab got us back to our hotel in just minutes and cost about 15 euros. 

Our plane left at 8am the next morning heading to the United States of America and we arrived back in Jacksonville (after an hour or two layover in Atlanta) around 5pm.  However, when we arrived in Jacksonville, our luggage did not.  We had to wait in Jacksonville for the next airplane heading our way. 

Then we got lost leaving Jacksonville Airport.  What a nightmare.  But we made it home around 11pm, which my wristwatch was still set to European time of 4am (the time it felt like to us) and I got up and went to work the next morning.  Whew! 

Thanks again to all of our friends in Guardia!  And thanks to our friends Pasquale, Anna & Luigi Orso for the ginseng tea, croissants, cappuccino and free wifi each morning.  Thank you for keeping us warm and connected!!

We learn more and more with each trip.  We are already planning to return in November.  But this time, less work and much more relaxing and seeing new sites in Italy (i.e. Pompeii, Capri, Sorrento, and the Almalfi Coast).

Tune in then for updates and more pictures!  Ciao!