311 – 313: Mothers and Model Village

311 – Thursday 25th February 2016:  Capua (and unusual nocturnals…)

Morning at the excellent (if a little expensive) Caserta Sosta saw us each running 4 kms on a good path/cycle track. Brekkied, we sorted out the van services and put ‘Bradge’ (it saves typing Brad and Madge – as I just did!) to the onerous task of taking us all of 5 kms to the town of Belvedere San Leucio – home of silk production – and scene of an interesting socio-political experiment. In the 18th century, Ferdinand II of Borbon decided to establish a new town called – you guessed it – “Ferdinandopoli” – a humble man, obviously. Workers were paid according to the amount they worked – not just the hours – divorce was outlawed – and a form of socialism would prevail. Alas, it was never finished as the Borbons were overthrown. But much of the ‘new’ town survives – with neat terraces of houses – probably for the relatively wealthy in the area – socio-capitalism?  The main Palazzo was closed but a kind staff member let us tour the grounds and take photos.  We visited the Piazza del Seta (silk museum/shop) where K made a modest purchase – beautiful silkware on display.



Model houses


The factory and museum complex


View from the top … it might be UNESCO, but that does not stop it being overgrown!


Coffee stop.  Valentine’s day may be over but the sentiment remains.

En route to Capula, K realised we were still in Buffalo Mozzarella country. This is not a place where Bison sit eating nice cheese – but the home of the finest Mozzarella made from buffalo milk, as against that of cow.  K spotted a factory shop and alighted from the van (after it had stopped, fortunately) – and went Buffalo hunting – she’s a dead shot with a fistful of Euros, rarely missing the target!  True enough, my lovely Annie Oakley lady returned with the spoils – Buffalo Mozzarella cheese, Buffalo burgers and Buffalo steaks ! How many times can I get the word Buffalo into one sentence ?  All for a handful of Euros…

We commenced our perambulations (anyone remember Silver Cross prams?) to Capua– nice streets – a twice rebuilt Roman bridge (courtesy of WWII bombings) – and the Museo Campano. We were the only visitors in the afternoon – and we had three members of staff looking after us!  Much of Roman, Greek and a little of Egyptian  artefacts – but the highlight was a display of Madres – ancient (BC) busts of mothers holding babies wrapped as mummified … ex voto shrines to the Goddess of Fertility. When we got to a mother holding 12 babies, we speculated that this may have been the number of children lost, born, or the number wished for? Very impressive and unusual.  On leaving the Museum and thanking the staff, we were treated to a cup of coffee !  

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Roman bridge and Frederick Towers … used to have massive statues atop.

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New cathedral (WWII again)

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Prolific and our sympathy!

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A rather ‘cheeky’ Attic vase.

K cooked one of the Buffalo steaks – a bit chewy and not as nice as beef – but will go nicely in a casserole…

Our overnight location in Santa Marie Capua is a proper ‘Sosta Communale’ – a large parking area nicely paved with grass tiled blocks (discourages young folk doing car wheelies) – special section for motorhomes – all services available – why can’t we have these in UK?  As the evening drew on (we watched an excellent episode of Inspector Morse), the courting couples started to arrive – no nuisance to us, quite discrete – except…..   I went out for a late evening discrete pee – and noticed a car parked quite near – under a lighting column – with a couple engaged in full-on ‘flagrante dilecto’!  And another car nearby watching!!!  The reader doesn’t need much Latin to realise they were not hiding their lights (or much else) under a bushel !  They stuck to their guns…..doggedly ! 


312 – Friday 26th February 2016:  Sitting Still

Friday – rest day…. leisurely awakening – after a most spectacular electric storm between 1:00 and 2:30 am – with heavy rain. Your editor and sub-editor were snug and warm throughout…

We ran – separately – K did more difficult Pilates, followed by hand washing – utilising the excellent service facilities. Then Chardonnay was rendered replete with her services – isn’t that posh for saying we emptied the toilet?  Bum slogging – sorry, some blogging, was appropriate to get the reader up to date.  Lunch – one of K’s mouthwatering soups – then a little more exploration of the citta – very busy – in the town square, men (only) played boules or petanque Italian style – where are all the ladies ?  The obligatory coffee and small cake – at a huge cost of Euro 3.20 !

Our overnight spot came alive with veg, meat et al sellers in the early evening – but it was all pre-ordered only – otherwise Ms Oakley would have reached for the Eurowallet.  

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The amphitheatre – apparently the third largest in Italy … we both ran around here and then walked it later.  Volcanic hills in the distance.

313 Saturday 27th February 2016 – Coastal Route to Montecassino

A longer run for us both … J for 5km and K only 4, but followed by Pilates (I’ve got quite used to the strange looks I get as my mat comes out!).  A leisurely breaky and more services … and we set off for the coast.

Campagne is the home of Mozzarella di Buffa DOP and we saw a lot of manufacturers and shops along the roadside.  But where are the Buffalo that supply the milk????  I had read an online report that stated that many are imprisoned indoors, but we eventually saw a number of herds.  You could not say that they could roam at will or that they had a lot of space;  more like cow shed and pens.  

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Pix from the internet, but you get the idea.

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We also did a small shop and bought a bottle of a local liqueur… Alberti Strega – it comes from Benevento nearby and one has to try these things!!!

The coast is pretty dire … all built up and holiday resorts.  No way did we fancy trying to find somewhere to stop so we headed on for Plan B – Montecassino a bit inland.  We arrived at the Parking (with motorhome services – we are so spoilt after the general lack of them in Sicily) up a tight single track with sharp bends …. several gasps later we’d parked.  The series of stupid things are …  J had alighted and walked over to check the road up and K had spotted another route up to the parking on Madge…. but no, we’d blindly followed Bradge’s instructions!

A late lunch and then we walked down the hill (the route we should have taken to get here) to the town, just for a wander.

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