319-321: Hill Town Views and Not for the Common People

319 – Friday 4th March 2016:  Sermon from the Mount

Still marvelling at the quality of the Piana delle Orme museum – best in Italy – K emailed the museum to give them our glowing views – she received a very nice reply.  Running – cold and windy but some successful kilometres under the belt again…

Back on the road after 2 nice and peaceful nights at the museum parking under the trees – but not so good for the leisure battery – sunlight blocked….   Destination Sermoneta – a hill town.  James – did you say “a hill town”?  Narrow streets to force our young Chard to suck in her tummy again ?  No – our intrepid Kavigator did the homework – and our parking was outside the town – only a few hairpins to circumlocate.  Would I ever doubt her?   Lovely wide parking area with stunning views over the flat plains below – we were quite alone.  Suitably van lunched, at the afternoon opening hour, the kilometre or so was perambulated in no time at all – to El Castello – large and commanding the town.  Unfortunately, it also commanded an entry fee of Euro 8 – with no guiding information in English (not even written).  We ‘grazied’ and ‘ciaod’ and toured the narrow streets.  Now, it was a bit cold – which probably explains why K threw an arm lock on me and dragged me into Claudio’s Bar, sat me on a chair and ordered very nice Puglia red wine.  I of course struggled all the way – until the first sip…..  Salty nibbles and nice wine – the time passes so quickly – with Gusto again – he’s everywhere – but never actually does anything – strange.  Verambulations to Chard – and another very quiet evening – we have started watching the American version of “House of Cards” starring Kevin Spacey – good viewing. They have kept the famous line from the original UK series “You might say that but I couldn’t possibly comment !”. 

A good spot and a nice overnight – distant barking dog – and completely clear skies.


Sermoneta and our washing drying!  Cleaning cloths adorning the Knicker Chandelier.


The Castle … run by a descendent of the family as a Trust to keep the family name alive.  They also run the Ninfa gardens nearby that K wanted to visit, but due to the delicate eco environment, they were only open 3 days at the end of March 😦  Seemed to be very limited opening throughout the year too.




No forcing down at all … he looks perfectly happy!


Glass number 2 … the bar man topped us up to empty the bottle.  And at only EUR3 per glass with nibbles, it would have been rude not to!


A feature of the region … the bell tower with enamel glazed tiles.


Definitely some wealth here and very floral everywhere.


320 – Saturday 5th March 2016:  Papal Palace – Not for the Common People

How can I best describe the morning run?  “ ‘Kinhilly will do nicely.  Very good preparation for the August 2016 proposed assault on Hardknott Pass in Cumbria – look it up, reader – it’s only a one in 3 gradient…..but, more kinometres in the bank…

Anyway, we decided against more Abbeys in hill towns – and travigated towards Castel Gandolfo – yes, the Pope’s summer residence – with special Papal concessions for motorhomes parking overnight in the grounds.  Do you believe it ? No.  The various Apps showed us a town parking near CG – free with services.  Arrived at 2:00 pm – basic site with mixed vehicles parked – but convenient for our stroll to not see the Papal Gardens at Euro 26 per person!  Pope Francis doesn’t use CG and the local tourism trade has declined.  Not surprisingly that he doesn’t use it – he has also eschewed the Vatican Papal apartments and lives in a Vatican B&B equivalent!  K will still complain to him about the Gardens admission price…


This is basically it – a square and the closed portals of the Summer Palace.  A couple of restaurants and souvenir shops.  And a good view of the lake.


The back entrance … also closed!

An hour was sufficient to tour CG including the walk – a couple of miles there and back.  The walking route will become our running direction for the morning… 

Now, as we have travelled north, the weather has changed – we are sitting (in the van, fortunately) and listening to a serious downpour – Brizzle weather ? 


321 – Sunday 6th March 2016:  Frascati in Frascati – of course! 

Mothers Day arrived – shall I bore you with details of the morning Olympiad? Suffice to say more kilometres in the bank….a lovely course on nice footpath. I’m pleased to be running regularly more than I have done for the past 7 years – now actively seeking races…  

Services done – we prebradicated (with Madge also) towards Frascati. As we are fast approaching Roma, it is obvious that there is more wealth about – in the nice villas on display – and even in the people – the way they dress. Secure car park just by the stazione (Euro 5 for 24 hours !) – we haven’t paid for our accommodation since leaving Napoli !  We dressed up (K in a nice skirt and top – I put on a shirt – K almost had heart failure because she thought I put a tie on! – I was also wearing trousers…)   A leisurely stroll through the Sunday markets – definitely upmarket wares here – and then a search for some prandials.  We happened upon “Groppo D’oro” on a corner – menu prices looked good – Mothers Day lunch was on!  The ‘front of house’ lady is a charmer – K immediately warmed to her as she made a little fun of K’s Italian accent. Before long, they were bosom buddies conversing fluently in French – the lady had lived in Paris until age 12.  Mixed antipasto – excellent – cheeses, salami, olives, parma ham – and slow roast pork – with crackling !!! The restaurant wall boasted an article of praise from the Financial Times!  Of course Frascati was served copiously…  The pasta that followed was plain and with a deliciously good sauce.  Rounded off with more Frascati and the appropriate biscuit to dunk – a ‘druscuit’?  Definitely TripAdvisor material. We were both seriously snogged by the lady in charge on our departure – but in the nicest tactile way.  An excellent dining experience all round.  More strolls which took us gently back to our bivouac – and a somnoque siesta….. 


A stunning Church facade and slightly different to the norm.


Dunkin donuts!  Actually ring donut shaped biscuits into Frascati at the end of our repast.  


The guide books talk about the Belvedere … wide wide views with distant hills …


… now you can see them.


Frascati is known for its roast loin pork … Porchetta.  We had some as part of our luncheon experience.


A large street market with slightly up market products.


Check out all the chocolate!  Even the display is tantalising … fortunately too full, so no purchase …. or should that be unfortunately.


Half of Rome is here …. keeping up the tradition for several millennia of escaping to the hills for a day trip!





1 thought on “319-321: Hill Town Views and Not for the Common People

  1. Lovely blog! Lovely photos, the Pork looks appetising! So sorry your year travelling is coming to an end, it will be good to see you again. No doubt you’re planning your next one! Xxxxxx

    Sent from my iPad



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