20 kg limit (that's about 44 lbs). That also involved wearing our coats so we could stuff our pockets, and jamming our carry-on bags to their maximum capacity. That made our day packs so heavy they could easily flip us on our backs with one false step - and made us comical at security. All this was to avoid the fees for overweight luggage which is about $20. per kilo. For reference we usually travel with 23 kg in our checked bags so we could have been out $120. In reality the same kilos were going to be on the plane anyway, so this was just one of the "almost" fun things we deal with as Nomads.
|Still in love after just one of many bag packing episodes|
|No matter where we are, a newspaper makes a great travel day read.|
We landed in Milan and took a city bus from the airport to the central station to catch our train to Parma. It was a clunky old lady of a train but she got us there! We did need a cab for the next leg to our apartment, and since we didn't have Italian SIM cards yet we asked our driver to call our Airbnb host to let her know we were getting close.
|Nuns make heavenly gelato!|
|A perfectly formed gelato flower.|
Our apartment was affordable and very comfortable for a two night pit stop. Laura, the owner is an outgoing and creative young women. She moves out when renters move in, so it was definitely one of those "staying at a friends flat" experiences. She left us with breakfast treats, fluffy towels and lots of tips on enjoying Parma. Here's the link to the apartment: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1014113
|Cheese or new shoes? Cheese!|
So of course I bought all of those things and piled them into my already groaning suitcase. The cheese alone weighed a hefty 2.5 lbs - but for around $12 who could resist the real thing? And now that I was free from airline weight restrictions for the foreseeable future I could binge - but the price to to be paid was hauling a very heavy shopping bag from then on. We ate the ham but we've only made a dent in the cheese and good olive oil goes a long way (literally). I can feel them both lurking in my suitcase. Here's a link to a hilarious commercial for Parmesan cheese that could only be made in Italy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXA15HWkfCc
After two days in Parma we set off by train to Le Spezia and then onwards to our final destination of Le Grazie for a week aboard the Serena IV. Here's the link: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1136445 The thought of being aboard a sailboat again was almost too good to be true.We looked forward to just relaxing on board with books and games and naps in the sun. And that is just what we did. Except on the days that it rained, but that didn't alter the plan much - and being from Seattle we were right at home. It really did bring back fond memories of being rocked to sleep on our sailboat Butterscotch in Elliot Bay Marina.
|The Serena IV. A Custom 42 foot sailboat build in Italy 33 years ago.|
|The view back to Le Grazie after a long walk.|
|The marina where we would spend a blissful week on the Serena IV.|
|One of our best Airbnb front doors yet!|
|Captain Campbell making up the forward V-berth.|
|The harbor in Le Grazie - plenty of beautiful boats to admire.|
|Fresh pesto made as you watched! You could smell it down the block.|
|There were fantastic views from just about everywhere in Portovenere.|
|Looking back towards Le Grezie from Portovenere.|
|I wish I'd taken this shot one minute earlier when there was a sea of selfie-sticks!|
|The tour boat pulling up to port - you had about 5 minutes to get on or off!|
|The houses along the coastline perched precariously on cliffs surrounded by vineyards.|
Our boat left from Portovenere and called at: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. You could get off to explore and then catch the next boat in an hour or two and carry on. We made two stops recommended in Rick Steve's video, Vernazza and Monterosso and were not disappointed.
|Pulling in to Vernazza for the farmers market.|
|The view from the cemetery overlooking Vernazza. As final resting places go, this is tops.|
|Our sad little train from Parma to Brescia on a much nicer day.|
|Refreshed and ready for the train to Salzburg.|
It's always hard to leave Italy, but we were looking forward to our next destination - Salzburg, Austria. We'll see you there.
Thanks for following along,
Debbie and Michael
The Senior Nomads