A little bit of history of Boveglio, Villa Basilica, Lucca, Toscano, Italy..Flight booked for Kenya…No more tremors during the night…

On our hilly, heart pounding walk this morning, the simplest views caught our attention.

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Our MiFi isn’t working in Boveglio. The Internet connection provided by the gracious property owners of our temporary home have WiFi but it is slow and unpredictable, requiring us to either be outside for a good connection.  Most likely the issue is due to the three foot stone walls in this lovely property.

Thank you for your patience.  We appreciate the notifications and give this the utmost concern.  Please continue to enjoy our posts in the interim via this link.

Last night, close to sunset, we discovered this village of Colognora beyond the mountains.
As the sun was about to set, the moon began to peek out.  Surely in the next few nights it will be full, definitely inspiring us to get more shots. 

Luckily, there were no more aftershocks yesterday although we’d made a plan before bed that if there were during the night as to where we dash to safety. Also, Luca the owner wrote to us yesterday explaining that the house had been retrofitted for earthquakes when it had recently been remodeled, putting our minds at ease allowing us both to get a good night’s sleep.

Its interesting to observe the change in colors as the night falls while the cloud create shadows on the hillside.
As the sun goes down.

With all of our adapting and adjusting this past week, we’ve determined that we love it here.  We’ve accepted that the long winding drive to a larger village is a part of its Boveglio’s charm and beauty.  The house with it few quirks and challenges has, in this short period, become home for us. 

Last night, after dinner and watching the movie on my laptop, “Under the Tuscan Sun” we couldn’t stop smiling, as we sat on the veranda watching the sun go down, knowing full well that this is the place for us. With over two months in front of us, we are peaceful and content. The owners couldn’t be more helpful and kind, responding to our every whim with dignity and grace, as we strive to do the same.

Finding historical information about the 700 AD village of Boveglio was more challenging to accomplish than we’d anticipated. These villages, many of them still existing in a lifestyle reminiscent of earlier centuries, have yet to transfer information from their historical books to the Internet.  How foolish we are to assume that we can find everything online?

Butterflies are everywhere here in Toscana, a rarity in the US with the rampant use of pesticides killing them off.  The US uses 80% of the world’s pesticides.  (OK, I’ll get off my soapbox!)

After considerable research, we’ve found this link is the best we could share  with you regarding the history of this area. As we’ve discovered, the village of Boveglio is a part of the larger village of Villa Basilica, which is a village in the Lucca region, which is located in the region of Toscana, aka Tuscany. 

In this area, as one leaves a village, a diagonal line crosses the name of the village. Notice the hairpin sign, one of many on our ride down the mountains to Collodi, the village large enough to find groceries, a pharmacy, supplies and sundries, roughly a 30 minute drive from Boveglio.
This Bed and Breakfast is a few hundred feet from our door.
Originally researching Boveglio, we were excited that this bar and restaurant was within walking distance.  Unfortunately, we never asked the owners of our house, Lisa and Luca, if it still was in operation.  It has closed down as a public facility, now occupied by its owners.  The economy has spared no small businesses in Italy as we discover as we travel the world.

Rather than copy and paste gobs of information here, we’ve provided this link that you may find interesting as we did.

Tonight, we’ll have our “date night” (goodness, every night is date night these days), heading to Benabbio to Il Cavallino for dinner, to pay our bill for last Sunday’s dinner when we had no Euros (we now are stocked with enough for our remaining time here) and to pay Vivienne for the few supplies we’d purchased on Monday prior to our outing to Collodi on Tuesday to the larger store.

A house in our neighborhood appearing to be occupied.

In the interim, we’re running out of Prosciutto, an Italian substitute for Amerian bacon. Hopefully, we’ll find Vivienne serving at the restaurant again and she’ll run across the street, open her tiny shop and bring us back a supply to last us until we go back to Collodi in 10 days. 

This morning on our walk, we encountered the owner of this property which is next door to us, making a feeble attempt to introduce ourselves.  She spoke no English.

Bacon, which we love and is allowed in moderation on our way of eating, has been somewhat of an issue in our travels.  In Belize, they called it “butt bacon” and like butts, it was too fatty.  On some of the cruise ships, the fatty bacon was palatable only when very well done but still too fatty. 

In Dubai, there was no bacon at all due to pork avoidance by Muslims. Instead they sell a beefy substitute that although palatable, didn’t taste like bacon.

The houses across the street from us.

Now, in Italy, there is no bacon at all as we know it, only Prosciutto which doesn’t taste like bacon but does have a pleasing salty flavor when cooked with a touch of olive oil in a stainless steel skillet. 

Drawing in stone of the Virgin Mary inside the stone wall across the street from our house.

This morning’s breakfast consisted of scrambled free range eggs, with sautéed organic onions infused with tiny cubes (no shredded cheese here) of locally made cheese. Add the perfect Italian coffee, Lavazza and we were content until we savor Alessandro’s perfectly prepared dinner tonight at his restaurant.

Tomorrow we’ll include photos of the village of Benabbio and also our meals at Il Cavallino, prices and comments.

Now for the details of our upcoming flight to Kenya.

Planning for the next step in our journey never ceases. As much as we’d like to plan and book every form of transportation well in advance, we find it make more sense to continue to research and lock it in as we go.  

Planning a flight two to three months in advance is often adequate, although we’ve continued to check pricing as many as 300 days in advance (one can’t book a flight more than 330 days in advance with most airlines). 

If we had our way, we’d never fly, taking ships and trains to our locations. But, at this point in our travels with our burgeoning bucket lists, we’ve decided to bite the bullet and go to our most desired areas of the world first.  Thus, we fly.

Actually, our first flight wasn’t until we were almost eight months into our travels, when we fly from Dubai, UAE to Barcelona, Spain to go on our 8th cruise.  As mentioned in a prior post, we loved Emirates Airlines (except for the excess baggage fees and the confiscation of two power cords). 

Unfortunately, Emirates doesn’t fly all the way to Mombasa, Kenya which would force us to take an flight on Ethiopian Airlines part of the way which has many horrible reviews.  I can picture cows and chickens on their flights while passengers sit in seats lined up against the side walls.  Perhaps, an exaggeration but I can’t get this image out of my head.

Small houses appearing abandoned are actually often occupied.

Here is our one way flight from Venice, Italy, where’s we’ll return the rental car to the Marco Polo Airport, which forbids passengers from arriving any more than three hours before departure. 

This flight will require us to drive from Bogevlio on September 1, 2013 to Venice staying in a hotel near the airport, which is a half hour drive from the area of Venice we visited last Saturday.  Flight departs the next morning, is an partial overnight flight with us arriving in Mombasa at 3:10 am. 

Total duration: 15h 25mArrives next day

    • Venice
    • VCE 10:45am
    • Istanbul
    • IST 2:10pm
    • Terminal I
2h 25m 
902 mi
  • Turkish Airlines 1868
  • Economy/Coach (S) Seat Preview
  • Airbus A321 |  Meal
Layover:  4h 5m
    • Istanbul
    • IST 6:15pm
    • Terminal I
    • Kilimanjaro
    • JRO 1:10am + 1 day
    • Arrives on Tue Sep/3/2013
6h 55m 
3,108 mi
  • Turkish Airlines 673
  • Economy/Coach (S) Seat Preview
  • Boeing 737-900 |  Meal
Layover:  1h 0m
    • Kilimanjaro
    • JRO 2:10am
    • Departs on Tue Sep/3/2013
    • Mombasa
    • MBA 3:10am
    • Terminal 1
    • Arrives on Tue Sep/3/2013
1h 0m 
180 mi
Price for two, one way:  US $1468.66 (taxes and fees included).

What do we like about this flight:
1.  Many of the available flights took upwards of 32 hours.  This arrives in 15 hours, 25 minutes.
2.  The airlines, Turkish Air, overall had good to excellent reviews.
3.  The layover times were shorter than other flights.
4.  By using the same airlines all the way through, it’s less likely our luggage will be lost.

What we don’t like about this flight:
1.  Too long, in any case.
2.  Unable to arrange seat assignments until closer to flight time. (It on our calendar to check back 30 days out).
3.  The cost.  There were cheaper flights, none of which were well reviewed airlines.
4.  Unable to clearly define the baggage allowance in advance.  We are considering shipping half of each of our belongings to Kenya, even with the risk of it not arriving.  (We’ll insure it). First, we must check with the owner of the property in Kenya which we will do shortly.

Booking through Expedia.com where we have an account earning points, we feel confident in our decision.

Our rental in Kenya begins on September 1st.  Arriving on the September 3rd results in our paying for two days rent and not yet moving in.  Kenya has a 90 day visa provided at the airport upon entrance. 

Flowers blooming near our exterior door.

By arriving a few days late, we avoid the necessity of obtaining an additional visa with our rental ending on November 30, 2013. We save on visa fees, travel costs to the closest immigration office and a tremendous amount of inconvenience. The loss of two day’s rent is well worth it.

There it is folks, our story for today. We’ll be back tomorrow with more news.

Earthquake update in our area in Northern Italy…Lots of aftershocks…Here’s some stats…

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Centre Sismologique Euro-Méditerranéen

Below is listed stats on the earthquakes we’re been experiencing today in Boveglio, Lucca, Tuscany, Northern Italy. 

Please excuse sketchy editing with our slow Internet connection.  Tom and I are hanging out very close to one another with a plan in place where to go as there are additional aftershocks.  We’ll keep posting updates of interest

Also, earlier today we posted many photos about the nuances of living in a 300 year old house and how we’ve adapted. Little did we know at that time, that we’d experience an earthquake.

Current time: 2013-06-21 12:52:22 UTC

Real Time Seismicity


1 earthquake2013-06-21   12:20:00.030min ago 44.17  N   10.12  E   10
4.1  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:44
5 F earthquake2013-06-21   12:12:40.037min ago 44.17  N   10.11  E   2 ML 4.1  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:34
earthquake2013-06-21   12:06:16.043min ago 44.18  N   10.16  E   6 ML 2.9  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:33
earthquake2013-06-21   11:59:37.050min ago 44.18  N   10.22  E   11 ML 3.0  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:29
earthquake2013-06-21   11:58:08.052min ago 44.19  N   10.19  E   10 ML 3.0  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:11
earthquake2013-06-21   11:56:01.054min ago 44.17  N   10.17  E   2 ML 2.6  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:15
earthquake2013-06-21   11:52:53.057min ago 44.18  N   10.23  E   11 ML 2.0  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:09
earthquake2013-06-21   11:51:45.058min ago 44.20  N   10.23  E   11 ML 2.0  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:02
earthquake2013-06-21   11:50:40.059min ago 44.02  N   10.11  E   2 ML 3.3  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:32
earthquake2013-06-21   11:33:08.01hr 17min ago 44.18  N   10.17  E   9 ML 2.1  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:42
earthquake2013-06-21   11:19:45.01hr 30min ago 44.20  N   10.23  E   11 ML 3.8  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:37
earthquake2013-06-21   11:18:12.01hr 32min ago 44.20  N   10.19  E   10 ML 2.2  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:30
earthquake2013-06-21   11:09:44.01hr 40min ago 44.09  N   10.02  E   10 ML 2.6  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:29
earthquake2013-06-21   11:05:02.01hr 45min ago 13.89  N   92.10  W   52 mb 4.2  OFFSHORE GUATEMALA 2013-06-21 11:32
earthquake2013-06-21   11:02:52.01hr 47min ago 44.14  N   10.13  E   1 ML 2.3  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:24
earthquake2013-06-21   11:01:48.01hr 48min ago 44.17  N   10.21  E   10 ML 2.2  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:45
earthquake2013-06-21   10:56:57.01hr 53min ago 44.16  N   10.13  E   1 ML 2.6  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:15
earthquake2013-06-21   10:55:04.01hr 55min ago 44.17  N   10.13  E   4 ML 2.5  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:14
earthquake2013-06-21   10:50:02.02hr 00min ago 44.15  N   10.15  E   9 ML 2.2  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:14
earthquake2013-06-21   10:46:29.02hr 03min ago 44.18  N   10.13  E   5 ML 2.6  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:13
1 earthquake2013-06-21   10:39:56.02hr 10min ago 44.19  N   10.17  E   10 ML 3.1  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:13
91 VI earthquake2013-06-21   10:33:59.02hr 16min ago 44.19  N   10.15  E   10 Mw     5.3
NORTHERN ITALY     2013-06- 21 10:33:59.0 UTC