Part 2…Rainy day road trip to the walled city of Lucca…

Venturing off away from the crowds, we found our way to this archway through which we entered Piazza Napoleone which is now used as local government buildings, also hundreds of years old, worthy of visiting but attracting less tourists.
The opposite side of the archway above as we entered the Piazza Napoleone square that housed government offices in these amazing structures.

As we continued on our rainy walk through the walled city of Lucca, we were reminded of all of the other villages, towns and cities we’ve visited in Italy. They all were filled with rich history, centuries old buildings and a strong sense of pride in maintaining the integrity of its original design and intention.

Palazzo Ducale in Lucca is located in Piazza NapoleoneDecorated in the center is the statue of the Criminal Lucca Francesco Carrara.

Imagine a government worker taking a break during the day to sit outside in Piazza Napoleone, read a book, and relax. The Italians, as many European countries consider an afternoon break from their work as sacred. That is why we’ve surmised, that they engage in “happy hour” until after 9:00 pm after working later into the day.

Again the rain picked up so we scurried on our way in a feeble attempt to avoid getting soaked.

There is no doubt in our minds that the appreciation of a country in its heritage is indeed a treasure for its visitors and residents alike. The care the Italian people have given to their expansive history is evidenced in the fine condition of these treasures, a gift they bestow upon the world for all to see.

Taking off in another direction from the government square, we walked on this road as the rain pelted us as we sought shelter in various doorways.

Here is the summer music festival schedule, attracting visitors from all over the world. Had it not been a rainy day, the streets would definitely be more crowded.

This statue was protected from the crowds that most certainly filled this area at night during the Summer Festival rock concerts.

The stage area for the evening rock concerts occurring almost every night during the Summer Festival, attracting visitors from around the world.

Of course, we must give credit to the designers and architects who originated and built these historic monuments to ensure their works would live in the future for many to enjoy. Mission accomplished.

We weren’t able to get close enough to see the inscription on this statue with a sudden rush of tourists in our way.


This is the above mentioned sudden rash of tourists, we encountered, many dining under the umbrellas seeking shelter from the off and on rain.

Thank you, Italy! We’re grateful for the experience!

There were numerous residential areas in the walled city, most with parking exclusively for tenants, requiring a windshield sticker.
Working our way back to our car brought us to a few less historical spots and a number of dining venues. Notice the cutouts of Humphrey Bogart James Dean on the wall of this restaurant.
A few areas inside the walls of Lucca were worn and yet to be restored, such as this.
Everywhere we go in Italy we find bell towers. We were unable to go inside this church to take photos, which was prohibited. Once inside a fee was imposed to get closer to the altar. We were content to look from afar.
An awaiting horse and buggy for romantic or weary tourists.
After exiting the walled city by car, we were reminded of our earlier parking challenge (described in yesterday’s post), grateful that we were able to see as much as we had.  On our return, we stopped at the grocery store for a few items in Pescia, before continuing on the winding hairpin turn drive to Boveglio, happy to be safely home once again.

Mechanical aspects in our 300 year old temporary home…Many photos include new homemade pizza recipe using local ingredients…

This paper towel holder is a dowel, a piece of string tied in loops on the ends to be hung on any available hook. Simple and clever.

Today is a full three weeks we’ve been living in a charming 300-year-old stone house, nestled in the mountains among a cluster of other attached homes built centuries ago, into the exquisitely forested and farmed hills and valleys of Boveglio in the Province of Lucca, Tuscany, Italy.

It’s at about this time, as we’ve become more settled, that we wander about our vacation rentals with a more keen eye observing its quirks and nuances, some of which may be a violation of code in the US and other countries which we find to be unique and interesting. 

More cloth wiring in the kitchen with exposed bulbs over the sink.
The electrical wiring throughout the house is all exposed, using cloth as opposed to the conduit most of us are familiar with as a code requirement in the US and other countries.  We doubt that building/code compliance inspectors travel around inspecting all of these centuries-old properties.
As shown above, in the kitchen, the main source of lighting is these two fixtures over the kitchen table, encased in glass globes. Energy-efficient as the “curly” energy-efficient bulbs we’d used in the US, this particular style takes approximately five minutes to light up the area which can be a little tricky at night.
As the designated cook (Tom’s the dishwasher), I’ve had the most difficultly operating the stove. It’s a newer “made-to-look old” range and oven and there’s nothing wrong with it. 
This hanging plant is used to hide an electrical outlet.
It’s the same a stove type we used in Belize; gas without an automatic pilot.  One has to hold in a button while pushing in the dial to ignite the oven or burner. It sounds easy, but the trick is in the amount of time one has to hold in the button and the dial to keep the burner ignited.  Let go of one too soon and gas is free-flowing without ignition.
I know it’s not rocket science nor does it require an inordinate amount of skill.  For some odd reason, I struggle with this, trying desperately to figure it out on the own without having to ask Tom.  Stubborn, I guess.  On occasion, even he, Mr. Coordinated, has trouble with this.  In several instances, we’ve had to stop, open the screen-less window wide waiting for the gas to clear to later begin again.
These cloth wires are above the small shower and near the sink in the large main bath.
Two things here to notice: One, this is Tom is he’s walking down the long hallway for which he obviously has to duck. Yes, he’s banged his head many times getting me into the habit of saying, “Don’t bang your head!” as he walks to the bedroom.  Two, this is Tom desperately needs a haircut. We’ve yet to find an available barber in any of the villages we’ve visited. His last haircut was in March in Belize for which we wrote a post with photos. Ponytail or shave?  Which will it be?
This doorway to the main bathroom was cut to fit the frame, also low, requiring that I also duck when entering or leaving. 
Another head ducking/banging doorway to a guest bedroom.
Earlier, we’d posted a different photo of access to the patio from the stone stairway. These stone steps, continue down a full flight, making this the most hazardous spot in the house. Although this patio is our new sunning spot and only place to hang laundry outdoors, we spot each other each time we hike up there. No happy hour is to be had on this patio! 
This is an old, now unused wood burning stove (we think unused) in the long hallway.
The uneven multiple steps in the long hallway along with the variety of low ceilings, present an ongoing challenge for both of us. Tom is roughly four inches taller than I am creating a much more hazardous situation for him.
The heating elements for the radiators are behind this hanging curtains in the long hallway. Hmmm….

Also, there are two uneven steps from the hallway into the master bedroom.  We’ve both adopted a habit of reaching around to the wall on the right of the doorway to turn on the overhead light.  This process reminds us of the two steps.

This meter, most likely electrical, is in the interior hallway by the front door.

During daylight hours, we leave the hallway light on all day (the only light that remains on) as a reminder to tread carefully through the areas of steps. At night, we bring our mugs filled with ice water to leave at each of our nightstands and also use the en suite bathroom to avoid the long walk down the hall.

Tom was washing dishes one night while I tended to the laundry. Hearing this box, turn off and on rapidly startled me. I ran upstairs to ask Tom when he told me it an “on-demand” hot water heater. I’d heard of these in the US, but never heard one of them in operation.  In any case, most systems are energy efficient here in Italy.
Also, during the day, we keep the bedroom door, the screen-less windows and shutters closed. These two steps keep the bedroom cool for sleeping and more importantly, keeps the flying insects from flying around our heads at night. 

In our old lives, if our dishwasher or dryer broke down, we’d be in a tizzy for days until an overpriced repairman arrived with a fix.  Now, we chuckle as we hang the wash outside, do dishes by hand, swat flies and bees flying indoors all day, cook food in batches (as opposed to leftovers) with no microwave and look down while bending our heads when we walk around the house.

This green plastic hose could be anything. 
This week, we’ll cook all the remaining frozen meats so we can defrost the tiny freezer before we go grocery shop again.  At this point, the buildup of ice is occupying a third of the space. I can’t recall the last time we defrosted a freezer.
This carved from the stone area inside the main door entry may be the water or gas meter.
 Much to our mutual delight, neither of us complains or whines to each other.  We observe, discovering solutions, and adapt accordingly.  All of these minor inconveniences become a part of the experience, a part of our personal growth as we strive to adapt, and a part of the story we’ll someday tell to anyone who’ll listen, in English, please.
Last night’s yet to be baked homemade low carb, gluten-free, grain-free, starch-free, and sugar-free pizza made with “real” mozzarella (often referred to as buffalo mozzarella in the US) and locally grown ingredients.  The stringiness factor was tripled from the pizza we’d made in the past using “manufactured” bagged shredded mozzarella which we hope to never use again. It was our best pizza ever! I’d cut double the ingredients in order to make another freshly made pizza for tonight with no microwave for reheating. Nothing like two nights of freshly made pizza!

Part 2…It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…Too many photos for one post…See yesterday for Part 1…New chaise lounges…

Our new chaise lounges on our patio. Later in the day the sun will  be in a better position for sunning. Grazie, Lisa and Luca!

Before we continue with the story of our exploring walk in the neighborhood, I wanted to express how grateful we are to Lisa and Luca, the property owners of our home in Boveglio. They have bent over backwards to ensure our visit is everything we’d expected and more.

 A few days ago, we posted the photo of the cemetery at the church where the larger clock tower is located.  Here again, from another perspective. We had walked for quite some time on the hilly narrow roads but surprisingly we weren’t very far away as the crow flies.  For example, it took us almost 40 minutes to get to Pescia last week but in fact, its a mere 11 miles from Boveglio.

Yesterday, I asked Luca by email (which he translates to Italian) if they had two chaise lounge chairs we could us on our own patio as opposed to those at the far end of the property enclosed in a small patio that has a tremendous amount of bees and wasps. 

Many restaurants, bars and shop’s hour are different than in the US, many taking long breaks during midday.  This little pub apparently, only closes for lunch, then ending its day at 7:00 PM, perfect for the happy hour crowd, if there is a crowd.

The blooming flowers, which are lovely to see and smell attract the bees, making our hour of sunning less enjoyable, especially for me, more allergic than Tom. 

The BAR Ferrari, the local pub we stumbled across on our extensive walk in the neighborhood.  The bar was located in the “square” a miniature version of various “squares” we walked in Venice, most certainly nothing like St. Mark’s.

Inside the house, we’ve exercised caution without screens in keeping the flying stinging insects at bay as much as possible. Of course, we have multiple EpiPens with us in the event either of us is stung.

Soon, we’ll visit this bar at happy hour.  It didn’t appear that they carry Tom’s preferred beverage of choice, Courvoisier but most assuredly, he’ll find an alternative, if only a beer.

The view of our familiar church and clock tower from the veranda at the pub.  lose and yet far away.

 How exciting it is that we now have a local pub we can frequent, as long as Tom can make it back up the hills to our home, with a few cocktails under his belt.

Leaving the square, we began our climb back up, trying in vain, to find a less strenuous path for one of those nights after happy hour at the pub.

The hour of sunning a few times a week provides us with a healthy dose of Vitamin D and a bit of color with no sunburn. Plus, under normal circumstances, its fun to lay out, chatting away, reading our books on our Kindle apps on our smart phones.

Trying this path proved to be a dead end after a steep climb on irregular stone steps.  Back down we went, to try again.

This morning, while Tom slept in (an oddity), I heard the doorbell buzz at 9:00 am.  There stood Lisa’s parents at the door, each holding a brand new chaise lounge, price tags still attached.  Not only had they honored our request but they purchased new chaises.

Leave it to Tom to notice the build up of creosote in this chimney.  I’m checking out the flowers and design and he’s looking at maintenance issues. 

After many nods and numerous “grazie,” I placed the chairs inside, anxious to show Tom. Immediately, I ran to my computer to write to Lisa and Luca, thanking them for the chairs, saying “old” would have been fine but “new” was more than we could have asked. Could they be more thoughtful? Their kindness enriches our time in Boveglio.

Tom was the first to notice this pretty entrance which is actually an operating hotel.
These steps were more steep than they appear in this photo.  Puff! Pant! Puff! Pant!
Zooming in and looking up, we realized we had a lot more climbing ahead of us to get back. We walked up many steps to get to this inclining ramp.
We neared the ramp by climbing many steep steps.
Once again, we were on level ground for a few minutes.
More steps up and into a tunnel.
All of a sudden, another shrine appeared with a tub of two faucets running constantly with what appeared to be clean water, used by the residents.
What appeared to be fresh running water at the shrine, collecting in this large basin.
We came across this tall narrow house.  Can you imagine the steps inside this property? Its no wonder Italians appear so slim and fit!
Another tucked away shrine.
Another old carving of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus.

As we worked our way between the houses on the narrow walkways, we realized there was much more yet to discover which we’ll save for another day.With plenty of groceries to last through next week and the weather perfect at 80 degrees, the lavender beginning to bloom, we have literally no desire to go anywhere. 

This house looks free standing but it’s attached to other houses.

The $850 a month rental car sits unused in the parking lot assigned to the residents. I guess that’s all a part of “living” for periods of time in new and interesting locals. 

 The walkways although old and worn in spots are clean and well maintained.  Its evident that homeowners take pride in their neighborhood.

When we “lived” in our old lives, we didn’t go sightseeing every week (or ever for that matter), we paid for car payments, insurance, maintenance while our cars sat idly in our driveway on days off. 

This ramp was awkward to maneuver.  One must continually look down when walking to avoid falling on the uneven walkways.

We enjoyed our time at home, with or without visits from family and friends, doing what we loved to do, whatever that may have been at the moment. 

As we were nearing the far end of our yard, Tom looked for an access point without success, hoping to discover a shortcut.

One might argue, “Well, you won’t be in Italy forever. Better see it while you’re there.” That’s true and we’ve seen so much more so far than we’d have seen if we’d been on a two week vacation. And, we’ll see more soon, and we promise to share it all here.

The flag hanging on the veranda reminded us that the US holiday, the 4th of July, is tomorrow.  It will be the first time in either of our lives that we won’t be celebrating: no family and friends visiting, no flags, no flag cake, no long weekend, no barbecue, no big bowls of an array of salads, no water balloons and no fireworks.

We hope your summer day is warm, sunny and peaceful and that tomorrow, on the 4th of July (for those in the US), have a safe and enjoyable holiday!

Under the Tuscan Super Moon…”A Nightime Garden in Tuscany”…Cooking with herbs from the garden…

Aware that last night was the night of the full “Super Moon” we kept a watchful eye as the sun began to set behind the mountains. We hoped that redness in the sky would indicate a bit of warmth today, but its quite cool as it was yesterday was a sweater day.
We love photos of the moon, although my photo taking skills are limited.
Moments later, the clouds moving quickly.
Yesterday, a cool day, kept us indoors part of the day, with the veranda calling us to bundle up and partake of the beauty around us.  The brisk winds whipped around us as we huddled in our now “usual” spots overlooking the mountains and valleys of Tuscany. 
How quickly we forget the “chill” in Minnesota, finding ourselves whining about 55 degrees and a breeze!  We have been in relatively warm weather since last November, ranging from a low of 55 (Tuscany, yesterday) to a high of 105 (Dubai, a month ago), certainly nothing to complain about. 
Tom, dressed for warmth on the chilly day, still enjoyed lounging, time on the veranda. Can’t you tell by the smile on his face? When I packed that jogging suit, he said, “When will I ever wear that?” At least I got a few items right in my over-packing frenzy!
Although we never really get bored, with no Sunday Morning to watch, no news, no mindless drivel, all without a working TV, on chilly days we itch to get outside. With the poor Internet signal here and our MiFi not working, watching “free” online shows is sketchy. 
Using fresh herbs from the garden on our patio, we made Italian meatballs using the finest grass fed ground beef.
 Most TV series may be purchased on various sites which seem to work well for us with the Internet connection in the house. Prices range from $12.99 to $19.99 for a full season, certainly no more than renting a number of videos.
It was hard to believe that our hosts, Lisa and Luca had prepared this herb garden for our exclusive use while we’re here. 
Recently, at night we’d watched the entire 3rd season of Downton Abbey, one episode a night, and now we’re doing the same with the recent production of The Bible. Adapting to a different life than we knew.
Caring for and watering our herb garden is easy with this traditional Tuscan outdoor sink on the veranda.

With no air conditioning or fans in this house in Boveglio, we should be grateful for the cool nights. When we arrived over a week ago, it was in the high 80’s during the day, leaving us comfortable both day and night. The three foot stone walls of this solid house provide a definite cooling effect.

Last night after a fabulous dinner of homemade Italian meatballs made with herbs from our own garden on our patio, topped with Marinara sauce, stuffed with fresh, locally made mozzarella balls, topped with Provolone and Parmesan cheese, a side of fresh organic asparagus and a lofty salad, we felt a walk would be in order.

This window is above the stairwell that goes down to the basement where we wash clothes and access the main door.

As the sun started to set, as we anxiously awaited the appearance of the “Super Moon,” we walked up and down the various areas of the expansive yard with more growing gardens at our disposal. 

Tom suggested we take this shot again.  The last one we posted was unreadable due to the glare of the sun during the day.

A few special areas caught our eye. Although it was almost dark, we delighted in taking these nighttime shots of what we termed, “A Nighttime Garden in Tuscany.”

Learning to take photos has been a daunting task for me. When we acquired our new camera in April, we’d decided not to take the time to edit any of the photos. 

More herbs for our pleasure in the enormous backyard.

If a photo appears blurry from my lack of experience and unsteady hand, it is tossed into the recycle bin. Otherwise, you see them all here, some good, some not so good and some, often to my surprise, quite good.

Is this perhaps an old fashioned “courting bench?”  I wonder what stories this could tell.

Continuing to experiment with the zillions of settings on the camera, I’ve yet to find the perfect combination but continue to try. It astounds me that I do continue to try since I’m the sort who, if not naturally good at something, can easily move on to something else. Photo taking doesn’t come naturally for me.

Soon, these cherries will be ripe.  Due to my restrictive diet I can’t eat any fruit, but my eyes behold their beauty with great admiration.
Is this a pear tree?  Pears didn’t grow in Minnesota from my recollection.  We’ll verify our finds next time Lisa or her mother tend the gardens. 
With no cookbooks with me, I’ll be researching online for new recipes to make use of the wide array or herbs growing everywhere. 
Years ago, I was obsessed with Vinca Vines, growing this variegated leaf plant everywhere, including indoors where surprisingly, when watered frequently, they did quite well during the Minnesota winters. To see them here brought a warm feeling for my sister Julie, who shared my passion for Vinca Vines.
Anyone recognize these flowers?  Please comment if so.
Even a vine wrapping around a branch held special interest for us last night in the dark.
Sorry.  This is the second showing of these precious flowers by our mailbox. Gee, can we get mail here?  Supplies would be in order to take to Africa where we think we can’t get mail.
After taking photos on the grounds, we found our way to our usual spot on the veranda, awaiting the appearance of the “Super Moon.” As we sat down, we were disappointed when we didn’t see the moon in the same spot as the previous night.  

With many clouds in the sky, it didn’t appear to be enough to obstruct its view. Waiting patiently, chatting away, we squealed when suddenly it appeared to our left, big, bold and bright. Having yet to learn all the proper settings for moonlight, we winged it getting these, although not as clear and bright as we’d have liked, leaving us with a reminder of this special night for us in Boveglio, Lucca, Tuscany.
 Sooner or later, I’ll get it right.
Actually, so far, every night has been special in Tuscany. 
 Ugh, is that a plane, a bug or an alien spaceship?  Note the double exposure of the moon toward the center.  Bear with me.  I’m working on it.

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.

Our automated emails sent to those of you have signed up to receive daily messages of the latest post in your inbox still appears to be having a problem. Many have sent us email messages and inquires in Facebook.  Our web designer had assumed that the problem with Blogger was fixed but apparently not yet.  She continues to work on this and we will notify you as soon as it is repaired so once again you will find the daily posts in your inbox.

However, we continue to post each day and each post may be accessed by clicking on: for the most recent post to appear.  If you’d like you can bookmark the page for one click access.

Prior posts are only one click away on the right side of our homepage, under Past Posts by simply clicking on the dates you’ve missed.

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 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.