During our September 2003 trip to Spain and Italy we met a lot of nice people. People we talked to and people we shared food and wine with. We took some photos and here they are. If you see yourself or you want a copy of any of these photos, just email us. The web photos will probably not print out very well.
The first photo on the left is of Irene and Dennis at a vineyard in Tuscany only a short distance from San Gimignano, Italy. I guess we don't have to tell you what they liked best about staying on a vineyard. Actually, this is a good representation of what you can do when you stay on a vineyard. Obviously, you have access to plenty of wine but you don't have to go out to dinner every night. Most guests shopped in town and bought some bread, cheese, olives, chips, salami, etc. and sat outside on the patio on some nights.
The next photo was taken in Granada, Spain, near the Cathedral. These women wanted to be my friend and they were very persistent. First they just wanted to give me some weeds but then they wanted to tell my fortune and then they wanted my money.
While we travel we have the habit of stopping in very nice hotels and getting a drink. The atmosphere is usally nice and the prices are not bad if you only get a drink or two. Here were are at the Hotel Las Casas de la Jederia in Seville, in a very nice courtyard, where we met Robert and Joanna from England.
After we picked up our car in Seville we drove in a clockwise direction aroun Andalucia trhough Jaen, Granada and then down to the south coast to a small hotel in La Herradura, Hotel La Tartana. This hotel is owned by several Americana and it has only a few rooms but great food. A very relaxing and quiet place to stay. Here is a photo of Christine and Penny, one of the owners, at the bar.
One night at the bar we met Derek and Simone. Derek was a painter and had an exhibition in a town on the way to Malaga so we stopped there on the way to the airport and bought one of his paintings. He agreed to ship it home. He is Derek and Christine at the exhibit in Frigiliana with the painting we purchased.
Now we are in Italy and one night in Siena, at the Trattoria Tamborine, a small family restaurant we have visited for many years, we met Sandy and John from Australia. Sandy was born in Dunedin, New Zealand.
One day we took the 6:52 AM train from Terontola in Tuscany to Rome, arriving at 8:30 AM. After spending several days around Cortona in the extremely quiet castle where we had rented an apartment, Rome was very crowded and noisey. Our plans for the trip to Roma went from staying overnight in Rome to taking the last train home at 10:40 PM to taking a free guided walking tour of St. Peter's Basilca, walking to the top of the dome, walking to the Pantheon, stopped for lunch at a sidewalk cafe, walked to the Trevi Fountain, walked to the Roman Forum and toured the Coliseum. By then I was ready to go back to Cortona so we did, on the 3:15 PM train. Here are the people we met in the 5 hours we were in Rome. This nice lady wanted some donations and then we watched her go around the corner, meet two dirty young men and split her take. Then at the Coliseum, this man, dressed as a gladiator, just walked up to people and asked them if they would take his picture with them. Italians sure are friendly.
When we left the castle after ten days the family came out to the main gate to say goodbye. Here is Cristina, Franca, Christine and Claudio. We had been the only people staying at the castle for 10 days. look at one of our prior trips to Italy to see photos of the castle and the views from the castle.
We really didn't meet these two woman in Volterra but they looked so cute.
After the castle we went to our favorite vineyard near San Gimignano and met several nice people. While we were there a group of Swedish Walkers stopped in for a wine tasting, before you knew it most of the guests at the vineyard decided that they too, wanted to taste some wine. Here are some photos:
The next photo was taken at the breakfast table on our second morning at Vallebuia, we slept in the first morning and missed everyone. Clockwise around the table starting with Christine are: Christine, Jo, Keith, Jim, Judy, Dennis and Rose, Irene slept in.
Later that afternoon some of the guests started joining Dennis and Irene, who had their own wine tasting, out on the patio. Here are Patrick and Gillian from Australia .
Here are two more photos, Marjorie and Francesca. Francesca owns the vineyard and Marjorie is her mother. Here we are, John and Christine at the vineyard.
After Vallebuia, we headed for the Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare, and the La Spiaggia Hotel. At the hotel, we watched Maria making espresso with Monica on the right for a large lunch group. Here is a second photo of Maria at the coffee bar.
Eating and drinking is very popular in the Cinque Terre at night and there are many bars and cafes along the seafront. It's very relaxed and quiet. One night at the Enoteca Wine BAr on the seafront we met two traveling Americans Michele and Nicole. and then a few nights later we met them again and took this group photo of John, Christine, Michele, Nicole, Andrea and Andrea's friend.
We also met a family at the Belvedere Restaurant in the old town area of Monterosso. Here are some photos taken then:
Throughout Italy you will see small groups of woman talking. Here is one such group. The woman in the black dress was the leader.
And finally, Christine in St. Jean cap Ferrat in France.