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Sunday, August 26, 2012

A truly amazing day

Saturday 25th August

Temperature up to 39°
Checked out of the hotel and we were pleasantly surprised that our room which was very large was €39 per night and that included breakfasts.
Left the hotel and headed south towards Ancona- Guide books were not very complimentary about the popular seaside resorts- packed wall to wall people. We try to get off the beaten track and we have done that today. Started on the autostrada - very busy with traffic all headed for the beach I think! and then left to go into Ancora ( very grotty and unimpressive place from what we saw from the car). Evidently very popular with the Italians for a seaside holiday. Graham had wanted to swim in the Adriatic Ocean but changed his mind. 
We headed for the hills instead as we are staying in Macerata. Had some fun finding the place as the GPS couldn't find the street. We pulled up in a side street and entered a street name that was partly the same as the hotel address about 2 kms away from where we were and part of the old city. By pure luck we found it- I spotted a sign to 3 hotels one of which was ours. Up a narrow one-way lane we ditched the car and walked to the entrance, booked in and then put the car in the frightfully tiny carpark. The whole place has gone for Siesta. We arrived Saturday afternoon 2.30pm - I think the shops will reopen around 4-5pm, so expect some activity. Walking is the only way to go - so have done lots, back to hotel for a rest, catch up on emails etc then will hit the pavement again and see what is going on. We found the info place and were informed that there is a free concert tonight at 9.15pm so we'll see. Just waiting for the small supermarket to open to grab some coffee. We brought our jug and mugs (from France) with us and it has been fantastic as tea /coffee are not available in the hotels as they are back home

We have driven enough narrow and winding roads to decide that the Amalfi Coast will be done in a  bus! The drivers here are manic and I guess it doesn't help if you're not quite sure where the road goes. Not much horn blowing yet but neither to they indicate. I've decided that my arms aren't long enough when needing to grab tickets on the autostrada and if we ever do this type of holiday again, we'll check out auto cars.
A few thoughts about driving in Italy and the traffic
Autostrada is fantastic with speed limit 130 which no-one abides by. No-one reduces speed as sign posted in areas of road works
There is much lane changing with no indicators
Cars pull out in front of you frequently
The lanes to grab tickets and pay road toll are very narrow and my arms aren’t long enough to reach. Long stretches of travel are quite expensive
Roads are not in particularly good order – loads of pot holes.
To get a feel for the local area, get off the main roads- they are narrow and windy but worth the experience, if at times hair raising going around the corners.
Sharing the driving is a must at least for us.

Main Corso Macerata
Our  accommodation

One-way traffic!
Statue outside the museum

Love the shuttered windows
Left the hotel about 8pm - streets are alive again with cafes and restuarants all open for business. We firstly came across a free art show complete with book and poster. Art by local artists- some was excellent. We then enjoyed a lovely dinner (no pizza or pasta) after which we wandered down toward the main road Viale Trieste which divides the old & new Macerata. We stumbled across a vintage car display in Piazza Mazzini and we had been advised at the information office about a free concert at 9.15pm in the Sferisterio (open arena) Entry was by ticket but they were free and Graham managed to get 2 tickets and we enjoyed the first half of the opera.  We had no idea what it was about but the singing and costumes were good. We left at interval about 10.45pm as we were both very tired. A truly amazing evening.

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