It was always a hope that we could meet up with Yasha and Juergen (my sister and her husband) somewhere in Europe and we decided we would try for the island of Sicily in Italy. So we were going to be sisterly in Sicily!
With this intention and after celebrating a fabulous New Year with Anthea and Gerard, and Paulo and Lucy, and then Lucy’s birthday, we headed off early in January through Spain to catch a ferry from Barcelona to Civitavecchia in Italy. Along the way, we met up and spent a few days traveling with Lena and Colin who were in their motorhome on holiday.
During this time the situation with regard to the pandemic was constantly changing in Europe making it extremely difficult to plan and pre-empt requirements and restrictions in crossing borders. This led to ultimately arriving in Italy very unwell from the stress (not the virus) and along the way changing our plans from meeting in Sicily, instead driving south to Paestum to where Yasha and Juergen were waiting for us.
Once recovered, we traveled through southern Italy, visiting the ancient ruins of Pompei (which was almost devoid of tourists), Matera and its amazing streets, caves and partly rock face buildings, Alberobello and Locorotondo viewing the enchanting Trullis, the seaside towns of Gallipoli and Santa Marie de Leuca (beautiful sunsets over the Ionian Sea), the white city of Ostuni, some time on the beaches of Metaponto Lido and near Corigliano, the hilltop town of Rocca Imperiale, before heading across the boot of Italy to the west coast again to Pizzo and Tropea (where we celebrated Juergen’s birthday and got a police escort through one-way streets the wrong way to the only motorhome parking space available in the town), and then headed north.
By now we had worked out that returning to the UK by the end of March was not desirable due to continued lockdown conditions so we had decided instead to catch a ferry from Ancona to Split in Croatia to spend some time out of the Schengen area as our time was restricted to 90 days in any 180. This gave us the chance to visit Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Anagni, and have a brief visit to Rome, escaping just in time to avoid being locked down there indefinitely. We spent our last couple of weeks meandering through the towns of Pitigliano, Todi, and Assisi where we said our farewells to Yasha and Juergen (certainly not without tears) and headed to the ferry for our next adventure.
Nine amazing weeks spending more time together than my sister and I had since our childhood. I know at times it was difficult with all the extraneous worries to deal with but this time together was so necessary and affirming and restored some of my resilience to tackle whatever lay ahead. What a blessing to have our sisterly time.
Hopefully, the photos will give you a taste of our incredible time in Italy. Enjoy – we certainly did!!