Tuesday, August 28, 2007

SOFTI Part Six

Part Six of a Series

We settled into a lazy routine for the next several days of either trips to the beach or window shopping and sightseeing in the older part of Gaeta. We took a ride up to Montagna Spaccata, doing the climb through the “split mountain.” Here's an image of the split, from Wikipedia.

Later, we even lucked into a private tour of Monte Orlando, including the Mausoleum of General Lucius Munatius Plancus (1st century BC). There is a bus to take people up to the top, and it was empty, so the driver, a talkative and friendly guy, gave us a wonderful tour.

The outdoor market is on Wednesdays, so we went one time to see what there was. One huge section was mostly clothing, and the other section was mostly food of all kinds and some house wares. There was one stall selling pets! They had parakeets and canaries, turtles, reptiles, bunnies and even squirrels!

I haven't mentioned food much (other than the pastry post), but it was a central focus of our life in Italy. :) Prosciutto (both salted and cooked), mortadella with pistachios, buffalo milk mozzarella, tomatoes, peppers, real parmesan cheese (parmigiano), fresh ricotta, goat and sheep cheeses, figs, sausages and salami (dried), gelato, coffee, and of course the pastries. Yum!

That same day (Wednesday) we took a bus to a town not far up the coast, called Sperlonga. It's very old, and used to be a resort for the Romans. There’s a natural cave that was used as an amphitheater, and it was lined on either side with statutes. The original statues aren’t there anymore, but they have replicas. You can see the cave opening at the far end of the beach--it looks like a black half-circle.

We didn’t get to see it, but maybe next time. Sperlonga is built on a promontory, and all the buildings are on top of each other.
This was a really funky looking tree in a courtyard in a newer section of the town.

There is no room for cars or motorbikes, and with all the stairs and narrow walkways, you couldn't use a bike, either--it's all on foot. The buildings are all whitewashed and it looks really beautiful.
The only mishap was that the bus we were supposed to take back never came! We ended up hiring a taxi instead, which cost 35 euros, vs. the bus ticket which was maybe 1 euro per person. At least it got us away from the mosquitoes. Eddie did get a wonderful picture of the sunset.

Part Seven tomorrow!

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