Where's Frankie?

Lucky left or rubbish right?

Wednesday 12th October

What I don’t understand is if church bells are meant to be signalling the time why do they go absolutely crazy at quarter to eight in the evening, sound the hours at 8pm, 9pm and then 10pm and are silent until they get into another frenzy at 7am and again at 7.45am?

In our usual manner we had a plan last night which was changed this morning for some reason. I’d found a costa in Gorizia and one of our guide books (we have two for Italy, neither less than 12 years out of date) was gushing about the town.

The costa looked OK but it was mostly full of parked for a long time motorhomes, not like us nimble go hither and thither travellers. After parking up we walked into the town and I felt decidedly underdressed. It was sunny when we got up so shorts and t-shirt are the order of the day. I would like to think that it is my good looking features and lithe physique which caused most people to stare at me in awe but it was probably due to them all being wrapped up in padded coats with scarves and hats that did it.

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We found the castle, I had to remind Lucy that it would be at the top of the hill like every other castle that we have ever visited. I am a bit hazy about Italian history but do know that this area was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Napoleon has been here and had to give part of the area back and the Venetians controlled the area at the height of their power. It all gets very confusing as to who was on who’s side.

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Just below the castle entrance is the Cappella Di San Spirito, built in 1398.

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And the parking for the castle. I don’t know how that Dutch motorhome got up there but the view across the valley would have made Frankie smile, of course we would have called it Frankie Valley.

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The tower foundations were built in the 9th century but work continued unto 1508 adding bits here and there and trying to make sure it wasn’t going to be easy to get in.

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There are murder holes above and a long narrow corridor to help the defenders repel the enemy.

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And the view from the battlements over the town. We initially thought that the castle was closing at noon (just as we arrived) but after doing a bit of translation discovered that was just Mondays. Visitors fee was just €3 each and included a nice self guided tour, bargain in my book.

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First room – the servants dining room, followed by the kitchens.

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The loggia with herringboned floor.

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The Hall of the Provincial States, home to a permanent exhibition of musical instruments from the middle ages to the baroque period.

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We spent a good two hours in the castle, there was hardly anyone else there, we were outnumbered by the staff.

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Back at Frankie and although we had thought about staying the night for various reasons, one of them was that we were parked in the shade, we decided to keep on moving after lunch – Montasio cheese as recommended by Giorgio, not my favourite but still early days, a couple of months of it might start to make me like it.

Anyway, we have had to make a difficult decision with far reaching effects. Basically lucky left or rubbish right, and we want to be lucky. We have a list of places that we want to visit in Italy, most of them are on the west coast and we reckon that we could, fairly comfortably, do them in three weeks. We also think that we could get down to the bottom of Italy in a month, stay down at the bottom over Xmas and do the major visitations in the New Year. That leaves us six weeks to play with so have decided to go to Croatia and sit on a beach for a couple of weeks – all this blogging has worn me out and having had a glimpse of the sea today I’m sure that we have made the right decision. It will also give me a chance to get the BBQ out and do some proper outdoor burning.

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Beer of the day, on the left is Lasso from Slovenia up against the mighty Gosser from Austria. Lasso wins by a very small margin. Our Camper Contact shows a 4 bay sorta at the Grotto Gigante which is where we are now. There are no signs so I’ve had to ask the girl in the retail therapy shop if we can stay the night – she shrugged – that means yes, doesn’t it?

Tonights dinner was treacle beast with mustard cooked in our MrD Thermal Cokker that our friends Dave and Liz bought us in April. It was excellent of course.

The bar closed at 8pm, everyone has gone and it is pitch black and silent – that’ll do for me.

3 thoughts on “Lucky left or rubbish right?

  1. Chris Clements

    Croatia is absolutely beautiful Mark and our most favourite place but you will find the weather is the same as at home and a lot of the campsites are closed until May. We didn’t notice very many stop over places when we were there but then we didn’t have a book. The beaches are not sand but White rock and stones although beautiful. If I was you I would save it to the spring to see it in its best light. We can’t wait to get back their ourselves. We are in the Algarve at the moment and moving on to Cadiz, Seville, Córdoba Ronda and Granada afterwards. Will probably hire a little cheap car to do the white villages etc. After that we are not sure but need to be back the week before Xmas. We have been enjoying your blog. I really need to start mine again this trip but just been feeling lazy. Take care both of you xx

    1. Mark Post author

      Near Seville is Italica, we didn’t get to go there because there was a big event while we were there but we’re told that it is very good. Also outside Cordoba is Medhina Azahara, it was closed when we went! Google them both and see if they float your boat. Also check out El Roccio, definitely algol differente.
      Just up from Cadiz is Sanlucar, large free aire and lovely walk into the town. You’ll love the cafes and restaurants and be sure to go on a sherry tasting tour.
      My favourite place in Spain so far is Murcia. We stayed on a lovely aire set in a lemon grove about 6 miles from the city but a very easy cycle in. Murcia doesn’t have any real tourist attractions and that is probably why I liked it so much – the shops were catering for Spaniards, not tourists. Beer and tapas by the cathedral was so cheap it was almost embarrassing.
      We have some camping cheques left over and have found three or four sites close to the beach which are open all year round, we’ll pootle about for a bit and see what’s what, we don’t like travelling far each day, certainly nothing like your marathon sessions but then we are more than happy sitting in a stellplatz, aire or sosta.
      You both keep enjoying yourselves.

  2. Giorgio

    To many visitors [and Italians] the code of the bells is not obvious. Once you are in Italy,visitors don’t have to be historians, though, to see that the Church has played a significant central part of life since Roman times. In those days, people did not have watches and the bell called people to prayers or to mass. Normally, these would be at 6 am, noon and 6 pm. but there were several variations.

    In that light, what I think you may have heard at 7.45 pm was the Angelus bell.
    The fact that some bell ringers may get carried away in some provinces cannot be discounted.
    I hope this helps.

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