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I have had a horrible week at work this week – AND ITS ALL YOUR FAULT! We left Naples in 25 degrees of sunshine, and returned to cold dark wet Britain complete with moaning patients and a sick wife! …. I need a holiday.
Arrived in Naples half asleep, only to find we had to catch a bus to get to the car hire place: not a big problem other than the Italians don’t do queuing, and so when the second bus was suddenly full, we Brits who had been near the front of the queue started to get wise as to the liberal use of continental elbows and shouting. Eventually found a Lancia with a broken passenger seat and off we went. Because of previous trips I took my best friend Tom Tom with me. Genius! We’d still be going round Naples competing with mad Italian drivers, looking for road signs otherwise…
Heading to the Basilicata Coast and inland a bit, we eventually found Maratea, having stopped for a coffee in a motorway caff – Cathy not impressed at this stage with Italian fine dining – and promptly drove past the hotel twice (despite the owners mother waving at us – we thought she was just a friendly local!). Tom Tom not so helpful when “You have reached your destination” is a car park on a side road to nowhere!
La Locande delle Donne Monache is exactly as it is described and as the photos look in the brochure (surprising that, isn’t it!). A converted monastery, halfway up a steep hill, overlooking a picturesque valley in sunshine. And the room . . . . ! In the on-line brochure for LLDDM, the suite we had was called La Vicaria (The Spanish Wedding?) and is the one with the rock-hewn bathroom. The interesting approach to get into the bath for a shower was to climb up the rock and into the bath from the top end! Otherwise its a very ungainly leg over the top approach. I of course was the elegant one!
I’d love to know where you found this place: it is very ‘out of the way’ and most guests only seemed to stay for one or two nights. The hotel restaurant was only us the night we dined in, which was a little lacking in atmosphere, and most of the local restaurants were closed (or closed to us – one appeared to be hosting a private party one night and was full, and then closed the next night.) The hotel is a lovely size, has a wonderful swimming pool/outdoor dining area, and even a small gym. It is very twee, and run marvellously by the owner and her family. They apparently also own a hotel in Sorrento. Without wishing to sound unkind, I hope the area doesn’t become too well known as it is an absolute gem.
We managed to climb to the top of the hill/mountain on a wet morning to see the statue of Christ; second only in size to Rio apparently, although why he’s there goodness only knows. Having struggled up the zig-zag path for over an hour – at a good pace I have to say – we met a group of what could only be Italian travel agents taking in the view. “Where are you from” one asked. “From the village all the way down there” I replied proudly. “No” he said, “I meant you must be from England wearing those clothes!” Just because he had arrived in a bus and was wearing a suit and thick overcoat, and we were sweating in shorts and T-shirts in the drizzle. Travel agents on a freebie – Pah!
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