One of the 23 different waterfalls in Slunj, Croatia.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Slunj, Croatia.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? South towards Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Castles and Yachts

We set out yesterday morning with plans to go to both Lucca and Pisa. But we got a bit of a late start. It was just after 10:30am when we set off down the hill. We got to the valley where the road heads to Brugnato, and sure enough, the "road closed" sign was still there.

So, just like we had to detour the day before, we now had another long detour to contend with.

I enjoy driving on these narrow mountain roads though. There's hardly any traffic. It's kind of fun, and the little red car is fun to drive! But, it's also slow going because you have a hard time getting up over 40 km/h (24 mph).

Down in the valley, the town of Rocchetta di Vara.

Ruth took a video for you showing the curves and road conditions. And, it's not like this only for one's like this for about 25 kms (15 miles).

And so not only is it slow going, but there is lots of great scenery and little villages to stop in. So eventually, we changed our plan and decided that we didn't get an early enough start to carry on to Lucca and Pisa...we're now saving that for Friday. Instead, we decided to see La Spezia.

Old bridge.

The little red car.

Scenery along the way.

Hmm. I think this castle warrants a closer look!

So we drove into the village of Calice al Cornoviglio.

Ruth at Calice Castle. 

There are conflicting reports as to when this castle was built. Some sources mention the year 1206, while other say 1054. Either way, this is a very old structure!

Lots of history here.

If you want something to last, you have to build the walls really thick!

Too bad the interior was closed.

Water tap.

The castle now houses a museum, an art gallery, and some municipal offices.

We continued driving, and finally arrived at the city of La Spezia (pop 94,000). We had noticed when we drove through here on a busy weekend that parking is a bit of a problem, so we parked at the big shopping mall and walked into the city.

We headed first to the big marina. We were just looking for somewhere to sit and have our lunch, and sure enough we found some benches at the marina. La Spezia has a huge shipping port and is also a major docking station for the Italian Navy.

And the marina is also popular with rich people's boats!

The one on the right is fairly new.

I want to see the inside!

This one holds 50,000 liters (13,200 gallons) of fuel! 
Imagine the bill to fill it up!

Now that's a big boat!

Lifestyles of the rich and famous.

Looking back at La Spezzia from the harbour.

We walked up to the castle in La Spezzia. Nothing special considering some of the other castles we have seen. In fact, La Spezzia overall doesn't impress us. There's a lot of activity by the graffiti criminals, and there doesn't appear to be any effort to clean it up. And it just has a generally run down feel to it.

La Spezzia, Italy.

Try finding a parking spot in La Spezzia!

The old castle wall dates back to 1100.

Higher end residences.

Looking back at La Spezzia port.

Church bells.

Saw a nice rainbow on the way back.


Oh, and they had our bridge re-opened to traffic so we didn't have to do the detour on the way home! They were still doing some work, but hopefully the worst is over.

Today looks like it's going to be an indoor day. It's pouring buckets of rain out there right now. Friday is supposed to be warm and sunny (we'll see...) so we'll get an early start tomorrow to go to Lucca.

Check out the deals here....


  1. Another wonderful country drive on the back roads , looks like fun.

  2. Your video of the drive brings back old memories, tiring because you have to be so fully focused and engaged and constantly shifting gears to keep from stressing out the brakes. We did that long drive in the Swiss Alps in October of 1974 at higher altitudes and periodically with snow banked to the side of the road. But we were a lot younger then with less brains and more stamina for the trip.

    1. Your Swiss Alps drive sounds like one that we would love to do. We really love driving these mountain roads.

  3. Gorgeous photos yet again.
    That video makes me nervous. I hate roads like that.

    1. Thanks Paul and Marsha! We love roads like that. :-)

  4. That photo of the castle with mountains in the background was gorgeous. So we're the yachts. 😀

    1. When we were driving that road in the middle of nowhere we never expected to see a castle. It was quite the sight from higher up but there was nowhere on the road to pull over and get a picture of it from way up higher.

      Kevin was dying to see what the inside of one of those yachts was like!

  5. How are you finding getting groceries un a foreign land?

    1. We have no problem at all! They have grocery stores here just like back home. They don't always carry some of the products that we are looking for so I just find something that might be similar. The hardest or longest part is trying to translate the ingredients on the labels. First to make sure there is no gluten in the product and secondly to make sure there isn't any junk in it (additives) that we don't want. We mostly by whole foods so it really isn't a problem at all.

  6. Wait until you see the yachts in Monaco marina when you go there!!

    1. We have seen James Bond movies of Monaco, we know there are going to be big beautiful yachts there! ;-)

  7. The video reminds me of El Espinazo del Diabo.

    1. We had the same thought as we were driving along it! :-)

  8. You sure have seen your share of old castles (and our share, too! -- haha). Amazing that so many cities in Europe can boast an 800-year-old (or thereabouts) castle. It would be grand if wandering through each one was allowed. Think of all the neat things you might see ... treasures, ghosts, bones, gemstones, who knows what else?! Ooooh, the dungeon!

    1. Wow, we sure have, not only in Romania, Moldova but also in Spain, Portugal and now Italy. We thought there were lots of castles in Spain but Italy is full of them. It seems that just about every town has a castle and if the town is on a hill, well it seems to be law that it HAS to have a castle, lol!

      Many of the castles you can wander around but some of them have been closed when we were there or they want too much money as an entrance fee and because we have seen so many for free unless it is spectacular and worth the money then we aren't interested in paying. Really you can only see so many of them!


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