Home At Last

Our flight home was not fun. Twelve hours in an airplane just wears a person out and we were both exhausted when we arrived in LA. Plus, if I hadn’t been 35,000 feet in the air I would have refused the food they served us and left. I couldn’t even identify some of the food served. I even asked the steward what it was. The only good thing is that I did have three glasses of wine. We paid extra for seats with no one in front of us and that was a rip off as people stepped on my feet and the steward cart bumped into me almost every time they went by. I slept very little.
Our wonderful cat sitters were there to pick us up and all we needed were our suitcases. We went to baggage claim and waited and waited and waited. Guess what? They were not there. We spoke to a baggage person at the claim baggage area and he said to look for the Italia baggage person. This person did not exist. Finally another worker said he thought all the baggage had been unloaded so we asked where to go. He said upstairs to continuing flights. We went to the next floor and asked someone else where to go and he said downstairs and we said we had already been there and they had said to come upstairs. We finally went to the Italia counter and told her the problem. A young girl was also there and sobbing. I didn’t understand what had happened to her as I had my own problems. We had arrived at 2:30 and it was now almost 4:00 and our ride was patiently waiting for us. We told the gal that our luggage had not been found and we filled out a form. She said that if it was there fault they would ship them to us and if it was our fault (we missed them at baggage claim) we would have to come back and pick them up. What a crock of bull! I gave her all my phone numbers and she said they would call us that night and let us know if they had been found. Did we get a call? Nope! We didn’t get our luggage in Barcelona and now we didn’t get our luggage in LA. We finally got home around 7:30 p.m.

Our Last Day in Italy

We got up this morning and drove to Bari to our last hotel and night in Italy. I had read about a fabulous church in
Bari called The Basilica di San Nicholas. The church was consecrated in 1197 and it holds wide religious significance throughout Europe and the Christian World. The Basilica contains the bones and relics of St. Nicholas and is an important pilgrimage destination for Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians from Eastern Europe.
Then we found our way to our hotel and checked in. After we had another great Italian meal we returned our car to the airport. We are now preparing to leave for home and have to get up at 5:15 a.m. to catch our plane. Ciao Italy.

A Lazy Day In Matera

Sunday, October 2nd – We got up this morning and went downstairs to a nice buffet breakfast. After breakfast we decided to drive around to see the small towns around Matera. On our drive we happened upon a road that lead to the other side of sassi and the huge gorge. We drove up the winding road to the top and got out of our car to see this wondrous sight from a different angle. The ancient town, gorges and caves look spectacular from both sides. I took many pictures.
We drove on towards Ginosa, Laterza and then Castellaneta. We saw farmers plowing their fields with many rocks and wondered how they could plow through all the rocks. We saw abandoned stone homes crumbling and other structures we could not identify. In Castellaneta we saw a Rudolph Valentino Museum and I looked it up and he was born in that town and he left when he was 18 for the United States.
We drove back to the hotel and had a late lunch and decided to rest. Tomorrow we drive to Bari and turn in the car. We will spend the night there and leave for home.

“la Citta Sotterranea” or the Subterranean City

We drove to Matera yesterday and could not find a room so we drove back to Altamura and spent the night there in a lovely hotel, Hotel San Nicola. We toured the sights in that town but they did not have a room for the next two nights so we left and drove back toward Matera. I was determined to see Matera. As we approached the town we saw a Hilton Garden Inn and headed for it. They had a room for tonight and the next night so we decided to splurge and spend two nights. We headed into the city and towards all signs that said sassi (stone in English). We had a difficult time maneuvering the streets and traffic but finally found the entrance to sassi. A tourist office told us where to park and after circling around twice we finally found it. We found another tourist office and booked a tour. We had two hours to kill so we walked towards a plaza and stepped up to a balcony and got our first glance of sassi. It was an astounding sight. Then we went to see a church and a wedding was taking place and we sat down and watched the wedding and soaked in the beauty of the church. Then we waited outside and saw the bride and groom exit the church with their families throwing rice at the bride and groom and celebrating. I love watching it all. Then we met our guide and realized we were the only tourists on the tour. We loved our guide and he took his time explaining the history of this incredible sight. This area has been settled since the Palaeolithic. The city was allegedly founded by the Romans in the 3rd century BC, with the name Matheola.
Matera has gained international fame for its ancient town, the Sassi di Matera (meaning stones of Matera”). The dwellings are thought to be among the first ever human settlements in what is now Italy. In 1958 the last inhabitants were forced to leave. In 1993 Sassi was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.