Dumbbells in the gym

More walking and back to Ireland

This was our last week in Italy… a bit sad but also good to get home and get back into my usual routine with the gym, music, and get back to work with a renewed confidence and relaxed brain. It’s been a truly lovely time, and I’ve been able to settle down and get myself into some better thinking habits. Will I stay in that now when I’m home? I’ll do my best.

Three weeks was long enough to be able to relax and have enough time to explore places and enjoy the local area, but also long enough to miss home! I’m happy about that, because it’s a sign that you’ve created a good life. Your everyday life is supposed to be something you want to go back to, even after a fabulous holiday.

I got some good activity this week too, although not as much as last week. I’ve been less organised to track my activity this week. But I got in around 10k or more of walking most days, either walking in villages during road trips, or to town and back.

Here’s a summary of my activities this week:
Monday – morning walk 2 km + PT + more leg strength + push-ups
Tuesday – morning walk 2 km + PT + village walks about 6 km + push-ups
Wednesday – morning walk 2 km + PT + sumo squats + evening walk about 6 km
Thursday – morning walk 2 km + PT + push-ups + village walks + evening walk, about 8 km
Friday – morning walk 2 km + PT + “airport walk” about 5 km
Saturday – slow slow day!
Sunday – morning walk 5 km + PT

Monday

I went for a nice morning walk, about 2 km, down the olive tree lane and up and down the road below. A beautiful morning light!

Later I got in some sumo squats and Bulgarian split squats – always good to do them although I think I need to work on my form on the latter.

Tuesday

My husband went for a run, and as usual I kicked off the day with a morning walk, about 2 km. There was some nice haze this morning, or perhaps I was out a bit earlier than usual. Beautiful views as always.

I walked about 2 km, but this day in total I walked almost 10k. After breakfast we went for a road trip that was meant to be small, but we were away most of the day. As usual, it included coffee and walking in various villages, this time Lettomanoppello, Roccamorice, and Roccacaramanico.

Our main plan was to visit a particular village halfway up the mountain, Roccacaramanico. This village is worthy of its own blog post, but I’ll mention here for curiosity that it’s a tiny village on the top of a hill, it has only 3 inhabitants (according to an article from 2022, they used to be 6 in 2001), and they claim to have beaten the Guinness world record in snow fall with 340 cm in one day in 1961.

No cars are allowed in this village. You can of course drive up but have to park outside the village and then continue on foot. There’s a little square with stunning views over the Majella mountain, and a little tavern where they have some pasta dishes and taglieri (which is a goodie plate full with mixed local sausages, ham, cheeses, and tomatoes).

We did some nice walking here of course. In such a small village there isn’t much of distance, but quite a challenging walk anyway with all those cobblestones mixed with pine needles, and a light decline. On the side of the square you can walk up some stairs to some old or at least beautiful lookout, and we went halfway up but then it was mostly blocked for some restoration work.

Sadly the tavern was closed, which perhaps could have been expected this time of the year (or perhaps the time of day), but we had a nice walk and it was good to see the village again. We saw some people having lunch on a patio, and there were plenty of other living creatures there too.

On the way down, we found another little forest area for walking, which we’ll explore more during another trip. It looked nice, with a little bar where they normally have ice cream and arrosticini, but now it was closed.

Wednesday

A slow day on the terrace, with work and Italian class on Zoom. But as usual I kicked off the day with a walk down the olive tree lane.

In the evening we went to town for some grappa in the bar, which meant a lot more walking, and I ended up on about 10k in total.

Thursday

Almost our last day in Italy for this time. I started with – no surprise – 2 km walk starting along the olive tree lane.

This day was mostly about preparing luggage, and mentally preparing to go from 25C and sun to 12C and rain. But we squeezed in some more walking and other good things too. In total, I walked 11k this day.

Since we didn’t have much food left in the fridge and it was our last day, we decided to go to Penne for lunch and then put my foot to the test by walking up to the top of Penne centro storico – the town (like many in this region) is built on a hill and to get up to the nicest areas you need to enjoy some steep inclines and steps. From past trips, I remember Penne was particularly challenging so I was very interested in giving it a try before going back home.

I had no problem whatsoever to get up. But what goes up must come down!

I was quite nervous going down here because it was uneven and I didn’t know if it would be slippery with the grass. Since learning I have low bone density, I’m more worried about falling (as if I needed that). But with strong legs, good shoes (I had my Altra Lone Peaks) and some good focus on where you put the feet, it’s no big deal.

I was very happy about how easy it felt to walk up and down in Penne. There is another interesting village in the area we normally visit, which is abandoned but recently at least partially rebuilt, and it has steeper inclines and is a quite difficult walk so we skipped it this time because of my foot. But after having walked in Penne, I realised it would probably have been possible, at least towards the end of the trip.

Friday

Travel day, not fun.
I took a last morning walk down the olive tree lane – you recognise the area by now! It was a bit more cloudy this morning but very warm and pleasant for a walk.

Before leaving we had coffee and a good chat with the agriturismo owners, which I always enjoy. They are such lovely people but this time they’ve been so busy while we’ve been here so we haven’t seen much of each other. Next time we’ll come during another time of the year, maybe in late spring.

Most of this day was spent in the car and at the Fiumicino airport. Quite much walking was done there too.

Saturday

We arrived home about 4 am, to find that the heating had shut down (sometimes we need to reset the boiler) and we had 12C inside the house. There’s always some excitement around this house! I went to bed wearing leggings, night gown and a jacket.

I had slept some in the car on the way down from Dublin, and slept a bit more, but my husband didn’t really. We were both absolutely knackered during the day. I barely did my PT exercises, only the heel raises.

But – it was Saturday which means music night in the pub. It was good to be back!

Sunday

After a good night’s sleep, plus one extra hour because it was time to turn the clocks backwards, we both felt much better, and went for a walk & run. My husband is going to do a half marathon in a month so he went for a run while I enjoyed a lovely walk. It certainly was the coldest morning walk I’ve done in a while, but it was calm and dry and I really enjoyed it! We had 5C (41F) outside our house. Compared to like 22C on Friday morning in Pianella, this really felt like winter.

But I’m happy to be back walking on these roads. I walked about 5k and felt good.

There were plenty of people out walking or running, and I love how most people you meet (especially the elderly) cheerfully greet you with hello or good morning. This morning it made me feel welcomed back to West Cork!


Thanks Kim and Deborah for hosting the weekly rundown link-up!

23 responses to “More walking and back to Ireland”

  1. Wendy avatar

    Wow, what a lovely trip! It looks like a trip back in time and so charming. I’d love to visit Italy–not the big cities, but the little villages, like where you were. How nice that you already plan to go back!!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, in a way it is a trip back in time! And I’m glad I’ve inspired you to visit villages like these. Big cities in Italy certainly can be beautiful, such as Rome, Florence, Venice etc… but regions like this is what I call the real Italy. Most towns will have a centro storico but also a newer part. Then there are all these medieval villages, some more “alive” than others, sadly many have moved away, since the mountain villages are quite remote. But they are still very worthy of seeing and very beautiful and charming. If you ever decide to go, let me know!

  2. Jenny avatar

    Your trip sounds amazing- it must have been hard to come back, especially with it being so cold there. But glad your foot did so well! That was a LOT of walking on all different surfaces.
    That little village only has three inhabitants? It sounds kind of lonely. But it looks beautiful (and they have cats to keep them company, i guess.).
    Glad you’re back and ready to get back to the gym!

    1. Susanne avatar

      It WAS hard to come back! Much harder than I thought, even if I knew the weather difference would be bad. I love where I live but I really, really enjoyed those 25 degrees…
      There’s various sources of info about Roccacaramanico and its inhabitants. What I do know is there are at least fewer than 10 inhabitants. But they are very passionate about the village, at least the people I used to communicate with. Personally I would love the peace and quiet but would worry about living so remotely, especially with some extreme weathers that can happen. But really, it isn’t so far away from other villages in the area.
      And yes, I’m really looking forward to getting back to the gym! Too bad tomorrow is bank holiday..

  3. Darlene S Cardillo avatar

    We turn the clocks back next weekend.

    Your pictures are wonderful. Thanks for sharing. I especially like the cat one.

    It seems that you foot is doing well and there was a lot of walking in Italy.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Darlene!
      My foot has been doing better than expected. All this walking on various surfaces and different levels of challenge has been very beneficial and everything is better, perhaps even back to where it was before injury. Now I’m looking forward to walking my old routes around home again.

  4. Kimberly Hatting avatar

    This trip really sounds wonderful! The villages you describe sound so quaint 😉 I love all the walking! Not only is it great exercise, but you see so much more of the surroundings on foot than you would in a car. I’m glad to hear your foot seems to be holding up well!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, you’re right, walking is the best way to see a place – although we need to move between places in the car.
      Walking went so well during this trip. I worried a bit since I knew it would have to involve a lot of walking. But with all the different surfaces I’ve walked, including uphills and downhills, it’s like everything about the foot rehab has come together and I’m almost back to normal.

  5. Coco avatar

    Wow, your photos are amazing. The first one in the olive trees is magical with the light!

    I can’t imagine a 3 week vacation. I rarely take a full week, but that’s my own problem. I think I’m afraid I wouldn’t want to go back to work, LOL.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Coco! That first picture is my favourite too!
      It was fabulous to go on a long holiday. I needed to completely switch off after my horror show of a summer, and it was absolutely perfect. I can understand where you’re coming from about going back to work though!

  6. Deborah Brooks avatar

    Looks like a fabulous trip! Italy is just magical isn’t it? I am already missing our time there this summer. Have a great week ahead

    1. Susanne avatar

      Italy is a fantastic place, so much beauty there. Not to say we don’t have beauty here though, just different! We’ll try to go back next year again.

  7. Cari avatar

    “t’s a sign that you’ve created a good life. Your everyday life is supposed to be something you want to go back to, even after a fabulous holiday.”

    Such a true sentiment
    I feel you on those hills, we had a view near where were based in Bettona and ouch
    Glad you managed the daily walk with your foot

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, I’m so happy I could walk so much! I wasn’t sure how the foot would respond but I guess I’m close to back to normal now and only need to work up my distances.
      Those hills are challenging but a lovely achievement to get up there too!

  8. Jenn avatar

    Honestly, I could happily move to Italy. I think I could even happily move to a village with three people and a cat or twelve.

    I’m so glad you had a great time and your foot handled the challenges. I’m sure that’s a huge boost to your morale!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Oh yes, imagine the peace and quiet (and talking about cats, we saw at least 5 cats when we were there!). Except if those 340 cm of snow fall again – yikes!
      How my foot has handled the challenges of this trip truly boosts my morale! Overall I feel that all this walking in different places and on different surfaces was what my foot needed to get fully back on track. Feels like it was an important part of my rehab!

  9. Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au avatar

    Hi Susanne – I SO glad your foot survived all that walking and especially the hills. It must have been such a relief after all those months of rehab to get it strong again. The change in climate must be an interesting adjustment, but nothing beats some time away in the sunshine – but also good to be glad to be home again.

    1. Susanne avatar

      It’s a fantastic feeling, Leanne, and I generally feel strong again which is wonderful. I was wondering if the warmer climate would make a difference, but I don’t think so. I struggled with lunges and pain in my big toes until the last week but certainly the climate made me walk more, which led to more movement, happier feet etc.
      I have mixed feelings about being home! I love being home but I dread the cold season. It’s just to enjoy the good things we have despite the colder climate.

  10. Jennifer Jones avatar

    I suppose all good things must come to an end. I love your Italy photos. I’ve never been but would like to go one day. Good to hear you’re feeling strong again. I’d say the time away has been good for you

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, this trip was very much needed especially for my mental health but it turned out to be very beneficial for my legs and feet too. I certainly didn’t expect that! It feels like everything that needed to get back to normal (I still had some lingering pain, stiffness, whatnot) did so from all the walking challenges.

  11. Jessie avatar

    Knackered! I love that term, it’s “new” to this American still. Looks like such a wonderful trip, but always good to be home and back into the normal routine.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Ha, there are so many UK & Ireland specific English expressions, aren’t there? I totally agree about getting back to one’s routine… I can’t wait to get back to the gym! (one our left!)

  12. Debbie avatar

    It’s great to hear that you’re getting around so much better now! After seeing your pictures, it makes me want to go back to Italy ASAP. It’s so beautiful!

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