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About two hours into our trip that would take us to Florence, we pulled off the highway at a town called Orvieto.

Just before that I was admiring a large fortress-like castle perched high atop the Apeninnes.

I loved the way it was calling out to me. There was something special about this place, and I hoped I would one day be fortunate enough to visit there.

Not long after arriving back home, I came across a documentary called ‘Monte Don’s Italian Gardens’. In this show, he featured Tivoli and this same fortress I was admiring in Orvieto. This castle is part of a huge series of buildings, gardens and statues.

There are some popular photos out there of a variety huge statues covered in emerald green moss.

Maybe you have seen them.

This is where you can find these statues.

As we pulled off the highway, we passed a gas station. For some reason, it took me quite by surprise. Maybe, it reminded me too much of my North American travels by car.

The bus pulled up to a travel centre.

No doubt, we were all grateful for the opportunity to get off the bus, stretch our legs and get some fresh air.

And of course, there was the obligatory gift store…

As we walked through the first set of doors, we noticed an empty basket neatly placed in one corner. It was obviously meant for a cat. What made me smile was that it was lined with a pretty scarf.


Only in Italy would you find a cat’s sleeping box lined with a fashionable scarf.

As we walked though the second set of doors, we were greeted by rows and rows of shelving holding neat little boxes of fancy pastas, exquisite bottles of olive oil, and balsamic vinaigrettes. Then there were the glass jars of various olive pates which looked delicious. They were tempting indeed, however there was no way I was going to be able to get Frank even remotely interested in eating these culinary delights.

I found some merino glass bracelets which I purchased for three euros each, and a killer black scarf with gold thread for ten euros.

Worth every penny.

Of course, Jen and I checked out the facilities. I have learned to always keep some change handy for any attendants who are working there. They are most attentive as they go about their duties. I’m sure they work very hard to support their families.

Thankfully, the toilets are the modern ones, and not the squatters.

I do remember coming across them in my recent travels.

Interestingly enough, my brain has completely deleted whatever happened.

No doubt, I’m better off for it.


Before I exited the building, I could see Jen getting in line at the food counter.

There, she purchased a coffee and an orange croissant.

I had to smile, because earlier that morning, her indigestion was so bad that she told me she was swearing off coffee and rich foods for a day or so.


The croissant is indeed mightier than the tummy pain.

As we sat outside Jennifer began to tuck into her breakfast.

And suddenly, there was a cat, no doubt the owner of the scarf lined box we had observed earlier.

She struck us as incredibly aloof as she did not want to be petted, and then turned her nose up to Jennifer’s offering of a morsel of her orange glazed croissant.

As we rose from the bench to get back on the bus, Jen left it on the ground for her.

The last thing I saw as I boarded was the cat deciding to eat the morsel after all.

And this made me happy.


After settling back into my seat on the bus, I was very excited as the bus pulled back onto the highway.

Next stop: FLORENCE.