Journey to the Kingdom of the Dead in Grotte dell’Angelo or One Cave in Italy

Grotte dell Angelo (Caves of the Angel), a cave in Italy.

According to Greek mythology, souls of the newly dead arrived at the underground River Styx, which separates this world from the world of the dead, where the old ferryman, Charon, transferred them to the underworld on his boat for one coin. Yesterday, we floated along this underground river…. All right, maybe not the exact river, but if the River Styx ever existed, it might have looked like the one in Grotte dell’Angelo, a cave about 70 km from the city of Pertosa, in the province of Campania, Italy.

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The Traditional Village of Stanisici or Life Is a Miracle in the Balkans

The traditional village of Stanisici, Bosnia.

The traditional village of Stanisici, Bosnia.

I have noticed that in the past ten years, ethnic tourism and recreation in traditional villages have become incredibly popular in the Balkans, Europe. Most likely, it started in Serbia, in the mountainous area of Zlatibor (“zlati bor” is a “golden pine” in Serbian) where Emir Kusturica built his Drvengrad or, as the Germans call it, Küstendorf. This ethno village project was as original as its creator, the most famous film director of the Balkans.

They say that this idea came to Kusturica during the filming of “Life Is a Miracle.” Later, he transported his parents’ house to Zlatibor and began to look for and to buy old houses in Serbia to dismantle and reassemble them in a new place: in his ethno-village. Today it has about 50 traditional houses. This is a prototype of a typical early 20th century Serbian village which usually had several houses and was surrounded by magnificent nature. There are no more such villages in Serbia. I know this because I have a house in that area.

I think I understand why the project turned out to be so successful, and today you can find ethno villages in any part of the former Yugoslavia. This is an embodiment of people’s love for the lost country of their ancestors, and this is nostalgia for peaceful times before the Balkan conflict. Emir Kusturica was able to recreate the ideal village of his childhood with its cozy wooden houses where roosters crow every morning, white lilies bloom under windows, and where life is perceived as a miracle as it was many years ago.

However, there is a problem: the road trip from Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, to Drvengrad takes about five hours by car, too long for just a day-trip. Of course, you can get there without a rented or private car, perhaps by bus, but such a long trip without spending a night in Drvengrad will not be easy. So I will tell you of another incredibly charming place. This is the ethno village of Stanisici in the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, three kilometers from the border with Serbia.

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To Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy, Accompanied by Orvieto Classico


Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy.

Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy.

We left Orvieto for Civita di Bagnoregio very early, at 7 a.m. Not used to small distances between cities in the Italian region of Umbria, we found ourselves at the place in half an hour. (From Orvieto to Civita di Bagnoregio: 27 km, 37 minutes by car.)

The Internet is filled with beautiful photographs of Civita di Bagnoregio, therefore we hoped to spend a whole day in this town and make our photos as good as those on the Web! We found a parking lot, paid for the whole day, left the parking ticket under the windshield, and in a good mood went to explore the “dying city.”

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The Annual Family Holidays in England


Do you remember your family holidays near the sea? No?
Then read this wonderful post by Andrew Petcher.
That will take you back to your childhood.


Family holiday

By Andrew Petcher.

When I was a boy in the 1950s and 1960s family holidays came once a year and were rotated tri-annually between a caravan in Norfolk, a caravan in Cornwall and a caravan in Wales. I’m not being ungrateful because these holidays were great fun and in those days it was all that my parents could afford.

Bad weather didn’t stop us going to the beach however and even if it was blowing a howling gale or there was some drizzle in the air we would be off to enjoy the sea. If the weather was really bad we would put up a windbreak and huddle together inside it to try and keep warm.

Most of the time it was necessary to keep a woolly jumper on and in extreme cases a hat as well and Wellington boots were quite normal. As soon as the temperature reached about five degrees centigrade or just slightly below we would be stripped off and sent for a dip in the wickedly cold North Sea in a sort of endurance test that I believe is even considered too tough to be included as part of Royal Marine Commando basic training.

In the sea

Read the full post on the Andrew’s blog…
You will get a real pleasure.