It’s funny when you wake up in an air-conditioned room, in your semi-conscious state, that you forget that you are on holiday and that the temperature is entirely man made. As soon as I opened the back door and stepped out into the open air, it hit me. It must have been eight o’clock but it was already very hot and humid but with the gentle breeze in your face blowing off the sea and hitting the elevated rock face we were perched on. The view below was still amazing and the horseshoe of mountains seemed to hold and protect that farmland, villages and even the big town of Latina below us.
We had picked up provisions for breakfast the previous evening and spread out the bread, jam, fruit and cheese selection and ate breakfast and soaked in the sun. No-one was keen on doing too much after the long slog of the day before so we agreed that it would be a rest and recuperation day. My mum and brother set off to find a supermarket and explore the villages below as the rest of us stayed in the villa and played in the pool.
The kids introduced me to a new game called, rather fittingly, Marco Polo. Someone was picked as being ‘it’ and they had to stand in the middle of the pool with their eyes shut while everyone else ‘hid’ in the pool. The ‘it’, with eyes still firmly shut then shouted ‘Marco’ and the hunted had to respond “Polo” and, using sound alone, they had to tag the hunted. Simple, old fashioned fun, but it killed hours and didn’t involve any sort of electronic device so it was good for me!
For lunch I wandered into the town square to pick up some more bread, crisps and drinks and took the opportunity to wander through some more of the cobbled streets and say hello to more of the locals. It was obvious that the village was family focused and a lot of the people that lived there had lived there for generations. I suspected that none of the front doors were locked and no one had any secrets. Everyone was terribly friendly and very helpful, especially when it came to helping with my shopping when I had such a terrible grasp of Italian.
As the sun started to drop behind the far-off mountains off to the North it was time to get out of the pool and freshen up for our evening in town. Our departure from the house was delayed somewhat by the neighbourhood cats and how bloody cute they were. Hanging around their benefactor’s front door for their biscuits to be thrown out to them. I say benefactor very carefully as it wasn’t their owner, they never seemed to get into the house, just hang around outside like it was a soup kitchen for homeless cats.
We wandered up the cobbled streets and stopped at the first restaurant we found. A smart and friendly young chap looked after us and we sat inside the empty main room and ordered our meals. It is amazing how tiring it can be to do absolutely nothing all day and we were all dropping tired as we had a meal that was far too nice for a family with three kids, two of whom were vegetarians, to appreciate. I think my little boy missed the subtle flavours of the locally sourced truffles and wild mushrooms in his pasta dish, but he pretty much ate every last mouthful none the less.
It was becoming a bit of a tradition, if you can have a tradition after two days, that on the walk home we stopped on the viewing platform next to the church and just watched the world go by for a little while. I vividly remember holding onto my daughter, silently, and just watching the cars and scooters pottering along the roads and thinking how lucky we were to have found this spot.