Thursday, November 21, 2013

Side Stop on the Way to Croatia: Ancona, Italy

I am sure that our experience in Ancona was atypical.  By staying in one spot (literally) in the middle of nowhere for almost 2 days, we were able to connect with the people.  We connected with our hosts as well as our waitress.  The bed and breakfast was really more like an in-law suit as we had our own little apartment connected to the house.  Amelie and Liam slept on a futon fold-out in the kitchen area.  This really baffled Amelie that we allowed such strange accommodations.  
We did not take any pictures of the property, however I found this picture on my phone that Amelie took.  I guess she wanted to make sure we always remembered the time we made her sleep in the kitchen.
Since we could only explore as far as we could walk, we spent our time at the zoo, eating at the zoo restaurant, and hanging in our host's garden. 

The first day we went to the zoo we were the only visitors.  The second day we went to the zoo was All Saints Day and we were joined by many other families.  Amelie and Liam were more interested in the playground equipment on the second day than the animals, but that was okay.   The zoo was smaller, but had a lot of neat animals that could be seen up-close.  Our favorite was the lion family, seeing ostrich eggs, getting up-close and personal with the camel, and monkeys.  Liam is mastering the art of small talk and would go to each animal and tell them his name followed by the fact that he "is doing fine."  Amelie and Liam both love climbing.  They climb on everything these days!
This mommy monkey (baby not in the picture) and Liam were amazed by each other.  He laughed and laughed as the monkey looked at him and touched the glass.
This camel was very interested in us.  Amelie and Liam were very intimidated by the size and closeness of this animal (and rightfully so), but Bobby encouraged them to interact.  However, Bobby and I grew nervous that the camel would spit on him! ;) It didn't but we all were laughing so hard at the thought of the possibility!
I can't tell if they are enjoying checking out the animal or just being able to climb.  This area contained zebras (and a baby zebra) and ostriches.
Ostrich eggs!
The lion family.  We were also able to see them up close from the window on the other side of their rock too.
Climbing, climbing, climbing...keep those little boys climbing...Climbing!!!  (Sung in the tune of Rawhide)
Liam talking to his goat friends.
Climbing on the rail to get a good look at the hippo.  The hippo was asleep one day but awake another day...blowing bubbles and rolling over in the water.  
Amelie enjoys spinning in the swing so she wound Liam up to let him spin.
I love this action picture!  As you can see he had a blast once released. 
Watching the Puma pace.
Having fun in one of the tunnel slides.
The zoo restaurant was on the nicer side, not a typical attraction food site.  Our waitress was very kind to us as she spoke little English and we spoke even less Italian.  We also found out that the items listed on the menu were for two people.  After the first day of not really knowing how to order, we had enough food to make it on the last day with left-overs.

I cannot say enough good things about our hosts.  Although they could speak some English, we did a lot of gesturing trying to bridge the language barrier.  Their son (in his 40's) came around frequently to join in the conversation and would translate.  They had a cat, Mow, which the kids loved to chase around and play with.  They also had an area with toys for their 2 year old grandson.  On the second day, they pulled out the toys for the kids to play with before we did our rest time.  They were extremely kind and generous to us!  They were constantly bringing us food, snacks, or wine.  Bobby enjoyed sitting around with other men discussing history, European economics, and differing educational systems over glasses of local wine and regional liqueurs.  You will have to ask Bobby about some of the words of wisdom Robby (our paternal host in his 70's) passed on to him.  I will give you a hint:  it was about women and wine.

If ever you want to retreat in the Italian countryside, I would highly recommend this spot!

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