Al Vecchio Fontanile

For our last night in Italy, I had found a B&B situated in the rural outskirts of Rome, only a half hour drive to the airport. We had a few issues with the GPS, it seemed some of the road names were different to the directions we had been given. After a few trips up and down the same stretch of road, we eventually arrived at Al Vecchio Fontanile. The stone farmhouse was only a few years old

1.the farmhouse

and was surrounded by fruit trees and olive trees.

2.the orchard

The younger family members were very welcoming and well behaved.

Our room was comfortable and beautifully finished, it felt like we were in a much older house.

5.our room

I love the detail in the curtains.

9.curtains

The quality and style continued in the bathroom.

10.bathroom

After relaxing with a restorative beverage or two, we drove to a nearby ristorante, Il Sogna and enjoyed delicious ravioli, gnocchi and panna cotta. We were bestowed with complimentary biscotti and homemade grappa before wending our way back, without the help of the GPS. The breakfast spread the next morning was sensational.

11.breakfast

Served in a lovely sunny room it was the perfect way to start the day.

15.breakfast

Il Castagno

When looking for a place to stay for the week after the guitar course, I found a 700 year old farmhouse near Cortona. Seeing it on the internet I thought there was no way it could possibly be as good as it appeared. I was right. It was even better!

1-il-castagno

The owners live in Colorado and bought the villa to restore in 1999. It was absolutely perfect and, as it was their part time home, it felt very welcoming. The living room,

2-living-room3-living-room

main bedroom

4-bedroom5-bedroom

and bathroom

6-bathroom

were upstairs and the natural beauty of the house was complemented by tasteful furnishings.

Some fine meals were created in the ground floor kitchen

16-kitchen

which opened on to the sunny courtyard.

17-outside

The original features outside had been retained

and the small front garden was colourful.

We enjoyed relaxing in the shade with a beverage after long days exploring,

25-tree

admiring the view

of Cortona, only a 10 minute drive away.

28-cortona

The shafts of sunlight on this stormy evening lent a spectacular display.

29-stormy-sunset30-stormy-sunset

On other nights, the sinking sun set the sky on fire.

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We knew from the moment we arrived, it was going to be very hard to leave.

35-michael-and-corinna

Sails in the Desert

We knew our trip to Uluru would be a ‘once in a lifetime,’ so we decided to indulge ourselves with a three night stay at a luxury 5 star resort. We arrived at our oasis, ‘Sails in the Desert’ on a rather warm afternoon,

1.entrance

the majestic Casuarinas eagerly awaiting sundown.

Welcomed at reception with a refreshing lemon myrtle drink, we surveyed the stylish lobby.

Our room décor was stunning, the mystery of local Anangu creation stories splashed across the carpet,

6.our room

dotted along cushions

and revealed in artefacts. The Punu (wood carved animals) are hand carved by the Anangu people and decorated with walka (burnt patterns).

9.our room

Our balcony was small but we really didn’t have time to make use of it. We had a lovely, leafy view across the grounds

11.view from balcony

and along the balconies of the Terrace Rooms.

12.view from balcony

We couldn’t resist a closer look at how the other half live.

13.Terrace Room balcony

The grounds were beautifully kept

14.grounds

and a serpent path snaked its way through the trees.

The Ilkari Restaurant had an amazing buffet and a central grill station that cooked to order. At breakfast, the grill station offered freshly cooked eggs, pancakes and omelettes.

17.Ilkari Restaurant

For a casual meal or relaxing beverage, The Walpa Lobby Bar

and Pira Pool Bar were enticing options.

After spending a morning exploring The Olgas, the boys went in search of a beer while we girls chose some well earned pampering at the Red Ochre Spa.

22.Red Ochre Spa

After a cooling glass of lemon myrtle infused water,

23.spa

we were ushered to a double room, forced to endure a skin softening foot bath, followed by an invigorating Sea Salt exfoliation, ending with a decadent foot massage.

I enjoyed a relaxing herbal tea in comfort while Kay tortured herself further with a pedicure.

27.spa

We had a wonderful escape at ‘Sails in the Desert’,

a lifestyle I could definitely get used to.