I confess I felt quite giddy about our adventure. As a little girl I read about train travel in Europe and my youthful imagination flourished with dreams of wearing tweeds and jaunty hats, sipping tea in the dining car and carrying a carpet bag as I made my way from one fairytale town to the next.
Our journey was nothing like my British-book-inspired dreams, but every bit as wonderful.
We chugged along past flower-trimmed houses, through lush valleys bordered by soaring peaks, and emerged at our first stop: the village of Santa Maria Maggiore.
It is such a pretty little town with the most delightful alleyways leading off to hidden gardens, quiet courtyards, and vegetable patches picked clean of their summer bounty.
There are so many vividly colored buildings in S. Maria Maggiore, covered with richly detailed frescoes and paintwork. In the morning sun they positively glow.
Behind high walls and wrought-iron gates sit elegant manors with perfectly tended gardens, windows shuttered against the glare of early morning light.
I moseyed down a side street and found a walled courtyard filled with crunchy brown leaves and a window that peeked into the back of a lovely old church.
Before long we succumbed to the lure of mid-morning coffee and found a table at a cheery cafe filled with village men gossiping and watching the passersby. Those men had a good thing going! It was the perfect spot for people-watching and the coffee was strong and delicious.
Fortified and rested we continued our wanderings through town, finding more alleys, homes and quirky townsfolk to delight us.
What is your favorite mode of transportation when traveling?