Italy Road Trip May 2016, Part V: the Drive Back

Catch up on the previous episodes here:

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

Early on the morning of our departure from Naples, Rachel took a taxi to the airport and flew to Sicily to continue her adventures there. We started a long drive back from Naples to Regensburg, stopping overnight twice along the way. Continue reading Italy Road Trip May 2016, Part V: the Drive Back

Ca’ de Memi

The Joint

Agriturismo Ca’ de Memi de Scquizzato Ottorino
via Roma 4/B
35017 Piombino Dese PD

Tel.: +39 049 93 66 516
Mobile: +39 349 69 87 953

For our last minute trip to the Veneto, we stayed at Ca’ de Memi, which I found in a rather roundabout way. I knew we wanted to stay near Roncade in order to pick up wine from Castello di Roncade. But I didn’t want to stay there; we stayed there last time and, while we enjoyed it, I wanted to sample some other offerings of the region. Continue reading Ca’ de Memi

Balham B&B

The Joint

28 Old Devonshire Road
SW12 9RB
Tel.: +44 20 8673 7179
Mobile: +44 7941 960 199
Fax: +44 20 8675 8058


Loved it! We visited at a rather dreary time of year, but it was easy to see how lovely it would be to stay there in the late Spring. Georgina, your hostess, is the traveling gardner’s dream B&B proprietor, with her own garden at the house and a wealth of information to share about garden tours and events in and around London.

Each morning we had a scrumptious breakfast while chatting with Georgina about our options for the day. The breakfast highlight for me was the crumpet — perfectly done with homemade fruit preserves as a special treat after the eggs and bran flakes. What a great way to fuel up for tromping around London!

I was a bit dismayed at first at the distance from Balham to the city centre, but we quickly realized there are lots of options. Balham station is a tube stop as well as a national rail stop and if you’re flying in from Gatwick for a stay at the Balham B&B don’t take the Gatwick Express: you’ll overshoot the stop and have to backtrack quite a bit.

The Balham and Tooting area lends itself to walking around at night. I enjoyed the halal markets and cafés and restaurants in the area very much. It was a side of London I had not seen before, having only stayed in closer to the big city, and I’m glad I got to see it.


We planned this trip with somewhat less lead time than is usual for us. Because places we’ve stayed in London have varied wildly with regard to quality, and because staying in London is usually an expensive proposition, I was looking all over the place for accommodation possibilites. Enter, the website for UK newspaper the Guardian. I don’t use this as a resource very often, but when looking for England-specific information, their travel information is pretty good. As luck would have it, there was an article touting London’s best B&Bs right there on their travel page. After sifting through all of the options and whittling them down according to pricing and vacancies, we ended up with the Balham B&B and our hostess, Georgina.

This is easily the best place we’ve ever stayed in London. Balham is a southern neighborhood of London, between the larger neighborhoods of Clapham and Tooting. The B&B is about equidistant between the Balham and Clapham South stations on the Northern line and is in a lovely row house, right off of the main drag. Georgina was a wealth of information about Balham and various cultural offerings throughout the city (museum and gallery exhibitions, music performances, botanical gardens, etc.). And she serves an absolutely wonderful breakfast with eggs, streaky bacon, yogurt, cereal, fruit – you name it, she’s got it. The guest room is large and comfortable, with a dresser and two closets and plenty of room to stash your suitcases. The guest bathroom was also roomy, stocked with fluffy towels, robes and slippers, plus an assortment of organic soaps, shampoos and lotions for our use.

One special note about the guest bed: this has got to be one of the most comfortable beds we’ve ever experienced in a hotel, vacation apartment or B&B. I am looking forward to going back to London at our earliest convenience just to sleep in that bed again. Some more.

Relais San Michele

The Joint

Localitá Cason Degli Ulivi 11
37010 Rivoli Veronese (VR)
Phone: (+39)0457238142 Fax: (+39)0457238142


This was a terribly cute and pleasant stay, and a great breakfast the next morning as well. Too bad the location was so hard to find — good thing we arrived during daylight.

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What an ordeal! This place was impossible to find, and I don’t think that’s the fault of the proprietors direction – more of a general note of caution for foreigners trying to drive in Italy. Once we found the place, we were pleasantly surprised by the eclectic décor and our lovely host, Niccolo. Unfortunately, the place seems to be across the aqueduct from a quarry. But that might go some distance to explaining the huge amount of lovely stone- and marble-work in our room and bathroom.

The price was great, but you have to have a car to get there. Since we won’t be driving in Italy again any time soon (if ever), we probably won’t go back. But we will recommend it to more adventurous friends.

The Oyster Guest House

The Joint

96 Canterbury Rd.

phone: (01227) 276942


We came back to the Oyster in December 2005 after our initial visit in April 2003 — both times to visit Ian; this time also to visit Michelle.

The staff at the Oyster is just as nice as can be, and they were about half the price of some other B&Bs in Whitstable we checked on before booking our reservation.


I really like the Oyster. The staff is incredibly sweet, the décor is fussy old-ladyish florals (which really fits) and the rooms have big beds which barely fit in the tiny rooms. It all adds up to a B&B full of charm and personality. And the price (for England) is great.