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Big Sur - Hiking Andrew Molera State Park

One of the great delights of living in the Bay Area is the proximity to the natural beauty of California and it's hard to beat the stunning drive down Highway One to Big Sur. This is certainly one of the iconic American road trips, but for me the joy of being in the area is getting out of your car and hitting a trail, so you can be "in" the landscape rather than just looking at it from the asphalt. 

Walking the Appia Antica

Everyone says to visit the Via Appia  on a Sunday when the road is closed to traffic. But what they don't tell you is that "closed" is a relative term in Italy and that there's a reduced bus schedule on Sunday which is when you'll be needing it! I think you can tell where this is going, yes - getting there was a BIG hassle.

Overall I'm not a fan of the Via Appia as a day out from Rome and for us, Ostia Antica was in every way a more interesting and enjoyable excursion. There are crowds of people at the catacombs and though I was glad to visit one, I found the Scavi tour at the Vatican far more interesting. This may have been because we had an extremely grumpy elderly priest showing us around.
However, having made my complaints and caveats, I can say that the further out you get the nicer the walk and the more tombs and memorials you will see.

The very best moment of our day was serendipity. We heard a low thunder behind us and looked around and to see the astonishing sight of a shepard driving his sheep across the Via Appia! They came and went in a few moments but it was magical and all of a sudden it felt like a window into the past.
 Boy they were loud!
Below you can see the old Roman cobblestones. Believe me you will want to wear comfortable thick soled shoes or boots to walk on these babies!
There are several additional sights (including a Roman villa below) as you walk further out but we missed them as they close early in the winter.
 Frankly the sheep made the day!