We disembarked from the ferry at 11pm last night and headed straight for our favourite Locanda just behind Ancona, in the middle of the country. Called Locanda della Saline it has much to recommend it. Family run, there’s no menu, you’re simply served with a four-course dinner of the best locally grown, home-cooked food.

Aware that the dogs hadn’t really had a good leg stretch while on the boat, we did late-night walks in the dark, with crickets and fireflies for company. We finally turned in at about 1am, and by 6am the sun was up and so were we, enjoying the lovely surroundings while walking the dogs in the early-morning cool.

We’re now on our way to northern Italy, and expect to reach the UK on Saturday.

We delivered three of our feline passengers — Buffy, Billie and Barbara — in Pescara, leaving Rumy, Maja and Lakme to keep up the cat count. We do hope that Lakme’s new owners have plenty of energy and a sense of humour. She’s had us in hysterics, and her latest antic was to dismantle the spacer just inside the door of her compartment that’s designed to prevent a cat from tormenting a dog in the compartment underneath.

How did we find out? Well, we heard an unexpected noise, then a bark from Roxy, followed by Jasper barking from another compartment. So we quickly pulled over to check what was going on, and found Lakme had hopped down into Roxy’s compartment and was happily sitting next to Roxy! In all our 10 years of transporting pets nothing like this has never happened before. Needless to say, Lakme has now been ‘rehomed’ in a different compartment with a sturdy padlock on the outside!

Kiki with the Locanda in the background

Kiki with the Locanda in the background

Maria enjoys a sniff in the grass

Maria enjoys a sniff in the grass

The Locanda grows its own sunflowers

The Locanda grows its own sunflowers

Our first delivery — Buffy, Billie and Barbara from Turkey were collected in Pescara by David (in red) and his friend Steve

Our first delivery — Buffy, Billie and Barbara from Turkey were collected in Pescara by David (in red) and his friend Steve