Animalcouriers reached the Italian port of Ancona after a day of traffic jams around the ski slopes, followed by snow, rain, hail, thunder and lightning as we drove across northern Italy!

There was the usual warm welcome for us at the A 3 Passi Hotel in Ancona, an olive oil farm that doubles as a hotel and restaurant — La Tavola del Carmine. A table was waiting for us with a large carafe of their excellent house red, at 6 euros. Everything served in the restaurant, even the grapes used to make the wine, is grown on site or sourced locally. All the ice creams, desserts and sauces are based on the farm’s own olive oil.

With some time on our hands this morning as we waited for our ferry, we were able to have a bit of a chinwag with our three feline passengers who are heading to Crete. Scali wasn’t too keen to talk, but Cali and Miski were up for a chat. They agreed it was good to see the sun as they admired the olive trees with us.

We’d been feeding them their usual mix of wet and dry food but Sheila — who knows them so well — had warned us that they might not eat very much. So we gave Miski and Scali some sardines and tuna, and Cali (who told us she’s not that keen on seafood) got some pâté.

Cali

Cali

Scali

Scali

Miski

Miski

All three cats were very attentive while we carried out room service. Here's courier M doing the hoovering and changing the litter tray under the watchful eye of Cali.

All three cats were very attentive while we carried out room service. Here’s courier M doing the hoovering and changing the litter tray under the watchful eye of Cali.

Courier M chatting to our patron at breakfast

Courier M chatting to our patron at breakfast

The kitchen is open plan with the restaurant — this morning there was some cleaning going on before the lunchtime crowd appeared

The kitchen is open plan with the restaurant — this morning there was some cleaning going on before the lunchtime crowd appeared

Like all good local businesses, there's an outlet for the home-produced olive oil and pasta products

Like all good local businesses, there’s an outlet for the home-produced olive oil and pasta products

We couldn't resist buying some spaghetti…

We couldn’t resist buying some spaghetti…

…and a pot of olive oil–based chocolate spread

…and a pot of olive oil–based chocolate spread

A fine sea view for the three cats

A fine sea view for the three cats