When we docked at the Italian port of Brindisi we were met by pretty calico cat Lola with her grandma and grandpa. Lola has been very well provided for on her journey and, despite our lack of Italian and their lack of English, we were able to understand the special instructions concerning what Lola likes for her primero plato and segundo plato.

Then it was off to Aviano to collect one-year-old yellow Labrador brothers Lucca and Gino from Anthony and Shana. Engineer Anthony has been stationed here with the US air force, looking after huge jet engines. Their four children have gone back to Georgia to spend the summer holidays with Shana’s parents, and now Anthony and Shana are off to join them. Meanwhile Lucca and Gino are travelling with us to the UK, where they’ll board until the family takes up a new posting at Lakenheath.

Just outside Cesena we stayed at an agriturismo hotel, L’Infinito, where the kind owners are dog lovers. They weren’t quite ready for us when we arrived, so treated us to cold glasses of frizzante while we waited — poor us! Over supper we listened in to an interesting discussion about the global market for fruit, wine, olive oil and vegetables. Like many of Italy’s agriturismo hotels, this one sells its produce throughout and beyond Italy.

Lola with her grandparents and her supplies for the trip

Lola with her grandparents and her supplies for the trip

Lola gets comfy for the ride

Lola gets comfy for the ride

Anthony and Shana with very obedient Lucca and Gino

Anthony and Shana with very obedient Lucca and Gino

Here you can see how much lighter in colour Gino is than Lucca

Here you can see how much lighter in colour Gino is than Lucca

The brothers settle in for their journey

The brothers settle in for their journey

Feta was a bit shy at first but she and courier M soon bonded over biscuits, and now she's really got the hang of being on the road with us

Feta was a bit shy at first but she and courier M soon bonded over biscuits, and now she’s really got the hang of being on the road with us

Ollie looking contented after a hearty breakfast

Ollie looking contented after a hearty breakfast

Wonder what Lily knows that we don't?

Wonder what Lily knows that we don’t?

Kaluha waiting (im)patiently for biscuits as we do our morning rounds

Kaluha waiting (im)patiently for biscuits as we do our morning rounds

Sailor and Flup wondering if they might have a dog biscuit too

Sailor and Flupp wondering if they might have a dog biscuit too

Pete and Kaluha enjoyed a walk through orchards and olive groves

Pete and Kaluha enjoyed a walk through orchards and olive groves

Pete is very calm, as always

Pete is very calm, as always

Lucca and Gino rummaging on their walk

Lucca and Gino rummaging on their walk

Feta enjoys interesting new scents in the air

Feta enjoys interesting new scents in the air

Sweet-faced Charlie

Sweet-faced Charlie

Ouzo looking very winsome

Ouzo looking very winsome

Daisy determined not to look in our direction

Daisy determined not to look in our direction

An intricately carved wooden fountain at Brennero

An intricately carved wooden fountain at Brennero

Dainty flowers spotted while out walking this morning

Dainty flowers spotted while out walking this morning

Another variation on bell-shaped flowers

Another variation on bell-shaped flowers

Daisies always make us smile

Daisies always make us smile