We have been enjoying the small cities on the sea as we cycle down the coast south of Rome. Gaeta is so appealing that we have stayed an extra night. The decision was easy to make because we are also staying in a particularly outstanding B&B. We may be the last cyclists accepted here however, as the owners lost money when we fell upon the excellent breakfast.
We are staying high up in the old portion of the city, a maze of stairs and passage ways, many covered. Close by is the bell tower of the cathedral, which has been beautifully restored. It dates to the 10th century and is constructed in a style described as Arab-Norman. The Moorish influence is quite clear.
Incongruous with this medieval setting, we awoke to the sound of the Star-Spangled Banner. This is because Gaeta is the base for NATO (read U. S.) naval forces in the Mediterranean. The music emanated from the American flagship Mount Whitney moored in the harbour. Our host assures us that we will have the opportunity to hear the anthem again tomorrow morning at the same time.