Friday, July 15, 2011

Isle of Capri

View from my balcony
The Isle of Capri  is an incredibly picturesque island off the Amalfi coast and definitely worth a visit - but my advice is, don't just come here as a day trip, you need to stay a few nights as the true beauty of this island is captured in the evening when the thrones of day trippers have left and tranquility descends upon the island.  
One doesn't even need to do a great deal here, just stroll the streets, swim in the crystal blue waters off the rocky outcrops, have a leisurely lunch, and do some of the wonderful hikes over the island. The bougainvillea, oleanders and petunias that cover the island are magnificent and add a vibrancy that I find captivating. 

I took this photo of a superb flowering bougainvillea that covered an entire building - the intensity of colour is amazing and certainly gives this building a wonderful appeal! (The architecture of the building is rather ordinary but this makes a huge difference)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Amalfi Coast & the "Walk of the Gods'

I find it extremely hard to beat the delight of an Italian Summer - the heat of the summer sun that tans without burning, long days, lazy lunches with afternoon siestas and a general relaxed atmosphere that pervades every facet of life. In any Italian city/town/village, no matter the size, the piazzas and streets are filled with the intoxicating sounds of children laughing & playing - I challenge you not to smile when listening to it! One can not help but be lulled into this pleasurable way of life - the exact reason why I love being here at this time of year. (Though in honesty, I don't think I have come across a time of year that I don't like!) As a tourist, I think people often spend days "ticking off the to-do list", but in any foreign city I feel one of the most productive things to do is to just relax into their way of life - drink, eat and partake in the "Passegiata" - the Italian time honoured practice of meandering the main streets, soaking in the life around you. To me this is the true Italian way of life and is why their lifestyle is so enviable - there is a simplicity, an honesty that belies our Australian life of acquisition of "things". 

I am currently in Praiano/Positano - looking out on a superb view of the Mediterranean that is definitely one of life's "must see" views and I am clearly enjoying the Italian summer life. I am actually working, assisting in running a busy conference, but it is a wonderful way to work surrounded by such amazing views.

View from Nocelle a town high in the hills above Positano 
The ancient watch towers on the coastline of Positano

Positano main beach with sheer cliffs and hotels above

A few days ago I walked "Senterio Degli Dei"  ("Walk of the Gods") a wonderous name for a superb 2.5hrs walk from Bumerano to Nocelle along the Amalfi Coast that takes in the most spectacular views. I did it with a group and our guide Giovanni who pointed out the amazing terrain plus the local flora and fauna along the way. It was not too difficult, a few steep climbs often with stairs and interspersed with long pathways, high in the hills above the coastline. At the conclusion in Nocelle we had lunch in a little trattoria called Santa Croce - thoroughly wonderful home cooked pasta with incredible views over Positano - bonus was that everything I ate and drank was in credit after such a long hike! (as opposed to the rest of my days here!)
The start of the "Sentiero Degli Dei" (the "Walk of the Gods")
 Views along the path
 We were walking through the clouds at one point which although masking the view at times, did help to  reduce the temperature

View of Positano from Santa Croce restaurant where we ate at the conclusion of the walk