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Archive for the ‘Travel-Where in the World are Peterlori?’ Category

OH MY GOD SLOW DOWN!!!

Will we ever get to the town of Amalfi? We’ve been up the road and round and round ….

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The Never-Ending Road

The road in and out of Amalfi is just one one roller coaster thrill ride and so is this blog post because my photos  and anecdotes are from both the trip up the mountain to go down the mountain to the town and shore and then back up the mountain to go down the mountain to get back on the autostrada to get home.  Now wasn’t that clear?  So here we are going up or maybe down, either way we are going way too fast for me but not for my son, (leave the driving to me), Joel.  You see those arrows along side the road ?

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Pointing The Way To Certain Disaster

I thought a normal person would have taken those as a warning sign! Wouldn’t you? You have no idea;  It was Saturday afternoon and every daredevil, high level testosterone, macho man on a motorcycle was out on his loud screeching bike or very Italian Vespa with requisite chick on the back and they were passing cars on the left and the right and on a curve. Holy cow !  Even my seasoned California canyon Uber driver was in awe! These people are crazy!

OK well Joel has a motorcycle himself, so he knew the bike riders were a nutty bunch but he had never seen a car pass another car in bumper to bumper traffic on a curve!!  How did the driver know someone would let him?  And he didn’t anticipate the three motorcycles coming around the same curve in the opposite lane!  My God this is so nerve-wracking.

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Plenty Of Room To Pass

Believe it or not we actually made it into town, had a lovely dinner overlooking the shore.  Funny thing, there was no sand, nada, niente , none!

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Black Stone Beach

And from way down there, this is what it looked like way up there,

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Just Try To Check In There

We we’re losing light quickly and were a looonnnggg way from home.  I dreaded the trip back up the mountain and down and with good reason.  Joel was always saying, “Mom take a picture of that down there”.  Oh sure, I was holding onto the arm rest for dear life and working the brake on the passenger side, you know the one  that isn’t there!

BUT I did decide to take some video as we were making our way off the mountain….       BUCKLE UP YOUR SEAT BELTS PLEASE!!

 

 

AND that was just the beginning….my foot was already aching.  How long was it going to take to get the hell off this road?

Seeing is believing…. This last video shows just how crazy Italian drivers are!  My sage advice: “ Do not let your daughter date an Italian with a motorcycle”

We lived to tell the story another day but it took us hours to get home.  It seems Abigail had a penchant for Avellino- East Avellino, West Avellino.  Then somehow, someway we found ourselves in a town that was celebrating (oh yeah it was Saturday night), and on a one way street heading down, down, down. It was narrow and it looked like we might be near water.  It was dark and I felt like we were driving down into some riverfront late at night – not a good feeling.  Finally at the bottom, it looked like if you kept going and bore left, we might just get out of there – so we did. Turns out we had detoured ourselves into Salerno?! I’m sure Abigail,was behind this mistake.

IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL DAY!

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

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20180519_182915.jpgA QUICK TRIP TO THE AMALFI COAST

 

It was one of those bright,sunny Southern Italian days and it was already noon.  Joel was a bit restless, it was one of those days he was itching to go somewhere.  So I said, “Let’s go to the Amalfi Coast”.  And we were off.

On a suggestion from Raffaele, I proposed we drive to Sorrento via the autostrada and drive north up the coast.  Well it sounded like a good idea.  Tuning our trusty GPS ( I mean unworthy, who we named Abigail because she is a British bitch who sends us into olive orchards, vineyards and even in circles), for Sorrento and we hit the road heading south.

Everything seemed to be going along ok until we got on the autostrada.  Something happens to men driving on that road; Their heartbeat picks up, the adrenaline kicks in and their testerone skyrockets!  Normally placid easy-going men turn into crazy wannabe race car drivers,

The autostrada holds special appeal to American male drivers, who once freed from the confines of the USA 65 mph speed limit, they just let it rip.  I tried not to look at the speedometer.  A few days earlier we had had the kilometer versus miles per hour conversation and even though I knew 100 kpm equaled about 62 mph, Joel was pushing that needle up over 100 into the teens, then the 120’s.  So it was about this time that I tried to assert some matriarchal control.  At 135 kph, I was yelling!

I was told to relax and look at the scenery, oh sure, and leave the driving to him. It was probably already about 2:00pm and I said “This is not fun, there’s nothing enjoyable about driving at breakneck speed for hours”,  We need a new plan, “Let’s go to the town of Amalfi, it’s nearby and it’s on the coast and it’s getting late”.

We followed the signs and Abigail’s suggestions and soon we were off the speedway and making our way towards Amalfi. The inherent beauty of Italy is that it is different in every region.  No longer in the mountains of Campania, we were now traveling through what clearly looked like the fabled monied coast.

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We’re Not In Kansas Anymore

It was hard to tell where we actually were but every now and then I would ask Joel to slow down so I could quickly snap a photo of a passing town or scape.  I noticed the spire of the church to have that same Middle Eastern influence in the tile pattern.

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Somewhere in Southern Italy

We were traveling through a postcard; Yes the Amalfi Coast looks exactly like all the photos, movies, postcards you’ve seen.  All throughout Italy,  I’ve been entranced by the sight of a village nestled into the side of a mountain or tucked into a valley

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There Is Something Peaceful About These Villages

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Mediteranean Blue Sky

When we came upon this sight, I thought we might actually have arrived.  Oh but I was wrong!!

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We were being routed through yet another gorgeous (are we in Paradise?) town whose name I can’t remember.20180519_164211.jpg

If it weren’t for the signs I would certainly think old Abigail had sent us inland to parts unknown, but we drove on…. And then realized in the near distance there lie the jewel of the Amalfi Coast.

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The Jewel

And we were high above it, the only way is down!

To be continued…

 

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Last year on my birthday, Peter and I took a ride down the mountain and up another.  It was suggested that we take a ride to Cusano Mutri, so we did, and there we came upon a little restaurant, a cafe really.  The trip was filled with one postcard after another.

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Oh Look A Mucca!

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The town itself is lovely and also medieval.  I haven’t gone up the road to their castle but from a distance it seems much more intact.  I was told it was not as old as the fortress in Guardia.  img_0186

 

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La Piccola Perla Del Maltese is right out of Central Casting as is the owner Franco and his wife.img_0188

And the food!  I ordered an appetizer for Peter and I when we were there and didn’t tell him what it was because if I did he probably wouldn’t eat it.  The restaurant is known for its pork dishes.

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Porchetta, mozzarella and porcini mushrooms – delicious (but a little too much fat for me)

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“OMG These Tomatoes Are From Heaven”

Clearly Joel had a lot to say about the unbleivably out of this world bruschetta!  20180521_124436

The really funny part of the day was the demeanor of the owner.  I don’t think I’m going to be able to express how bizarre this was; It’s noon, we arrive.  The restaurant door, albeit hanging beads is open so I walk in.  Its dark and no one is in the cafe.  I walk up to the bar and yell out “HELLOOOO”. Out he comes from the back room, no greeting smile on his face.  I smile and say ciao and say “Mangia pranzo? ” Incredulous, he looks at me.  You would think I just asked him to cater a party of 25 within the hour.  I smile again and  point to Joel and say, “Mio figlio” to which he nods and extends his hand.  Perhaps he has now recognized me as the nut job who showed up a week ago in the mid afternoon AND AGAIN no one was in the restaurant but Peter and I.  He must wonder how do I manage to arrive at the most inconvenient times?  Well what is the convenient time?  Anyway, to further put him out, Joel wanted to eat outside, so we sat at a picnic table and Franco  put a tablecloth on it, put out the outside napkins not the cloth ones.   A few moments later he returned wearing a white apron and inquired in Italian of course if we wanted a drink. Then he sat down (yes he sat down) and wanted to know what we wanted.  Long story short, we ordered two beers, two pastas, two salads, a bruschetta and some water and it came to 20 Euros.  Joel loved it all, and is sure this is the way to live.

So for the second year in a row I’ve been blessed to celebrate my birthday in Italy in this quaint little restaurant which serves the best pasta I’ve ever tasted!

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GUARDIA SANFRAMONDI

The official name is Guardia Sanframondi, in the Province of Benevento in the region known as Campania.  Probably Campania is best known for the city of Naples and the glorious Amalfie Coast.  However Campania is a large region spanning from the western coast of Italy up into the mountains in its northeast corner.  And it is up into the mountains where the medieval town of Guardia Sanframondi is located.

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View of the original medieval village as you approach the town.

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A Slightly Different View

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One Of Many Beautiful Passageways In The Medieval Village

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Close Up of the Castle

AND THE VIEW…..

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Feast Your Eyes

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See The “New Old” Town Built Around The Walls Of The Medieval Village -see left of photo

I am basically featuring the medieval village because this is where many Americans and Canadians have bought and are buying up these stone houses within the walls of the village. They have renovated, restored, repainted and refreshed many, many properties.  I believe there are about 100 “foreigners” owning property in Guardia at this time.  Life is beautiful here.  Most purchasers do not relocate permanently, they come 2-3 times a year and spend several weeks or a couple of months.  I also met several expats who are now full time residents. Interesting!!?? Stay tuned.

Ciao for now!

To be continued…

 

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One late morning, Joel and I were sitting outside at Orso’s enjoying the sunshine, some coffee and wi fi.  It was a beautiful day, the cherries had turned from green to red in the past few days, the roses were in full bloom; shades of pink and red.  The fig tree was laden with burgeoning little green globes which unfortunately would not ripen till the end of summer.

Pasquale came out and asked Joel if he would go with his father, Luigi, to pick up a heavy box.  Since I was working on my iPad and he was getting a little bored, he jumped at the chance of a change of scenery.  Luigi came out and gave me the two finger  sign indicating they’d be back in two minutes.

It was more like 30 minutes, before they returned in the truck and started to unload what looked like a few large coiled wreathes.  At least that’s what it looked from across the street.

Soon it was apparent what was happening;

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Up A Tree

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Hidden From View

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Taking Direction

Luigi had enlisted Joel to help him string lights in the trees in Orso’s Garden. That’s the official name of this small oasis across the street from the B&B. I’ve spent hours there sitting in that glorious Southern Italy sunshine, drawing zentangles, talking to Peter, looking at the panorama and trying most of all to be present. 

That day watching Joel and Luigi up in the trees stringing the lights was so heartwarming.  Joel had told me that Luigi reminded him of his own great-grandfather, Luciano, a few days before.  Luigi only speaks Italian and dialect for sure, Joel knows grazie.  So how the directions were being given and followed must have been a lot of gestures and pointing!

The afternoon was getting warmer, so I ordered a Perroni, hey that’s what you do in Italy and especially in Guardia.  Are you ready for this? A bottle of beer costs 1€! Now if you want Heineken then it’s 1.50€.  Oh what a great place!

The guys had to take a break, Joel had a rash on his arms but was not going to complain because Luigi had cut his hand in a few places with the knife and shrugged it off when Joel pointed out the bleeding.  God, that reminded me of my own father! By the way, I didn’t take his picture but should have, because Luigi was also up in the trees securing lights, he is very spry.

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A Well Deserved Break

Here are a few garden photos;

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All in all this was a very pleasant day.  We went home and it wasn’t until a day or two later we found out the lights were turned on in the garden that night and everyone was eating chicken!

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After our encounter at Forrest we decided to just keep on going down the road, we’ll see where it takes us.  For someone who drives everyday, I thought Joel might not want to drive so much, but he also wants to see Italy.  We see a sign and a turn for Castelvenere and we go.

The first impression which seems to be the most common first impression EVERYWHERE is that it is so quiet. Where is everyone?  Of course, we can’t seem to adapt to the fact that between 1:00 and 4:00, it’s all closed, everything, everywhere.

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Il gatto dormi

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Joel plays to a full house (of empty seats) and a standing “O”.

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Stucco and stone is everywhere in Italy. Castelvenere is pretty and clean

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This beautiful serene doorway just caught my eye.

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And I did let Joel get into the act!

We found a little cafe with some tables outside, perfect for a bite to,eat and drink.  A sunny lazy day in Italy.

Ciao for now !

To be continued…

 

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The beauty of being here is being here! I want Joel to experience the people and the place, so we are going to buy some olive oil and some concoction of 🍅 spices and I don’t know what else is in it but it makes one hell of a sauce for pasta with some chopped olives. 20180507_205132I want to buy a jar to take home and the olive oil.  We went  out of town towards Telese to the Forreste cooperative.  What a place!  Like gas pumps, there are huge silver tanks with indications as to what wine is in them.  You literally pump your own wine in multi-liter jugs.  This is definitely better than a wine club!

We go in and are drawn to the olive oil tasting table, where Joel proceeds to eat most of the bread while Assunta liberally pours rich olive oil on the bread for him to mangia.  Between the two of us we decided the robusto was the one for us.  As it turns out, I bought the robusto oil last week with Peter and have been cooking with it all week. Assunta realizes. I am taking this home this home on the airplane so she she conveys to me that she will put it in a tin. This idea leads to lots of running around by her daughter and frustration in trying reseal a can.  So come back domani. Fine tomorrow sounds good, meantime we will take the sauce and the spicy mixture and maybe Joel will stop putting honey on the bread and eating it.

Assunta wants to know what Joel does, so I say cinema, thinking that was the closest word I could come up with. She says, “Actor”?and immediately calls out to her daughter that he is an actor.  Ahhhh… selfies all around with lots of blushing.  It was really so cute! IMG-20180522-WA0001.jpg

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