Over the last week or so blog posts have been infrequent – so infrequent that there haven’t been any actually. The reason is simply because we’ve had visitors – from New Zealand and the UK. We have been busy – a complete novelty after 3 months of doing, well, nothing.
In addition to Charmaine, Mike and little James we’ve had Danny Malone a mate from KiwiRail arrive on his latest European trip and Gill, Andre and Josh and Jordan jet in from the UK.
In the last few days we’ve been sightseeing in Pisa, Florence, Siena, San Gimignano and Volterra. We’ve eaten out in cafe’s, our local pizza restaurant and a restaurant with a carpark that turns into seating at night. We’ve laid by the pool, we’ve made a dent in the national stock levels of Chianti and Birra and generally had a great time.
A mixed assortment of pictures follow.
Charmaine, Mike and James at that tower
The Duomo in Firenze
Jordan in front of Florentine tapestries
Souvenirs of Firenze
Artist at work in Firenze
Piazza delle Signoria in Firenze
Firenze carriage driver taking a break
Graeme and Daisy on church steps in Castellina in Chianti
Today Jean’s sister, brother-in-law and their wee baby arrive in Positano. Charmaine, Mike and James have been in Europe for the last 2 weeks visiting London and Paris. They should be well acclimatised and ready to tackle the frantic pace of life that is Positano.
This is their first trip to Italy and we are really excited to have the chance to show them around.
They fly into Naples airport later this afternoon (Wednesday) and we have arranged for a car and driver to pick them up and bring them over the hill to Positano. We’ve already asked them not to judge Italy by what they see during the drive. While there are parts of Naples that are beautiful the parts you pass through on the way to the Amalfi peninsula are not those ones. I’ve never really experienced the third world but I imagine it’s a bit like southern Naples.
The Amalfi Coast with the coast road cut into the cliffs - look closely and you'll spot it
The good news is that all that is forgotten when you crest the backbone of the peninsular and the view is the blue sea with the thin ribbon of road winding along the coast cut precariously into the cliffs and with small villages hanging to the cliffs in seemingly impossible places.
We’ve also warned them about the width of the roads (or lack thereof) and the propensity of Italians driving everything from scooters to tour buses to overtake or undertake or to do u-turns or simply stop for no reason at all.
Thankfully the limousine drivers are experts at negotiating these roads however I do recall one occasion a few years ago when almost all the luxury Mercedes car that we started the trip in made it to the end.
It had a wing mirror removed by a passing car that got a little too close. All I remember was the sound of tearing metal and smashing glass, and the sight of the mirror flying past the side window of the car. No one stopped but we did learn a few choice Italian phrases that we could use if we found ourselves in a similar situation.
There is a constantly changing parade of superyachts mooring off Positano. Every day some arrive and some leave. The most we have seen at one time is 11 and on average there would be 5 or 6 in each day.
Thanks to a long camera lense we can usually name them. The shots below are of the Christina O – the private yacht built by Aristotle Onassis and a group of 4 superyachts which includes Arctic P, a research vessel that was converted into a luxury cruiser by Kerry Packer and is now owned by his son James Packer.
From the top clockwise – Arctic P, Siran, Casino Royale and Mosaique
Ok, so I’ve got the luxury of time on my hands. And what better way to spend it than brushing up my PhotoShop skills and then boring everyone with the results.
In particular a process called “tilt shift” photography which makes a photo appear to be “model-like”. The purist approach to this involves special camera lenses and vast amounts of setup time. But good old PhotoShop can emulate the look with quite impressive results.
I’ve taken a shot of the local beach and had a wee play.
We have been in Positano for a week or so and life has settled into a comfortable, simple routine.
Our days start late at the villa and after a leisurely walk to the hotel we spend the hottest part of the day around the hotel pool.
Late evening in Positano
In the cool of the evening we either return to Villa Greta and enjoy a drink on the terrace or we walk down into the village for shopping, eating or just wandering and exploring.
We’ve been to dinner at Chez Black on the beach and had dinner on the Eden Roc terrace overlooking the bay. All in all I think we’ve perfected ‘il dolce far niente” as the Italians call it – the sweet art of doing nothing.