Heading south

View from our villa – hazy weather means Capri is shrouded in the distance

Yesterday we travelled from Camogli (south of Genova) to Positano (just south of Napoli). The 2 hour drive to Firenze to catch the train south was negotiated successfully – including the Firenze one way system which is always a challenge.

It felt like it was going to be a good day.

As it was Saturday the rental car office was frantic (most villa rentals run for a week from Saturday to Saturday) with tourist picking up cars. The queue went out of the office and down the street – quite hard work for those waiting in the 32 degree heat.

We drove past all this chaos, into the garage, was met by a lovely Avis rep who checked the car (no dents this time), helped with our bags, ordered a taxi for us and handed me a receipt in about 3 minutes flat.

It was really looking like a good day.

The taxi dropped us at the organised chaos that is Firenze train station with time to spare for our train. Luckily we could escape the chaos as our tickets included access to the Frecciarossa lounge – an air-conditioned haven of peace, tranquility, free beverages and snacks.

Jean discovered the shopping mall under the station and disappeared for a few minutes returning successfully with “that t-shirt top she’d been looking for” and “something to wear by the pool”.

The train trip south was 3 hours. We arrived in Napoli at 5pm and were greeted by our driver Enzo on the platform. An hour later we were in a warm and slightly muggy Positano being greeted by the Eden Roc team.

Definitely a good day.

Last day in Camogli

Today we leave Camogli and head south to Positano. We have thoroughly enjoyed both our time here at Cenobio Dei Dogi and our time exploring the village.

Would we come back – like a shot.

As always it’s about the place but also the people you meet. After 6 days of turning up at the same places for meals and drinks, exploring the village on foot (it’s not a big village so there’s not much walking involved) and generally settling in we are starting to be recognised. The fact that we are from New Zealand is a surprise and the start of a conversation. And that’s what it’s all about.

A trained seagull

It’s a first for us – a trained seagull. Every day this bird turns up at the same window of the building across from the hotel at the same time and waits for its dinner. We know it’s the same bird because he’s clearly lost a foot sometime in the past.

The apartment owner leaves the window open and the bird stands there and waits. Eventually it gets something to eat – much to the disgust of the other seagulls – and then it leaves. Until the next day.

Camogli – pronounced Cam-oh-yee


We have stayed twice at Camogli in the past – but only for a night each time and in the off season. We stumbled across the hotel Cenobi Dei Dogi on Booking.com when we were travelling from England to Italy in 2011. The reason we picked it was two fold – free parking and dog friendly – two things that were important to us at the time.

We always said we’d come back and stay longer in the high season – and that’s what we’ve done. We have a week here to relax, swim, lie in the sun and explore the local area.

Camogli is on the coast about 40 kms south of Genoa. It is a favourite Italian summer holiday destination for people from Genoa, Milano and Bologna so this week it is very busy in that laid back Italian way – no rush, no fuss, just people getting on with the hard task of enjoying themselves.

 

Chianti with friends

Our short stay in Chianti in Tuscany was a chance to catch up with friends – some Italian locals and some Kiwi’s on tour. For three days all we seemed to do was eat and drink and tour the small villages of Chianti.

The base for our stay was the delightful Relais Vignale in Radda in Chianti. Spread across a number of traditional tuscan buildings, this hotel is a great way to enjoy a break without being limited to the “Saturday to Saturday” villa booking cycle. The service is excellent – in fact the manager Serena went out of her way to help us when our booking was affected by our overly long stay in Hong Kong.

We met up with friends from New Zealand who were staying just up the road and our good local friends Olga and Dani. Meals were had and stories relayed.

As always when in Chianti, the surprises were off the beaten track – the small village restaurant we stopped at for lunch and the gallery where the artist told us the story behind the small print we fell in love with and bought.

But after a shortened stay we packed up our rental car with our already expanding suitcases, farewelled friends, and headed north to Camogli for a week by the sea.

 

 

The train to Florence

Getting around Italy by high speed train is easy and relaxing. We have regularly used it between Rome, Florence and Naples in the past and this trip is no exception.

The one thing we haven’t done before is try out Trenitalia’s premium class. This is half a carriage of luxury seating – 8 seats in all – right at the front of the train. It costs a bit more but comes with a meal service, a cabin crew member to look after you and your luggage and more legroom than you could want. There is even a conference room in the carriage if a quick meeting is needed en route.

On this leg of our journey from Rome to Florence we treated ourselves and booked seats 2A and 2B.