Despatches from home

Our girls have been in a kennel for over two weeks. For both of them this is a whole new experience. We were a bit concerned how they would react and whether they would settle in.

We have been missing them so we asked the team at Waglands Dogs’ Holiday Retreat – seriously that is the name – to send us some photos of the girls. They arrived today and it seems we had nothing to worry about.

We suspect they’ve just had a bath as they look a bit too clean and fluffy for over two weeks on holiday in the country.

For the uninitiated, it’s Ellie on the left and Bella on the right.

 

A sad day in Positano

Today my sister Tina from Austin in Texas was supposed to join us in Positano for the next week or so.

But just a few days ago she fell and broke her leg in multiple places. It was a bad break and has required pins, nuts, bolts, some nails, a couple of girders and multiple surgeries to repair as you can see from the X-ray.

It reminds me of some of the DIY repair work I’ve done around the house but hopefully with better results.

The doctors have done all they can but it’s going to take 6 to 8 weeks – with a chunk of that as bed rest – before Tina can start getting back to normal.

As a result she is unable to fly – or do anything much for that matter – so any thoughts of coming here are gone.

We will miss her terribly and wish her all the best for the next few weeks. Keep your leg elevated Tina, and enjoy the endless waiter service.

 

One for the cat people

Positano is known for its cats. They wander around the village under some form of collective ownership that means they get fed and looked after by, well, everyone. Despite the busy roads most seem to survive and lead long and happy lives – usually curled up in the shade during the day doing what cats do best – not much.

Casetta Arienzo comes with its own cat. It’s a little tabby cat with one eye, an insatiable appetite and a tail that never stops moving. It’s on our door step every morning when we get up and every night when we go to bed. It lies in the shade on the verandah when we are at home or out and about. It has decided it’s our cat.

Cat food is now part of our shopping list when we go to the alimentari and a bowl of water is permanently on the verandah. Ah, the responsibilities of parenthood.

 

 

 

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.

Dinner at Buca di Bacco

One night in Positano we wandered down to the beach for a late dinner, no reservation, just figuring we would be able to find a table somewhere.

It was peak season and our options turned out to be limited.

We ended up at one of our less favourite places – Buca di Bacco. We have eaten there before and the food is excellent but the service can be less than friendly and has always felt rushed.

This time, however, we discovered their terrazzo – the roof of the restaurant where we had our own private balcony – and enjoyed a leisurely meal, excellent food and wine (we must talk about Sicilian Chardonnay at some point) and service that couldn’t have been better.

Grazie Buca di Bacco. Delizioso.

 

Our red Ferrari

We drove from the Amalfi Coast to Matera and back in a rental car. We picked the smallest and cheapest class of car Avis offered so it came as no surprise when we were presented with a bright red Fiat Panda at the rental car office in Sorrento.

The gentleman from Avis joked with us that it was a “red Ferrari” as he helped us shoe-horn our two large suitcases and various other bags into the car.

But our little Ferrari did us proud on the roads to and from Matera – far surpassing the Ford Focus we had earlier in the trip in Chianti – for both power and comfort. It was only when you saw other Panda’s on the road that you realised you were effectively driving an oversized roller skate.

The Fiat was full of useful and thoughtful features to make the trip easier. For example, it came with a holder for a phone on the dashboard which made it easy to follow the GPS directions to Matera and back to Sorrento.

Three days later we returned the car intact to Avis in Sorrento – to what must be the most attractive rental car depot in the world.

If Steve Jobs and Philippe Starck designed a super yacht, what would it look like?

A recent visitor to Positano was the super yacht commissioned by Steve Jobs prior to his death and designed by Philippe Starck. The yacht Venus is rumoured to have cost around $120 million to design and build and is now owned by his widow Laurene Powell Jobs.

It is quite a statement when you see it moored alongside other super yachts. There are very few, if any, pictures of the interior but word is it continues Apple’s minimalist approach throughout.