It’s odd what you can find in Italy sometimes

When visiting Matera we discovered that it was a town obsessed with beer – craft beer to be precise. Every bar and restaurant had a range of craft beers which were proudly displayed on its menu.

The task of finding a simple Peroni or a Nastro Azzurro at our hotel was impossible – but they could supply three types of wheat beer and a gaggle of obscure IPAs.

One beer that we were surprised to find was “New Zealand” IPA from Motueka. Who would have thought you could find a kiwi beer in, of all places, Matera. And of course, once we spotted it, we had to try it.

That night we drank Matera’s entire supply of New Zealand IPA dry – both bottles. So, gentle travellers, if you are looking for a taste of home in Matera – you’re too late. Cheers.

All Blacks in Italy

Last Saturday morning life at the villa ground to a halt as we watched the All Blacks play Australia in the first Bledisloe Cup rugby match.

We found the broadcast on Sky Italia with the only downside being a choice of Italian or Australian commentary. Sadly no Justin Marshall for us, just Aussie commentators who became more depressed as the first half developed. Even they were struggling to find anything good to say about their local team until after the 50 minute mark. In the end of the game the best they could do was talk up the second half which, apparently, the Australian team won.

Aussies, no surprises there.

Earthquake in Ischia

Tonight there was an earthquake centred on the island of Ischia. This is about 60 kms from Positano on the other side of the Bay of Naples. There has clearly been damage and tragically some loss of life.

In Positano we felt no shaking at all.

But as residents of our own “shaky isles”, our thoughts are with all those affected.

 

Welcome to Positano

Last Saturday we travelled from Chianti to Positano. A journey that involved driving to Firenze and dropping off our rental car, cabbing to Santa Maria Novella train station, taking the high speed train to Napoli and then being driven over the hill to Positano.

A long day, but well rewarded when we arrived at Eden Roc Hotel’s reception and were greeted by Lorenzo, Pascale and the rest of the team.

For those who don’t know, we stay at a villa (Casetta Arienzo) owned by the hotel which is located about 800 metres down the road. It means we can use the hotel facilities – pool, restaurant, breakfast – but be self contained in a villa with a kitchen, laundry, etc. The best of both worlds really.

We also got the chance to catch up with kiwi friends who were visiting Positano. They had been staying in Casetta Arienzo but moved to the hotel for a short stay when we arrived.

Sunday was spent on the water with them – slowly working our way down the coast towards Amalfi – swimming in the ocean and lunching at a restaurant on the beach. A great day out – despite a choppy return to Positano in the evening as the wind and waves had got up a bit. Our Captain Enzo was an absolute master steering the boat using his left leg against the tiller as he stood proudly looking ahead – like Ahab searching for the white whale.

Speaking of seafood, we dined with our friends on Monday night at Ristorante Da Constantino high above Positano on the road to Nochelle  – a view to die for.

 

Under a Tuscan sunset

Last Friday we visited our dear friends Dani and Olga at their home for dinner. We had not seen their new house before or the delightful hamlet it is part of. As the sun set, we took some photographs that go some way to capturing the beauty of the area.

The meal was absolutely superb and the company delightful. Grazie mille Dani and Olga.

Our Shaky Isles

Just over 12 hours ago the east coast of the South Island was hit by a major earthquake. In Wellington it rolled through shaking up everyone and everything. Thankfully we suffered no damage as the old house rocked and rolled with the punches.

It was the strongest earthquake I’ve ever experienced and, being a born and bred Wellingtonian, I’ve been through a few.

What I’m not used to are the aftershocks following this quake. They seem to have been constant for the last 12 hours.

The shot below is my iPhone’s notification of “moderate” or greater earthquakes that have occurred in the last few minutes – about one quake every 4 minutes – with anything above 4.5 being strong enough to notice. The experts say this could continue for days or weeks.

Yikes, there’s another one.

GeoNet notifications

An app worth grabbing – Prisma

Ever so often you run a cross an iOS app that is very cool. Prisma is one such app. It turns photos into art. Yes, I hear you say, there are lots of apps the do this – most produce a result that is absolute rubbish.

Prisma is different – it has a number of different styles you can choose from – and it’s free from the App Store.