Yesterday we went to our local beach – Spiaggia Arienzo. I blogged about it before in 2011 when we last visited it. In particular, the blog mentioned the number of steps from the road down to the beach – 239. Easy on the way down, not so much climbing back up.
Although the price for a lounger, umbrella and place on the beach at the Arienzo Beach Club has gone up from 9 to 20 Euros in the last 8 years, it’s still worth it with table service to your lounger being a winning idea. Lunch at the beach club was great and it is still amazing they can produce such good food, in such quantity, so quickly for lunch from a kitchen the size of a closet.
At the end of the day the 239 steps up to the road felt a lot steeper than 8 years ago and this old man needed a couple of stops along the way. Ideal breaks to grab a glance at the luxury villas that cling to this part of the coast.
If you have ever wondered why a tripod should be part of a photographers travel kit – here’s the reason.
Last night there was a fingernail moon over the bay as the last of the evening light faded. A perfect shot – but without a tripod it was a succession of ever so slightly blurred shots. No amount of ISO pushing or aperture opening could bring the shutter speed down to avoid camera movement.
The camera was braced, I was braced, but the result was always the same.
Note to self – next time pack the damn travel tripod.
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.
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.
I’d like to say that this post is all about Jean’s first lunch on a train.
The trip from Firenze to Napoli included lunch as we rocketed through the countryside north of Roma at 275km/h. Compared to typical airline food this was a feast of pasta, ragu and buffalo mozzarella all washed down with a Sicilian Chardonnay.
But really this post is just an excuse to use the title.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We have been home for just over a week and things are returning to normal. No longer is 3am our preferred waking time and we can now stay up well past 8 at night.
Spring is definitely in the air – not the 30 degree temperatures we have become used to, but certainly temperatures warmer than those we left behind at the start of August.
The grape vine that runs the length of our boundary fence is showing signs of life with green shoots growing on a daily basis.
Poppie and Bella were pleased to see us although Vicki did a great job of pampering them in our absence. They are both asleep on the floor beside the desk as I write, recovering from a day barking at the front gate.
The holiday memories are still close and there are stories to tell.