Sunday, August 1, 2010

i was in italy. i'm not anymore.

you're getting part two of the italy story first. is that okay?

i started writing part one yesterday but the word count started to creep up and little so i decided to keep it wedding specific. to break up the words, i'd like to include photos. but, mr and mrs cerboneschi are having wedding: take II in a few weeks' time (this one's in oz) and we don't want to spoil the dress surprise for anyone now do we? no.

so, that post is sitting in drafts. this post is not. der.

bookending the lovely tuscan wedding of fiona and alfredo was three-plus weeks of italian bliss. it started on the amalfi coast, finished in the nation's capital and included a new addition to my top five all-time favourite destinations. in fact, while my current top five was written in no particular order, this spectacular location can go straight to the head of the class.

congratulations...drum roll please...positano.

look, there are probably photos which better depict this glorious destination but this is an absolute fave. it's damn hard to get a six ft six guy and a five ft nothing girl in a self portrait while sufficiently capturing the backdrop. this is stupid and i like it.

anyway, positano. camelshoes' number one travel destination. why? it's gorgeous. it's charming. it's ocean adjacent. i just fell in love. while there are certainly a lot of tourists, i didn't find it 'touristy' or crowded...and we were there in the middle of their summer.

our stay here also included time in amalfi, sorrento (formally of top-five standard, now bumped for its neighbour), pompeii and capri island.

i won't go into those or we'll be here forever. but worth a mention is the ricotta and pear flavoured gelati we gobbled in sorrento. best. flavour. ever. (until venice).

there's a little hole in the story here which takes in the three days we spent in 'wedding ville'. i'll pick up in florence.

firenze was so pretty and bolstered by the company. we had a couple of friends still with us from the wedding and a couple more waiting in florence. mike's sis and a friend of a friend also met us on day two. good times. a highlight of florence was the cooking course a few of us took which yielded fantastic bruschetta, scrumptious pasta and delish tiramisu.

the cooking was fun. the eating was better.

next stop siena and it was just the boy and i once more. we had three nights booked here which quite a few people had implied would be a long time for such a small place. but, in hindsight, i would not have wanted to do it differently. siena was beautiful. yep, absolutely, it was small. but for me, travel is much more about wandering, discovering, eating, drinking, soaking up atmosphere and i reckon you can do that anywhere.

one of the best things we did was hire a scooter and zip around tuscany for a couple of days. still based in siena we visited a heap of small towns and wineries - places off the beaten track. perfecto.

zoom zoom.

then it was off to venice. i luuuuuurved venice. to me, it's the epitome of italy. those quaint canals dotted with cute dingys winding around charming homes - it was postcard stuff. and forget pear and ricotta ice cream. i got a hankering for a scoop one particularly hot day and, sticking to our 'never-order-the-same-flavour-twice' mantra, i opted for something i had never seen before. it was, hands down, the best flavour i've ever tried. the problem is, i don't remember what it was. all i can tell you is that i am pretty sure coconuts and hazelnuts were involved.

one of a glut of venetian selfies.

from venice to milan. italy's fashion capital, apparently. we never expected milan to compare, visually, to those places we'd already been and, save the duomo, it didn't. but, my oh my, that duomo.

right in the heart of milan, it definitely the most impressive building i have ever seen. so much detail. i could have sat on that roof all day. but, places to see, cocktails to drink. lakes to visit. lake como to be precise. beautiful. tranquil. a day trip for us but definitely somewhere i would happily stay longer. plus, the chances of seeing george clooney are pretty good.

the climax of our four weeks was the cinque terre. on the coast of the italian riveria, cinque terre was, ahhh, good. lovely. beautiful in fact. but ever so slightly disappointing. and it's not cinque terre's fault. it's mine. me and my silly expectations. i though ct would blow me away. it did not. positano did but not the chink.

we got 'the walk' under out belt, because that's what you do in ct. 12km long, the track takes you from monterosso to riomaggiore via vernazza (below), corniglia and manarola. or vice versa. these are the '5 lands'. we were warned against tackling the walk since we didn't bring trainers but, in all honesty, we completely killed it in thongs (flip flops, jandals) so i am glad we went for it.

the highlight of ct was lunch at locanda lorena. we had been given step by step instructions by the father of the bride at the wedding. so, we jumped on the ferry to portovenere, found the courtesy speedboat to palmaria island and sat down to one of the most glorious meals of the trip. such a wonderful day. thanks paul.

the train from cinque terre to rome was sad. not because the end was nigh but because we had the pleasure of sitting next to halitosis woman. now, i truly don't mean to be cruel but one, she's not reading and two, it was unbearable. as soon as she stepped into the six-seat carriage, mike and i looked at each other in fear. we had a good couple of hours with this woman and it was impossible. every time she spoke, and she was with family so she spoke often, a thick fog of yuck swept over the rest of us. it's hard to be polite when you're gagging but we survived and made it safely, albeit traumatised, in rome.

we'd both been to rome before so didn't feel the need to see the sights. we had a few presents to pick up and, of course, wanted to indulge in some final italian foodie moments but it was effectively arrivederci to ialty and our amazing holiday.

a week later it feels like a lifetime away. that's what reality will do to you i guess. but we have fantastic memories, great photos and a freakin' super tan!


Kirsty said...

I love this post. It makes me super envious but I love it.

Ahhhh Italy... I hear you calling me...

bananas. said...

ITALY!!!! whaaaaatt!!! so lucky!

welcome back...and i have to say, aside from being jealous, that i love the first picture. is this the first time i've seen your face? you're super cute!

jprp said...

Wow! sounds like you had an awesome time, but selfishly, I'm glad youre back! I love your photos, I've never been to Europe, but it's next on the list, thanks for giving me some ideas :)

Seema Duggal said...

Man I wish I had not read this. I'm already feeling itchy feet/Italy lust, and now I feel slightly compelled to make a run for it on the Italian Coast.

Sounds like such an amazing holiday x

kerrie elaine said...

so beautiful! would love to hear more of this trip! xoxo

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