The Sorrento sardines in lemon made the trip into town worthwhile.
Stuck in a sweltering cabin with no internet, between olive trees that keep bonking Britt on the head, and monster mosquitos that keep biting Britt’s tasty left leg!
We decided not to head back to Positano to start the Walk of Gods because it would take over an hour of driving to get to the start point of the walk and then the same to get back because of all the tourists and road conditions. Instead, we drove out of the campground, turned right and right and left. We found a natural reserve on a little white, single-lane road on the map and ended up following two other cars down the tiny road to get to it, but the two cars in front of us were turned away at the park as no cars were allowed past that point and because we were behind them we managed to get to the only parking spot. So we punched in the passenger mirror, snuggled Little Blue up against a stone wall and were on our way. We had no idea where.
It started out as a nice, gentle, flat, leisurely, passive, shady stroll and turned into a steep sloping path of ancient, uneven rocks, pelting with heat from the blazing sun. (which we didn't really notice until the way back up!)
We made it to Pointa Campanella; a lighthouse and an ancient tower perched high on the edge of gigantic cliffs that drop straight into the sea. The views of Capri, the rocks and the sea were beautiful.
Lazy bums that we are we didn't even get up until 8:20 today to start our five hour drive up the hairline edge cliffside road of the Amalfi Coastline. There was only minor screaming in the car. Britt says it was both beautiful and horrifying especially when the monstrous 100 seater tourist buses barrelled around blind corners straight at us not even slowing, just honking, leaning on their horn to scare off all the tourists who were already terrified.
We stopped whenever we could to admire the amazing view.
Britts quick eye (her good one) caught the sign for The Emerald Grotto so we completely trusted the little parking man, who we have never seen before, with the key to our car and all our worldly goods, and squished ourselves with 13 other people into the tiny elevator that fits four. We have no idea how deep into the earth we descended but we ended up in a tiny boat with the other 40 people who also had no life jackets. We were lucky enough to get the front row where Britt quickly became friends with the “Boatman” who was at least 50 and just as fascinated with Britt as Britt was with the Grotto. He spent the entire trip saying “Lookie Lookie Babeeee Canada” in all his sentences. It was actually very funny. He said he didn't care if she had a boyfriend in Canada because Canada is the other side of the world! Lookie Lookie Baby Canada” He wanted a quick date, but mostly he wanted a Boatman tip. The best part of the grotto was the natural emerald light shining from a 16 meter long underwater tunnel.
We are now at Sorrento Resort Campogaio; camping, in a cabin, with no air conditioning and no screens on the windows. We thought the price was right when we booked it. (See photo below) After our leisurely and fish-like swim in the Tyrrhenian we sat, high above the sea looking out on to the Island of Capri.
After I pried Britt away from her new doggy friend, who was adorable and had followed her home, we caught the San Giovanni ferry at Messina. It wasn't the easiest thing to find and we ended up following a Dutch couple from where we bought the ticket to the other side of the port to the ferry. The folks who sold us the ticket didn't seem to care that we didn't know where to go and that we were sitting in the parking lot for a half hour waiting for a ferry that didn't even come there. Anyhow, the Dutch saved us and we were on our way. The funny thing about this is that once we disembarked the Dutch turned right on one highway, we went left on another highway, we each drove for over an hour and we ended up right behind them at a service centre. They didn't see us, which was good because we didn't want them to think we were “creeping them” (Lookie Looke Baby Dutch - see post below).
We didn't have a place to stay - we were winging it. On the GPS we had found an Agritourismo place that didn't really exist but we found one close by. It was great. We were beat.
Britt and I have been talking about making a list of the 10 top things to see in Italy and we thought that it would take a month to find just-the-right sites for our list. We have been 4 days and we have already 4 sites. We might have to make a top 33 list instead because that is the amount of days we are together on this trip! Each day has given us unbelievable “unbellieve, unbelieve, unbelieve..."
Today we were 9,580 feet above sea level on the “Mountain of Fire”; Mt. Etna. We opted for the cable car up and the jeep-bus to take us as high as we could go. The paid transportation dropped us about 500 metres from Torre del Filosofo so we hiked the remaining distance, through the strongest, most-gusting winds either of us has ever experienced to get as high as we could go. Today, Etna is erupting on the north east side, so we couldn't go there. (The hike, that we opted not to do, takes 5 hours! The people we saw doing the hiked looked like they were going to die!)
Even though we were wearing long sleeves (Yes we hiked Etna in matching sandals), our upper body was very cold from the height and wind, but our legs, from the knees down, were warmed by the pulsating heat from the ground. We touched the earth with our hands and felt the heat. It was a weird sensation feeling the earth so hot. When we were almost at the top, I had a lot of trouble breathing. I felt like a 100 year old smoking east-of-adelaine-grandma! We paused so I could breathe. It's a lung thing!
We were standing on the edge of one of the craters and really believed that the wind could blow us off the ridge; it was so strong! We firmed our feet with each step that we stepped and made it to the top. We wondered if we were the only people worried about being blown off the top! On the way down, we both felt dizzy and extremely tired.
Let me make a comment about my hair - today I had on my "Volcano" hair-do; live lava streams screaming out from the centre of my head engulfing and killing all that it touched - death to all, don't look at Medusa!.... ~ I might break down and get it cut... but I need "Georgie" my hair stylist from First Choice on Oxford near Quebec...
Tonight we are relaxing and enjoying the beautiful mountain view as the sun sets at an Agritoursmo farm that Britt found online last night. We had a little trouble finding it but a man, who saw that we needed help, stopped his car and told us in absolutely complete Italian to go straight, turn right, turn left, go through a big intersection and turn right and we understood him and found it!
PS - omg - it is erupting tonight =! Look at the header photo!
It's hard to remember what town we were even in this morning it seems like so long ago! ~Britt - where were we this morning?~ Oh Yeah.. Agrigento! We started out early heading east for Siracuse but had to make a screeching halt detour when we saw the Mediterranean. After a sharp right turn and a few little back roads Britt was waist deep in the absolutely beautiful crystal clear blue warm water.
After shaking the sand and salt off our feet, we drove and wove our way up incredible mountain roads and found ourselves perched in the sky at the same level as an airplane that was flying a few hundred feet away from us as we all were about 3,000 feet (1,300 meters) above sea level. (Eighth picture in the shots below) But the most dramatic pause in our day was when we turned a mountain corner and were presented with the Town of Modica. ~Unbelieve...~ (Header photo). We stared at it. We stared at each other. We stared at it again. We made another screeching right turn up a steep little road and found a spot to park the car to get out and stare at it some more! The whole town was perched, climbing, from the valley below straight to the top of the mountain that was at equal level in front of our eyes! It was hard to believe that it was real!
Once we could remove ourselves from the view we followed the coastline over to Siracuse; where we are tucked in for the night, drinking Sicilian wine and eating Sicilian olives.
As we drove toward Agrigento, we could see the silhouette of the temples from afar. When we stood beside each of them we were truly amazed. For a while, we sat under an Olive tree, recovering from the temperature of the day, staring at the Temple of Concord; the most complete temple on the site. It was built between 440 and 430 BC! After our rest we turned a corner and were shocked to see a huge Telemon laying there right in front of us! Right there! It was so cool!
After a restful afternoon we walked down to Castel di Lombardo and climbed the 12th century tower. More photos below. Plus we ate the best pizza ever for dinner! We had a great day!
We are in love with the new Fiat which has been named "Little Blue" It is a stick shift, which means Britt will only drive it going up the steepest, most narrow, cobblestone, roads! It is a great little car. We were tired from yesterday so chose not to walk anywhere today but to drive through beautiful countryside to reach our goal which was the hilltop town of Calascibetta. On the way we found an ancient necropolis which we explored and found that someone is "squatting" in the largest. Once we made it to Calascibetta we decided that we needed to get to the very top of the town so we could take some photos of Enna. The streets in the town are narrow, one way and filled with parked cars. We waved at all the locals as we passed by them but on the third time by they stopped waving and just thought we were crazy. Which we believed we were when we drove drove straight up on a tiny road, over the summit of the road only to land at a dead end at the edge of the cliff. We couldn't turn around; there was no room to turn around; there was also no room to open the car doors. To get out, we drove the same road only backwards! Yep, and we didn't even smash into any of the buildings, but we did smell the engine of the car as it tried its best to get us out of the spot we were in! It was fun! We never made it to the top because it was fenced off around the castle and even though Britt tried,in her dress to climb the fence, it couldn't be done.
Tonight we are heading for the castle in Enna and ordering pizza.
Long day. Second flight was delayed also. We are now in Enna. Going to bed. More tomorrow it's 12:30 all for now
Update: Britt's flight was delayed leaving Toronto and is not scheduled to land in Rome until 1:00 this afternoon (it is 11:35) - which means we will likely miss our 1:55 flight to Palermo. There is a flight to Palermo at 5:00 that we can take if we miss the earlier flight. We have to pay again as they won't transfer the early flight ticket to the late flight. I guess tht means Britt will have to sacrifice her wine drinking budget! Once she lands we will do one of those running through the airport scenes with our hair flowing behind us and our dresses gracefully wrapping around our legs as our stilettos click on the terazzo floor!
I have called the car agency to let them know we are delayed and I will call the B and B next.
It is quite rainy in Rome today.
Maybe more later...
For my last morning in Rome, I walked leisurely through the Borghese Gardens. It’s a very large, beautiful park which is very well kept. It was cloudy, so the greens were soft. By mid afternoon, the sun had broken through and the contrast between light and dark bounced alive. There were very few people early this morning, mostly joggers and folks walking their dogs. By afternoon it was full of people completely enjoying the park. A person can can rent a bicycle, golf cart, pedal bike, and those things you stand on, ride a train that is double the size of the Storybook train or ride a pony. As fun as it all sounds, I didn't do any of those things. It was enjoyable to watch the reaction of people as they first saw the view from the PIncio Hill. (The header photo today).
The Bernini, in the photos below, sits in the midst of Baroque chaos but it is a beautiful Bernini. The Ecstasy of Theresa, as recommended by Mary - Wow - what a sculpture! It’s funny, I was in this church two days ago, but brushed it over because it is intensely Baroque and I couldn't tell where one item ended and the next started, and the amount of blue and gold was nauseating so by the time I was to get to the side of the church where the Bernini is (that I didn't know was there) I had enough and left the building. Thank you Mary for telling me it is there, I went back yesterday. (Church: Sta Maria della Vittoria) This church is a fine example of why an iPad app is needed; so you can skip the horror and go to the good stuff straight-away!
Yesterday was Wilson’s day… I headed off to the bike shop about 2 km away to pick up Wilson who is packed nicely in a box with air holes for breathing, ready for the next part of the trip. I creatively attached the curtain repair strapping that I purchased just outside of Assisi, to the box to make handles. I also jammed some other things in the box so I don't have to carry them. I hope the car that Britt and I get at the Palermo airport is big enough for a bike and us!
I have decided that I am ready not to be alone anymore on this trip and am looking forward very much to Britt arriving tomorrow. I am okay on my own, and I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but, I get boring after awhile. No new jokes, same conversation, or even worse NO conversation! I haven't started talking to myself yet, well, no more than usual, but I don't do it while I am walking through a busy intersection at say, Piazza Pubblico or the Coliseum! (Although I could get away with it at the Coloseum!) Anyhow, Britt’s flight arrives at 11:40. We meet at the Rome airport then fly together to Sicily.
At 6:00 tonight I went over to Sta Pudenzia to take a look at the mosaics one last time before I leave town. I went inside and the pews were filled with people and a young man was speaking at the front of the church. I slipped into a seat close to the back to see what was going on and to stare at the Mosaics (which were lit beautifully and I needed my camera!). The sound system came alive with Celine and that tenor guy (sorry I forget his name) singing that prayer song. ~Technology against mosaics - an interesting concept~ Well was I surprised to find out that it was a memorial service and dinner in honour of Rodolfo Gautane. The movie was his life, his funeral, his dog at the funeral trying to get up to the coffin and the party afterwards. (They finally held the dog up beside the coffin so she could see inside). The funeral was huge and they showed every bit of it; all of them marching down the street behind the coffin, lowering into the ground; the works. It was quite moving! The dog was at the memorial service tonight too. I patted the dog on the head and left just before dinner.
Exciting news flash: Enzo Ardovini at La Casa di Amy stopped me tonight to talk about the app. He wants to post a link to it on his web site (www.enzosplace.com). He is quite excited about it. His web site gets 1500 hits a day. (He said he doesn't put "just anything" on his web site.) They have been extremely nice to me. Tonight they have given to me their network internet connection to use since the regular one is down.