wk 17 – wombatours italia, mozarella & fountains

After a quiet coffee on the Paestum marina (still rather odd but better when empty!), we checked out of our slightly damp camp cabin and headed to the ruins, and as a bonus, what turned out to be a rather excellent museum. We couldn’t take photos inside, so I can’t show you visually one of my favourite pieces; a tomb with frescos of a diving man (quite famous clearly, judging by the many less than tasteful reproductions in all the stalls outside, of the image, not the tomb thank goodness, although it wouldn’t have suprised me, given some of the tack I’ve seen over the last few weeks!!) Anyway the image is quite simple, and apparently the whole approach really unusual for it’s time, so I imagine that the entombed was a little left of centre and creative with a lack of regard for the status quo. The outer ruins were equally spectacular and only disovered again fairly recently, with the necropolis just close by not discovered until the recent war…amazing how there are so many layers of civilisation in Italy that things can literally just fall into bush, dust and obsurity for centuries and then be revealed…

And so to the hair-raising drive back through the other side of the Amalfi coast, just looking at the map made me feel vaguely dizzy, via a buffalo mozarella farm for lunch, where the herd actually had their own waterfall to stand under, the mozarella was superb, happy animals, yummy curds clearly. There are no photos of the view on the way to Positano mainly due to my hands either being used to hold onto the side of the car or to cover my eyes, I think at some point on the journey we had the brainwave to use the train for the next part of the Soph and Loz wombatours italia (worked out well…Florence as always was beautiful)…I do however have hundreds of photos of Positano and will start to bore you with them as of now…this was the view from our room, sigh…

I have always wanted to stay in Positano, and it turned out brilliantly as we found two rooms in a gorgeous pensione, with little balconies and the most exceptional view, have a look at the bathroom below, I will most certainly be back!!

The evening was as good as the view, we wandered the streets, had a prosecco, and then found a local excellent tavola calda type spot, took pizza and vino back to the balcony, and were treated to classical music from the festival just below us rising up from the church courtyard.

Then at midnight, someone had kindly put on a firework display right over the bay and we had front seats…exceptional…this time I just enjoyed them, took enough firework photos in Trevignano at Feragosto. Soph and I were up extra early and down having a coffee watching the boat boys* by 7.30am (not intentional might I add) *slightly older pool boys on sand

Positano is so gorgeous, it is a tiny little bit pretentious I suppose, but it has a certain charm that combined with villas hanging precariously from cliffs, rather lovely shops (apart from the one that looks a little like Laura Ashley has thrown up on the window…never seen so much colourful chintz in my life) and a peacefulness due partly to it’s ever so slight inaccessibility, makes it a wonderful place to stay, I really want to return in autumn some time…

After our loo with a view we moved back to our camp cabin with a vista and returned to Sorrento for a few nights with Capri the next on the itinerary, still stunning even with the touristy edge that has definitely crept in since I was last here at some point last century…it was worth the trek up to Tiberius’s villa, as most do not get there in the searing summer heat, although the lack of water anywhere was a little short sighted, shame the bathing complex had fallen into decay hundreds of years prior, looking at the views I can see why Tiberius moved his entire court to Capri…for the remainder of his lifetime

One of my favourite moments was on the way up to the villa when Loc, Loz, Soph and I perched on a wall, about a metre away from a 6 star hotel, and wipped out our panini from a tucked away alimentari, with amazing prosciutto, marinated tomato and gorgonzola, it was at this precise moment that I realised, as always, that I will never manage to be one of the beautiful people staying in the hotel, the possibility of not stuffing down the latest yummy thing leading to the inevitable inability to fit into the size 6 bikini, the sense of appreciation that comes from having stayed in a non air-conditioned cabin overnight for 20 euros, finding a bargain fab panino, and enjoying the same view as someone in a 500 a night hotel, and the innocent joy of knowing your gorgonzola is probably wafting into the rather exclusive lounge; priceless and yes a little boganesque!!!

Prior to our final cultural injection, I was dragged up Vesuvius, not something for whatever reason, mainly that I assumed it was on a steep incline, was something I was hugely keen to do, so when I finally reached the top I am fully prepared to admit I was expecting flowing luminous larva, hissing and a bit of spectacular smoke, I think the photo below sums up the result…boring bored boring…sorry but it really was (ok view could have been incredible and of course linking the history back to 79AD was intriguing but would I chose to do it again sorry but no…) !!!! Visit was vaguely redeemed by realising there was a cable car inaguarated here in the late 19th century (ruined in the eruption of the 40s) perhaps just wishful thinking vs the usual hair-raising car journey and trek to destination…don’t believe those lady adventurer 1930s postcards on summit they just took the cablecar to within 1m of the crater…have you seen the shoes they were wearing?…enough said.

Next stop funnily enough directly below the volcano; Herculaneum, the surrounding area was not quite Positano, and a wise move I think, that the public carpark was actually in the police compound, I kid you not…and quite an amazing place to visit…so much so that I can’t do it justice in the weekly blog, a visual post to follow soon…

To finish our Southern wombatours I really wanted to show Soph and Loz Caserta, something I discovered with my dad and a place that is now in such an unlikely town that it makes it all the more stunning, the Versailles of Naples is overused however in my mind quite accurate, judge below, and another unknown little secret it that Caserta vecchia up above on the hill is one of the most gorgeous old medieval villages I’ve seen and we all stumbled across it a bit at random when trying to find somewhere to stay to see the palace gardens, stunning, first photos are of the village, second of the gardens, next blog moves us towards Medicis, magnificos and meat fit for a king…Florence…coming quita soon…

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