This will be the last blog entry. Our Italian trip was a long time in the planning. Over many months and dinners we plannned and dreamt of our Italian adventure. With movies such as "Under the Tuscan Sun", and more recently "Eat, Pray, Love", I think we had a vision of country one could only dream about. Now the time has come to say farewell to Italy, and I think the expectations have been well and truly met.
It seems such a long time ago now that we arrived in Venice and were taken down the small cobblestoned lane to our hotel rooms. The bustling waterways of this special city were our first taste of Italy. Tuscany was as beautiful as we imagined. With its rolling green and yellow fields scattered with hay bales and the tiny villages dotted throughout, it really is something special. We will always remember the villages of Staggia and Pogghibonsi, where we ate many a fine dinner. Castles and towers are to be seen everywhere in Tuscany, and they are treasured and respected. The Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast were totally different. With the ancient old houses built into the rock faces all along the coast and set against the background of the sparkling green ocean it was really was postcard perfect. I think we will all remember the never ending steps of these regions, so many! Capri was traditional Italian with a modern twist.
We have eaten so much delicious Italian food. In Tuscany the tomatoes were absolutely beautiful, rich red and sweet, much like the tomatoes in NZ used to be. We ate delicious cheeses and meats with so much more flavour than we have in NZ. The area is rich with olive trees and cherry trees.
We always remember our beautiful traditional Italian dinners that we had with Rudi and Claudia. In Amalfi, it is lemons that are abundant. Whever you go, Limonchelli is on hand. All the locals seem to grow their own fruit and vegetables. In Capri, our hotel was surrounded by apricot trees absolutely laden with apricots. In Italy the locally grown produce is used in the community, to benefit the community. And of course we have eaten delicious spaghetti and pastas, not to mention pizzas. These foods are still the favourites in Italy and there is a pizzeria on every corner. When you buy a pizza in Italia it is made from scratch, even the dough. Pizza and pasta are served with minimal toppings and sauces unlike NZ where pastas are swamped with sauce and pizzas are laden with cheese.
The Italian people are passionate and expressive. Like anywhere else in the world, we met lovely ones and not so lovely ones. Many times we thought people were arguing on the street, but it was just everyday conversation. We have all enjoyed trying to communicate with our limited Italian skills and have ended up laughing most of the time. We definately improved though, and were quite proud to be able to order off an Italian menu! Italy is steeped in tradition and family values and this was clearly evident in Tuscany where we stayed with Claudia and Rudi. The farm was family run and everybody had a part to play. In Italy children stay up as late as Mum and Dad, and I don't think Robyn and I could quite get our heads around 2 year old Gabriel playing soccer at midnight. They welcomed us and the other guests with true warmth and it was a total joy to stay with them. Our experience in Positano was not as pleasant. Grumpy old Pepe clearly had a chip on his shoulder and the modern world was not something he was wanting to embrace. He did grease up the Americans though, probably in hope of a large tip!! Many other people have been a part of our adventure.....Colin and Val, from Byron Bay, The mysterious Jordan and Sabine, Chuck and Clay, Melanie and Michelle.....oh wow!, Brenda and the clergyman (we never did find out his name), the Canadian girls, John and Carole (lets take a photo) and even the little German man in the pizza place in Capri who lost his first love in 1965 and has been returning ever since. Robyns friend Francis from Taupo. Oh, and I mustn't forget my boyfriend, Tony the apricot man!! lol.
Robyn and Simon, you have been fantastic travel buddies. We have had so much fun and laughter along the way, and have so many memories to treasure forever. Thanks for being part of the adventure.......xxxxxx
I hope that whoever has read this has enjoyed it.
So for now it is Arriverderci Italia, thank you for all you have shared with us.
Ciao, for the last time. Lxxx