Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Benvenuti a casa Darrell!

Darrell has returned safely from his (scurrilous) Italian travels, greeting both Nigel and I with passionate kisses on the checks and finishing every sentence with “Bella bella”. He has also developed a very  strange Italia-Wolverhampton type accent!  Goodness knows what the Italians made of him.
Souvenirs from Rome
He came bearing very interesting gifts and souvenirs of his time in Rome, Sorrento and Capri but apologised that as it wasn’t featured highly on the itinerary, opportunities of a shopping type nature were few, far between and a trifle hurried.
 Soap from Capri
But I was highly delighted with my Italian lobster pot and Nigel was thrilled with his orange and lemon soaps from Capri, however, we have had to stress firmly that they are not for eating! But something tells me that we will find Nigel with a foaming mouth when he has his next  bath, as he won’t be able to resist having a little nibble, just to make sure they are not real!
 Icecream Spoon
Darrell showed us all the little mementos he had collected, like his ice cream spoon from when he tried his first Italian Gelato, he nommed quietly as he recanted his experience.
 Complimentary Bathroom Products
He also showed us the complimentary bath products he had purloined from both of the hotels he had stayed in.  He said that the secret of acquiring a few extra items to bring home was to completely empty the baskets of soap etc. in the bathroom before going out  for the day, on his return he would then find that they had all been replaced. It was a ploy that also seemed to impress the maid into thinking that he was extremely particular about his personal hygiene. What is he like?  However, I have to admit  a spare bonnet de douche is always a useful thing to have, as is shampoo and shower gel.
Roman Sugar
Darrell also obtained several packets of what he affectionately called his “Coliseum sugar”
Fruites De La Mer
The beach of Capri reaped some interesting frutti di mare for Darrell, a huge holey stone (which I hope he doesn’t try to put this round his neck as it could render him a very serious injury), a piece of driftwood and a bit of rope from a boat, these I am sure will be displayed very carefully in Darrell’s bedroom as wonderful treasures and momentos.
Stones from the beach in Capri Picture 011
Darrell’s next souvenirs were very special, but we hope they don’t contravene any conservation laws….
Bottled Treasures
He filled two little bottles with tiny stones from the beach in Capri and in the other two he put dust from the paths in Pompeii.  He said he did have a twinge of conscience about the dust and if he has to go back to Italy to return it, he would do so willingly, but hopefully it won’t come to that!
E 'bello averti a casa Darrell, ci sei mancato – which translated means – it’s good to have you home Darrell, we missed you!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Up Pompeii

Before we fly home later tonight, we have our final visit to somewhere I never thought I would ever go …….  only Pompeii, just how brilliant is that?
Picture 325
I can’t believe it, I keep on having to pinch myself….what a way to end a trip, and (yet again) it’s hard for me to find the right words without my emotions getting the better of me, I am truly overwhelmed, and overcome by awe and wonder.  The only thing I think I can compare it to is if I ever meet Stacey Solomon in real life!
Street in Pompeii
I can’t get over the sheer size of it all, I thought it would be quite small and that I could see it all in one day, how wrong I was, it’s bigger than West Bromwich ……. and it would take me days to see everything.
Picture 327
The amphitheatre made me go all goose bumpy thinking about all the battles that had been fought there between man and beast …. man and man …..man, beast and man …. beast, beast and man,  .......man, beast, dog, and man …… and all the people who once watched the gruesome spectacles……..
Picture 344
Walking through the buildings also felt spooky, imagining who had once lived there and wondering what had happened to them, and again Mount Vesuvius had a hypnotic effect on me, and I found myself constantly looking at it.
Picture 375
What a morning! A morning that will stay in my heart for ever and ever.
Picture 370
It's also hard to think that here I am standing in Pompeii, one of the most iconic places on earth and in a few short hours I’ll be back in Wolverhampton telling Monkey and Nigel all about my Italian adventures, I just don’t know where I will begin.
Picture 329
Italia addio, ciao bella …..

Sunday, 29 May 2011

A Snatched Moment Of Solitude In A Lemon And Orange Garden in Sorrento Before Going Home

I giardini di cataldo
I have found a little piece of Heaven ……
Picture 299
Every day on this trip  I have found something that takes my breath away. From the balcony of my hotel room I have been looking down each morning and evening at this lovely lemon and orange garden……..
Picture 207
……….  and  promised myself, that before we leave, I would come down and have a proper look.
Picture 288
It was the best promise I have ever made ….
lemon Grove in Sorrento
What I found was truly magical ….
Sat in a Garden of lemons and Oranges.
Row upon row of lemon and orange trees and the smell ……. it's just out of this world.
Picture 301
I know Monkey would have loved it if I could have taken some “real” lemons home with me, but I don’t think I could have got them through quarantine.
Garden of Leomons and Oranges
I shall remember this place forever and ever and ever.
Orange from Sorrento
The lady whose garden it was gave me an orange, it was so beautiful, I didn’t want to eat it, but that would have been silly and a waste…… so  I cut it in two and bit into it, letting the juice dribble down my chin …… it was WONDERFUL, and it taught me an important lesson ……. an orange isn’t just for Christmas!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

E sulla spiaggia di Capri, ho trovato la mia pietra holey ......

Translated ...... and on Capri beach I found my holey stone .....
Picture 277
Before leaving Capri, after an all too short visit, I decided to take a few minutes for quiet reflection on the beach
Beach on Capri
It was molto molto bello.
Sitting on the beach on Capri 
…… and covered with pebbles……. and you know me …. I couldn’t help casting my eye around looking for marine treasures gifted by the sea…. and then spread out on the beach for someone (like moi) to find.
Picture 275
(can you see a heart shaped stone too?)
…. and you’ll never guess what I found, almost straight away, as if it was put there just for me ….. come se dal destino.
Holey Stone from Capri
A very large holey stone, far too big to hang round my neck, well …. without the risk of serious injury that is.  It was an omen, I’m sure, so, although it was heavy, I put it in my backpack ….. to take it’s magical powers back home to Wolverhampton with me.  I just hope I am not breaking any quarantine laws by doing so!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Time For Tea in Capri And A Spot Of Dinner Too

Cup of tea on Carpri
Oh my life, a cup of tea on Capri cost me £5, but nothing can take away the experience for me, it was molto speciale.
Picture 266
 My lunch however proved to be much better value for my euros thanks to our guide Claudio who booked us a table in a lovely family run restaurant.
meal on Capri
There was a choice of a “real” Italian pizza or ravioli, the choice proved a little problematic for me as  I wanted to embrace the experience, but didn’t want to tarnish it by selecting the wrong “main course”
Meal on Isle of Capri
But I was not disappointed, I plumped for the ravioli which was molto delizioso! – 11 Italian nomino, nomino nominos!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

A Bus Trip on Capri!

Oh my life….. when I go back home to Wolverhampton and catch the Banga bus for the first time after my return, I will embrace George with all my heart, because I always feel safe when he is driving, on the Isle of Capri I must admit to fearing for my life!
Capri Bus Service
The roads were very, very steep and very, very bendy and to be honest I spent most of the upwards journey to the top of the island with my eyes squeezed very, very tightly shut  for fear that I might have a serious attack of the bends, asthma and panic!  Huge beads of sweat trickled down my face when at times there seemed to be nothing between the bus and a sheer drop into the sea.  In fact I feel quite sick just recalling the avventura!
Capri Bus service 2
I seemed to bounce from side to side, while the driver seemed quite nonchalant.  In my head I kept on saying “It’s OK Darrell, he does this all day, every day, just like George goes to and fro to Wolverhampton all day long, there’s no difference, so stop panicking!”  I think watching all those Paul McKenna programmes may have helped me a little, but I still think I wet myself a bit!
Just in case you are curious …. I have a little film here of part of the journey back down the hill ……

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Ciao Bella Capri

Well, “There’s no rest for the malvagio” as they say here in Italy. Today we are off to Capri, which until now I thought was just a refreshing fruit flavoured drink in a metallic pouch!
Port of Sorrento
We had to catch the hydrofoil from the Port of Sorrento to Capri which was emozionante in itself
Hydrofoil Sorrento Capri
The sea was the most wonderful blue colour and fortuitously becalmed, but even so, I still wore my seasick wristbands just in case, I wanted nothing to spoil this day.
Picture 238
The views were just fantastico and so, I thought, I wouldn’t say much at this point, so that you can just drink in the beauty with me.
Snapshot of Isle of Capri
…….. stupendo ….
View on Capri 1
…… splendido …
Picture 232
…… I’ve almost run out of words ….. and bellissimo just doesn’t seem enough!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Ciao Sorrento

Oh my life, how beautiful is Sorrento?
First view of Sorrento
As we travelled along the coast following very windy, twisty roads I found myself saying “Bella, bella” out aloud.
Hotel Balcony View in Sorrento
Our hotel is wonderful …. and the view from my balcony is well ……..
Picture 317
……. molto bello!
Picture 285 
Even the water hydrants are cosí romantico!
Picture 282
I am so very fortunato, in an Italian visit type nature!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Molineux Pride – Wolves Avoid Relegation

“And it's high ho Wolverhampton, no matter where you go now baby”   ……. well, we aint going nowhere, cos  we’re staying up!! Woooooo Hoooooo
Wolves Stay Up
Darrell was disappointed that he was going to miss the last Wolves match of the season due to him being  in Sorrento, and especially as we were so perilously close to relegation. He was texting us all through the match desperate for news.  Nigel and I were also on tenterhooks as we had worked out every permutation, trying to work out the results we needed to stay up!
Molineux Pride
But we did it!!!!!  We had no voices left when we got home, we sang and shouted for all we were worth, urging our team on.  It was an afternoon of high drama, everyone around us had their  radios on to see how the other teams were faring, at times it was almost too hard to bear, but our team didn’t let us or Sir Mick down.
Wolves Escape Relegation
We bought Darrell a special match day flag like he asked us to and have laid it out on his bed ready for his return. Hi Ho Wolverhampton!