Wednesday, April 23

Lunch at Casa e Bottega

And with the beginning of spring all of our favourite places to eat are re-opening again. On a warm April day we headed down to Casa e Bottega for a lunch with a difference..

Once we'd stopped gazing around at the fabulous ceramics and the new and ethereal jellyfish hanging from the ceiling we managed to place our orders. Casa e Bottega serves fresh, organic, locally produced meals with an emphasis on health rather than the usual pasta and pizza dishes that are so popular.



Fresh zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta, served with warm homemade bread with zucchini pieces rolled into it, and a small burrata in a pot to eat with the bread.
Zucchini flower power!
Somebody wasn't getting fed and it wasn't Carlo..


Carlo ordered the chicken and avocado salad with fresh green beans and baby rocket. I stole quite a lot from hom. Highly recommended.. (the salad, not stealing from others).

I sat facing the dessert table and could hear it calling to me to save some space for afterwards.


What to choose? Fresh strawberry tart, chocolate almond cake, flourless chocolate cake, strawberry muffins and cream....
In the end we shared a light tiramisu' and a lice of chocolate almond cake, swapping halfway as we often do. (Do you do that, order 2 different dishes, eat half and then swap? Twice as many dishes for half as less....or something...)
Poor Holly was not impressed, we were far too greedy to share it with her.
The next day it was raining, but I happened to pass by Casa e Bottega again and found a friend sheltering inside. I ended up staying again for lunch and can also highly recommend the salmon sandwich!

Monday, April 14

Rock climbing in Positano

Skye recently turned 11 so we decided to treat her to some rock climbing lessons with La Selva in Positano. We met up with our instructor, Adriano, after school one afternoon and walked up to the beginner cliffs near Montepertuso.
Positano actually has about 300 different climbing routes for experienced climbers. I'm surprised that more people don't come here to climb.
Adriano told us that Skye is one of only five local kids that have tried out climbing. I think something needs to be done about that, it should be part of the school curriculum!
Adriano showed us how to tie on the rope in a double figure of eight, and how to work the safety harness. He then, quickly scrambled up to the top of the cliff to attach the rope before it was Skyes turn.

He followed her up for a bit to show her how to place her feet and where to put her weight...
And then she was off..No flexibility problems there!
She did pretty well for the first time.
Lookin' like a pro..

And, yes, I had a go too! That's me up there!
And I remembered to stuff my phone down my top so that I could take a photo from the top.
Rather shakily.. I admit I did have one of those 'wtf am I doing up here omg I'm going to get stuuuuuck' moments, before pulling myself back together, having to let go of the rock with my hands, leaning backwards and abseiling back down to the lovely lovely ground.
After another couple of climbs we moved over to the stalactite cliff, where there is a huge tree trunk like rock formation that is supposed to be really fun to climb.
I chickened out because to get to it we had to balance on this ledge, which felt scary enough for me..
Skye attempted a climb but also got scared. Luckily she is so light that Adriano just lowered her back down with the rope!
Within about half an hour of finishing she had decided that it was great fun and "could we go again on Sunday please?"

If you're interested in rock climbing while in Positano you can contact La Selva to either organize lessons or get information on where to go.

Thursday, April 10

A beautiful day for walkies!

Yesterday was foggy. A thick dark cloud hung over the whole Amalfi Coast all day long making spring seem a lifetime away. But then last night it suddenly got windy. Very windy, I actually thought there was someone stomping around in the garden and got up at one point to investigate, only to find a store cupboard door banging instead.

 And then this morning, the glorious reveal. The sun rose cast a rose gold hue over the sea and the sky was clear. As soon as we stepped outside we knew it was the right kind of day for a long, lazy walk around town.
Walking down towards town the sea sparkled in front of us in that special way that happens only after a windy night. The countryside around us was awash with blooming plants that I swear weren't there when we were asparagus picking 2 weeks ago.
On Sunday the sea was a bright Caribbean blue, today it was navy blue.
See how happy Holly is?
We walked all through town. It took ages as everybody we met was in the mood for a chat, so we stopped countless times along the way, ducking into shops, sitting on the wall along the roadside, being offered coffee wherever we went.
Isn't it amazing how the weather can affect peoples moods? So many happy people today!
We walked up the road towards Fornillo and then ducked down the steps towards the beach. I love this little window along the way:
Fornillo beach was almost empty. A handful of people lay sunbathing and two brave souls were swimming. Soon the construction of the beach bars will commence.
Heading over towards the main beach we watched a couple of ferries come in. See how the water has changed colour again?
We stopped by the jetty for a while to sit in the sun with friends and then made our way up to Piazza Mulini to admire the wisteria and sit down for some lunch.
I hope this weather sticks around for a while and that the fog has blown away for good!

Tuesday, April 8

Herculaneum Street Market

If you're ever in Naples or even the suburbs in the morning you must visit one of the street markets. Walking out of  the Herculaneum site the other day I decided to introduce Dad to the cheapest way to shop for food in Italy.
Once you step out the gate you just need to walk up the street and turn down the second side street on the left.
It's always party time here with, bedecked with Italian style bunting and bustling with people no matter what the weather is like.
I always make a beeline straight for the shellfish stall and pick up a kilo of mixed shellfish. The stallholder grabs a bag and fills it with fistfuls form each bowl.
Crates of fresh mussels at Euro 3.50 per kilo...lemons and aperitivi cost extra!
It was pouring with rain but everyone had large umbrellas to duck under. I picked up a bunch of 6 bananas here for 1 euro. (If you haven't guessed I can't figure out how to type the Euro sign ).
A bag of local mela nurca apples here for 2 euro.
And then Dad found the fish stand and declared that he had never tried fresh anchovies...
So at 3 euro a kilo we snapped up a bag and also picked up a pesce bandiera (long slinky silvery fish on the right of the photo below) which possibly translates to flag fish which means nothing to an English man.So we had to get one.
I promised him he would like it and reassured him that I know what to do with it (grill it on the BBQ and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar) and off we went with a big bagful of fresh fish.
We ate most of the bananas on the train home, cooked up a feat with the fresh fish for dinner and had apple crumble for dessert.  Cheap eats from the market all at under 10 euro!

Friday, April 4

We are Happy from Positano VIDEO!

The other morning after the school run I made my way up to Nocelle to take some photos. Instead I ended up dancing in the streets when I came across a group of friends making a video to the Pharrel Williams 'Happy' song.
For 2 days they roamed around town stopping anyone and everyone and begging them to dance.
From the steps of Nocelle...
Down to the beach and everywhere inbetween...
Taking precarious selfies along the way..
Here's the finished video, enjoy!! (I'm in it somewhere too!)

Monday, March 31

Uneducated Observations in Herculaneum

Or what happens when you don't hire a guide...

*WYNAG = Why You Need A Guide

Dad came over for a visit so I took him to visit the ruins of Herculaneum (Ercolano), much better preserved than Pompeii and much quieter (especially if you choose to go when it is forecast rain non-stop, hail and thunderstorms). We didn't hire a guide, some of the history we knew, and the rest? We made it up as we went along, much more fun...

Herculaneum was buried under 20 metres of ash from the AD79 Vesuvius eruption. (Fact)


The brick work is very intricate...must have been a wealthier town than Pompeii. (Guess, but checked it out and it is a fact.)
Public toilets!!! (Er, no, this was a type of tavern. Hot food was stored in jars built into the counter, hence the origin of tavola calda, a place to buy ready cooked meals.)

Incredibly well preserved wall paintings...
And a stunning mosaic with intact shells still around the edges.. (WYNAG 1: for more information than this)

Well, this is obvious it's a parking bollard..to stop cars parking here, oh wait, there were no cars...maybe to stop horses and carts parking? (WYNAG 2)

There was actually an information board about this statue. It was found in many pieces scattered over the old beach area between 1942 and 1981 and eventually put back together. The experts reckon that it was hit full force by the first pyroclastic flow and blown to pieces.

While I was getting into the story of the statues recovery Dad discovered that it had a bolt up its bum....

Serious moment here please.. Below the statue are the old boat houses where so many people thought they would be safe but perished instantly in the intense heat of the collapsing pyroclastic flow.

Here we have a lady who doesn't seem to be bothered by the 3 naked men around her, she seems more interested in her toga...but wait...
What is the guy behind her doing to the poor bearded man? (WYNAG 3)
And another well preserved painting of a man about to fall off the edge...of something...while someone else does something...unexplainable....above him... (WYNAG 4)
By this point we were extra stupid from the ridiculously cold-for-the-end-of-March weather and decided that enough was enough.

So if you visit Pompeii or Herculaneum a guide is highly recommended. I know they are expensive, but try to group together with some other people at the entrance maybe and split the price.
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