Saturday, 26 February 2011

Sorrento, Italy

Five days of sunshine and blue skies spent in Sorrento. We visited Pompeii, walked miles around its ruined streets, marvelling at the wall paintings that have survived. Em made friends with one of the local dogs that roam the ruins. All the time we were aware of the brooding presence of Mount Vesuvius behind the town.

We walked around Sorrento discovering all its delightful shops, views and marveling at all the beautiful plants which at home are house plants but in Sorrento are garden plants - Bougainvillea, white Jasmine, Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia), Date Palms, Prickly Pear Cactus, Yellow Mimosa in bloom, a stunning sight against the deep blue sky, figs, oranges and lemons and other plants I have never seen before. I spotted several birds - several birds which looked similar to a Bee Eater and a Black Cap bird (but it had airforce blue colour on its wings), Sparrows and I heard many other bird calls I didn't know. We enjoyed espresso coffee at Cafe del Carmine on the Piazzo Tasso. We visited Mt Vesuvius and walked (huffed and puffed) up to the top to look in the crater and admire the views. The views were hazy despite a bitterly cold wind blowing for two days, as you can see from the photos we were cold despite being well wrapped up.

Back in Sorrento much to Em's delight we discovered the big Supermercardo on Corso Italia, which stocks Gluten Free and Dairy Free pasta, rice cakes, cakes and biscuits as well as Alpro soya milk and rice milk, so we don't need to bring the special foods with us next visit. We stayed in a lovely appartment on Via Parsano with views across towards the hills behind the town of Sorrento. It meant that we could cook a hot meal which it turned out was necessary as we didn't find any restaurants selling chips or gluten and dairy free food suitable for Em. It gave us a chance to use the local shops, Tony spoke very rusty italian which hadn't been used since 1988 but like riding a bike he remembered most of it and gained in confidence as the days rushed by. I learned a few phrases and picked up a few more along the way, Em who usually stays silent on foreign holidays also attempted Italian and by the end of the holiday professed a love of Italy and would like to live there! I wonder how much of it was due to the idea that at the age of 16 you can learn to ride a scooter - she spotted a red vesper she'd like (oh no!) I did buy her a small model of one instead ;-) but she is keen to learn Italian, so when we return she can understand and speak more. Returning to the appartment one evening we spotted a beautiful little church up on the hillside above Sorrento all lit up. Finally on Friday we bade Sorrento farewell, but we will return because we had a wonderful time and we have more to discover about this enchanting area.

My final two pictures were taken from the Taxi as we left Sorrento the colour is wrong but that is because the windows were tinted. It does show the villages stretched out along the coastline, in the distance is Sant Agnello and Sorrento. Hope you have a good week. Jane x

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Home Ill

January slipped away and February breezed in, the days are slowly lengthening too. the weather has been overcast and cold except for a beautiful day of sunshine we had on Tuesday, but I've been ill this week with a horrible bug that laid me low from last Friday - Stomach type - Yuck! So there's no pictures to post, instead I thought I'd share my Garden with you. At the moment I can see a snowdrop at the end of the garden in one of the tubs bravely standing alone (its only a small garden) and my next door neighbours Clematis balearica is also in flower trailing across the side and top of the garage. In the corner hidden from view is the Jasmine nudiflorum also showing its pretty yellow flowers. The rest of the garden is sleeping but the birdsong from the Robin and Blackbird tell me spring is on its way. I love gardening but the extra special bit is when the Robin comes down and fearlessly picks up all the bugs from the soil that you have just turned, he's close enough to touch and then he sings from the branches of the fig tree in the centre of the garden.
Here is my garden in the summer taken from the back door as you can see its quite small but I love it, I designed and built most of it myself with help from Tony and a builder who came into do the brickwork and path.
Em has gone off on a school art class trip to the British Museum to see the Egyptian exhibits and she's very excited. I hope you have a good week. Jane x