Monday, 18 July 2011

She's right again!

I was all ready to blow out Sicily & southern Italy, shoot over to Sardinia & spend the last couple of weeks chilling out on some beach.  But the wife talked me into the opposite.  We’ve blown out Sardinia & come down to Sicily.  But we’ve got of the main land & are staying the week in Malfa on the small Aeolian island of Salina (did you notice that, Aeolian is jus a ‘u’ short of having all the vowels in 1 word, bit greedy don’t you think).   I must say that I’m glad she talked me into it.  It is one of the best places I’ve been to in Italy.  It’s a tiny island, just 27km in circumference, made up of 2 volcano’s.  The 2 cones of the volcano look like a giant pair of boobs & we’re staying right in the cleavage.  There are 7 islands in total & all volcanic but its only Stromboli that’s still active & at night we can sit on our veranda looking out over the Med & watch it erupt into the night.  It is brilliant.

We’re here for a week & we are just going to enjoy the views, eat, drink & sleep but yesterday we hired a boat for the day & motored round the perimeter & I fucking loved it.  We set of at about 10 & spent the whole day exploring the grottos & caves of our little island.  We anchored in tiny bays with the vertical walls of the volcano shooting steeply either side so we had the places all to our selves.  Diving in from our boat & swimming to shore & just chilling out on the deck in the sun, even the wife (who is an avant scaredy cat when it comes to the sea) managed to jump in a few times.  We even see a couple of flying fish as we speed out to sea.  They were great, out of the water by about 2 meters & flying along for about 300m before the splashed back in again & it was like they was racing us, they were so close the wife even thought we were going to hit 1.

Our boat for the day.

Or was it this 1?

From here we go back to main land Sicily for 3 nights & stay in Catania then we fly back home to the UK for a little while.  We haven’t decided what to do while in Catania but lets hope the journey there will be a bit better than getting here!

We left Positano at 10:30am on Saturday  & got here at 12:30 the following afternoon.  It took 4 buses (2 crashed & 1 cult on fire) a train, a ferry, 2 hydrofoils & a scary taxi ride with a Mafia burger flipper!  It surely can’t be any worse than that?

Friday, 15 July 2011

I've seen the Future

When we left we gave ourselves a budget & when that was spent we would either have to get a job or go home.  We had spent our budget some time ago but now was the time to make some decisions.

We knew it was pretty unlikely to find a job here in Italy, but we quickly ruled out even looking.  It’s just to dam hot.  The only real opportunity open to us is teaching English, that would mean being in a city & we don’t really want to live in a big hot city.  So we had to decide weather to go back home to England & try to settle down in to some form of normality or carry on traveling.  We’d all but decided on the former & plans were being made of where to live & what to do.  Then, out of the blue, an old friend who I hadn’t spoken to in a while called up on Skype.  We had a good old catch up & we were both slapping each other’s backs about how good each others life was at the moment when he suggested we go over to his place.  He was on an 8-week break from work &, with the family, had travelled north to help out the in-laws.   This meant their place in the city was free & we were welcome to stay there for a while.  Fate, it seems, choose where we were to go to next, so in a little under 2 weeks we fly of to Stockholm.  Unlike Italy, a Swedish summer is bearable & unlike Italy almost everbody speaks English.  This should make finding a job a little easier & maybe, just maybe, we can escape reality just a little bit longer.

But whilst we’re here I want to give a massive thank you to our lovely Swedish friends.  Thanks Buddy & see you soon.

Thursday, 14 July 2011


So then, Positano.  I told you all about the shit arse journey it takes to get here & I really mean that, but it is worth it.  It’s a lovely little town perched on the side of a mountain along the Amalfi Coast.  Its difficult to explain why its so good, its not a paradise beach like you get in the Maldives, its not an isolated island where you can wander the sea front naked & you could look at all the Photo’s & think ‘yeah its nice but what’s all the fuss about?’  Its not even as if its vastly different from other places, it has a touch of the Cinque Tere, a bit of Portofino & even splash of a Greek white-washed village to it.  But I suppose its all this that makes it so good.  All those places are lovely & if you take the best bits & make a seaside town out of them you’ve got Positano.  We’ve been here before & we loved it & still after another 2 weeks we still love it.  The only downside is the relentless heat & the swarms of American’s.  The heat really shouldn’t be a surprise, it is the Mediterranean in the heart of summer after all, but fuuuuuck it’s hot.  Before we came away my pre flight gripe was the potential heat & how bad I am at copping with it.  I was not wrong, I just can’t cope with it, but neither can anyone else & that must be the reason that business shut in July & August or the ones that don’t, close between 1 & 5 every afternoon.  It is too hot to even just sit & drink beer.  You have to get out of the sun.

We didn’t do a lot in the 2 weeks we were there.  In the 1st week we hoped on a boat & sailed over to Capri (the Island, not the 70’s car).  That was a day of my life & €150 I’ll never get back!  We’re all led to believe that Capri is some ultra exclusive holiday mecca.  All it is though is a very expensive island with some very expensive shops on it.  It hasn’t even got a beach, not really.  The only reason people would chose to go on holiday there would be so they could say ‘I am considerably richer than you!’

Then the 2nd week we spent the day back down the Hellish train line in Pompeii & Sorrento.  The Journey was still fraught with filth but Pompeii did live up to the hype.  I’m not going to bore you too much with the Pompeii shit, it was a Roman port town that got buried under 6m of ash & lava when MT Vesuvius erupted.  It was a huge expanse of ruins & excavations & was in the main pretty interesting but it was disappointing that they’d removed all the ash formed bodies that it is famed to have all round the place. 

From here we moved onto Sorrento.  Not much to say about here.  It was nice, it was big & we were glad we didn’t stay here.

Also, during our stay in Positano we had to decide our next course of action.  Do we return to the real world, do we stay here or do we bugger of somewhere else. It was a big dilemma? 

Supposed to add to the photo update but I forgot.
I went there, not what it says on the tin!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Photo update

Our beautiful view in Sestrie Levanti

Fucking weather, fucking cheap arse Italian umbrella

The Camp statues of Pisa

& Some wonky tower

Who's that fucker in my garage

Big man, little cock

Rome sweet Rome


Thursday, 7 July 2011

Things you're not told

Here’s that quick recap I promised you in the last blog, but if you did bother to read the wife’s, it kind of irrelevant.  Hers is much more detailed & descriptive, I get bored with all that so I’ll skip over the details & try to point out the things a guide book, or a wife, forgets to mention.

I can’t remember the last place I told you about, what with all the fucking weather we had then all the moving about.  I cant be bothered to read my other blogs, it was painful enough the 1st time so I’ll start with when we left Sestrie Levantie, the place of trains & rains.

We boarded the train & just a few hours later we were in the small city of Pisa.  It was a little stroll to our hotel then we was straight out to see the sights, or as we are led to believe, the sight.  Pisa is a very small place & we had walked the whole perimeter & criss-crossed the middle by the end of the 1st day but it was a very pleasant place to be.  It’s a big university town so we were never far from a few decent bars & the food was good.  The big surprise was, as well as being the home of a badly engineered tower its is also the birth place of the camp statue (& I don’t mean university rules).  1st one I saw I dismissed as my immature mind (I know you all think I’m a deep serious person but yes, I do find farts funny!) the next couple drew a more curious look but then the 4th statue I see I couldn’t ignore.  It was a big stone carving of a man in a loin cloth adopting the typical ‘I’m a little tea pot’ pose with his hips pushed dramatically to 1 side & a very obvious limp wrist.  He had a naked & very busty wench at his knee, which he was ignoring (?) & gazing off into the distance (no doubt where his servant was ploughing the fields & getting all sweaty in the sun.  It wouldn’t of looked more camp if the Family Guy crew had drawn him for 1 of Peters cut aways to describe a camp man.   It wasn’t just me, even the wife agreed.  So there we have it, the camp statues of Pisa.

The next stop was Bologna.  This is famed for its amazing food markets & fountain of Neptune with his dozen sirens spraying water from their nipples.  What they don’t tell you is that its full of wrong-uns that wouldn’t be out of place in Chatham. 

Modena is a city that was shut.  Marrinello was a town that was shit (even with the beautiful cars surrounding you).  So onto Florence!  Everybody loves Florence & I can see why but for me it was just far too hot & far too busy to be loved.  It was more like that women from accounts, good to look but far too many people have been in & out of her Doumo!  We stayed there for a week & it was the only way I could of got round the place.  It was so hot we could only manage a few hours a day before we had to retreat to the comfort of our apartment or, as was more likely, an air-conditioned bar.  The thing about Florence that nobody tells you is they are sneaky.  It is famous for all the Art its acquired, but the sneaky basterds spread it out into all the hundreds of museums in the city so each place has 1 painting you would recognise & the rest is filled with crappy religious art that has been plundered from some tiny church in the middle of nowhere.

From Florence we moved to Rome.  I love Rome, it is an incredible place.  So does the wife & she cant see how anybody wouldn’t.  I’m not going to do a Venice & tell you you really must go.  Rome is a massive, busy working Capital & it was very very hot.  No matter how good Rome is you still have to like Massive busy capitals.  But Rome is like no other; it is steeped in History & intrigue.  Its Architecture is spectacular & the grandeur is monumental, but it’s even more than that.  You can kind of feel the hum of the place.  When your at the Coliseum, St Peters Basilica, Pantheon or any of the thousand other Fountains, statues or monuments you can imagine how people would of felt when they were new, the awe, the inspiration & the fear.  And as many tourists as there are, & there is millions, the place is still dominated by the locals & the locals love a good time.  Around every corner is a bar all the squares are filled with restaurants & at Mid-night the place is just as busy as at mid-day.  There are very few places I would want to visit again & again & again but on that very short list; probably at the top it would be Rome.

Which brings us to now.  I sit here in my little terraced garden next to my lemon tree, looking out on the steep sides of the cliff face that makes up Positano on the Amalfi coast.  We liked it so much we decided to spend another week here, but I think you need 2 weeks after the journey from Rome.  We’ve done the journey before, we knew what to expect but it is the worst journey we’ve ever had to do.  Even worse that the 3 straight days without sleep, shower or even bed it took us to get from Toronto to Fiji, even worse that the death ride we took to get to Istanbul & even worse (I never thought I would say it) than the shear hell & filth that was a tuk-tuk across Bangkok.  The train to Naples is no real hardship even if you take the slow cheap train, as we did.  You don’t have to see much of actual Naples so that is lucky but from then on its filth, heat, crowds & bad bad bad.  You have to get on a local train from Naples to Sorrento.  This is like a very old fashioned underground train except its almost entirely over ground.  It is slow & boiling hot, you melt into the plastic chairs & you sweat like a fat pig on slaughter day.  You are surrounded by the criminals from Naples all trying to part you from you luggage or wallet.  Its 50 degrees & your crammed into fat people.  Your like this for about 2 hours.  Then you have a 40min wait in the scorching Sorrento sun for the bus.  By this time there are a far more people than seats so it’s a full out scrum to get on board, if your lucky enough you then have to stand on a packed bus with people trying to squeeze past you to find seats that are already full.  Then the bus goes for 20 min in completely the opposite direction you need, does a big circle & goes back the way it came.  It makes no stops; no one gets on or off.  Then after another hour we arrive in Positano.  There are 4 stops but nobody knows which one they need so everybody’s on & of, pushing & squeezing there sweat drenched body’s it is truly disgusting.  We made it though & we needed the extra week, we deserve I think after all that! 

Monday, 27 June 2011

The important things

I nearly gave up the blogging.   It feels a bit like being in the pub with my mates but I am the only 1 buying the rounds.  But then I got to thinking, you don’t miss your rounds there must be a reason & I know that reason.  It would be the same reason I wouldn’t bother emailing or commenting.  Laziness.  I just wouldn’t be bothered & you lot are no different & there is nothing wrong with that.  So after my little sulk I’m back to bore you with some more shit.

Since my last blog we have moved around a lot.  Going from Setrie Levantie to Pisa, Bologna, Modena, Marrinello, Florence, Tuscan Hills, Rome & now we are in a lovely little apartment in Positano on the Amalfi coast.  Lots of things have happened but I’m not going into that here, if you’re desperate to know the details go to the wife’s blog I might fill you in a bit later but for now I’m going to, as my good friend reminded me to do, keep it real & tell you about the important things in life.

BBF, I’ve heard the youth mention this & I have no idea what they are on about but for me it’s for the 3 most important things in this world.  Beer, Boobs & football, so I thought I would share the things I have learned about the Italian versions.  Now I kind of remember doing a similar blog about the time I spent in France so I think I can compare to both the Dirty French & the English.  So lets start with where all the great conversations do, with Beer.  I love beer; there is nothing better than getting into the shade after a hard day at the golf, under blistering sun & taking a big few gulps of ice-cold lager.  It surprises me that wine is still drunk so often in these temperatures there is never an exclamations as apt as ‘Ahhhhh that hits the spot’ as a good beer in boiling weather.  I’m partial to a drop of the old Vino every now & again but its just not the same.  Hot weather needs beer & over here just lately it’s been hot, very hot.  I’m not complaining, it beats the rain we’d been having earlier but it does make everyday life just that little bit more difficult & our old friend beer is a necessity.  Luckily the Italians do like a good lager, much better than that French piss water & (unlike the French) they serve it in pints, not those pathetic demi’s.  They even have Beer bars where they sell there own brew.  One we went to in Genoa was full with mostly Lagers (they haven’t quit grasped a good Ale yet) but they were good.  They had beer shooters, beer cocktails (for the girls & gays) beer tasters, beer in 2ltr jars & bought to your table with its own pump & just straightforward beer.  The biggest down side of the beer over here is the price, on average its about €5 a pint, they do happy hour (aparativo) but instead of getting cheap drinks you get buffet food & nibbles, as good as this is we know that eating is cheating & what we really want is cheaper booze not garlic & pesto bruschetta.  Also the locals are so much better at drinking than the French.  They are more like us, they are social, like a chat & a laugh & they go out most nights, unlike us they don’t get shit faced, they are sensible with there drink.  Weird!

With beer the conversation inevitably gets round to boobs.  Before I came away one of the boys said that the only reason I’m going to Italy is because its full of ‘my types’.  As I have mentioned before I am happily married (who’s wife reads this) so my type is the wife, but to explain what he meant, it was women with long dark hair & big boobs.  That had nothing to do with it but there are a lot of dark haired women out here & a lot of them have boobs.  It could be just because its warmer out here so everybody wears just a bit less, it could be that they are a very vain nation & show off anything & everything available to them or it could just be that Italy loves boobs.  I think all of the above.  All the adverts, TV, magazines everything has, almost solely, scantily clad women on it.  It is helped by being led from the top, good old Berlusconi is like a dog on heat drooling over everything, he even found time to Perv up the rescue crew after an earthquake.  There is even footage of him on Youtube dry humping a police women as she was writing out parking ticket, that is the role model for Italians!

Finally football.  Italian football has always been the most difficult for me to watch.  There is no denying the skill of the National team but their leagues are filled with cheating, acting, whinging & (even after the massive point deduction scandal) corruption.  Obviously you can’t see the corruption so it makes no difference to me but the rest just makes for painful viewing.  As with everywhere else in Europe the season is over but football is still on all the time it is just as big as at home but without the football shirts being worn all the time.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Are You All Dead?

I've been away for a month now & I've put the effort in & blog what I'm up to fairly frequently.  To date I have had emails & comments from just 1 person.  If your not dead are you reading this?  I can only assume your not.  If you are let me know whats going on, what your up too or even how much your glad I'm not there.  Its not as if any of you do any work when in front of the computer is it.  Strange as it is; I do miss you all!