Category Archives: Vietri sul Mare

This Adventure Made Possible By…

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Anna Maria Esposita for finding us on the side of the road in Salerno, putting up with our feeble attempts at Italian, and magically making our luggage appear out of nowhere.  Maya, for introducing us to AirBnB in the first place…our travels will never be the same.  Our barista in Vietri Sul Mare (thank you for the doughnuts, we hope you made it to Australia!), and our wildly flirtatious maitre d’ (that wine was impressively strong!).  Fernando, for the ride to the Tiber (we’re sorry if we gave the impression that we wanted to boat back to Rome).  Pope Francis for instilling humanity into our visit to the Vatican.  University of Manitoba College of Medicine for changing the direction of our lives while sitting in a Roman burlap tent!  Jamie Pierce, for pointing us in the direction of Cinque Terre in the first place.  Kaya and Aeden for being the best roommates we could have asked for, and Sarah, Alicia, and Stacey for getting lost with us in one of the most beautiful places on earth.  And for the calamari cones.  Genius.  The Lemon Man, for delicious homemade wine with a side of really disgusting jokes, and the Pizza Man for abusing/believing in your employees (either way, you made a pizza in record time, well done!).  Pak Kashmir Doner Kebab for starting a 3-month-long love affair with kebab…and for not judging us when we came back twice in one day.  The Sprachcaffe receptionist for helping two confused travelers find a place to sleep in a language school.  Pietro for being a (very charming) walking encyclopedia of Florentine espionage.  All’antico Vinaio for your legendary sandwiches and free wine refills (no, seriously, it’s for real!).  The lovely couple who shared coffee with us on the train to Venice.  Archie & sons…your front hall will forever evoke in us a sense of oriental mystery.  The kiosco girl (and all of Vienna, for that matter) for your patience as we realized we knew literally NO Deutsch (“Card!…48?”).  The Musikverien Usher for engaging us in a Viennese musical intrigue and, therefore, much better seats!  Our Bulgarian/Brazillian (Bulgrillian?) cellist hostel roommate.  We tried to find you on iTunes but alas we were…so far…but…so close.  The Heinrich and Kress families for welcoming us so generously into your homes (and travel snacks that nearly broke the bus tables!).  Artur & Irina, we feel like we have a real home in Germany thanks to you.  Robert, Christian, and Erwin, we hope we can jam and play Dutch Blitz again one day!  Johannes for an unexpected evening of German tango (we’ll bring our dancing shoes next time).  Julia & your roommate for making us feel so at home in Köln.  Viel Glück to both of you in your new jobs!  Oma for always talking about your home country and inspiring us to retrace your Sunday walks down the Rhine.  Maybe one day we can go back with you!  Linda, dankjewel for your bikes, your lovely attic, and taking a chance on us as your first AirBnBers!  Edwin and Farah, for taking the time to hang out with us even with your wedding being a week away.  Once a WOOFer, always a WOOFer (ps come to Manitoba, we’ll take you to the snake pits!)  The stars, for aligning so perfectly as to allow us to have a lovely lunch with Dorien.  The Alma Dixons for getting us to and from Europe in the first place (Mom, your axiom of ‘would you rather have stuff or memories?’ has successfully stuck with me into adulthood) and for showing us all the places you always talk about.  The Farnham Dixons for a lovely afternoon and some authentically British fish’n’chips (sans mushy peas, thank-you!).  Wendy for taking this whole motley crew into your home and showing us around Glastonbury. Elly for introducing us to your family (I cannot imagine a more adorable kid to blow bubbles with than your granddaughter) and an evening of reminiscing about icebergs and penguins.  Pete & Patricia for the most incredible Welsh hospitality, and for driving us all over the country at all hours of the night.  Mark Hanford for keeping us simultaneously amused and not dead as we threw ourselves off cliffs into the sea (still waiting for those carpets!).  The disembodied Welsh couple whose voices helped us find our way out of the mist and back to the path somewhere on Mount Snowdon.  Jack Johnson, for being you, and for entirely coincidentally being in Paris at the same time as us.  Andréanne, for showing us around your beautiful new Swiss home.  Irene and Martin for sharing so many things with us: your inspiring work and outlook on life and faith, the truly breathtaking landscapes, and yes, the little bears :P.  Andreas and Simone, also for sharing so many things with us (like mother like son, eh?): your friends, your family, your food, your car, your bike…. That night with the giant map (and the many road trips that ensued) is still a memory that we talk about regularly!  Aric and Gabriel, for being as excited about the high-ropes garden as we were and never judging us on our (lack of) Swiss German. Joël for sharing your beautiful pays et famille. Yannick for the best duck I’ve ever tasted, and Hélène for showing us the work you’re doing to help new immigrants become self-sufficient in Toulouse.  Ron, Nicole, Aimée, Sean (and yes, Cougar) for making us recognize the name Carcassonne, even if we’ll never pronounce it properly.  Les Cabys des Taillades (et oui, de Paris aussi!) for sharing your passion for history, many hours of games (we now have our own Möllky set!), French puns, and more wine and cheese than any North American could comprehend.  Mami Caby, for a beautiful afternoon in St. Jean du Gard, and the silk scarf that’s currently on display in our living room.  Isaac and Sylvia of JUCUM Barcelona for the generous hospitality, the 2AM tour of your majestic city, and showing us what we truly believe is the best beach in Europe.  Hind, Nour, and Adam for helping us finish off the bag of snails and confirming everything we’d heard about the welcoming nature of Moroccans.  Nour, of Sahara Desert Crew, for an unforgettable few days of sights and culture unlike anything else we’ve ever seen (also, your mad photography skills. ‘Nuff said.).  Cafe Restaurant Nora, for providing a literal oasis in the desert (Nothing tastes as good as Berber pizza and Berber whiskey at +50C!) The Samnoun family for taking us in when our hostel was suddenly infested with bedbugs, and Bousha for introducing us to the madness of the Medina (and many, many friends ;)…)

And of course, contributions from VIEWERS LIKE YOU!

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Bellezza e quiete

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I have been to Italy once before, an impetuous and unforgettable whirlwind week through Rome with my cousin. Since that time, I have been captivated by the country and the culture. However, I’ve always wondered if I’ve embellished my memories of Italy. After all, I was only there for a week, and furthermore, it was my first truly independent trip away from home. It couldn’t possibly be as enchanting, as mysterious, as indescribably beautiful as I remembered.

But as it turns out, it could be.

After two solid days of delayed flights, missed connections, and lost luggage, we landed in Naples and immediately boarded a bus south to Vietri sul Mare. We were travel worn, jet-lagged, and bewildered by trying to communicate in Italian (it is NOT just like French and Spanish, FYI!) Yet our first glimpse of the Italian coast captivated us as thoroughly as I had anticipated.

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Vietri is little more than a tumble of bright houses nestled in the mountains along the Amalfi Coast. It is renowned for its ceramics, which are evident everywhere from the tiles lining the boulevards to the ceramic pots crowning each block on the highway overpass. The air is lush and fresh with the smell of salt, jasmine blossoms, and freshly baked bread from the caffeterias in the town’s one piazza. Shops open late and close early – maybe because it wasn’t yet high season, or maybe because the town knows that they’ve been around for hundreds of years, and they’re not about to change their schedule drastically for tourists now.

The view from our apartment window:
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Ceramics, ceramics, everywhere…
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The crazy ceramics warehouse? museum? shop? (we never quite figured out what it was!)
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These little guys were always scurrying underfoot!
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The larger town of Salerno is just a bus ride away, and Josh and I dutifully went one day, and then wondered why we did. There is something ingrained in us that when there is a city centre, one needs to check it out! If there was something specific we were interested in seeing, that would have been a good idea. But I finally realised that city centers for the sake of city centers – shopping, different restaurants, the possibility of a show – don’t actually interest me that much.

For me, the beauty of Italy lies in its eternal beauty, in a golden landscape and an ingrained sense of reverence for all things lovely and elegant. It is a country where one can thoroughly absorb the culture merely by sitting still and quietly observing. “Doing Italy” can be accomplished by drinking espresso in the sunshine in the town’s piazza, talking about travel (in the most simple sentences possible!) with the bartender, and being silently overwhelmed by the ancient hills cradling you. It is accomplished by slipping through waves in the Mediterranean, then digging your toes in the sand as you review the Italian for “I would like” – necessary for ordering dinner that night; which, incidentally, is another way to “do Italy” …especially when a dinner location is chosen based on which waiter takes away the menus and simply tells you what to eat (“Pizza? Non! We are on al mare! You eat from el mare!”) and then proceeds to bring you roses as you dine, serenading you all the while.

That last one may be my favourite way to do Italy 🙂

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I’m sure there will be other towns where we will throw ourselves into the fantastic madness of the city. Vietri, however, was the perfect way to begin not only our time in Italy, but this trip in general. It reminded us that sometimes, the best way to travel is to simply sit still.

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