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? For Don H, Re Italy


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Kip;

The photograph below was taken just off the large breakwater at Brindisi, Italy on the Aegean. Some of it appears to be dumped but if I recall there was no vehiclular access - the breakwater is a very long way but I could be wrong.

i-DJV6qWf-X2.jpg

Don, did you take this picture, and if so, how long ago? Our next big Italian adventure is going to be the Amalfi Coast and the heel of the boot this spring, so if you have any travel tips to share, that would be great!

Anyone else with any good ideas is welcome to chime in. Accommodations are already booked, really just looking for food, wine and sightseeing recommendations.

Thanks!

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BTW, this is a serious request, despite the attached photo of the garbage ridden shoreline. It just occurred to me that not everyone would have heard of Brindisi, but I have, because I've been doing research for this upcoming vacation, so this might be an opportunity to pick someone's brain who's been to that part of the world.

And no, we won't be seeking out the beautiful landscape depicted in the photo. ;)

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The Amalfi coast is a must see, Jennifer. Allow yourself plenty of time for stops along the way because you'll be making pots of them. From Naples, a ferry trip to Capri for the day and/or a tour at Pompeii are both worthwhile. I've never ventured down to the area around Brindisi but I'm sure you will enjoy it.

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Thanks Jeff. We're spending a couple of days in Positano on the way down south, and a couple of days in Ravello on the way back. In between, we have an apartment rented in the historic centre of Lecce for a week, to use as a base to explore the rest of Puglia. It's kind of an undiscovered area compared to the hordes of tourists in Tuscany. Should be quite the adventure.

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In that area, Paestum is a must - relatively unknown, but has the best Greek ruins in Italy (and some say in the world). Puglia is famous for its Primitivo wine, which is the same grape as the wonderful Zinfandels made in California. It tends to be a slightly lighter version of the Zins - but just as tasty. I'm not sure when you are going, but July and August are swamped with Italians on vacation. We were there in October, and many sites/locations were closed up since there were no tourists left. You'll marvel at the number of olive trees, which like Spain - are everywhere. We stayed at a B&B and were lucky enough to be able to make some olive oil with the owner, knocking olives from the trees, taking it to the processing "plant" which a large round rock wheel which crushed the olives. If you have a choice, I would not spend much time in Naples - very high crime rate, especially pick-pockets. Go from Positano to see Capri. There is also a hike that ends back in Positano called "Walk of the Gods", which is one of the most interesting and breathtaking hikes you will ever go on. It basically traces the tops of the hills surrounding Positano. We took a local bus from Positano to Bomerano, which was wonderful as well, packed a lunch with wine, and the hike lasted about 5 hours with a long, long lunch. Down near Salerno and Paestum, you have to try the Buffalo Mozzerella, which is to die for - especially with the Primitivo. In Italy, everything always comes back to food and wine!

Enjoy!

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"In Italy, everything always comes back to food and wine!"

Exactly! That's how we plan every vacation!

I'm way ahead of you with the Primitivo. Part of my research is to find out a little about local regional dishes and wines, and I discovered this hidden gem in my local LCBO:

http://lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/searchResults.do?ITEM_NAME=253856&ITEM_NUMBER=253856&language=EN

It was on sale for $9.00 a bottle last month, and so delicious, we bought a case.

I'm really looking forward to fresh mozzarella di bufala, and also, on the Aegean side, there is a pasta dish with sea urchin roe that I'm dying to try.

We are not planning to go to Naples, for the reasons you mentioned. The trip to Capri and the hike sound great though.

If anyone has been to Da Adolfo, a beach shack type seafood restaurant you can only access by boat from Positano, I'd be very interested in your comments. It sounds like a great experience, with a couple of unique signature dishes, but it's getting mixed reviews on tripadvisor.

Thanks!!!

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Hi Jenn;

Re, "Don, did you take this picture, and if so, how long ago? Our next big Italian adventure is going to be the Amalfi Coast and the heel of the boot this spring, so if you have any travel tips to share, that would be great!"

First, apologies for not responding sooner - we were downtown VR attending the CHC Summit on Helicopter safety and I wasn't 'online'. Chris Hadfield gave the keynote...wow, what a storyteller -great ambassador for Canada, for aviation and for science.

Yes, I took the photo, one of three of the site, in May, 2012. That photo of course doesn't speak for Brindisi as the city itself is beautiful and well worth the time to visit. There is a museum there built on top of an archeological dig discovered during the initial excavation and which has become part of the exhibits underneath the entire building - really well done.

I've sent you a PM on our last visit to Italy driving the Amalphi out of Naples. We travelled with family (ex-USAF, based in Brindisi in the eighties) who have good friends in San Vito dei Normanni which is not too far from Brindisi.

The entire Province of Puglia is a wonderful southern Italian place to be - thousands of acres of olive trees, a much simpler country life and great food. The city of Lecce is also well worth the time.

I sure hope you both have a great time - don't forget to post a photo or two!

best to both,

Don

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For those Tuscans at heart with fanciful thoughts of retiring to a vineyard of your own, A Vineyard in Tuscany by Ferenc Mate (Hungarian Canadian) is great read.

Here's an extract from Chapter 28 where the author, having bought the land and now has to clear it using his new tractor. If you're not laughing out loud by the end of it (see link below) there's something wrong with you.

But this is no time for cold sweats. You take a deep breath, wipe away anxious tears and move on confidently to step one: choosing 1 of 8 possible fixed speeds with 1 of 2 levers. Then you choose forward or reverse with, yep, another lever. Now, you give it some gas, not with a pedal, but with—you guessed it—a lever! Does this lever work like a gas pedal on a car? Hell, no! That would be common sense. To speed up, you pull the lever, and to slow down, you push it. To get the damned thing moving, you have to engage the clutch (again, not a pedal, Elmer, a lever). To steer the tractor—hold on to your hat—you step on a foot brake: left foot brake to turn left, right foot brake to turn right, but to make small adjustments you have to manipulate yet another lever. For a hard turn, you engage one of two long levers. And to raise or lower the plough, you tinker with another lever. In case you’ve lost count, you have so far engaged exactly four hundred and ninety-seven levers.

The full chapter is here

http://avineyardintuscany.blogspot.ca/2012/08/tractor-wild.html

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  • 2 months later...

Thanks everyone for all your helpful tips and advice! We did and saw most of what was suggested here, and had a great time!

Travelled there and back confirmed in J on AC, it was perfect as usual.

The Amalfi Coast highway was beautiful, and not as scary as I thought it might be, but I wouldn't want to do it in high season, or have it be a first time driving experience in Italy. The Path of the Gods on the other hand, scared the crap out of me. It was more of a goat trail than I thought it would be, and I was so worried about losing my footing on loose stones, or tripping on a rock, that vertigo took over and I really couldn't appreciate the view as much as I'd hoped. I'm glad I did it though, but don't need to do it again.

We stayed in a couple of beautiful B&Bs in Positano and Ravello, and also did the day trip by ferry to Capri. What a beautiful part of the world!

For ruins, on the advice of friends, we went to Herculaneum instead of Pompeii, and were glad we did. It's a much smaller area, not as crowded as Pompeii, and much better preserved. The wall frescoes and detailed mosaic floors were incredible.

Our Puglia adventure was great as well, very different though, more Italian I would say, due to not being overrun by North Americans. Yet.

We stayed in a fabulous apartment in a palazzo in Lecce, which is referred to as the Florence of the south, because of the beautiful Baroque architecture. As an added bonus, we even had one of our vacation crashing offspring come and join us for a few days.

We had a couple of great foodie experiences along the way, including the aforementioned sea urchin roe spaghetti in a beach shack type restaurant on the Adriatic, and by far the best pizza of my life, from a takeout joint in Lecce. But I've had enough buffalo mozzarella, octopus, pizza and pasta to last me for a while. Back to my low carb diet... until my next big adventure. ;)

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