Thursday, May 10, 2007

"Italy Continued, Again"

And so our trek continued.
And my friend, S and I, years on.....

We remember the people, the laughter, the talk; the fascinating dynamics of the group in our bus.....the "organisers", the jokers, the serious travellers who checked history books each evening while others sprawled by a campsite fire and supped red wine.


We remember Rome in early morning, how sunlight glittered on the Colosseum; the back streets of Naples ( us, singing:" Where do you go to, my lovely?") , we talk of a shaded market covered by trees, where we bought grapes and lemons and peaches, where the Italians muttered about our blondeness, stared and whispered and watched.


We remember the glossiness of a plaza in Milan, the steep Amalfi coast where we visited a monastery and talked with monks in cool barren rooms overlooking a shimmering sea.
And we talk of Barletta by the Adriatic, where women in black clutched rosaries and blessed us and smiled wistful smiles.......
And the Town Hall, with its high domed ceiling, its rafters...where we sat straight-backed on high wooden pews beneath musty paintings as the mayor welcomed us with sweet amaretto biscuits, his wine of the region..


And S has photographs of us (a line of grinning grubby colourful travellers ) by the Solfatara of Pozzuoli, north of Naples, visited in the eighteenth century by European aristocrats as part of The Grand Tour. There are 40 ancient volcanoes there and we camped at the very enticing edge of one. ...


AND YES, EVENTUALLY we reached a village called Rappalla in the region of Potenza.
And yes, we were set to work.
Oh yep how hard we worked!
We rose at 5:30 and helped dig ground for the building of a school. At 9, home for bread, peach jam , coffee. Then a blissful kip! Then visits....often we drove to wild Adriatic beaches where we glimpsed the coast of Yugoslavia and talked of Next Year, of The Year After, even The One After That...



***Re picture above: 3 years ago, we visited Southern Italy again.
Very differently!
This time, no jolly bus, merely an efficient flight Gatwick to Brindisi, a small hired Fiat, and a wonderful little house called a "trulli" ( as above), but all on its own in an orchard..... near the Pugliese town of Cisternino ( eastern almost, with white houses lining quiet medieval streets...)
We booked through a great company specialising in holidays to Southern Italy, Sicily and Sardinia. Thoroughly recommend it: http://www.long-travel.co.uk/regions/puglia.htm

9 Comments:

Blogger herhimnbryn said...

Sigh!
That looks like a fairytale house.

11:54 am  
Blogger Lucy said...

Both beautiful, the dear little white fairy tale house and your accounts of your youthful peregrinations, wonderful, thanks.

2:21 pm  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

Sounds idyllic - and what fantastic memories- brought alive by your adept descriptive powers!
And yes you would think of Peter Sarstedt in Naples! 'there on the back streets of Naples' ....

2:28 am  
Blogger Jan said...

herhimnbryn:
Yes it's like a little Hobbit House from " Lord of The Rings", isn't it?
Trullis are found mainly in the Alberobello region;they're built of stone with no mortar at all and their temperature inside remains constant.
We were there in a very hot July; inside our trulli, we were wonderfully cool.
And I believe they're equally comfortable in winter...keeping you warm.

Lucy:
Youthful peregrinations...is THAT what they're called?!!
Thanks Lucy. Good to hear you.

CB:
Well spotted, CB!!
AND now let's burst into song!

7:30 am  
Blogger herhimnbryn said...

If they remain at a constant temp, maybe we should learn from this and build a few here in Oz.

4:39 am  
Blogger Philippa said...

I wonder what Peter Sarstedt is doing these days! Must have a look on Google. Sounds idyllic. They do look rather like Hobbit houses don't they which, incidentaly, Simon visited when on HIS Gap Year last year; they are somewhere in New Zealand. We never went to NZ for our G Years did we?

7:58 am  
Blogger Marianne said...

You make me want to be there. Lovely descriptions, rich and vivid. Has the world really become more homogenised in our lifetime or is it the passing of time?

10:48 am  
Blogger Jan said...

herhimnbryn:
Good Thinking, there!

Philippa:
It's probably about now he'll reissue a new version...about what she's doing now!!
The Tolkien was filmed, I believe, around Wellington, NZ.
Friends went recently and had coffee in a place the cast used regularly.

Maruanne:
I tend to think it's a bit of a mixture...!

9:43 am  
Blogger marlyat2 said...

Maybe in the spirit of a hobbit house... Cool, adorable, cunning, low--the latter two in the pleasant sense of the words.

Do they all have those finials? And are they conical on the inside? And why the blue frames? In the South, blue frames used to be common to keep out witches, but I think that's an African thing.

7:06 pm  

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