Saturday, July 12, 2008

Next trip - memories of trips past

Just outside the Blue Grotto, off the isle of Capri in Italy. The Blue Grotto is just some cave where the water is blue, it was expensive getting there, the cave itself is nothing to write home about but the trip is recommended because getting there was the fun part. We arrived the night before in Naples and upon getting into the cab, was already hustled by the cab driver. He wanted to charge us 100 euros to take us sightseeing the next day. I was tired and jet lagged and seeing the chaos in Naples agreed. That's how they get you, at your most vulnerable. He later raised the price to 120 euros seeing we were such easy targets. He was going to pick us up the next day but we ditched him. It shows what a good night sleep can do, made us come to our senses. At this grimy hostel we were staying in next to the Naples train station, we met 2 Japanese girls, they were going to take the ferry to the isle of Capri to go to the Blue Grotto. We went with them. We took the hydrofoil to Capri, from there we were transferred into a bigger boat to the cave. At the Blue Grotto we were transferred into small boats which then took us into a tiny hole in the rock surface and into the cave. It was a lot of fun, I do recommend it.
When I think back to previous trips, it is not of Paris or Rome I remember. It is the little small places that gives me the most pleasure and are the most memorable.
Alberobello, in Southern Italy is this cute and quaint village of 'trulli' buildings. These were built hundred of years ago, supposedly, the roofs are detachable. When the 'tax' man came, the villages would remove the roofs making these places uninhabitable and not liable for building taxes. After the 'IRS' had left, they would put the roofs back on again. Today this place is a Unesco World Heritage site and much visited by tourists. They dot the countryside around Alberobello but there is a concentration of them in the town of Alberobello. I watched an old 'Globetrekkers's program on Southern Italy years ago and saw these 'trulli' settlement. Little did I know at that time I would actually visit and see them in person.

The Cinque terre trail in the Italian Riviera, we walked the whole 7 mile trail. It was a lot of fun. I love the Cinque terre, I love those pretty villages, all 5 of them, I love the food, the people and everything about it. Our next trip will take us to Camogli which is a few miles away from the Cinque terre and still on the Italian Riviera.

Matera, in Southern Italy, is an amazing place. The 'sassi' is so gorgeous, bar none. I, first, found out about the 'Sassi' from the movie, 'The passion of Christ'. It looked so incredible in the movie that I had to find out where it was filmed. Matera, it was and the next year, I was on my way there. There was no easy way to get there. I decided, we'll fly into Naples, take the train to Bari, from Bari, another train will take us to Matera. Upon arriving, we stepped into the new part of town which is very ordinary. I was disappointed, thinking I came so far only to see this concrete jungle. We later learned that the 'Sassi' is actually down the ravine. We went down some stone steps, must be thousands of years old and came upon the 'Sassi' caves. Gosh, I was blown away, they were so beautiful. Our hotel was a converted 'Sassi' cave, or a few caves joined together to make up a hotel. It is an amazing place. There were a lot of Japanese tourists there. The strange thing about Southern Italy is the abundance of Japanese tourists. People mistook us for being Japanese.

Lecce, in Southern Italy is another gorgeous place. Unfortunately my camera ran out of power and I don't have any decent picture of Lecce but it is one of my most favorite places. I need to return to retake my photographs. Lecce is a very beautiful Baroque city and it is here I fell in love with Baroque architecture and this led me to 2 trips to Sicily in search of Baroque buildings. I love Sicilian Baroque and would make a third trip just to experience it again.

An artist's impression of Alberobello.

The itinerary for the next trip is ready, the plane ticket has been purchased. This trip will incorporate a lot of little places, quaint and pretty places. When I think back on my trips, it is not Paris, Venice, Rome or London, that I remember. They're OK. When I think back, it is the little places that still hold sway profoundly in my mind.
The little places, next trip, include,
San Remo
I can't wait.

No comments: