Sunday, 10 July 2011


Hi everybody. We have checked in and are on the way. For the next 36 hours, we do whatever Mr. Qantas tells us to do. No decisions to be made.
We have enjoyed a pleasant lunch in the British Airways Club at Rome’s Fiumicino’s airport and are waiting to board our flight to London. We ordered a shuttle service to bring us here because it was not much more expensive than the combined taxi and train fares which was the other viable alternative. We were expecting a small van with other passengers but had a nice E Class Merc to ourselves. Our only complaint was that we got here a little early and had to wait before we could check our luggage in.
This morning we had our last wander around Rome. We went to the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish steps. As usual, we saw some parts of Rome we weren’t intending to see. There must be something wrong with the map we were using.
We went past a grand looking building called The Quirinale with armed guards outside. I asked one of them what was in the building. It turns out it is the President’s Palace. Perhaps that’s where the famous parties are held. We also found ourselves in Piazza dei Parliamento, again with a significant Police presence.
On the way back to the convent, we passed a MacDonald’s so we had the cheapest cup of coffee (other those we made ourselves) of the trip. It was impressively nice.
The weather is getting very hot in Rome now so it is time to leave. See you in Australia.

Saturday, 9 July 2011


Hi everybody. We are now back at our favourite convent/hotel in Rome. After saying goodbye to our housemates Ken and Pam, a lovely couple whose company we thoroughly enjoyed, and the rest of the group with whom we shared a wonderful week, we had an uneventful drive from Positano to Naples where we got back on the Eurostar for our trip back to Rome. This time I had the GPS operating. The train didn’t quite get to 300 kms an hour. It topped out at 297.

We spent this afternoon doing a bit of Romeing. Within an easy walk from here is the Foro di Nerva, the Foro di Augusto, the Foro di Cesare and the Foro Traino. We checked them out along with the Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II, the Piazza Campidoglio, the Teatro Marcello, the Ponte Fabrico, the Ponte Palatino, the Circo Massino and, of course, a number of churches we encountered along the way. Tomorrow we will head off in a different direction before we get collected for our trip to the airport at 1:00pm.

On the subject of churches, we have the Mass times for a nearby church so may get there in the morning. We thought we would appropriately impress the nuns who run the hotel by asking about mass times. We then asked for a late checkout and, surprise, surprise, they agreed to give it to us.
As you may have gathered, we have had a fabulous month in Italy but are now looking forward to being home on Tuesday. I wonder if I will get to the office on Tuesday afternoon.

Friday, 8 July 2011


Hi everybody. What a wonderful way to celebrate a very significant birthday. Not much can really be said. The pictures will have to tell the story.
Thanks to Gino and June and our new and old friends for a great party and a great week.
Tomorrow everybody heads off in various directions, in our case, home via Rome.
Thank you for sharing our wonderful trip.

We depart for the venue


We arrive at the venue

The venue

The boys provide some pre lunch entertainment

 Gino makes a very nice speech


As does Christie

And Christian


June responds

The ladies provide some after lunch entertainment

The guest of honour and her husband get their very own personal transport home, with the garbage.

Goodbye Positano

Thursday, 7 July 2011


Hi everybody. What can I say? Another great day. This morning we headed off for the Walk of the Gods. We have some trepidation about it because of conflicting stories of how long and how steep it is but it was brilliant.
We started with an exciting bus trip up yet another winding mountain road to Nocelli, a village about 1000 feet above us. From there we wound our way through the back lanes of the village, sharing the stairs with donkeys carrying building materials before heading along the edge of the mountain gradually climbing as we went.

About an hour later, we found ourselves about 1300 feet above Priano, the next town south of Positano. From there we wound our way down the mountain through current and former terraced farm land until, about 500 feet above Priano, we came to a village church built in 1499. It appears to have a convent attached and be still in limited use. A lady was working on restoring a fresco and somebody was playing a violin on the upper verandah.

Unfortunately the lady only spoke Italian and Gino wasn’t with us so we couldn’t get any information from her. There are about 1000 steps on the very well constructed path between the church and Priano so any church attendees would need to be young and fit.   
June asked me to take photos of the flower below but can't now decide which one she prefers. She needs help to choose.


Hi everybody. The countdown is on. It is Thursday morning and we leave on Saturday. How time flies. We have had a fantastic trip but will be very happy to get home to the family.
Yesterday was another spectacularly different day. We joined some of the group on a small boat to and around the real Isle of Capri, not the one on the Gold Coast which, after seeing the real one, really doesn’t compare. The rest of the group went by ferry and we caught up with them later.

It was a brilliantly calm clear day as we meandered along the base of the towering cliffs looking at the Green Grotto, swimming in the crystal clear water and being entertained by the boats jostling for position to get their occupants into the famous but, I suspect, overrated Blue Grotto. We didn’t wait the hour it would have taken for it to be our turn to go in.

After leaving the boat we headed up the Funicular to the town of Capri where, in the back streets, we came across a lovely deserted café in which we had lunch. After checking out the spectacular view from the nearby gardens recommended by the waiter, we got on the cute but well scratched little mountain bus and went to Ana Capri where we found the chairlift recommended by the Aussie girls we had met over lunch in Amalfi several days before. The view from the top was as good a view as we have ever seen. I’ll let the photos tell the story.

From there we eventually worked out how to find the bus to the Blue Grotto where we joined the rest of the party and the locals in jumping off the rocks for another swim.
Last night we had leftovers from the previous nights catered meal. Tonight I suspect we will have leftovers from the leftovers. We don’t seem to be able to get to the end of the food. Christian found a nearby family run restaurant which has perhaps the best Pizzas we have ever eaten so we will have to try those again.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


Hi everybody. I am typing this on Wednesday morning. I ran out of time yesterday. We had another great day although we did see a few showers. Fortunately they didn’t interfere with our plans. As I am typing, I am looking down at the beach watching the staff erect the beach umbrellas on the private part of the beach, locate the swimming pontoon in the correct position and generally preparing for the day’s activity.
We headed back to Amalfi by ferry yesterday where, after an entertaining exercise in not being able to get on buses, we successfully negotiated with two taxi drivers to transport our group seven kilometres up the mountain to Ravello, a very picturesque town set high in the mountains overlooking the coastline. As you can see, wine and drugs are keenly promoted in this town.
After wandering the town, visiting the excellent gardens of Villa Cambrio, and having a leisurely lunch, we again negotiated with a very entertaining and persistent older Italian taxi driver to return to Amalfi. He wanted to bring us all the way to Positano at an exorbitant price but, when it became evident that all his reasons why we should stay in his taxi (stated in Italian and translated by Gino) for the trip to Positano could not convince us, he treated us to some very loud Italian music of his liking.  He wanted 60 euro to bring four of us back to Positano. We caught a bus for 10.

The bus trip back was exciting. The road between Positano and Amalfi is obviously the road that gets described as the dangerous scary road along the Amalfi Coast. It has precipitous mountain on one side and a vertical drop to the ocean on the other with barely enough and sometimes no room to pass but nothing seems to phase the bus driver as he weaves his way around the blind bends with horn blaring to warn oncoming traffic that he is coming.  We made it safely home after getting into trouble from a ticket inspector for not validating the tickets in the machine at the entrance to the bus. The only word I understood in the comments he made was “penalty” but none was imposed.
After we got back, I went down to the beach for my daily swim. I was walking towards the water when I heard someone say “ Michael Kyle”. It was Graham Walsh and his son Tom, accountants and golfers from Southport, who were also heading down for their swim. Small world.
Last night, we had yet another party, again at the Moro’s, where we welcomed their son Christian and his fiancée Christie who arrived after having been to a wedding in Norway.
 While in Ravello, the girls met their friend Ceres.

Monday, 4 July 2011


Hi everybody. All of us except Trish recovered well from last night’s party. She was a bit slow today. She must have had a little too much prosecco.
We were collected at 9:00 o’clock by Allessandro, the driver from Positano Taxi who had brought us from Naples who subjected us to another display of precision driving against almost over whelming odds along the narrow cliffside road between here and Sorrento to get us safely to Herculaneum.

It is a city which was buried in volcanic lava and mud in 67 AD when Mt. Vesuvius erupted. Unlike Pompeii which was destroyed by the eruption, Herculeum was preserved intact, frozen in time, but buried under 50 feet of volcanic rock.
It’s existence was only discovered in the 1800’s when a local farmer, drilling a new well, found his drilling impeded by what was subsequently found to be an amphitheatre. Some initial excavation was done but not resumed until the 1920’s. Only a small part of the ancient city has been excavated. Tunnelling has revealed the existence of some additional parts of it but much of it remains inaccessible, buried under the “modern town” built above it over the last two thousand years.
We returned to Positano for an afternoon snooze, a late afternoon walk to explore some additional areas of the town and a swim in a delightful bay just north of the town.
Tomorrow we head to the nearby town of Revello which is apparently another delightful and picturesque spot.