Monday, April 13, 2015

Time does not wither, nor custom stale their infinite optimism

The COG and I thought it would be nice to take a walk. Just a little walk from Ravello to Amalfi, a mere 5 kilometers away.  We would stop in Portone on the way for lunch, detouring a bit to see the beautiful views from a belvedere. Then, back to Portone and thence to Atrani,  where we could nip around the corner, a short 20 minutes to Amalfi. Tired, but happy, we would take the bus back to Ravello for dinner.    The notes we had on the walk, from the company through which we reserved the cottage, said it was a 4 hour hike.  

Let me just remind  you of the terrain we are talking about here. This was taken half way down. Click on the pictures to see the whole picture - some are not showing up fully.



or, looking down:


We left Ravello around 10 and began the 'walk' which, we soon discovered was more a matter of going down stairs than actual 'walking'.  And, when I use the word 'stairs,' I mean uneven, steep, often very high,  ancient and crumbling - sometimes repaired- stairs going down and down.  By noon we had arrived at Pontone,where we had a pleasant lunch out doors, as per The Plan.  



We followed the instructions for the walk and, by and by (where 'by and by' means 'up and down' ) we arrived at a beautiful viewing spot.  And it was beautiful.  Well worth seeing.  Note the ancient tower just to the right of the middle of the picture.  Atrani is the town on the left and Amalfi is the town on the right. 


Here's another shot -a panorama taken from the Belvedere.  That's Ravello - the Villa di Cimbrone - on the pointy peak at the middle.  Our flat is just on the other side of that hill, near Villa di Cimbrone, but facing the bay at the far right.  That's Pontone (I think) over on the left. We had come down and crossed the valley, then mounted to Pontone and the Belevedere at this point. 



And so full of  the beautiful sights, a nice lunch, and our usual optimism, we backtracked to Pontone.  Once again forgetting the lesson we never learn, which is that we always get lost.  And so we did.  First we got lost going in one direction, down many steps and then up many steps and then down some more until we came to a tree that had fallen across the path and realized that we were on the wrong path.  So we backtracked to the junction and went in the other direction, up and down and down and up, until we came to the ancient watchtower that we had viewed from above a bit earlier.  
Remember the tower in the picture above?  We saw it up close and personal, but I don't have a picture.   

So back we went again, up and down more steps until we were back at earlier the higher level and on the right path again finally.  This took a couple of hours in all.  And we started back to Pontone, to connect with the path to Atrani.   Before we got to that point, we came to the bottom of a very steep set of stairs we had climbed down earlier. And right by the stairs was a sign and an arrow, pointing to Atrani.  So, naturally, we thought - why go the extra couple of hundred meters to the advised path, we'll just take this one.  This was our second, or third, error depending.

We were never seriously lost-lost. We could see Atrani and the sea and we knew we'd get there eventually.



It was long and very difficult - all steep, ancient, crumbling stairs going down with our backs to Atrani, walking inland when we wanted to arrive at the seafront.


  There was one beautiful moment, among many, a waterfall descending  into pools worn deep in the stone.  


Finally, with both of us complaining that we could hardly walk because our calves and quads were cramping, we joined the path we would have been on the whole time,  had we followed instructions.  This was a broad stone-paved path that sloped gently down into the town. 


 Apparently, it was the path used by donkey carts until the middle of the last century, when the roads were finally completed.  And so, we made it to Atrani. Yay!

I had thought that once we were in Atrani we would just nip round the corner  in to Amalfi, because they are both on the same level, right on the sea.  But, no, it was not to be.  Instead, we followed a path involving many more stairs up and down, through a maze of tiny, ancient, wandering alley ways which were probably just the ticket when you were escaping attack from Saracen invaders a thousand years ago.  





But, then, we were in Amalfi.  Tired, but pleased to have completed the walk, we climbed on the bus for the ride home. 

All in all it was a lovely day.  We did 8 miles and 196 staircases, according to fitbit.  It was so lovely to be out walking in the countryside. 





Saturday, April 11, 2015

Two little things


Here is a picture of the kitchen area of the flat.


There is a little surprise there - can you see it?  

The dish drainer is over the sink:


I have seen these on House Hunters International, so I knew immediately what it was. Who says tv isn't educational.

And here is the pretty floor tile, so nice, and the equally pretty travel slippers the Daughter of COG gave me years ago.  




Ravello, Italy

We arrived yesterday in Ravello on the Amalfi coast. Beautiful views of the snowy alps below us en route, but none of the pictures I took was any good due to a filthy window.  The COG told me as we landed that we were in the same kind of plane as the German flight that crashed in the Alps.  He said he waited until we landed to tell me.  I asked why he couldn't have waited until the end of the return flight, or, maybe, never, to tell me.  He did not see my point.  

 We are renting Sea View Cottage for a week.  This was the view when we arrived yesterday. Unedited - I'm sure the COG will be posting better photos soon.


The flat is 2 rooms, side by side so they both have the same view.  We can see this view as we lie in bed. The COG woke me up this morning before dawn because the view was sooooooooo beautiful.  It's a combination of pink and blue that we have seen in other beaches we love - Ipswich, Brighton etc.  The sea and sky are shades of soft blues and then there is a layer of pale pinks and mauves between.  So so so so beautiful, it just fills the soul.  

Walking to the cottage last night I was rather distracted by all the excellent pottery and feeling chuffed that we had ended up in a place where I could browse shops.  But, then, seeing the just-before- sunrise mist and colors I remembered that no amount of pottery, no matter how good, could be worth filling my eyes with this. 

Today we need to go out and investigate Ravello and, then,  try to figure out how to get back to our little flat.  


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Kitchen Improvements, too.

With the Ikea frenzy going on, the kitchen got a little love, too.  New knobs for the newly painted upper cupboards.



And two little shelves for coffee cups.  (Pip-aholic Alert: the second and third cups from the left of the bottom row are my new Pip Early Bird cups.)


There are actually a couple more little things as well, but enough for now.  I promise better pictures of the kitchen in a couple of days. 

Before and After

I've been busy.  Most recently, I had a bunch of stuff delivered from Ikea.  The biggest bundle of stuff was for our wardrobe.  I have hated these doors since we moved in.  How do I hate them, let me count the ways.  I hate that you can see through them - they always look dark and messy.  I hate that they slide, making it hard for two people to use them at once.  I hate that they are glass and metal - too cold.  I hate that they are so.... horizontal.

Before: Yesterday morning:



AFTER- Here is the same closet today:




And here is the inside - drawers instead of shelves.  I still need to do some stuff to the 'vanity area,' but you can see where I'm going.  The COG did not feel the need to add drawers, so his closet is unchanged.  I don't have a Before of the inside of my closet - but if you squint at the Before picture of the outside, you can kinda see the inside. 




I still have plans for this cupboard - I'm adding a top to it, so it looks built in.  

I also added a little shelf over the bed - again, these pictures are unframed and will get changed out. They are place holders.  


The bedroom will be getting painted and decorated soon.  All based on this picture of the COGs that I love love love. It's the Ipswich River in winter, and it looks like a painting.  




But that's in the future.  I'm really happy with the few changes I've made already.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Bread Making update

We have been working on our bread making with the new, odd little bread baking thing.  This is our 4th loaf.  It's a lovely shape - the first time we've managed to get one that looks like a normal loaf.  The texture is even better than the three previous loaves, too.  

The difference was that I kneaded it a tiny bit - maybe 10 or 15 times- and shaped it.  Small difference, but results.  





Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lewes Prison

We had lunch with a friend yesterday. She has just moved from Brighton to a rather idyllic little house in Lewes with views across the downs.  The bus stop is in front of Lewes Prison, which is this kind of castle-y fortress looking place.


It's mid-Victorian, of course.  The Victorians really the mastered Grim and Foreboding architectural school.  It famously housed prisoners of war from the Crimean War. It held Irish rebels after the Easter Uprising, including √Čamon de Valera.  

Most famously of all (to my generation), Mick Jagger spent a night there in a drug bust.  After which the editor of the Times wrote an editorial with the wonderful title, 'Who Breaks A Butterfly On A Wheel,' protesting the police decisions that had been made.  

In 2003 there were riots in the prison protesting the conditions. They sound appalling, not the lovely 'Period Details' one might hope for in a mid-Victorian property.

The picture is captured from the internet, which I feel a bit guilty about. it was credited to David Hill/Daily Mirror.

The reason I used it is because this is the picture I took. It's pretty hilariously terrible.