Solitude in a crowd

Back in August and September I travelled to Italy. It had a great affect on me then and now. Yes, it was a first visit to Europe and we had to go to where all the tourists go. But here in Australia I can find solitude whenever I want it. I forget how much I treasure it. Early in our holiday I was jetlagged and resisting adjusting. I just got up early; no-one was up.small-stitch-atrani

Later I found I could find quiet places that the tourists didn’t like much. Like on the back walk at Villa Cimbrone, Ravellosolitude-ravallo

It was more difficult to escape the crowds in Naples, Florence, Lucca, Pisa and Cinque Terra. I gave in to the wonders of the art, and sheer beauty of these places. By the time I arrived at Bolzano I needed my space.

At Venice I caught the vaporetto over to Lido, hired a bicycle and rode to the south tip of the island. Yeah this will do.lido-wildernessBack in Rome a few days later I found solitude in a crowd. In the middle of a busy day at the Colosseum. It was there all the time, I just needed fine tuning. Added for WPC solitude.

The Joys of Camping

Jo and I used to be avid campers. Now with a busy life and a large slab of our holidays being taken up with visiting a caravan which is left by the beautiful Port Phillip Bay for three months in late Summer and early Autumn, we don’t tend to go camping anymore. We are also no longer that keen on sleeping on the ground. Early this year we purchased a teardrop caravan. It’s basically an insulated double bed on wheels with a kitchen at the rear. Well, firstly Rosebud, then medical issues, then our trip to Italy; this weekend seemed a perfect opportunity to use our little teardrop. The post is not really about the teardrop, but returning to camping. Here’s a photo of me at the rear of the teardrop on Friday.me-and-the-teardrop
First of all, we have had a very wet Spring, and as soon as we stepped out of the car we were swooped upon by hundreds of mosquitos. Well our friends saved the day with Aerogard, which they hadn’t forgotten, because they wanted to avagoodweekend (for Aussies). We ducked down the supermarket later and they were sold out. The chemist had some super-dooper 4% DEET aerogard for quite a hefty price. We snapped it up.

The first Tuesday in November is Melbourne Cup Day. A crazy long horse race that any horse can win. We get a public holiday for it! Many folks have Monday off to make it 4 days. I had Friday as well to make 5. We were visiting Maldon, in the Central Highlands of Victoria, for Jo to perform in the Maldon Folk Music Festival, and for me as an audience member. Maybe I will write about the festival at another time.

Well secondly, you need to stock up with food and ice before you come, as it is quite dear in a festival town (I did not forget beer). Thirdly, it is Spring; bring clothes for all seasons. It was hot and freezing cold, wet and dry and calm and very windy, all in a period of four days. Bring enough plates and glasses and….oh do I have to go on? It’s obvious we had forgotten all the things we used to collect with our eyes shut when we were younger. I also manage to burn the tops of all my fingers in stupid metho stove incident. I ‘ll have that reminder for a few weeks. I’m lucky it wasn’t worse.

Look it didn’t matter so much, because the festival had great food laid on at fair prices. We had a counter tea one night. And what’s more they had shuttle buses running from the campground to the town centre every 10 minutes, which were all part of the ticket. And a big shower toilet block on a semi-trailer. The music was an absolute joy. Jo’s choir did really well too.

The land where we were camping is very harsh land. Dry trees, rocks and no topsoil. Normally such a pain to be hammering pegs into. Not this weekend; soft as, due to the rain.green-tarrengower
But hidden in the grass is thousands of hungry mozzies. Regardless, is was so beautiful and quiet. I’ve been told it is not always so. Some weekends this area is descended upon by 4WD and trail bike enthusiasts. Here is some pictures showing you what they do to the bush, apart from filling it up with noise. No offence intended for 4WD friends out there. I know you are respectful of the bush.

One thing I did remember was to never camp on top on one these. An ant nest.

I’ll leave you with a wet dry land panorama of the bush above our camp. What a lovely weekend.tarengower-bushh

Post note: It has been pointed out to me that I over stated the negatives of this trip and thus implying that we may not have had a great weekend. There were only two things that were not so good about this weekend. Burning the back of my hand, and being chastised for talking in the Troubadour tent while a show was on by a bossy audience member. It was bit like being back at school, because I wasn’t talking, it was someone on the other side of the table who she could not see! Anyway, I have a thing about blowing your own trumpet, and tend to do the opposite too much.

Blue Grotto Shine. Isle of Capri

Back in September 2016 I visited the Isle of Capri, near the Amalfi Coast in Italy. We visited the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra) on our journey around the island. It was still very much the early shoulder season, and the weather was perfect, so the flocks were out to see this natural wonder. I thought it maybe a tourist con, but it was very impressive. The blue shine in the grotto is due the red light from the sun being filtered out  by the water in the narrow entrance. If you choose to visit, do not be bullied into paying a tip to the boatmen. Ours suggested that is was mandatory to pay him, sang for only half of the time others were singing, and threatened me (jokingly) for not giving him a tip. Others may not get the joke.blue-grottoThe Isle of Capri can be an exxy place to visit. Plan well and you can do it relatively cheaply. Did I plan well? No. But I did enjoy the day. Either catch the Circumvesuviana from Naples to Sorrento and travel by boat from there or go direct from Naples. By all means, do stay in Naples, as it is a wonderful city. We came over from Amalfi. If I was to return, I would consider staying in a B&B and having a good look at the island.

Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge

In Italy I saw a lot of art. Ancient art, renaissance art and modern art. Now it’s no secret that penises, breasts and bums are everywhere in all of this art. It became a tad passé after awhile. When I visited the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, I was overwhelmed by the art. So much so that I began to glaze over. Here I was in one of the greatest art galleries on this planet and I was getting bored. What the? I resolved this issue by associating sayings, conversations, or songs with the art. I enjoyed every minute after that. For Cee’s odd ball.
Does anyone know the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song Free Falling?free-balling

Italian Enlightenment

My recent trip to Italy was full of enlightenment.
My bald head does not get sunburnt if I forget to wear my hat
Old human things. Much evidence of incredible effort, patience, loyalty and subservience.
Wine tastes so good. Food tastes so good. Fresh.
There are as many varieties of formaggio there as how many more days I need to spend there when I return.
Stunningly beautiful ethnic group; both men and women.

pisa-beauty

Pisa

Many sadnesses too. What country does not have them.
Some trains go fast. Some slow. Take your pick.
Such beauty, everywhere I went.
Trump can take a running jump.

mummas-boy-2

Return trip from Capri

burano

Burano

legs-at-forum

Some of the less known columns at the Forum

big-mountain

Il Dolomiti

Venice

While in Italy it was easier to say Venezia, Roma, Napoli etc. Now back in Australia, I am happy to revert to the anglicised names.

Is Venice special? Of course it is. It is an extraordinary place. If I was to return to Italy would I return to Venice? I don’t think so. I feel that Venice is being hammered, and needs to be continued to be hammered for its survival. While we were there, some locals were protesting at the number of tourists. I’m sure a lot of the traders do not see it that way. I’ll never see anything like it again. I want that memory to remain positive.

Journey to Italy Aug/Sep 2016

I tried to update while I was on holidays. I think I was successful once, in Lucca. Then I wiped the tablet’s memory and I could not remember the WP password. That was the end of that. Apologies for facebook friends who have seen some of these pics. I won’t over do it; just a few favourites.

Camping

I have quite a lot of camping photos. Too many for here and possibly a tad boring. I have a favourite camping story. Four of us were camping in the Grampians in Western Victoria and as luck would have it, we had the whole camping site to ourselves. The weather was ideal, the fire was crackling, food tasty, a bit of beer and bubbly, and the chatter and music was lively. Then came along a group of motorcyclists looking for a campsite. We started singing “Sons of god, hear his holy word, gather around, the table of the lord, eat his body, drink his blood, an we’ll sing a song of love, allelu, allelu, allelu, alleluia” They quickly scarpered. Then came along a very straight looking family. “It’s a long way to the top if ya wanna rock and roll” was belted out. Off they went. Back to good contemporary music and fun. We got to keep our wonderful mountain site to ourselves for the rest of the night. Added for Ailsa’s camping