Category Archives: Italy

In love with Rome

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There is only one thing I did not like about Rome – massive crowds of tourists everywhere! But no wonder since Rome is such an amazing place. Me & Louise based ourself close to Colosseum which turned out to be a good choice since we could walk almost everywhere.

The first evening we just strolled aimlessly towards the old city. I really loved the Vittorio Emanuele monument, seen on below pictures. We passed it almost every day and the horses on top of this marvelous place was seen from most of the locations where we visited. We also saw a glimpses of the massive 2000 year old Parthenon the first nigh and cozy street life in the old town. Not to forget the daily Gelato (Italian ice-cream) 😉 This specific night we tried a place that has no less than 150  flavors. On below picture Louise is trying to make her choice…

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The next day we decided to start with the Vatican city. Is is one of those “must do things” that I would not do again. Crowds! Exhausted after our visit to the St. Peters Basilica we sat down in a café close by to unwind with two scopes of ice-cream and a coffee. The bill? 24 Euro! We though it was a bad joke. Learning; chose carefully where you eat and drink in Rome.

After the Vatican city we payed a visit to the St. Angelo Castle. And what a view from up there! The top picture above is taken from this castle. You had amazing views all directions. Do not miss this if you go!

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A visit to Rome is of course not complete without seeing the Fontana di Trevi. But really, it is surrounded by so much people that is hard to enjoy. Same goes for the famous Spanish stairs which were in fact so uncharming that they did not deserve to be on a picture in this post.

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On Saturday evening we went to non touristy Testaccio and had a wonderful meal at the very local restaurant “Acqua e Farina”. The bill was not much more than the two scopes of ice-cream and the coffee close by the Vatican city, remember? 😉 And then we ate a lot and shared a bottle of wine too. Testaccio is a nice place for going out as well. Many small clubs are lined up along a narrow street. There is something for all tastes and we had such a great night that we took a sleep in the next day 😉

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The biggest “must see” in Rome apart from Colosseum is the Forum Romanum, the center of ancient Rome. It is truly magic to walk around this area, located just in central Rome, and realize that you gaze at (parts of) the same buildings that the people of the Roman empire once did.

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What amazed me most, and became a true highlight of my visit to Rome, was to get inside the Colosseum. It is one thing to view it from the outside. But it is first when you stand inside its walls that you realize the grandiosity of this place. I regret so much that we did not take a guided tour. But I managed to sneak up to a group and listen in to parts of the bloody stories that this place hides.

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We saved the coziest area to the last evening. Despite lots of tourists Trastevere has a nice local vibe. Is is a great area to to have a bit or a drink or just do some people watching. We had a lovely last evening in this nice vibrant area. Afterwards I really felt in love with Rome 🙂

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On of the tastiest highlights however was the ice-cream place just around the corner from where we lived. The pistachio at Ciuri Ciuri – Oh My! I could go back to Rome just for that 😉

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Going back in time in Pompeii

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79 AD the volcano Vesuvius erupted and killed 16000 people living in Pompeii. The heat waves were so strong that the people died instantly while doing there things. Therefore the bodies were preserved under the ash, many in motion, and can be viewed in this extraordinary open air museum that Pompeii today is. Excavations started 1748 and what you now experience as a visitor is a well preserved large ancient roman city that takes you right back into the past. In some houses there are still wall paintings that looks like they did almost 2000 years ago. The bathhouses are so well kept that you really can imagine how it was back then. I was never fond of history at school but it is hard not to become when you walk around in such a place as Pompeii. Unfortunately it took us a lot of time to get there from Amalfi, where we were based, and to be able to get back again in time we had only three hours to walk around. To cover as much as possibly we almost ran parts of it and still we had no time for the Amphitheater and many other extraordinary sights. What we heard much about were the interesting wall paintings of the old brothels. Unfortunately the one we were going to visit was closed for restoration, as many other parts, so we missed that 😉 If you go, spend a full day! Don´t underestimate the size of this place. And without a map you will get lost. Below some pictures from our time traveling…

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Discovering the Amalfi coast

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As I wrote about in my last post Louise & I chose to base ourself in the little town Montepertuso, just above famous Positano, during our vacation to the Amalfi coast. Above is the view that met us when descending the more than 1000 steps to the shore. We walked up almost every day as Italy´s high carb cuisine demands lots of exercise 😉 However we only walked down twice since it is a bit tough for the knees with all the steps. The other days we took the small local bus down the hill.

Positano was not really my cup of tea. Too crowded and not so authentic (maybe it was but you did not see it due to the crowds). The one going to the Amalfi coast should be aware that the buses does not run very frequently, nor does the boats. They are also not matched in schedule. This means that a big amount of our days went to transporting ourself. But this is the only way if you want to see different areas. We used the waiting time to eat ice cream 😛 Italy has wonderful ice cream – Gelato!

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We really wanted to see the pretty mountain town Ravello. The way to go there was by boat from Positano to the town Amalfi and then bus from there. Ravello is most famous for the Villa Rufolo garden from where you have magnificent coastal views, framed by trees and flowers. The little town Ravello is cozy to stroll around. I was amazed by the huge lemons outside one of the stores. The Amalfi coast is very famous for their lemons used for many purposes.

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There are many trekking possibilities on the Amalfi coast. The most famous walk, and the one that should not be missed, is the “Walk of the Gods”. In Italian called Sentiero degli Dei. To start the walk transport was needed by boat from Positano to pretty Amalfi (once again) and then bus to the mountain village Bomerano. The walk actually ends near to Montepertuso where we were staying.

It is ofcourse possible to do it the other way around but we were advised that the views would be more dramatic if we started in Bomerano (and it was!) It was really an amazing walk and not particular difficult at all. We stopped in Monteperstuso (it continues a bit after that). It took us only 3 1/2 hours completing the walk including about 30 minutes breaks for photographing and enjoying views.

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On our last day we decided to walk down the stairs as we had done the first day. The views are very pretty  as you descend. We had heard about a lunch restaurant in a small bay not far from Positano. The place was supposed to have a free shuttle boat to take you there and back and the reputation said they had amazing, and very affordable, seafood. We found the boat with the red fish sign saying “Da Adolfo” and jumped in. It was a nice short journey before approaching the bay. We ate great food, drank beer and relaxed but unfortunately bad weather reached us just after dinner so we never had the possibility to swim and sunbathe as planned. (Worth mentioning here is that the Amalfi coast is not a beach destination, the beaches are not very nice).

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To conclude we had a couple of fantastic days in the Amalfi coast. But my experience would not have been the same would we have stayed in busy Positano or elsewhere. It was really Montepertuso and our B&B Le Ghiande that made my experience complete!

THE place to stay in Amalfi is Montepertuso!!!

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Just back from a 10 days vacation in Italy it is time to blog again. As most of my trips nowadays, I was accompanied by my friend Louise 🙂 We started of with six active but relaxing days in the Amalfi region and ended with four days Rome.

Amalfi, as many parts of Italy, is extremely busy with tourists. No wonder as it is exceptionally beautiful. When doing research about where to stay in Amafli I fell for B&B Le Ghiande, a place higher up in the mountains, in the small town Montepertuso above the famous town Positano. Le Ghiande had top rates and reviews that made me convinced that this was the place for us! The more than 1000 steps up from the coast might not make this the first choice for everyone (no worries, there are buses). But we could not be happier about our stay! I don´t have enough words to explain how great Le Ghiande is. It was dark when we arrived and below is the view we woke up to on our first day!

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Le Ghiande is run by Salvatore & his father Carlo. To their help they also have a guy called Dimitri working with them. Those people are so genuinely kind. Salvatore is English speaking and takes care of all praticalities around the guests and makes sure everyone is informed an comfortable. Papa Carlo does not speak English but he is very social and loves to share his homemade Limoncello with the guests. He grows beans & lemons in the garden and maybe some other things too that we never saw. He is a very proud man. Dimitri serves breakfasts, makes sure your room is as clean as is possible and also prepares the jacuzzi for the small amount of 5 Euro.

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After an active day around Amalfi it was so relaxing to come back to Le Ghiande and wind down before going out for dinner. And now to another great things; Montepertuso happens to have some of Amalfi´s best restaurants, just around the corner from where we lived. We ate at Il Ritrovo three times. An amazing family restaurant with great discount for Le Ghiande guests.

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One day, after an active trekking day, we used the jacuzzi and then tried the restaurant La Tagliata around the corner from Le Ghiande. Another family restaurant that does not have a meny. Instead for a set price you eat and drink all kinds of traditional food that are served throughout the evening. Many hotels in Positano have an arrangement where they bus guests up for an evening here and picks them up again. When we were there the evening ended in on big Limoncello party. From being the observers from our small table we suddenly ended up being in the center of attention as we happily entertained the American guests with Swedish drinking songs 😉 Our table that night looked like we had one wild party. But to tell the truth, me & Louise were perfectly fine, compared to the rest of the guests. What a night!

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It was a bit sad to leave this magic place, but other adventures were waiting and left are only beautiful memories from a peaceful and friendly stay in Montepertuso and B&B Le Ghiande.

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