Your search for Italy found 45 posts. Select title from list or scroll down to see posts.
 
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Jul 23, 2004, Fri
Jul 23, 2004
  The Alps, Hike, Italy, Courmayeur, TMB  
Jul 25, 2004, Sun
Jul 25, 2004
  Italy, Hike, The Alps, TMB  
Jul 26, 2004, Mon
Jul 26, 2004
  The Alps, Hike, Italy, Switzerland, TMB  
Jul 2, 2006, Sun
Jul 2, 2006
  Belluno, Barcelona, Italy  
Jul 2, 2006, Sun
Dolomites map      Hike, Italy, Dolomites, Maps, The Alps  
Jul 2, 2006
  Hike, Italy, Dolomites, Maps, The Alps  
Jul 3, 2006, Mon
Jul 3, 2006
  Hike, Italy, Dolomites, The Alps  
Jul 4, 2006, Tue
Fodara to Fanes      Hike, Italy, Dolomites, The Alps  
Jul 4, 2006
  Hike, Italy, Dolomites, The Alps  
Jul 5, 2006, Wed
Fanes to Scotini      Hike, Italy, Dolomites, The Alps  
Jul 5, 2006
  Hike, Italy, Dolomites, The Alps  
Jul 6, 2006, Thu
Jul 6, 2006
  Hike, Italy, Dolomites, The Alps  
Jul 7, 2006, Fri
Jul 7, 2006
  Dolomites, Cortina d'Ampezzo, The Alps, Hike, Italy  
Jul 8, 2006, Sat
Jul 8, 2006
  Dolomites, Cortina d'Ampezzo, The Alps, Italy  
Jul 9, 2006, Sun
Jul 9, 2006
  Italy, Dolomites, Hike, The Alps  
Jul 10, 2006, Mon
Jul 10, 2006
  Italy, Dolomites, Hike, The Alps  
Jul 11, 2006, Tue
Jul 11, 2006
  Italy, Dolomites, Hike, The Alps  
Jul 12, 2006, Wed
Sebastiano to Venice      Italy, Venice  
Jul 12, 2006
  Italy, Venice  
Jul 13, 2006, Thu
Venice      Italy, Venice  
Jul 13, 2006
  Italy, Venice  
Nov 6, 2014, Thu
Nov 6, 2014
  Italy, Sorrento  
Nov 7, 2014, Fri
Frozen in time      Italy, Pompeii  
Nov 7, 2014
  Italy, Pompeii  
Nov 8, 2014, Sat
Sensory overload      Amalfi, Italy  
Nov 8, 2014
  Amalfi, Italy  
Nov 8, 2014, Sat
Nov 8, 2014
  Amalfi, Italy  
Nov 10, 2014, Mon
Louche life      Capri, Islands, Italy  
Nov 10, 2014
  Capri, Islands, Italy  
Nov 11, 2014, Tue
Herculaneum      Herculaneum, Italy  
Nov 11, 2014
  Herculaneum, Italy  
Nov 11, 2014, Tue
Nov 11, 2014
  Italy, Naples  
Nov 12, 2014, Wed
Nov 12, 2014
  Sicily, Messina, Italy, Taormina  
Nov 13, 2014, Thu
Eye candy      Sicily, Italy, Taormina  
Nov 13, 2014
  Sicily, Italy, Taormina  
Nov 14, 2014, Fri
Castelmola      Sicily, Italy, Taormina  
Nov 14, 2014
  Sicily, Italy, Taormina  
Nov 15, 2014, Sat
Nov 15, 2014
  Sicily, Italy, Siracusa  
Nov 16, 2014, Sun
Castello Maniace      Sicily, Italy, Siracusa  
Nov 16, 2014
  Sicily, Italy, Siracusa  
Nov 17, 2014, Mon
Nov 17, 2014
  Sicily, Italy, Siracusa  
Nov 18, 2014, Tue
La passeggiata      Sicily, Italy, Siracusa  
Nov 18, 2014
  Sicily, Italy, Siracusa  
Nov 19, 2014, Wed
Churchapalooza      Italy, Islands, Ragusa, Sicily  
Nov 19, 2014
  Italy, Islands, Ragusa, Sicily  
Nov 20, 2014, Thu
Nov 20, 2014
  Italy, Islands, Ragusa, Sicily  
Nov 21, 2014, Fri
Frack!      Italy, Islands, Modica, Sicily  
Nov 21, 2014
  Italy, Islands, Modica, Sicily  
Nov 22, 2014, Sat
Stuck in Ragusa      Italy, Islands, Ragusa, Sicily  
Nov 22, 2014
  Italy, Islands, Ragusa, Sicily  
Nov 23, 2014, Sun
Palermo      Italy, Islands, Palermo, Sicily  
Nov 23, 2014
  Italy, Islands, Palermo, Sicily  
Nov 24, 2014, Mon
Quattro Canti      Palermo, Italy, Sicily  
Nov 24, 2014
  Palermo, Italy, Sicily  
Nov 26, 2014, Wed
Sicilian cornucopia      Palermo, Italy, Sicily  
Nov 26, 2014
  Palermo, Italy, Sicily  
Nov 26, 2014, Wed
Nov 26, 2014
  Sicily, Palermo, Italy  
Dec 2, 2014, Tue
Dec 2, 2014
  Amalfi, Italy  
Dec 4, 2014, Thu
Travel guide      Capri, Italy, Naples, Sorrento  
Dec 4, 2014
  Capri, Italy, Naples, Sorrento  
Dec 7, 2014, Sun
Serial justice      Sicily, Italy, Taormina  
Dec 7, 2014
  Sicily, Italy, Taormina  
Dec 8, 2014, Mon
Dec 8, 2014
  Sicily, Italy, Taormina  
Dec 12, 2014, Fri
Dec 12, 2014
  24-120/4, Sicily, Palermo, Italy, Herculaneum  
Jun 13, 2015, Sat
Lampedusa      Italy, iPhone, Endless War  
Jun 13, 2015
  Italy, iPhone, Endless War  
Aug 22, 2018, Wed
Aug 22, 2018
  TMB, The Alps, Panorama, Italy  
 
 
 

TMB: A rest stop in Courmayeur

 
July 23, 2004   The Alps, Hike, Italy, Courmayeur, TMB
 
 

 
Sml    Med    Big
 
 
Emily, Courmayeur, Italy      
 
Emily, Courmayeur, Italy      
 
Emily, Courmayeur, Italy      
https://jamesgaston.ca/1525
 
 

TMB: The views from Bonatti

 
July 25, 2004   Italy, Hike, The Alps, TMB
 
Sml    Med    Big
 
 
Linda & Regina & Mt Blanc      
We're on our way to Rifugio Bonatti.
 
Linda & Regina & Mt Blanc      
We're on our way to Rifugio Bonatti.
 
Linda & Regina & Mt Blanc      
We're on our way to Rifugio Bonatti.
 
Resting at Rifugio Bonatti      
 
Resting at Rifugio Bonatti      
 
Resting at Rifugio Bonatti      
 
Rifugio Bonatti, Italy      
Bonatti offers a comfortable bed and good food along with eye-watering views of Mt Blanc.
 
Rifugio Bonatti, Italy      
Bonatti offers a comfortable bed and good food along with eye-watering views of Mt Blanc.
 
Rifugio Bonatti, Italy      
Bonatti offers a comfortable bed and good food along with eye-watering views of Mt Blanc.
 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1526
 
 

TMB: Bonatti to Ferret

 
July 26, 2004   The Alps, Hike, Italy, Switzerland, TMB
 
Sml    Med    Big
 
 
Malatrá valley      
We've left Ref. Bonatti, with it's postcard view of Mount Blanc, and are heading over the border to a hotel in a small Swiss town.
 
Malatrá valley      
We've left Ref. Bonatti, with it's postcard view of Mount Blanc, and are heading over the border to a hotel in a small Swiss town.
 
Malatrá valley      
We've left Ref. Bonatti, with it's postcard view of Mount Blanc, and are heading over the border to a hotel in a small Swiss town.
 
Rifugio Bonatti and Malatrá valley      
A two-photo panorama assembled fourteen years after the original two photos were taken.
 
Rifugio Bonatti and Malatrá valley      
A two-photo panorama assembled fourteen years after the original two photos were taken.
 
Rifugio Bonatti and Malatrá valley      
A two-photo panorama assembled fourteen years after the original two photos were taken.
 
Malatrá valley      
 
Malatrá valley      
 
Malatrá valley      
 
Malatrá valley, Italy      
 
Malatrá valley, Italy      
 
Malatrá valley, Italy      
 
Linda & Regina and glacier in Malatrá valley      
Hiking from Ref. Bonatti, in Italy, to Ferret, Switzerland.
 
Linda & Regina and glacier in Malatrá valley      
Hiking from Ref. Bonatti, in Italy, to Ferret, Switzerland.
 
Linda & Regina and glacier in Malatrá valley      
Hiking from Ref. Bonatti, in Italy, to Ferret, Switzerland.
 
Regina at the col      
 
Regina at the col      
 
Regina at the col      
 
Hiking near Ferret Switzerland      
 
Hiking near Ferret Switzerland      
 
Hiking near Ferret Switzerland      
 
Dinner at our hotel, Ferret, SW      
 
Dinner at our hotel, Ferret, SW      
 
Dinner at our hotel, Ferret, SW      
 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1527
 
 

Barcelona to Milan to Belluno

 
July 2, 2006   Belluno, Barcelona, Italy
 
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Barcelona airport      
 
Barcelona airport      
 
Barcelona airport      
 
Milan train station      
 
Milan train station      
 
Milan train station      
 
Milan train station      
 
Milan train station      
 
Milan train station      
 
Belluno      
 
Belluno      
 
Belluno      
 
Belluno, Italy      
 
Belluno, Italy      
 
Belluno, Italy      
 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1549
 
 

Dolomites map

 
July 2, 2006   Hike, Italy, Dolomites, Maps, The Alps
 
Sml    Med    Big
 
 
Dolomite's trails map      
 
Dolomite's trails map      
 
Dolomite's trails map      
 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1059
 
 

Belluno to Fodara

 
July 3, 2006   Hike, Italy, Dolomites, The Alps
 
Sml    Med    Big
 
 
Trailhead for hike to Rifugio Fodara      
 
Trailhead for hike to Rifugio Fodara      
 
Trailhead for hike to Rifugio Fodara      
 
Paul hiking in Dolomites      
 
Paul hiking in Dolomites      
 
Paul hiking in Dolomites      
 
Trail marker      
 
Trail marker      
 
Trail marker      
 
On our way      
 
On our way      
 
On our way      
 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1511
 
 

Fodara to Fanes

 
July 4, 2006   Hike, Italy, Dolomites, The Alps
 
Sml    Med    Big
 
 
Refugio Fodara      
 
Refugio Fodara      
 
Refugio Fodara      
 
Refugio Fodara      
 
Refugio Fodara      
 
Refugio Fodara      
 
The Dolomites      
 
The Dolomites      
 
The Dolomites      
 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1514
 
 

Fanes to Scotini

 
July 5, 2006   Hike, Italy, Dolomites, The Alps
 
Sml    Med    Big
 
 
Paul heading down a trail      
 
Paul heading down a trail      
 
Paul heading down a trail      
 
Small chapel      
 
Small chapel      
 
Small chapel      
 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1513
 
 

Scotini to Cinqui Torri

 
July 6, 2006   Hike, Italy, Dolomites, The Alps
 
Sml    Med    Big
 
 
Paul at breakfast      
 
Paul at breakfast      
 
Paul at breakfast      
 
Paul hiking      
 
Paul hiking      
 
Paul hiking      
 
Parco Naturale      
 
Parco Naturale      
 
Parco Naturale      
 
Colorful mountains      
 
Colorful mountains      
 
Colorful mountains      
 
War ruins      
 
War ruins      
 
War ruins      
 
Paul hiking up to Rifugio Lagazuoi      
 
Paul hiking up to Rifugio Lagazuoi      
 
Paul hiking up to Rifugio Lagazuoi      
 
Paul viewing colourful mountains      
 
Paul viewing colourful mountains      
 
Paul viewing colourful mountains      
 
Cable car to Rifugio Lagazuoi      
 
Cable car to Rifugio Lagazuoi      
 
Cable car to Rifugio Lagazuoi      
 
Rifugio Lagazuoi      
This is a popular lunch spot easily accessed by cable car.
 
Rifugio Lagazuoi      
This is a popular lunch spot easily accessed by cable car.
 
Rifugio Lagazuoi      
This is a popular lunch spot easily accessed by cable car.
 
Rifugio Lagazuoi 2752m      
 
Rifugio Lagazuoi 2752m      
 
Rifugio Lagazuoi 2752m      
 
Cable car to Rifugio Lagazuoi      
 
Cable car to Rifugio Lagazuoi      
 
Cable car to Rifugio Lagazuoi      
 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1512
 
 

Cinque Torri to Cortina

 
July 7, 2006   Dolomites, Cortina d'Ampezzo, The Alps, Hike, Italy
 
Sml    Med    Big
 
 
Rifugio Cinque Torri      
 
Rifugio Cinque Torri      
 
Rifugio Cinque Torri      
 
Rif Cinque Torri      
 
Rif Cinque Torri      
 
Rif Cinque Torri      
 
Paul hiking in the Dolomites      
 
Paul hiking in the Dolomites      
 
Paul hiking in the Dolomites      
 
Rif Cinque Torri      
 
Rif Cinque Torri      
 
Rif Cinque Torri      
 
Dolomites switchback      
 
Dolomites switchback      
 
Dolomites switchback      
 
Dolomites trail      
 
Dolomites trail      
 
Dolomites trail      
 
Dolomites zig-zag trail      
 
Dolomites zig-zag trail      
 
Dolomites zig-zag trail      
 
Dolomites, Italy      
 
Dolomites, Italy      
 
Dolomites, Italy      
 
Rif Passo Giau      
 
Rif Passo Giau      
 
Rif Passo Giau      
 
Dolomites, Italy      
We got a ride into Cortina where we planned to take a one day/two night city break.
 
Dolomites, Italy      
We got a ride into Cortina where we planned to take a one day/two night city break.
 
Dolomites, Italy      
We got a ride into Cortina where we planned to take a one day/two night city break.
 
Cortina      
 
Cortina      
 
Cortina      
 
Cortina bike race      
 
Cortina bike race      
 
Cortina bike race      
 
Cortina      
 
Cortina      
 
Cortina      
 
Cortina      
 
Cortina      
 
Cortina      
 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1547
 
 

Cortina

 
July 8, 2006   Dolomites, Cortina d'Ampezzo, The Alps, Italy
 
Sml    Med    Big
 
 
Cortina      
 
Cortina      
 
Cortina      
 
Hotel Ambra      
 
Hotel Ambra      
 
Hotel Ambra      
 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1548
 
 

Cortina to Staulanza

 
July 9, 2006   Italy, Dolomites, Hike, The Alps
 
Sml    Med    Big
 
 
Rifugio Lagazuoi      
 
Rifugio Lagazuoi      
 
Rifugio Lagazuoi      
 
Paul in the Dolomites      
 
Paul in the Dolomites      
 
Paul in the Dolomites      
 
Dolomites      
 
Dolomites      
 
Dolomites      
 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1516
 
 

Staulanza to Tissi

 
July 10, 2006   Italy, Dolomites, Hike, The Alps
 
Sml    Med    Big
 
 
Rifugio Staulanza      
 
Rifugio Staulanza      
 
Rifugio Staulanza      
 
Hike to Rifugio Asonino Al Coldai      
 
Hike to Rifugio Asonino Al Coldai      
 
Hike to Rifugio Asonino Al Coldai      
 
Hike to Rifugio Asonino Al Coldai      
 
Hike to Rifugio Asonino Al Coldai      
 
Hike to Rifugio Asonino Al Coldai      
 
Rifugio Asonino Al Coldai      
 
Rifugio Asonino Al Coldai      
 
Rifugio Asonino Al Coldai      
 
Hiking nuns      
 
Hiking nuns      
 
Hiking nuns      
 
Hiking in the Dolomites      
 
Hiking in the Dolomites      
 
Hiking in the Dolomites      
 
Refugio Tissi      
 
Refugio Tissi      
 
Refugio Tissi      
 
Hiking to Tissi      
Ref Tissi is just barely visible, it's on the right, the tiny bump on the jagged slope.
 
Hiking to Tissi      
Ref Tissi is just barely visible, it's on the right, the tiny bump on the jagged slope.
 
Hiking to Tissi      
Ref Tissi is just barely visible, it's on the right, the tiny bump on the jagged slope.
 
Hike to Tissi      
 
Hike to Tissi      
 
Hike to Tissi      
 
Tissi      
 
Tissi      
 
Tissi      
 
View from Tissi      
 
View from Tissi      
 
View from Tissi      
 
Tissi      
 
Tissi      
 
Tissi      
 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1061
 
 

Tissi to Sebastiano

 
July 11, 2006   Italy, Dolomites, Hike, The Alps
 
Sml    Med    Big
 
 
Leaving Tissi      
 
Leaving Tissi      
 
Leaving Tissi      
 
Leaving Tissi      
 
Leaving Tissi      
 
Leaving Tissi      
 
Hiking in the Dolomites      
 
Hiking in the Dolomites      
 
Hiking in the Dolomites      
 
Dolomites, Italy      
 
Dolomites, Italy      
 
Dolomites, Italy      
 
Dolomites      
 
Dolomites      
 
Dolomites      
 
Hiking trail      
 
Hiking trail      
 
Hiking trail      
 
Dolomites trail      
Around the middle of this photo you can see the trail skirting the rock and heading over the pass.
 
Dolomites trail      
Around the middle of this photo you can see the trail skirting the rock and heading over the pass.
 
Dolomites trail      
Around the middle of this photo you can see the trail skirting the rock and heading over the pass.
 
Dolomites hiking trail      
 
Dolomites hiking trail      
 
Dolomites hiking trail      
 
Ref Sebastiano      
 
Ref Sebastiano      
 
Ref Sebastiano      
 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1517
 
 

Sebastiano to Venice

 
July 12, 2006   Italy, Venice
 
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Venice canal      
 
Venice canal      
 
Venice canal      
 
Ref Sebastiano      
 
Ref Sebastiano      
 
Ref Sebastiano      
 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1515
 
 

Venice

 
July 13, 2006   Italy, Venice
 
Sml    Med    Big
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1108
 
 

A long way to go for pizza

 
November 6, 2014   Italy, Sorrento
 
 

The first thing we do upon arrival at Naples' airport is catch the bus to Sorrento (10€/person), which should take about ninety minutes. A short wait then we get on the bus. As the bus travels south what I see brings to mind South America with dreary apartment blocks and neglected construction projects. Through the clouds I see outlines of mountains, a promising break from the monotonous sprawl in the foreground. .

As the bus heads towards  Sorrento it hugs a rocky cliff. Here and there terraces hold olive trees with their nets strung between them. Homes seemingly drilled into cliffs perch periously over the Mediterranean. The scenery grows ever more spectacular with each hairpin curve of the road. 

I've read that Sorrento is a good place to stay and a good transit hub. 

I expect Sorrento will make a good base for exploring Naples, Pompeii and Amalfi.  It's a resort town, full of hotels and restaurants and tourists, but very charming. 

The hotel, the Marina Piccola 73, was once a coast guard station but now features nine modern rooms just steps from the water. I'm listening to the beat of ocean waves as I write. The only downside to the hotel is the long set of steps to get up to the town, but I figure the exercise is good.

The last thing we do this long first day of holiday is walk up to Sorrento to buy wine and eat pizza. The pizza - anchovies, tomato sauce, and basil - is wonderful but I expect that. Naples is the birthplace of pizza so they've had time to perfect it.

One picture was taken from the hotel room balcony looking out at Sorrento's small harbor. The other is the road to the harbor.

 
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Road to harbour      
 
Road to harbour      
 
Road to harbour      
https://jamesgaston.ca/190
 
 

Frozen in time

 
November 7, 2014   Italy, Pompeii
 
 

Today we catch the Circumvesuviana train in order to travel back in time to AD 79. No, we aren't becoming Dr. Who companions. Our destination is Pompeii, a city famous for being preserved in volcanic stone until it was discovered in 1594. Pompeii, in case you've forgotten your history, had the misfortune of being located a stone's throw from the active volcano Vesuvius. Today Vesuvius remains the only active volcano on the European mainland though there's another just offshore in Sicily.

Despite the discovery, excavation of Pompeii did not begin until 1748 and as of today only two-thirds is complete. Given the state of the Italian economy this last third may take awhile.

Walking through what remains of Pompeii is not unlike walking through Ephesus or Macchu Picchu. Lots of stone (what else would survive hundreds of years?) streets and walls in various states of decay. Comparing the three ruins I'd say Pompeii ranks between the two in terms of interest.

I'm no archaeologist but to me Ephesus is the least interesting of the three. It's a jumble of rocks and columns in a not-very-interesting part of Turkey. Machu Picchu, on the other hand, is a complete city composed of beautifully crafted and placed stone. Furthermore, Machu Picchu is built on a lush mountaintop and surrounded by spectacular mountain vistas.

Pompeii is more like Machu Picchu. Not quite as impressive but impressive nevertheless. It's a complete city which tells a story and offers plenty of interesting spaces for exploration.

Pompeii features stone streets that doubled as sewers, fountains, murals,mosaics, even counters with built-in holes to hold hot food (I thought the holes were toilets until the guidebook said otherwise).

Many of the artifacts discovered in Pompeii were removed from the site and placed in Naples' Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

The accompanying picture is a bit of Pompeii and not the most interesting bit at that, but it will have to do. I shoot with an iPhone to have something to accompany my posts, but the better shots will appear once I'm home and can download/process them from the dslr.

 
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Pompeii Ruins      
 
Pompeii Ruins      
 
Pompeii Ruins      
 
Sorrento waterfront      
 
Sorrento waterfront      
 
Sorrento waterfront      
 
Sorrento waterfront      
 
Sorrento waterfront      
 
Sorrento waterfront      
 
Paul walking up from the harbour      
 
Paul walking up from the harbour      
 
Paul walking up from the harbour      
 
Sorrento      
 
Sorrento      
 
Sorrento      
 
Pompeii pottery      
 
Pompeii pottery      
 
Pompeii pottery      
 
Sculpture      
 
Sculpture      
 
Sculpture      
 
Pompeii street      
 
Pompeii street      
 
Pompeii street      
 
Pompeii buildings      
 
Pompeii buildings      
 
Pompeii buildings      
 
Pompeii      
 
Pompeii      
 
Pompeii      
 
Pompeii street      
 
Pompeii street      
 
Pompeii street      
https://jamesgaston.ca/191
 
 

Sensory overload

 
November 8, 2014   Amalfi, Italy
 
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Sentiero degli dei      
 
Sentiero degli dei      
 
Sentiero degli dei      
 
Path of the gods      
 
Path of the gods      
 
Path of the gods      
 

Original title: I'm f@&!ing tired.

The weather today is perfect for hiking so after an early breakfast we head out to walk the Sentiero degli dei or path of the gods. The famous path hugs the cliffs along the Amalfi coast and is said to offer spectacular views of the rocky cliffs and the towns seemingly tumbling down the hillsides to the sea.

The 6km path starts near Bomerano and ends just short of Positano. Problem is, to get to Bomerano you need to pass through Amalfi (the town, not the coast) but the road to Amalfi is closed due to a landslide. So we take the bus to Praiano to hike to the trailhead. This allows us to skip Bomerano but it adds two kilometers in the form of a steep climb. 

The Amalfi coast bus ride reminds me of a roller coaster: imagine a full-sized bus speeding along a narrow hairpin-curvy mountain road, dodging parked cars, mopeds, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Add to this the fact that much of the road is hanging off a cliff high over the Mediterranean. It's spectacular - the views are picture postcard stunning - but the ride is scary. I keep telling myself the bus driver does this every day so don't worry. By the time we get off the bus I feel like I need a strong drink.

Once in Praiano we search for the trailhead. We walk up steep narrow streets. The local bus, smaller than the one we rode in on, is said to require 8-point turns along its route. The streets get smaller and smaller until they are merely passageways and stairs. Soon we are walking up one long staircase, with awkwardly high steps. We are on the stairs almost two hours because we take several breaks on the way up. Finally we reach the trailhead at about 600m elevation.

The path itself, the Sentiero degli dei, is an easy hike. Reasonably well marked with both text signs and the red/white paint stripes we are familiar with having hiked so many times in the Alps. The views are stunning: the blue sea, the rocky cliffs, the flowers and trees, and the cities of Praiano, Nocella, and Montepertuso. It is a treat for the eyes. Along the way we talk to fellow hikers and befriend a few dogs. One dog puts on a show by herding a small group of bell-ringing goats.

The trail ends in the small town of Montepertuso at which point we are back on stairs but at least we are heading down.

In Positano it's a short wait for the bus that will take us back to Sorrento. We are really looking forward to sitting down. The bus pulls up. It's full. I've read that the Amalfi coast busses are typically full but since it's off season and the road is closed before Amalfi we're surprised. Paul and I and several others stand the whole way back to Sorrento. We also soon find that the bus driver goes just as fast when full as not, and we spend the hour ride hanging on for dear life. 

It's been a perfect day - thrills, chills, and lots of pretty scenery. 

Two of the accompanying pictures were taken with my iPhone from the bus while we were in Positano. The rest (taken with the 24-120 at about 24) are of the Path of the Gods, which parallels the Amalfi coast. The water fountain isn't much to look at but when I saw it I felt such relief. I knew we were on the the path and were through climbing the steps out of Praiano. I've never climbed so many bloody steps than that day. 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/193
 
 

The path of the gods, Amalfi coast

 
November 8, 2014   Amalfi, Italy
 
 

 
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Start of the Path of the Gods      
 
Start of the Path of the Gods      
 
Start of the Path of the Gods      
 
Path of the Gods      
 
Path of the Gods      
 
Path of the Gods      
 
Path of the Gods      
 
Path of the Gods      
 
Path of the Gods      
 
Path of the gods      
 
Path of the gods      
 
Path of the gods      
 
The path of the gods      
 
The path of the gods      
 
The path of the gods      
https://jamesgaston.ca/1062
 
 

Louche life

 
November 10, 2014   Capri, Islands, Italy
 
 

Capri (pronounced CA-pri) brings to mind movie stars, jet setters, and risque behaviour. This isn’t something recent. The island’s louche reputation goes back to the time of Emperor Tiberius in 27 AD who is said to have thrown tiresome ex-lovers off the island’s steep cliffs.

The list of notable thrill-seekers who’ve been drawn to Capri is very long, including the Marquis de Sade, Oscar Wilde, and D.H.Lawrence.

Capri was also held to be home to the Sirens, whose song lured men to their doom, though other cities, even Sorrento, make the same claim.

We, too, can not resist the Sirens' song so we catch a ferry to Capri, which is a half-hour from Sorrento.

Capri is an intriguing island even viewed from afar. It rises almost vertically from the Mediterranean, a mix of rocky cliffs splashed with lush greenery.

The Caremar ferry (27€ return) makes me really appreciate BC ferries. This Italian ferry is a mess: rusty, dishevelled, almost scary in its apparent lack of maintenance. For the same price BC Ferries delivers an impeccable service. 

The ferry delivers us to the port of Capri town from where we catch the funicular (1.8€) to the town proper. 

Capri town is very pretty with car-free walkways and whitewash buildings beautifully appointed with greenery and flowers. Bougainvillea, lantana, and cyclamen are just a few of the plants flowering, and it's only November.

Of course, this being a playground for the rich and famous, Capri is well-stocked with spendy stores, restaurants, and hotels.

But I digress. On arrival in Capri town we take a small bus (1.8€) up a windy cliffside road to Anacapri, another pretty town that looks a lot like its lower-altitude and similarly-named twin. From here we hike to the highest point on the island, Monte Solaro (589m). The views from the peak are well worth the trek even though some clouds are moving in.

We hike back down to Anacapri where we visit Giardini di Augusto, founded by the Emperor Augustus. The garden’s high point is the view of the Isole Faraglioni, three limestone pinnacles that rise vertically from the sea, as well as a wall of rocky cliffs that rise up above.

From Anacapri we head back to Capri town to catch the ferry to Sorrento.

For such a small island there is lots to see, much more than we had time to do in one day. I’ll definitely keep Capri in mind for a return visit.

The pictures are all from Capri. 

 
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Herculaneum

 
November 11, 2014   Herculaneum, Italy
 
 

If you are finding this site slow to load please come back in a day or so by which time I'll have the problem fixed. At the same time I'll add a few more images. And please excuse all my typos. While the iphone 6 is wonderful, I find writing and editing challenging on such a small device. Of course when you think about it, it is amazing technology, eh?

And now back to Italy.

In 1709, a hundred years after the discovery of Pompeii, a well digger encountered a buried structure in an area just south of Naples. This was later revealed to be part of a  town. That town, Herculaneum, turned out to be smaller and more well-to-do than Pompeii. While not as extensive,  the ruins of Herculaneum are better preserved because they were buried by volcanic mud which hardened into rock. Even some wooden structures were preserved.

Not ones to pass up a chance to see some more ruins, we take the Circumvesuviana train to Ercolano then walk about 500m west to the ruins of Herculaneum. Unlike Pompeii, which is at grade level, Herculaneum is below grade so as we approach the ruins we look down to see a surprisingly complete looking city in a hole, surrounded by the nondescript buildings that make up much of the Naples ' suburbs.

We quickly find Herculaneum to contain a more interesting ruins experience than Pompeii. The buildings are more complete, some even have intact ceilings and wooden doors. The most interesting are the colorful walls, colorful columns, and wide variety of mosaics on the floor. We spend a few hours and are able to cover the whole town.

I'll add more text to this entry, and more pictures, but i must stop for tonight. If all goes well tomorrow we'll be in Taormina.

Ciao. 

 
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And now for something completely different

 
November 11, 2014   Italy, Naples
 
 

Today we jump on the Circumvesuviana train to go to Naples. After the hour train ride from Sorrento we wander Naples’ centro storico and port, stopping at the Duomo (closed), the Castel Nuovo (closed), and the Museo Archeologico Nazionale (partially closed). I know, I should have planned better.

The museum’s Greek and Roman sculptures are wonderful and worth the admission. On the other hand, presentation is uninspired; like Pompeii the signage is nonexistent; the building is threadbare; and the gallery closures are due not to remodelling but a lack of staff.

Naples is an old city and it looks it. The architecture has lots of detail, color and variety and the historical centre is scaled for people, not cars, which gives it an intimate feel.

Problem is, Naples has a lot of people, cars, and mopeds, and they all share the barely one-car-wide streets. I'm not exaggerating: Naples’ streets are  so narrow that many apartments never see sunlight. As a result, walking and driving look to be carefully choreographed experiences.

Naples does not draw a lot of tourists. It has a reputation for having organized crime and a lot of trash. One brief visit doesn't allow me to say anything about crime but I can say that Naples doesn't appear any dirtier than other big cities I’ve visited. The Cicumvesuviana train has a reputation for pick-pockets but the only nefarious activity I observed is a fellow tagging a window and some noisy drunk kids.

What will stick in my mind are the dark, narrow streets with laundry lines strung between buildings; the passionate locals socializing on the streets and piazzas; and the sight of men (and women) walking down the street, arm in arm, talking.

 
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Train to Taormina

 
November 12, 2014   Sicily, Messina, Italy, Taormina
 
 

It is 7am and we have to catch a train from Naples to Taormina. While I look forward to seeing Sicily it is somewhat unfortunate because we miss the 8am breakfast at Marina Piccola 73 and the breakfast is very good. Every morning they feature a different delicious tart in addition to meats, cheese, breads, cereal, cake, and cappucinos. I’m on holiday so i eat lots of dessert.

If you’ve read previous posts you know the Circumvesuviana train connects Sorrento to Naples (also Pompeii and Herculaneum) so once again we are on the local train to the city.

Once at Naples’ Garibaldi station we find all the trains from Rome are late so our 9:50 becomes a 10:50. Breakfast is at a stand-up cafe at the station.

The Trenitalia train is clean and comfortable which is not what i’d expected from online comments. No food is available though so we bring snacks for the ride. As we wait for the train to pull out of the station a woman stands in the aisle talking very loudly to anyone who will listen. Passengers hand her food which buys her silence and then she exits, all of which brings to mind a similar experience on the Buenos Aires metro.

The train heads inland, east from Naples, then south along the rocky coast. For the rest of the trip the scenery alternates between tunnels, beautiful coastline, and towns of nondescript apartment blocks.

The train is full. Passengers are quiet: they read, sleep, and listen to their phones.

In between looking out the window and following the train’s progress on the map app on my iphone (citymaps2go which i highly recommend) I start Camus’ The Plague. The story is set in a nondescript French town populated by nondescript business people. As the story begins the town’s rats all die, then people start to succumb to what appears to be the plague. For some reason Camus’ story fits my mood.

That’s as far as i got in The Plague. I stopped reading because i was curious about the ferry crossing to Messina. You see, you don’t have to get off the train to cross the strait, yet there is no bridge.

At the port in Villa San Giovanni, a town at the tip of the toe, the train, minus the engine, rolls onto the ferry which then takes it on the twenty minute ride to Messina. Train passengers are free to disembark the train to wander the ferry.

We walked out on the ferry deck during the short ride. We could walk wherever we wanted to on the ferry - the captain’s door was even open though we figured we’d not bother him.

In this the Italians are less nanny-state than north americans. For example, BC Ferries loads passengers, bikes, and cars separately whereas with the ferry to Capri everyone poured on simultaneously, cars and foot traffic intermixed , the vehicles weaving around the people. And there are no railings along the dock, either. One of the benefits of travel is seeing how others do things.

Once the ferry arrives in Messina the train cars are pulled off and half head west to Palermo, the other half head south to Siracusa. Our car goes south.

After another hour or so we get off at Taormina-Giardini and grab a taxi to our hotel. Tomorrow we’ll explore Taormina. 

The picture is of the train in the hold of the ferry.

 
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Eye candy

 
November 13, 2014   Sicily, Italy, Taormina
 
 

We're in Taormina, our first stop in Sicily. The skies promise off-and-on rain so we'll explore the town today and hike tomorrow.

We are staying at Isoco Guest House, a b&b with 5 rooms, each with it's own theme (Keith Haring, Herb Ritts, Botticelli, ...). Paul and I are the last guests of the season. After we check out they will close for the season. Winter in Sicily is balmy compared to Canada, of course, but most tourists would rather be on the island in the sweltering summer. I've read that in summer the streets are packed with tourists but this time of year Taormina is wonderfully free of crowds.

Taormina is a small (11k population), well-preserved medieval town perched on the side of Monte Tauro. It has long been a popular tourist destination, attracting a similar clientèle, and acquiring a similar reputation, to Capri.

Taormina's setting is spectacular. At about 300m elevation it offers expansive views of the east coast of Sicily, the Ionian sea, and Europe's largest volcano, Mount Etna.

On top of the beautiful setting Taormina itself is a feast for the eyes. Taormina features remnants of an old town wall, charming streets, intimate piazze, warm pastel-colored buildings, and balconies overflowing with flowers. Like most old Italian cities, street widths vary from barely two cars wide to maybe a meter wide. This is Italian eye candy.

Taormino is famous for its huge amphitheater, the Teatro Greco, which was built in the 3rd century BC and is still in use today.

After breakfast we walk a short distance down via Cappuccini, pass under one of the old city wall's arches, then down the main street, Corso Umberto.

Corso Umberto is chock-a-block shopping and most is very high end. I find myself admiring an olive trench coat in one window but the 900€ tag gives me pause so I pass it by.

We walk Corso Umberto from one end of the town to the other, stopping in old churches and artsy stores and a pastry shop for cannoli and gelati. Delicious. We return to our b&b to rest up from our strenuous day then head out for dinner. All is good in Taormina.

The photo was taken from our room's balcony.

 
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Castelmola

 
November 14, 2014