Category Archives: Italy

My Italian Crush

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September 2010

The Kitchen Window

Via Donizetti, Interno 4

Rome

Lazio, Italy

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Everyday, I would hear him bark.

Everyday he goes out and stays on the same spot.

Every day I whistle to him.

Everyday he looks at me.

Everyday I wished I could bring my little Italian crush home.

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Around Piazza del Popolo

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Around Piazza del Popolo

September 10, 2010

Piazza del Popolo

Via Flaminia

Rome

Lazio, Italy

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Consulting the word on the steps of the Obelisk.

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By Fontana del Nettuno

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What you see by the surrounding walls of the Piazza

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To this day, it is still beyond me on how they make stones look so soft.

Can you imagine this beauty all over Rome?

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People watching on the railings.

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A Vespa zooms by

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Two women with gelato about to cross. Sorry you can’t see it.

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Another tourists consults his word.

Santa Maria di Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli

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Detail of the sculpture, the dome and copula of Santa Maria di Montesanto and  the campanile of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

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Walking along Via Del Corso.

Fine Italian men I say.

Piazza del Popolo

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Piazza del Popolo

September 10, 2010

Coming down the tram

Ministerio Marina DN stop

Via Flaminia

Rome

Lazio, Italy

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We arrived in Roma around 6 am. As soon as I exited the doors of the plane, I was greeted with cold air  which was a surprise.

I had a very rocky trip earlier (click here for details) and thanks to half a tab of Xanor, I was able to sleep through out the 5 hour flight from Doha to Rome aboard Qatar Airways.

Our good friend, Manang Remy, had us picked up at the airport which I was grateful for because I wasn’t feeling well enough to take the train to the city.

We were his guests at his beautiful abode for 6 days. After depositing our bags in our room, he brought us to his breakfast nook that over looked his neighbor’s terrace. A white wire fox terrier was sticking his head out. Apparently he does that everyday.

We had a hearty breakfast full of reminiscing with a dash of laughter.

The coffee made me feel better.

We started talking about where to go and what to do while we were in Rome.

I wasn’t really listening. I still felt woozy.

Before I knew it our wonderful host had to leave for work and we decided to explore the city.

The long hot shower perked me up . I peeked out the window to check on the weather. Since I am now in Italy, It’s best to put a little effort to ones fashion.

Cholo was done and we set off. We passed by a tabaccheria to buy 3 day tickets for the public transport.  Walked over to the Liegi and Bellini tram stop and waited of the green tram to arrive.

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The green tram is slowly coming to a halt.

“Is this it Bubba?” I asked Cholo.

“This is where we should go down said the old Lady.” referring to a cute old woman on the tram.

We went down at the Ministerio Marina DN tramp stop.

We started looking around.

Cholo starts asking an old woman in barbaric Spanish where Piazza del Popolo was located.

She pointed us to a huge wall 250 meters away.

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We crossed the street, entered the main arch.

We see an obelisk right before us.

“We’re here!” declares Cholo.

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According to my Fodor's Itay 2009 travel guide, this Egyptian Obelisk is 3,000 years old. Originally erected at Circo Massimo around 10 A.D. This was re-erected at the center of the piazza in 1589 and the fountain of lions were added in 1818.

Piazza del Popolo is huge. It is surrounded by a wall all around it which I found out soon enough were part of the Aurelian Walls. It is decorated with  a number of sculptures, fountains and tiny Italian toddlers running around while their mothers chase them.

It is a nice place to go people watching. Cholo and I sit down on the railings that mark the outer most point of the piazza and watched people. This also marks the point were bikes and motorcycles are not allowed to enter

An ocassional Vespa zooms by while two Italians girls lick on their gelato before crossing. On the left side, we see a small cafe with Itlian men sipping on their afternoon espresso while talking with emphatic motions. Their hands are in the air while a cigarette dangles between their fingers.

Here you see the twin renaissance churches of Santa Maria di Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

After what seemed to be a long time of people watching, we then decided to walk around. Upon reaching one of the twin churches we found ourselves at Via Corso.

We also found an arrow pointing to the Spanish Steps.

We go further.

Sorrento For An Hour Or Two

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September 16, 2011

Sorrento

Walking along Corso Italia

Campania, Italy

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We arrived in Sorrento from Praiano in an hour and thirty minutes. We boarded the Sita Bus at the Praiano Bus stop and bid our goodbyes to the Amalfi coast.

Upon arriving, we decided to do a little bit of sight-seeing for an hour or two around Sorrento before hopping on the Circumvesuviana to Naples, then onwards to Rome.

Corso Italia

Corso Italia is Sorrento’s main shopping area. You see leather goods from bags to shoes for sale. Fresh fruits and vegetables. There are silk scarves, kitchen towels and various trinkets to pick up to serve as memorabilia.

By The Cathedral

You will reach the cathedral as you walk along Corso Italia. You’ll then hear a buzz. The buzz of people talking and spoons and forks scratching on plates. There are restaurants right in front of it.  We were a bit hungry already but decided not to have lunch there. Too many tourists.

view from my table

Since it’s always better to enjoy food with nice ambiance and few people, we decided to walk around until we saw a panini bar. There were more locals here which was better.

a window

There is something about the “light” in Italy. It brings out the warmth in everything it touches.

When In Rome

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September 2011

Rome

In a restaurant

Via Mario de Fiori

Lazio, Italy

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We had just arrived and despite some difficulties during the journey (click here to read about it),

We immediately explored the closest tourist spot in our area.

Consulting "The Word"

When in Rome, dine like Romans do.

When in Rome, drink like Romans do.

When in Rome, be pretty like Romans do.

When in Rome, do as your guide book tells you to do.

Starting a series about my time in Rome.

Around A Positano Bus Stop

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Positano

Bus Stop

Via dei Mulini Corner Via Cristoforo Colombo

Amalfi Coast

Campania, Italy

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It was now time for us to head back to Praiano. We just followed the main path atop the stairs by Chiesa Santa Maria Assunta di Positano and walked.

After asking around where the fermata di autobus is located, we found ourselves at a corner and a Tabaccheria* across us.

“Wait here Bubba. I’ll go get our tickets.” I told Cholo.

“OK.”

I proceeded to the Tabaccheria*.

“Buongiorno Signore! Per favore, Vorrei due biglietti per Praiano? ” I asked for two tickets for Praiano. Unsure if the man behind the counter understood me.

“Si!” he replied as he pressed his fingers on the buttons of his cash register.

He started speaking in rapid fire Italian and all I picked up was, “….due Euro e venti centesimio.”

I handed him my payment as he handed me my tickets.

I was a little worried when I saw the ticket because it didn’t look like the Sita Bus ticket (click here to be brought to my previous blog).  After examining my ticket closely, the ticket stated that the bus runs through Positano to Praiano and vice versa.

I walk back to the bus stop a little apprehensive because I might have had bought the wrong ticket.

“Do you have our tickets?” asked Cholo.

“Yes, but they look different for the Sita Bus tickets. There must be a different bus line that goes around.” I replied.

“Are you sure?” he asked.

“No.”

A few minutes later, a small orange bus comes into view**.

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Views from the bus stop:

tabaccheria

(in front of the bus stop)

*If you need a bus ticket anywhere in Italy, look for a Tabaccheria. It’s a one stop shop that sells water, chips, candy, gellato and bus tickets. Oh yes, cigarettes too.

Parcheggio (Parking)

(To the right of the bus stop)

If i would have known parking attendants were this cute in Italy, I would have rented a car.

Via dei Mulini

(Behind the bus stop)

Via dei Mulini is the road (looks like a path really) that will lead you all the way to the steps of Chiesa Santa Maria Assunta di Positano, Piazza Flavio Gioia, and Spiaggia Grande. It is lined with quaint shops selling quaint stuff.

asking for directions

(To the left of the bus stop)

Here is a french woman asking an old Italian man if she was at the right bus stop to proceed to Praiano.

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**I found out soon after that there was a municipal bus that goes from Praiano and Positano and vice versa every 3o minutes (plus or minus). It is what the locals usually take to commute  because it goes into the heart of town of both comunes .

It will cost you 1.10 Euros per way.

It is a cheaper alternative than riding on the Sita Bus which cost 2.40 on a 45 minute ticket.

Walking Around Positano

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September 14, 2011

Positano

Amalfi Coast

Campania, Italy

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breath taking view

As soon as you get down the Sita bus, the view instantly takes your breath away.

zooming vespa

As you start walking through the meandering road, you get to feel how pleasant Positano really is.

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You pass by quaint shops selling ceramics.

Coat and Tie

 ‘Twas a surprise actually, after all Positano is a resort town.

Then again, this is Italy.

You pass by art displayed on its walls.

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Il Scalinatelle

Upon reaching Chiesa Santa Maria Assunta di Positano and braving the stairs,  you hear the waves rush unto the shore.

relaxing by Spiaggia Grande

Then we found a spot in Positano heaven.

A Day In Positano

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A Day In Positano

September 14, 2011

Positano

Amalfi Coast

Campania, Italy

orange sun beds lined along Spiaggia Grande

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I follow Cholo down the Sita bus and look around.

“Look at the houses Bubba!” I said to Cholo while pointing to it. “They are right on the cliff face.”

Cholo looks around glowing with delight.

The sun is now out and beaming down. The surrounding area is radiating with a warmth of color that I will never see anywhere else.

The sea breeze is gently fanning it’s cool breath around us.

I see something orange.

“What are those orange things down there?” I asked out loud.

We look over the ledge and saw the beach. We saw orange sun beds in a perfect line.

“Let’s make our way to the beach!” exclaims Cholo.

And off we went down the road that would hopefully lead us to it.

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pink blossoms

The road we took on a whim indeed brought us to Spiaggia Grande. Buses stop on the top of the hillside in Positano since the city is almost living “vertically” unto the cliff face. Getting down to sea level would involve walking down the meandering road.

I’m glad that  there were not as much stairs involved. *laughs* (check my blogs about Praiano here to understand what I meant.)

Walking in Positano is quite an experience.

You see the street lined with quaint houses painted in different shades of red, yellow and white.

The street is also lined with pots of flowering yellow flowers and trees with pink blossoms.

Many tourists stop along the ledge (that includes me) to see the magnificent view of the sea. It is indeed breath-taking. It is also awe inspiring to see for your very eyes the houses built unto the cliff face. Such is human innovation, working with what he has.

You see various Italian kids zooming past in their colorful Vespas, while jumping out of their way.

Positano was also a fishing village back in the day. It became one of Italy’s top tourist destination when it got featured in various articles and movies through out time.

by a jewlery store

We felt how touristy Positano was when we walk through the a path way that felt like a mercato. It was the path we took that led Chiesa Santa Maria Assunta di Positano and onwards to Spiaggia Grande.

We saw lots of shops selling different ceramic pieces; from plates to kitchen accessories, ceramic table tops, ceramic tiles. I would have bought a lot if it wouldn’t make my luggage heavier than it already is.

There were quaint little shops selling linen clothes, skimpy swim wear and some sold Italian art. Contemporary Italian art.

When we found ourselves by the door of Chiesa Santa Maria Assunta di Positano, we decided to entered to have a look. We took the time to rest and thank God for blessing us with such an experience.  All I remembered was that it was all white inside the church. It was heavily accented with gold lines around the arches and domes. It had a high ceiling which I liked. It was bright and airy.  There was a beautiful fresco depicting the virgin and angles. I believe there were a few popes in it too.

I stood up and walked over to the candles. I was quite surprised to find out that they were electric candles. I tried lighting one. I placed 1 Euro into the slot and clicked on the switch.

My electric candle didn’t light up. I clicked on it again. No Light. After the 5th try I gave up.

A list of profane words ran through my mind at that instant. I walked back to Cholo  and told him I would wait for outside.

I walked over to Piazza Flavio Gioia and looked around. Spiaggia Grande is bordered by an esplanade lined with restaurants. I check out my travel guide, Fodor’s Italy 2009, to check out what’s the 411  of the surrounding area. Well it turns out that restaurants here are the best and the priciest in Positano. I closed my guide book.

Cholo was now at my side and we decided to head to the beach and to relax.

the other two gay couple

We found a nice spot at the stoney beach. I propped my scarf and we laid on top of it. It wasn’t very comfortable, but a sun bed for rent can cost you between 5 to 10 Euros. That was how much our lunch of two slices of pizza and 2 cans of coke cost us.

We enjoyed the wonderful scenery.

We saw sailboats pass on the the water.

We saw another gay couple a few meters away from us enjoying their time together.

We saw kids splashing in the water. Italian men and women in their skimpy and colorful swimsuits.

The occasional Korean tourists posing for pictures.

The occasional Japanese tourists in their colorful swimming outfits with sun hats to match.

It was now by mid afternoon and we were already sweating under the sun in Spiaggia Grande. Earlier, before we left our hotel, Cholo asked me if I was going to bring my trunks. I said no, because after all we were going to do a day trip.

I looked over to Cholo and told him, “We should have brought our trunks bubba.”

He was looking at me with his “I TOLD YOU SO” look.

“Well, I didn’t know that we were going to spend the day at the beach!” was my stupid defense. “I also need to pee.”

“Go into the sea!” was all he said with a laugh.

So I stood up and stripped down to my boxers shorts (thank god I was wearing black boxer shorts!) I walked over to the water’s edge and dipped my foot into the water.

That was very cold water.

With no other choice, I dove in.

I did my business unto the Tyrrhenian soon after.

So did Cholo.

We stayed on for a little over an hour just to dry up. We then retraced our steps and continued to explore the rest of Positano.

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To get to Positano click here to read my blog “Making It To Praiano”

Buongiorno Positano!

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September 14, 2011

Positano

Amalfi Coast

Campania, Italy

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I have dremt of this place ever since I saw Frances (Diane Lane) being driven through the Amalfi Coast after Marcello (Raoul Bova) saved her from the Three Italian men chasing after her in the streets of Rome in the film Under The Tuscan Sun.

It was because of this film I learned what Limoncello was.

It was because of this film I learned how to say “Nipple” in Italian. It’s “Capezzolo”.

It was because of this film, I said to myself, “One day I will walk the streets of Positano.”

Indeed I did.

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Buongiorno Positano!