26 September 2012

Saturday drive, somewhere between Chum Creek and Toolangi ... bliss!

18 September 2012

Travelday - Our day in Naploi

One of the things that really struck us about our location just outside of Sorrento was that it was quite. Sure, it was a bit of a hike for us (all up- or all downhill, depending on which was we were going) but it was worth it to be away from the sounds of the church bells, the garbage and recycling trucks, the late closing (and then even later packing up) restaurants ... for the first time since leaving Zurich we had a quiet, uninterrupted night's sleep!

On the down side, we did sleep in a little later than anticipated on our first morning. Not so badly that our day would be interrupted too much, until ... we discovered that the drain in our shower didn't work! Basically the whole little bathroom flooded in about 30 seconds and threatened the rest of the cabin too.

Not to worry, we thought, it's a caravan park, there'll be a shower block somewhere ... and there was, but it was being renovated because it was off-season (sigh ...). So, off we trotted to the reception desk where we were advised that the maintenance man was nearby and would be in to fix it for us. Great, is there somewhere we can shower now so that we can get our day going, I asked. No, was the response, but he'll be there straight away.
Straight away, it turns out, is a relative term and after we had sat waiting for him for half an hour we went back to reception to re-iterate that we would actually like to be able to go out at some stage soon (now, I know we could have just gone out unshowered, and The Sparky had almost convinced me at this point that that's what we should do, but honestly even the thought of it as I sit here typing makes me itch, I'm a bit weird like that).

The lovely young lady at reception got back on to her phone, had a quick conversation and then assured us that he was heading straight to our cabin now ... and this time he actually was, in fact he beat us to it. A little more waiting as he poked around in the drainage pipes and suddenly, voila, the water was draining properly! Thank you Mr Maintenance Man, you made my day.

A short while later, showered, dressed and fed, we were walking back down the skinny, windy road into Sorrento. We then meandered our way through the streets, stopped for the by now obligatory morning coffee and pastry, and gradually made our way to the docks ... where we found that the next boat to Naples was over an hour away ...
Not to worry, if we'd been hard to stress way back at the start of the trip, by this point we were so mellow we were just about melting! The day was lovely, the view stunning, the people watching fun and the local stray (you couldn't possibly call them feral) cats were adorable ... but too fast to get any photos of!

Phew! Looks like I was feeling wordy when I started writing this last week. Not to worry, the photos can tell the story from the time we got on the boat ...

Except that for some reason Blogger won't let me add anything at the bottom, so let me just add here that Naples was basically everything we were told it would be. Honestly, I did wonder how much of it was just hype but Naples really is the one place we visited where I would not recommend the 'wander of the beaten path' approach that we took elsewhere, within a block of doing so we found ourselves feeling quite honestly uncomfortable and looking for a way back to the main drag ... and we're neither of us the most easily shaken people. We also bumped into a bloke trying to sell us a fake iPad, which of course he swore was real (The Sparky still gets much pleasure from the fact that he later read about this scam and can say we experienced it first hand!).

That said, we also met some fabulous, friendly, helpful locals outside the pizzeria (without whom we'd still be standing there trying to work out the system!) and enjoyed the best coffee of the holiday ... we actually went in because he had cannoli out the front and we were still trying to find something to meet our Venice experience) and we are so glad we did. It definitely firmed our opinion that the smaller the bar and the older the barista, the better the coffee will be.

Looking back on Sorrento.

Sorrento from further out (no idea what happened with the colours here).

Castel dell'Ovo, as the boat pulls in to Napoli

A small portion of the crowd waiting to get in ... a large number of whom were locals which eased my concerns.

Not sure if it's the long wait talking but these really were the best pizzas we'd ever tasted.

See the lovely wood fired crust ... and they didn't even fit on the plate!

Yes, there's a lot of hype ... but this is one place that's worth the talk.

There were also only two drink options, small Coke or mega water ... we got one of each.

This was taken moments before things got a little hairy ... I'm quite curious about the history behind this, any ideas?

17 September 2012

In Search of Kindred Spirits

If I told you the answer was "Yeth",
would you know what the question was?

06 September 2012

If I were a Twit(erer) ...

... you'd read such brilliance as this ...

6 September 2012

8:17 am - Myki really? Even the ski lifts in Queenstown have a better card reading system ...

8:19 am - in fact so do Venice and Rome ... and Italy's government is basically broke!

1:18 pm - Just watched idiot cross road, phone to one ear, finger in other to block out the noise of the FIRETRUCK HE WAS WALKING IN FRONT OF!

2:23 pm - 8.5 years later and my boss still feels the need to tell me that dictation tapes need to be rewound before I start listening to them ...

3:59 pm - If you wanted it filed in Court before 4:00 you shouldn't have given it to me at the last minute ...

4:32 pm - Less than halfa until home time!

4:34 pm - e-mail from Dymocks, perfectly timed distraction

5:12 pm - Apologising for keeping me late won't change anything ... not coming in at 4:50 with urgent work might ...

5:18 pm - off to answer the most important question of my day ... has Astro put on any more weight

04 September 2012

Travelday - Sorrento (Amalfi Coast)

From Florence we traveled to Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast. Most of the day was spent driving and unfortunately we hit Sorrento right at what probably equated to peak hour ... there were scooters and cars everywhere. Trying to negotiate the tiny, unknown streets was a little concerning. We did it though and made our way through the town and out the other side to our accommodation. Once settled, we walked our way back into town for a nice quiet evening

Beautiful water and a quaint little boat.

Gorgeous but slightly hazy view.

Innovative architecture (this was also the most footpath we saw, mostly there was none).

At least they're wearing helmets right?

Sunset ... and some more of The Sparky's patient, steady handed camera work.

03 September 2012

Goodbye ... for now ... sort of ...

Three weeks ago today I was relaxing in Queenstown NZ (insert obligatory comment about how fast the time has gone). The holiday itself was nice, although perhaps not as quietly self-reflective as I had hoped. Fun was had, good food was eaten, sights were seen, those who wanted to went skiing and we all had a good time.

Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, New Zealand

Unfortunately it wasn't anywhere near long enough for the full relaxing affects to take hold and I was still in a bit of a state when we arrived home ... so much so that I actually physically felt a cloud fall over me when the plane touched back down in Melbourne.

So, with the combined effects of post-holiday depression, SAD, HAD, a head cold, work stress and a dying cat getting the best of me I kind of shut down and disappeared for a while. I didn't want to be thinking about where my head was at, let alone sitting here typing it out, telling you all about it. Honesty is not something that comes easily to me when I'm in that state, I'd much rather pretend everything is okay ... or hide until it is.
Oh, just some more snow covered mountains ...

Then, the sun came out this weekend and Astro put on weight for the first time in six months (!) and things started to maybe look a little bit more bearable (also, the hormones are back at a normal level at the moment so the HAD, which is the worst of them, isn't affecting me at the moment - sorry if that's TMI, it's why I don't like talking about the d-word too much, it's linked to stuff that most people don't want to talk about publicly).

I spent most of this past weekend thinking about today's post. I have decided that it is time to really crack the metaphorical whip and get myself moving. As much as the 'Manifestos' are a good idea in theory, in practice they just aren't working. I need to just jump right in and start doing things. I must start exercising so that I sleep better, if I sleep better I will be better equipped to handle the stresses of work, if I'm coping better with stress I get home less tired, if I get home less tired I'm more likely to do some housework, if I do the housework I'll feel better about myself, if I feel better about myself I'm more likely to spend some time exercising, if I spend more time exercising ... well, you get the picture ...

Hooray for Spring sunshine!

I threw around a few ideas for new a series ('Just Do It' and 'Spring into Spring' got scrapped pretty quickly) but then realised that another thing that has been bothering me lately are the boxes I'm mentally placing around what I do and say here. Somewhere along the line, in my attempt to structure my life, the art has gone out of it ... the reason I stuck around here after our holiday was over had been squashed. Of course, I've seen this before - when depression kicks in the art is the first thing to go, even though it's the thing I need the most.

In the end I decided that what this post would mostly be about would be the fact that I am going to start doing all of the things that I need to start doing (get up early, exercise, concentrate, clean, organise) and stop doing all of the things I need to stop doing (allowing myself to get distracted, stressed, take the lazy option).

There's always one ...

Of course, as you may have gathered by now things changed even after making that decision and this has turned into a different post entirely ... in part because last night I realised something else, something right up there a couple of paragraphs ago, I spent most of the weekend thinking about this post. Really? It's time to get some perspective back. This place, my little part of the internet, was supposed to be about writing, creating, sharing, in my own way and what was on my mind. It is not something I do to make money and the making new friends part of it is a bonus ... a wonderful, happy, fun, shiny bonus ... but still not the reason I'm here.

And so, I'm stepping back for a short while. I will finish my Travelday posts ... I can't leave you stranded in Florence ... but aside from that I will be writing for the fun of it and sharing photos of my life, my pets, my home town if and when I want to. No boxes, no structure, no stress ... but hopefully a whole lot more fun!

Not a great photo, but wonderful memories.