The Archives: Travel

Travel

See Naples and die… in a taxi

I’m sure there are normal drivers in Naples. There must be. The entire city can’t possibly be made up of people who act like they honestly believe they’re in a high-speed car chase as soon as they slide into the driver's seat, although after several (albeit brief) visits to the city, I have yet to see any evidence that this might be true. In fact, I’m convinced that the phrase “see Naples and die” first came to mind in the backseat of a taxi*. Last weekend, Alessandro and I took a short trip to Procida (which merits its own post, free...

Travel

A Sicilian weekend

Sicily is beautiful. I say this emphatically, even though what I should really be saying is that South-Eastern Sicily is beautiful, because I still haven’t seen the rest, and Sicily is a surprisingly large island. Still, every time I see another piece of it – a town, or a beach, or even just a sunlight-flooded piazza – I love it a bit more. Alessandro loves it so much that he actually feels, deep down, as though he might be Sicilian. A few weekends ago, we flew down to Sicily to spend a few days in Ortigia (the historic centre of the city of Siracusa, which, unlike most historic centres, actually...

Travel

Where every tourist has gone before

Two weeks ago I decided, rather abruptly, that I needed to see Venice. After nearly two and a half years of living in Italy I still hadn’t made my way to what is arguably one of the most famous cities in the world, even though the only thing standing between me and Venice had been three and a half hours in a high-speed train – hardly a hinderance, particularly when the train is equipped with wifi and a coffee cart bringing espresso and various packaged biscotti directly to your seat every time the train pulls in and out of another station. It’s possible that I...

Travel

Ponza and Palmarola in pictures

There's not much that I can tell you about the islands of Ponza and Palmarola. Or, rather, I could fill page after page with words about these islands, trying to describe the intense blues of the water; the way the cliffs, alternatively rust-coloured and chalky white, rise up straight out of that water and finish in dramatic points and swooping arches; the colourful little wooden boats buzzing around everywhere, full of tanned, relaxed vacationers – but really, pictures do a much better job of telling this story, of summing up the four wonderful days spent on a friend's yacht off...

Travel

Notes from a weekend on Ischia

Sometimes, a few days of seaside relaxation are more than just a nice way to spend a long weekend. Sometimes, they get to be a necessity, growing in importance with every summer day spent in the city, with every moment you look out the window and think about how nice it would be to be looking at water instead of cars and motorini and suited businessmen on their way to the office. And sometimes, it's nice to feel far away for a few days, even when you're hardly a few hours from home. Italy excels at meeting these needs. As a...

Travel

Into the souk: A return to Morocco

It was a muggy afternoon in Marrakech, and I was sweating slightly as I made my way through the souk, dodging mopeds belching clouds of grey smoke and flattening myself up against walls to make room for the donkey-drawn carts that kept rushing by. My purse was twisting awkwardly around me as I walked, bouncing wildly off my hip with every step, but I couldn't stop to adjust it because one of my hands was clutching several flimsy plastic bags bulging with hand-woven baskets, ceramic bowls and more spices than I could probably ever manage to cook my way through,...

Life  |  Travel

Love is in the air…port

Late on Friday afternoon, I found myself at the airport, getting ready to leave Italy for the first time since September in order to head to Munich, Germany for a weekend full of business meetings. Rome's Aeroporto di Fiumicino is the kind of permanently dusty, tired-looking sprawl of florescent-lit passages and worn linoleum floors that doesn't do much to emphasize the romance of travel or, really, romance of any kind at all. The check-in counters are mobbed by a disorganized, tangled pack of passengers and suitcases, and the line snaking its way through the one or two open security lanes...

Travel

In viaggio

My taxi driver took to the early-morning roads like they were a cobblestoned racetrack, careening around fountains, hurtling over potholes and streaking past Rome's parade of monuments fast enough to blur them all together. We roared up to Termini with exactly ten Euro on the metre; the driver smiled smugly as he handed me my suitcase, no doubt thinking about all the speed records he had just broken. Termini at 6:45 on a Saturday morning felt like it was wrapped in a foggy, tired haze. As usual, I arrived with far too much time to spare, so I wandered into a...

Food  |  Travel

One day in the city of chaos and pizza

On Saturday I woke up, headed to the train station with a friend and took a two-hour train ride to Naples, where we ate a pizza and some pastries before declaring our mission complete and returning home. Let me start off by saying this: Naples hits you hard, and it hits you almost as soon as you step out of the relative calm of the train station. When you're looking for words to describe this city, skip right past the typical list of adjectives that you'd have at the ready for most European cities – "charming", "romantic", or "picturesque" just isn't...

Food  |  Travel

A weekend in southern Sicily

From the air, Sicily looks parched and empty; a few lonely villages dotting an otherwise forlorn landscape. Once you're on the ground, watching the landscape slide by from the windows of an intercity bus, it starts to look a lot greener – palm trees materialize, and cacti, and then groves of deeply green trees laden with oranges, clover-filled fields and a few vineyards forming neat rows over nearby hillsides. Along with my friend Heather, who has flown out from Victoria to visit me for two weeks, I'm on my way to Modica, a town close to the coast in the south-east...

Travel

The Eurotrip, parts three and four: Sarlat and Paris

Although I've been back in Rome for a week now and settling into some semblance of a daily routine, I'm slowly transcribing the scribbled notes from my notebook and posting them here. I've combined the posts for Sarlat (a small medieval town in France's Dordogne region) and Paris into one, primarily because I spent a good chunk of my time in Paris shopping (which makes for an exciting wardrobe but a less exciting blog post) and moving from patisserie to patisserie (and there are only so many ways I can describe a croissant, no matter how excellent).  Saturday morning in Sarlat...

Travel

The Eurotrip, part two: Cinque Terre

Although I've been back in Rome for nearly a week now and am settling into some semblance of a daily routine, I'm still slowly transcribing the scribbled notes from my notebook and posting them here. This is the second part of my four-part trip around Italy and France… By the time the train screeches to a stop in Riomaggiore, the first of the Cinque Terre's five tiny villages, I can feel the heat and humidity pressing in on me like a hot washcloth held over my face. The Mediterranean sparkles, turquoise and tempting, next to the train tracks, and for a...

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