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Travel Notes — The Amalfi Coast & Capri

Frequent VBT Traveler, Edie A. has been kind enough to lend us her thoughts, responses and experiences on her Amalfi Coast & Capri walking vacation. Her notes are recorded daily and offer tremendous insight into the day-to-day discoveries of a VBT traveler. We’ve included excerpts and highlights of Edie’s walking vacation below. Enjoy!

Amalfi Coast, Amalfi Tours, Walking Tours Italy

Edie’s Journal

I finally got back to Italy. I have never been south of Rome and had heard that the Amalfi Coast was the most beautiful place on earth, so it seemed like a good place to spend a few days.

Friday

The walking group met in the lobby at 9. Ulisse was there along with our other Trip Leader, Vincenzo. They were experienced local Trip Leaders who spoke great English and had great personalities. I was more than happy to turn responsibility for my well-being over to them. The 12 walkers and the Guys hopped into Mr. G’s big van for the drive to Pompeii.

Pompeii Tours, Italy Walking Tours, Travel Italy

On August 24 in AD79, Vesuvius erupted and buried the city along with neighboring Herculaneum. It was discovered in the 17th century and the restoration, begun in the 18th century, continues today. We walked a couple of miles with Laurencio, an excellent local tour guide and I was glad to check the site off of my traveler’s must see list.

…Like many gorgeous places with perfect weather, Sorrento was first discovered by artists and writers. I could have written a novel in my room at the Europa Palace. A restored villa overlooking the Bay and surrounded by lush citrus gardens, the hotel was luxury to this little walker. I threw open my double French doors above the terrace and wondered if I’d ever leave. I did, of course, and followed my guide map for a couple of hours on a walking tour of this charming town.

Travel Italy, Traveling Italy, Italian Food, Italy Food

Saturday

…Back to Sant Agata for lunch at Agriturismo Fattoria Terranova. What a delight this home and family were. They taught us to make mozzarella and braid it – and then served it to us for lunch. I don’t know when I’ve had such fresh food – meats and cheeses and grilled vegetables and fantastic bread and rice balls (a regional specialty).

Travel Italy, Italian Food, Italian Cheese

…It was a beautiful Saturday night in Sorrento and everyone was out. I ran into Meg and Naomi from Chicago and we found a pizza. And then we found Primavera Cafiero, an absolute must for gelato. Two huge scoops later, we joined the locals and tourists alike for the passagiata – the traditional Italian night stroll under the stars.

Italian Pizza, Travel Italy, Traveling Italy, Italian Food, Italy Food

Tuesday

Today we were hiking the Path of the Gods and I was excited…. The 6.5 mile walk is considered the most scenic on the Amalfi Coast and today the weather was perfect and sunny…. This was the best view ever of the three islets of Li Galli (or Sirenuse). Ulisse was our historian and knew well the story of Ulysses and the Siren’s because he’s named after them.

Travel Italy, Traveling Italy, Italy Tours

…Mr. G was waiting to take most of the walkers to Positano. And we were off on the road to our last spectacular destination… Our Amalfi Hotel was an oasis right in the middle of town next door to the small main square and situated in a citrus grove. I loved my balcony over the citrus groves – the view to the left was the majolica tile roof of the church and to the right the vertical houses of Positano going up the hill.

Italy Hotel, Amalfi Hotel, Positano Hotel

I had to see the church of Santa Maria Assunta which is famous for a large 13th century wooden icon of the Black Madonna. Legend says that the icon was looted by the Sarcacens. When they got out to sea, the winds becalmed and they couldn’t move. They heard voices saying “Posa, posa” which means leave it here. They returned the icon to shore and the winds came up again. Hence, the name of the town is Positano. I wouldn’t mind leaving myself there.

Italy vacations, Italian vacation

Thursday

It was our last day with the Guys. We were headed to Rome and places far away. They let us sleep in and enjoy the breakfast buffet for the last time. We met Mr. G for a ride to the Gragnano Pasta Factory…. After a lovely lunch featuring the factory’s signature shell pasta, we said good bye to the Guys. They were excellent guides and I would recommend them to anyone…. I believe that the Amalfi Coast is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. Hope you get there. Buon viaggio.

Edie A., The Amalfi Coast & Capri

Art and Travel

An Artist’s Journey with VBT
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Trish W. of Benbrook Texas has painted her way through quite a discourse, Traveling with VBT. For the past three years Trish has been drawing on the inspiration she finds in VBT’s biking vacations to paint vivid landscapes of all the vistas she can capture.

Finding Her Calling and Finding it Again
Trish found her love for art when she was very young. In fact, at only two years of age Trish began drawing and painting on her first canvas, the walls of her home. When it became clear that this was less of a phase and more of a calling, Trish’s parents developed a unique approach to fostering Trish’s creative drive while giving a bit of a break to the walls around the house. She recalls, “My parents eventually decided to put up chalk boards all around the house for me to draw on.”

Trish continued drawing and painting throughout her childhood and eventually received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing at the University of Texas. She followed that degree with a Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics at Texas Women’s University. Though she is proficient in many artistic disciplines, Trish has devoted most of her life’s work to painting portraits. That is, until a friend recommended VBT’s Puglia Vacation. Trish took her friend up on the adventure and discovered an entirely new muse, the outdoors. “On the bike you see things you wouldn’t ordinarily notice and that appeals to me as a painter… and the scenery can be so majestic. I still love to paint faces, but now I really love painting places, too.”

Experiencing the Destination
Trish began traveling with VBT in 2009. Since then, she’s kept up quite a pace, Biking in Ireland in 2010 and California Wine Country in 2011. And she’s already made plans to take two VBT vacations in 2012, Biking Vermont and Cycling Tuscany.

It’s no wonder that she has taken such an interest in traveling with VBT. For Trish, vacations are all about enjoying the experience. “Once I started traveling with VBT by bike I decided that that was the only way to go. I’ve always felt safe, it’s wonderful how well thought out the trips are, and I love it when someone else does all the detail work.” Given her vocation as a painter, Trish also enjoys the flexibility to peel off from the group at any time to snap as many photos as she likes, using the photographs as models for her paintings.

When riding through a new destination, Trish tends to connect with local animals about as much as she does local people. Her work is a testament to how inspired she is by wildlife and nature. But, connecting with fellow travelers also has its benefits. Throughout her journeys, Trish is constantly painting, and she’ll often trade her work for a glass of wine or two. She even got a massage in exchange for one of her pieces. A glass of wine and a massage? What a way to cap off a great day of biking!

Looking Back and Looking Ahead
VBT’s emphasis on connecting travelers with their destination certainly rings true for Trish. “Ireland was my favorite. All my ancestors come from Ireland, and as soon as I got there, it felt like I was coming home. And biking through Ireland was such a wonderful experience. Every turn presented a new vista.”

Where to next? With two biking vacations coming up in 2012, Trish has the coming year pretty well planned out. However, she is still looking ahead to more VBT vacations in the future. She would love to Explore France, perhaps by Biking in Loire Valley or Bicycling Bordeaux. And she may take her first walking vacation with VBT, through Machu Picchu.

Whichever she chooses, it seems clear that through her work, Trish will continue to inspire others just as she is impacted by the myriad of sights and experiences that VBT vacations have to offer. You can view more of Trish’s work on her website.

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