Friday October 25 Tropea, Vibo Valentia, Nicotera Marina, Joppolo

After breakfast we drove straight to Vibo Valentia and went to the Museo Archeologica di Vibo Valentia. The museum is situated at the castello which was built in 1070 and the archeological findings are from the 6th and 5th Century BC. The castle is 560m above sea level. We then did some grocery shopping and stopped between Pernocari and Rombiolo for lunch. We drove to Nicotera Marina and had an espresso while watching the fisherman prepare to go out fishing. We drove to Joppolo and Dave had cioccolata gelato and I had zuppa Inglese. We came back to the resort and loafed at the pool, reading books. Dave had a swim and then we came back to the apartment. I have tried the locally grown clementines which are sweet, and locally grown cactus fruit. You can see them alongside the side of the road, growing wild. Wine tonight is Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Collezione 2011. We had nduja on crackers while supper cooked. Dave made a pasta sauce with shallots, chilli, garlic, tomatoes, fennel, valeriana and cream, and served on tortelloni ai funghi porcini. We then drove down to the village for a last gelato at Gelateria Del Borgo. Dave had limone and I had mandorla. We walked around and then went to have prosseco and snacks in the main square. We came back to the apartment and sat drinking our wine.

"Tropea, Vibo Valentia, Nicotera Marina, Joppolo"
Tropea, Vibo Valentia, Nicotera Marina, Joppolo

Thursday October 24 Tropea, Joppolo, Spilinga

After breakfast we drove towards Capo Vaticano stopping to do some grocery shopping along the way. We went via Santa Maria to Joppolo where we stopped for an espresso. We then drove a 3.1km windy road to Spilinga, heading up to a peak of 685m above sea level. We had a picnic lunch at the viaduct in Spilinga of rolls with boiled eggs and pancetta. Nduja originates from this town. We drove down an amazing gorge heading to Brattiro before coming back to the resort. The resort is 219.6m above sea level. We read books for a bit and then caught the bus to the beach. Part of our resort fees include deck chairs and an umbrella at the beach. We however chose to walk along the boardwalk before Dave swam and I dipped my legs in the water. We climbed up to the Cburch gate and back down before climbing the stairs up to the town. Gelato today was liquirizia and tiramisù for me, and stracciatella for Dave. We walked around a bit before having prosecco and snacks in the main square. We caught the bus back to the resort. The wine tonight is Sant’ Elia Rosso Riserva Barrique 2008.  Dave made a pasta sauce with shallots, garlic, chilli, tomatoes, sardines and cream which he served over spaghetti topped with valerian. Our meal was completed with crackers served with pesto and cheese.

"Tropea, Joppolo, Spilinga"
Tropea, Joppolo, Spilinga

Wednesday October 23 Tropea

We are having a lazy day. After breakfast we headed into Tropea and bought fish and vongole for dinner. We then went to get local pastries for dessert and rolls for lunch. We came back to the resort and Dave did a load of laundry as he didn’t bring enough summer clothes with him. We have had the most amazing weather. We sat at the pool while the machine did its thing before coming back to the apartment for lunch. Rolls with tomato, cheese, pesto and proscuitto.  We read our books and Dave had a snooze before we walked the 1.8km steep down hill into Tropea. We went to Tonino Gelateria where I had cipolla ice cream made from Tropea onions, and fiordilatte and Dave had pistacchio. We went to buy olives from a local shop and then stopped for prosecco and snacks in the main square before walking back up the hill to the resort. I took a swim in my clothes as I didn’t think to pack a costume. Dave changed into shorts before taking a dip.  We came back to the apartment and changed, had a glass of prosecco and went to play pinball – I lost! We then sat at the pool enjoying another glass of prosecco. I caught my thumb in the deck chair and it is bruised and eina (sore). Dave made a sauce with tomato, zucchini,garlic, onion, chilli and vongole for the fish which he fried with some fennel. We had crackers with pesto and proscuitto and lemoncino to end the evening.


Tuesday October 22 Tropea, Soverato, Nicotera

After breakfast at the resort we headed for the other side of the Meditteranean. We drove over the mountains through olive groves and farmland and stopped in Vallelonga for a walk and espressos. We then headed to Siderno where we bought rolls before heading to the beach for lunch. Once again we had hard boiled eggs with pancetta. Dave and I walked into the sea and along the beach before heading South. We stopped for an afternoon espresso in Comune di Roccella Jonica. We then headed under the mountain through a 3.2km tunnel, and along a gorge to Nicotera. We drove through a huge olive grove plantation and lemon groves. The lemon scent was so strong we could smell the lemons in the car with the windows up. The hilltop cities look amazing from far but the houses are run down, derelict or ruins. Many shops are closed or empty indicating how bad the recession is in Southern Italy. We stopped to take a photo of the amazing vista at a height of 525.9m above sea level. We got back to the resort and Dave had a swim before we enjoyed a prosecco each. We had a Calabrian dinner at the resort. We started with a cold buffet of lettuce, tomato, olives, onions, cold meats, cheese, bruschetta with tomato, cooked onions and melanzane, dough balls and a huge bowl of chilies. The hot buffet was a bean and zucchini soup, tomato and melenzane pasta, grilled peppers, potato chips with melenzana and zucchini, melanzane, dough balls, pork sausage and a meat kebab. Dessert was a semolina orange cake. The cost was €15 per person including water and wine. We went back to our apartment for lemoncino.

"Tropea, Soverato, Nicotera"
Tropea, Soverato, Nicotera

Monday October 21 Tropea, San Costantino, Papaglionti, Vibo Valentia, Vibo Marina

We started our day with breakfast at the resort before heading out through some amazing topography. Up and down gorges and through some narrow winding roads. There are plenty of old olive groves and cactus pears growing on the side of the roads. Every village seems to have a road named Umberto I. We parked the car in Vibo Valentia and took a walk through the historical town stopping for espresso along the way. We did some grocery shopping and then headed for Vibo Marina. We parked alongside the yacht basin and made rolls with hard boiled eggs and pancetta. We headed back to Tropea, stopping along the way at a market. We also found a harbour with a ruin at the entrance. We drove through Tropea and back to the resort where we off loaded the car. We then caught the bus to the shop and got stuff for supper. We stopped for gelato and the shop owner asked if I was a journalist as he noticed me writing down our flavour choices. Dave had limone and I had al gusto di tarrone. He told us his father makes onion ice cream so tomorrow we might brave that! After a nice walk we stopped for prosecco and snacks in the main square before heading back to the resort. Wine tonight is Cirò Rosso Classico 2011.  Pasta sauce tonight is chilli, tomato, onion, garlic, cream, valeriana and chorizo served on taglietelle.  This was one of the strongest chillies I’ve tasted. I added bocconcini to my pasta to help cool it down, and so did Dave. If he thinks its hot it must be HOT! After dinner snack was crackers with proscuitto, cheese and pesto. The cheese is quite strong and changes the taste of the wine completely. We ended our evening with limoncino. Stromboli is well lit up tonight.

"Tropea, San Costantino, Papaglionti, Vibo Valentia, Vibo Marina"
Tropea, San Costantino, Papaglionti, Vibo Valentia, Vibo Marina

Sunday October 20 Tropea

Our resort fees are €35 each and include breakfast. After drinking three demi tasse of coffee and reading in bed we showered and headed to the dining room. The breakfast is a buffet with fresh fruit, cereals, yoghurt and breads and cheese. After a double espresso each and tea for me we sorted out emails and then caught the resort bus into Tropea. The bus runs every half hour in the morning and late afternoon and is part of the fees. We walked around and went to the museo dioscesano di Tropea where we saw some amazing bronze artifacts. Dave’s choice of gelato this morning was cioccalata and mine was opera Italiana. We did some grocery shopping and caught the bus back to the resort. Lunch was nduja which is a local piquante sausage like spread, chorizo, bocconcini and tomatoes. After reading for a bit we caught up on the motorbike racing news and then caught the bus to the beach.  We walked along the beach and Dave swam in the sea. We then walked up to the old city before having another gelato each. Nocciola for Dave and tartufo for me. After a short walk we had prosecco and snacks in the main square and then caught the bus back to the resort.  Wine tonight is Settesoli Syrah 2010. Dinner is tortelloni ricotta e spinaci with a sausage, tomato, zucchini, onion, chilli and garlic sauce. We ended our evening with proscuitto on crackers and the last of the gorgonzola and a limoncino each.


Saturday October 19 Amalfi to Tropea

Breakfast this morning was typical Italian fare.  We drove through an amazing village and then headed to Amalfi itself. We did not quite get there before we turned back and had an espresso at Cafe Pasticceria. We headed down to Tropea and after spending some time on a major road we explored the long and windy roads. We were 1.5km above sea level at one stage. Lunch was a roll with proscuitto and cheese, put together by the lady behind the deli counter at the shop. We did our basic grocery shopping and spent some time exploring the vista of southern Italy. This region grows corn and farms buffallo dairy products. One of them being butter which I have bought. We checked into the resort and unpacked before heading to the resort bar for prosecco. Dave made pork sausages with a ragu of tomato, zucchini, garlic and chilli. Wine tonight is Primittivo Salento 2012. We ended our meal with crackers and gorgonzola and a limoncino each.

"Amalfi to Tropea"
Amalfi to Tropea

Friday October 18 Paris to Amalfi

I can highly recommend sitting upstairs on the A380. We got priority boarding. The meal was fantastic and the cabin crew in charge of our section was very attentive. I did not sleep well as we had a very chatty person two rows in front of us who only shut up to eat! Dave and I both catnapped.
We had an hour between flights and Charles de Gaulle is easy to navigate. We landed in Rome, collected our luggage and I changed. We then collected our car and headed for Naples. Driving in Naples is scarier than Johannesburg and Florence in rush hour together! We walked around and the streets go off each other in tangents. Eventually we got a pizza slice to share and went to swap the car as there was a warning light. We drove to Amalfi and walked around eating gelato. Biaco for me and pistachio for Dave. We are now at Casa Anna Rita for the night. We are 20km from the city of Amalfi in a village called Vietri sul Mare. We walked around the village and had a glass of prosecco and snacks at Cafe Pasticceria. We then went for supper at La Lucia where we had the most amazing seafood anti pasta. Dave had spaghetti vongole as his main course and I had gnocchi with sausage and porcini. We walked back to the B&B and slept soundly till 7:30am.

"Paris to Amalfi"
Paris to Amalfi

Thursday October 17 Cape Town to Paris

We have flown up to Joburg and we are sitting in the lounge waiting for our flight to Paris. I cannot wait and for sure, both Dave and I are ready for this holiday. Hope you all enjoy reading about our holiday!