Early morning drive on south coast of Italy

Good early morning dear ones.

I am the designated volunteer driver for the windy fun roads in Italy. We are heading south today …. Will we make it to the toe of the boot? Ummmmm we have consulted the map and decided to stay on main roads that look the right color on the map. Lol.

So we will do the coastal drive and see how far we want to go. The coast here is lovely, and fun, with beautiful vistas. Sometimes one lane and beeping horns to say hi to oncoming little Fiats. With Italian CDs singing to us of culture and romance. Oh my!

Ciao tutti!

Here is me in the VW station wagon waiving and sending love along the south coast of Italy. Follow me on a google map if you like 🙂





Maratea and Sapri, south Italy

Today we had a leisurely morning. We made a nice breakfast and enjoyed time together to chat and plan and talk about what we value. We went to Maratea town, parked the car, walked the little alleys toward a fresh farmers market and stocked up on veggies and fruit. We will plan to prepare a few meals for this great group of gals.

We continued in the car, and drove in search of the marina and never really found it .. Lol. We came back to the resort and made a wonderful green salad to share for lunch, full of varietals of green and black olives.

Four of us headed north to Sapri…. I enjoyed the drive along the coast. The town was enchanting and we explored after we parked. Livable, clean, restful town with a large boardwalk along the sea. No real touristy stuff … We walked around and did some fab shopping. Sent postcards via post office to grandsons in Canada. After Gelateria …

We all bought leather change purses on sale. And a few other finds. I found a silk scarf of old Europa … It is lovely and will be my signature scarf as the ‘traveling agent’. We drove home with the lovely sun set of orange, red sky behind the mountain.

We prepared and ate a veggie dinner with a cold bottle of white wine followed by consulting the map and making plans for the next three days of exploration before we return to Naples and flight home.

Early night tonight …. For a good rest, as we plan to be up for six am and on the road driving straight south along the coast.

Ciao tutti!
Ti amo




Relaxation day

A day of recovery in Maratea at the resort.

Buona sera. Today was a relaxing day. I went to the pool and swam. It is outdoor and unheated. Ok, let’s be frank, it was cold! Ha ha. I swam in it twice, I figure it was like putting ice on my toe. Lol. I swam around and enjoyed the cooling refreshing swim followed by the heat of the sun. The clear blue sky is amazing and today gave me a bit of a sun color on my face. I enjoyed a relaxing day overall.

Deb and I had lunch in the cafeteria as the stores are closed in the afternoon and we heard that stores in town closed on Sundays. So tomorrow is open and markets will be open.

Nice afternoon overall …. Then a nap. Ha ha, four out of five of us napped this afternoon. Then up and dressed, ready for dining in the dining room again, to listen to our favorite Italian singers! For a few hours we listened. We enjoyed a lovely wine and frizzy water … One of the songs from last night …. Imagine if you will in Italian, by the most beautiful woman’s voice accompanied by her piano keyboard. Oh my! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BqqPgA-yuuc

Tonight they played beautiful as well and another couple got up and danced by their dining table. The restaurant was full. People enjoyed the evening.

Off to sleep now. Shopping in markets and small villages tomorrow perhaps .. Making our own lunch and dinner and then to go to listen to the Italian couple again each evening. A definite cultural outing.

Ciao tutti.

Big love and wish you were here.
Ti amo



Magic of Maratea

Ushered to our seats, we women sit at the table reserved for five, near the window. We order lobster, grilled vegetables, house wine-white, fizzy water and are entertained by the young waiter who greets us. He has a sharp wit and at times it is bordering on rude for where we come from…. However, he makes recommendations and answers questions that are key to a satisfying fine dining experience.

While we wait and sip on the wine and water, we hear ever so lightly the keys of a piano. Little did we know how the story would unfold. The music is gentle and subtle and very beautiful. Familiar classic tunes fill the air and provide lovely background to our chat about today, our drive, and our extreme good fortune to be together in this place, safe and happy. We toast again with wine and I hear cheers for my driving today… The vistas we enjoyed and Janie for sharing this place with us. We talk about our day, and our week together, our friendship, and our mommas.

As the dining experience unfolds, the gal beings to sing. A beautiful strong voice arises and fills all the space in the room. She is carefully signing English words that she probably does not really understand and it appears she is reading the words. “Come Away With Me”. She is met with a young man and they begin to harmonize. We have stopped talking and thinking about anything else but the sweet sounds of music that fill the air on this mountaintop resort and it’s high class restaurant walled with glass, with fresh orchids on the plates as garnish and in the vase at the table. It is magic.

Between songs Janie asks them to sing something they love to sing in Italian. Not a dry eye in the house. Every one stops and suspends in the air, carried away with passion and musical notes like I have never heard before. Harmony, and pleasure, mixed no doubt with pain, in Italian. He now stands behind her and they hit notes that send goosebumps everywhere.

Even the waiter comments on his reaction when it is over. Tears pouring down my cheeks, uncontrolled and not holding back. I don’t know what the words are and not even the meaning is known, only the true raw emotion in the air. The hair on my neck is standing to listen …. We are transfixed and in awe. It continues. Song after song after song, each one beautiful. We are carried to whatever emotion they are singing … We are there. Brava! Belissima! Fantastico!

The young woman weeps as she sings and seems to be pleased with our reactions. When we left I find her eyes, we speak without words, I send her a blown kiss and she responds in kind. She is an entertainer of the highest degree. I am still captured, even this morning as I write this blog. What a gift to the world!

Magic! Italiano! I love this place, this moment, this dream … And this memory. Grazie to all the steps and effort that brought me to this place and this magic.

With love, wish you were here. Ti amo.






Arrival at Pianeta Maratea

The bells of the monestary ringing off in the distance, a dark barks somewhere out there, and the wind is rustling the large leafy tree that is just outside my shuttered window. We awake in Pianeta Maratea, south Italy on a Sunday morning, end of September. The last week of my vacation has begun. Ahhhhhhhhh the delight.

Yesterday we picked up the car at the EuropeCar rental place in central Sorrento. All went smoothly, the gal, Maria, spoke English some and was efficient and helpful. We have been upgraded to the largest car they have, a VW station wagon. It is brand new with all the bells and whistles. It is beautiful and our luggage fits perfectly in the back. It is late in the morning and we are optimistic we will arrive in good time, safely and have a beautiful scenic drive.

Five Canadian women pile in, I adjust the seat, use the electronic key system, and off we go. At first a bit stressful. After seeing how Italians drive, and being on the Amalfi coast, taxiing around Naples … Argh! Can I do this? We wind and weave and get out of the city with little challenge. It is not altogether clear to me who has right of way so I am deciding that when I hear the beep beep of another vehicle, they are saying Hi to me in italian. It helps me not get so triggered, when I remember :).

Then we get on the highway, with Janie carefully navigating and providing lots of overview and information on what might be coming up next and names of places foreign to all of us … We head toward Naples, Pompeii and then get on a major highway heading south toward our destination.

Breathtaking vistas greet us all along the way. Rolling hills, then mountains cut from earth rock, then green as far as the eye can see, followed by coastal villages and views of the sea meeting the shore in a white frothy embrace. Yes, we saw it all. This was a drive that met all expectations and exceeded my dreams.

We did stop twice, once for the WC and to pick up nibbles for lunch …. And once for a more substantial meal at a local agritourismo run restaurant pizzeria. Salad, potato frittes, and shared some mozzarella and tomatoes salad one of the other girls ordered. Light, inexpensive, and very satisfy lion and Italian!

Maratea is a village up a mountain, high above the sea with sea view and a beach access below … A thirty minute shuttle drive with extreme switch backs. Mamma Mia! Pianeta Maratea is name of this resort … Feel free to google it. There is a large statue of Christ the Redeemer on the mountain top just above our resort. And a monastery nearby. We are more than delighted with our villa, on the end of a row of others, with a large balcony overlooking the sea. Deb and I share a room, Marrianna and Janie share and Aurelie on a lovely futon. We share a bathroom, kitchen and the magic of this space. More to follow!

Ciao tutti.


Ps. This is in Italy but a lot of the guests we overhear are English speaking. We heard Italians come here for vacations and it is out of the way … South and away from tourism. Beautiful. We drove by a wedding today in the town of Maratea, as the lovely bride was just stepping in to the church to meet her partner for sharing their future together. Let the bells ring!




Grazie to the Agritourismo

Bon giorno my friends and family. Imagine if you can, heaven and the perfect image of Italy. I am there.

The sun shone, the tears flowed as we departed from our temporary and delightful home at the agritourismo. We breakfasted, hugged, exchanged emails and were carefully driven to pick up the rental car.

The last twenty four hours prior were an emotional roller coaster for me and I admit I am still feeling on the edge of tears at any moment. Happy tears mostly and gratitude. The sale of my condo went firm … And I received a heartfelt email from my husband who is home and dealing with all the details on his own. Loss of that dream home we had shared for ten years, and also missing him and our home in Victoria. Perhaps moments of home sickness? The gluten ingestion and subsequent strong violent physical reaction left me weak and muscle sore. Saying good bye to new friends is hard, too after spending a week getting to know them.

Two losses stand out for me most …. Our tour leader is a young strong and very entertaining, sincere and talented man. He has been so careful with our food issues, he is a sommelier and recommended and taught us about local wines, he is from southern Italy and he loves his momma. I wept saying good bye to him although I believe we will arrange tours again together. He is such a good man and we ate most meals together sitting side by side as he looked after translations and watching what they brought to the table …. and often we would chat into the evening long after the others had retired … about love, life and how to really enjoy the most of both.

Ciao ciao Francesco, your positive energies are felt across the land and I am forever changed for the better for knowing you. I trust that your journey will take you back home to your heart. Feel it beat. Sit silently for a while and it will guide you where you need to be. With love, Pamellllla.

Secondly saying good bye to this magical place, the lemon trees hanging with beautiful fruit, the five people in the family who cooked, cleaned, served and cared for us for a week. The mamma, the papa, the son, the daughter and the stunningly beautiful Italian woman who is now my vision of Italian women, Natasha. She was gracious and passionate, fun and the way she carried herself, her clothes, her hair, her voice, her jewellery …. Ahhhhhh, a mentor. WomenHoldingHandsAroundTheWorld.

It was so hard to express in language how wonderfully they did their job, and live their lives so others can enjoy the vacation of their dreams. These people make dreams come true. How do we really and truly show that appreciation? I hope this message gets back to them somehow. My experience in their home far surpassed my expectations. I weep when I feel the expression of openness and hospitality … The sharing of their intimate space and daily life with strangers. Wow! Grazie, Grazie, Grazie.

And so my next entry will bring you up to speed on the day, the drive and the destination ….. For now……

Ciao tutti!

Ti Amo




Last day with GAdventures tour, local living Sorrento

Last day at Agritourismo

Today we had the treat and favourable weather prediction for sunshine …and the island of Capri. The emphasis of this word is on the Cap and small ri. That is how it is in southern Italy.

We prepared for a nice day, although it was a cool evening in the room. What a grand room and accommodation! Wind blowing from the sea, and waking up with the new light of day as the sun shines out on the horizon.

Unfortunately breakfast had invited a gluten product on our table, and so, more of that later. We prepared and were picked up in the minivan for our departure to the Sorrento pier. I saw the Azamara ship there yesterday and then today the small Primcess ship was tendering people in. It looked like rough seas, so half a gravel, some ginger, a peppermint gum and fresh lemon just in case. I share with another fellow who anticipates some sickness …and Marianna also, we split one in half.

The port is lovely, fishing boats and nets, old buildings and structures. Great view and some sea birds soaring on the breeze. The waves seem to be a bit choppy. We are greeted by a lovely thirty six foot speed boat … To take our crew to Capri as planned. Ho ….. A bit interesting just getting in the boat!, rocky seas, I select to sit up front for air and view. Off we go. All is well. Janie and I chat about what a delight this is. Extra special really. Above and beyond expectations.

We arrive in Capri after breathtaking views and a safe landing. Within minutes I feel ill and pull away from the group. I decide not to participate …. I simply can’t go any further. Three hours of sickness from the earlier gluten poisoning …. Thank goodness there was a public pay water closet. Then a rest by the sea shore, in the shade sipping on an appreciated bottle of frizzy water .. Waiting for the nausea and so on to pass. Waves of fogginess and shakiness took over and … Well, enough of that! I survived and maybe moved ten to twenty feet in the three hours. Thanks to my friend Deb for postponing her celiac reaction until I could feel better and look after her….. That is what friends are for ….. Smile.

Others arrived from their adventure up top and to AniCapri …. Then back to the boat for a three hour tour all around the island. The seas calmed. The spectacular view was not to be missed. If ever you get a chance for a private tour around the island, I highly recommend it. Some two hundred thousand people visit this small unique and high end island every week ….13,000 residents….. It is about tourism. And so incredibly beautiful.

Then back to Sorrento, and the agritourismo last evening meal. People are starting to pack up and one left before dinner. We all go our separate ways tomorrow.

The five of us gals will go to Sorrento in the morning for a ride in to pick up our car rental … And off on the adventure further south, out of tourist country, where almost no one speaks English, for our final week together at the time share in Maretea.

Stay tuned for more … Hugs and stories.

Ciao. Ti amo.









Limoncello and gluten free pizza lessons

Limoncello 4 ingredients

One litre 98 percent alcohol,
7 zest of Lemons
650 gm Sugar
1 litre Water

Let zest soak in alcohol in a jar. Seal. For one week.
Let sugar melt in cold water
Pour yellow liquid into water, sugar mixture.

Original in Sorrento, igp sign, means follows proper processing.

Today we had a day to explore and learn about this agritourismo, starting with a sleep in and late breakfast. Followed by a tour and talk from the owner and the family, interpreted by Francesco. Beautiful pictures, hot sun … Ahhhhhh. The scent of the lemons growing and hanging all around.

We learned to make limoncello as above … Then we took turns making pizza. The gluten free gals went first … Lots of fun and extraordinary. I feel so special and I go first. Yummmmm

We head in to Sorrento for a quick shop in town, it starts to rain a shower as we wander down the alleys and small streets. Fun. We grab a city bus back to the farm, walk back up the hill.

Time for a shower, dress and today we have a wine tasting event led by our sommelier Francesco. Lovely. Out doors on the patio, watching the sun set on the sea, behind mount Vesuvius. Breathtaking. Snacks of olives, cheese, gluten free fresh made bread, some crackers and crisps. We can hear music from the hotel restaurant and bar below on the hill … In fact is still playing even now as I write this several hours later. Familiar tunes, Italian words. Beautiful.

Dinner always at eight … Tonight, risotto for the gluten free, bread, lettuce salad, cauliflower baked …. Some wine, limoncello for dessert. Then some plans made for tomorrow …. A full day to the island of Capri. Oh this will be grand.

The following day we head to Sorrento to pick up the rental car and off we go for our final week adventure in Maratea, southern coast of Italy some three or more hours south of here. Looking forward to quiet, fun with the gals. Maybe painting?

Ti amo. Ciao. Wish you were here.

Love Pamellllla

Amalfi Coast, a dream come true

Change of plans due to weather prediction. We are enjoying very fresh lemon in hot water after breakfast. I can hear and feel the thunder and rain. Cool air greets us through open windows. A table for twelve, and we will take vehicles to drive the Amalfi coast and short hour walks in key locations. I have been waiting for this trip my lifetime …. So special. Grazie, Grazie.

————later ——

We are back now at the agritourismo having spent an incredible day … We drove up and back on the Amalfi coast in the brilliant sunshine. We stopped in Priano, Amalfi, Ravello and again had a view of Positano. We ate lunch in a spectacular restaurant overlooking the bay … I had the most exquisite small loaf of gluten free bread … Warm Italian baguette which I shared generously. I had a penne dinner with tomato sauce and chillies and I feel I had one of the best meals of my life … EVER! Omg.

It gets better. Driving home, singing along with Dean Martin “when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore ……” With full enthusiasm and passion, eight people including the driver …. I reach out my hands and encourage all 8 of us to hold hands and sway to the music as we sing at the full volume …. As we go through the towns, people stop and listen and watch … The sun just starting its descent into the sea … Magic.

Path to Positano

It has been many years since the dream of seeing Positano and the Amalfi coast was born. Many indeed. I imagined a colourful coastline and spectacular views. As of yesterday this dream is being realized.

After breakfast, we prepared for the day. And with instructions from our leader, we ventured out on our own, three of us. Francesco and half of the others decided they would do the famed Walk of the Gods adventure hike. Sadly my toe is still damaged and my foot very sore, so alas, I am not going to try it. They depart and we have a meeting place for five pm fast foot ferry boat from Positano back to Sorrento and home to the agritourismo for five pm departure.

We three walk through the lemon tree groves, peppered with assorted fragrant flowers and beautiful trees of many kinds and descriptions. To say this place is beautiful is an understatement. It is a magical spot away from the world and yet conveniently located only a few moments walk from the hustle and bustle of every day life in the south of Italy ….. Tourists, shopping, cars and busses, school children, etc etc. Here on this property time stands still, the wind gently blows in the sea air, the sun shines, the view stops me in my steps and I gasp. A hard working close family share the daily chores and entertain, host lunches, have me as their guest … As well as make fresh cheeses, dinner, bake bread, home made pizza, limoncello. They grow olives and other varietals of fruits and veggies and prepare for human consumption and enjoyment. After all, this is Italy!

A local bus for a euro, comes and the driver while not English speaking assists to advise when we arrive in the centro of Sorrento. A busy metropolitan city and we are not in the tourist area. I make a few purchases of local watercolor book marks and a special gift for my mother. And we purchase our bus tickets for a trip to Positano in an hour or so. There is a long queue already …. And many high school age students pour into the bus, now solid with as many standing as sitting. Perhaps we have the last three seats! Oy vey! And off we go.

Mamma Mia …. Common expression I have come to love while here …. Switchbacks and close to cliff views. Incredible! I am a bit motion sick … No air on the bus …. So crowded and the momentum is so extreme … I do very much enjoy the view from my window when I can catch a sight … Over an hour ride and we arrive, dropped off at the very top for the long windy walk down narrow streets to the beach area of Positano. Every step of this walk is a picture, a photo op, and an opportunity to capture a moment that I will want to paint later. It is spectacular and I am so grateful for arriving in this Fantastico place.

Shopping is delayed as the shops are mostly closed in Italy, at least on this trip, between 2 pm and 4 pm-ish. However the closer we get to the beach, the more stores are available. The steps, the doors, the flowers, the view, the colourful old buildings and decorated tiles that adorn the entranceways. It is all beautiful. It is all spectacular blues, yellows, terra cotta tile red, peach, orange, gold, white, and more … Greenery everywhere. This is a lush land and so picturesque. Down down down we walk.

We meet our group and have a one hour ride in the waves across the bay to Sorrento to catch our ride home. Back at the farm we dress for dining, and we share stories about our day.

Dinner is again started with antipasto … Tomato, home made hot gluten free rolls, and grilled vegetables. Olive oil. A soup of fava beans and potato with tomatoes is rich, warm and very comforting. Grilled aubergine, eggplant, parmigiana …. One of the best flavours and dishes probably ever I have eaten. I tell them so. They advise it is one of the easiest and fastest dishes to make fresh and fast … Oh my. I want more. The small tasty servings are perfect. And the meal is complete. Some wine local to the area, sparkling white and then rich red. Dinner is complete with limoncello and one made from fennel … So exotic and incredible. We all taste. It is impressive and satisfying.

I feel lucky. I feel special and I feel very satisfied that this will go down as one of my favorite travel days ever. The hots sun, a gentle breeze, good people, great food, some shopping, delightful scenery of one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Piacere!, Ti Amo.

For now, ciao ciao


Wish you were here!