Category Archives: seaside

On The Walk of the Gods

High up, very high up in the hills overlooking the Amalfi Coast is a walk (let’s say vertiginous hike) which threads along the cliffs, past the ghosts of farmhouses and terraces overgrown with grapevines — the grapes warm and sweet if you are tempted — from Praiano to Positano. The walk can take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours, depending on your pace and fitness, or you can join the path in other mountain towns like Apergo, where you can do a loop in about 2 hours (good if you want to get back to your car without having to take a cab or the bus!). That’s the option we took. We were following famous footsteps:

“Is this the view that from on high along the Path of the Gods, opens to our sight: it is the picture of the great loop of the Amalfi coastline that looks towards the west, towards the Island of Capri, that precipitous coast, steamy, hot, with the crystalline mountains where the gods of today are forsaken and you find a lost self again, Mediterranean, before you.” D. H. Lawrence

As Lawrence intimated, it can get hot up there, so best to wear a hat and sunglasses, slather yourself with high factor sunscreen, bring lots of water (which you can refill from fresh water taps along the way), and opt to do the walk outside of the broiling months of July and August (we did it in September, which was perfect — sunny with a touch of cool breeze wafting up from the coast far, far, far, far below).

It was marvellous.

 

 

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Escape to Capri

Am just back from a wonderful week down on the Amalfi Coast, with jaunts to Capri, Pompeii and Naples with my lovely Canadian friends Craig and JP. Landing in Naples, I dashed across town on the airport bus to the port (good value) where I met up with them, and we hopped straight onto the ferry to the island of Capri. The sky was blue, the sun was warm, and, it being September, the holiday crowds had thinned. They had booked us a fantastic Air BnB villa in nestled against the hills, with a fantastic view of the town. Once the day trippers caught the last ferry back to Naples at 7pm, the alleyways and town square quietened down, and we enjoyed an evening walk past the tempting shops until the delicious smells wafting from the E’Divino Restaurant beckoned us through their door.

The next day we got up early to explore the island, fortified by frequent stops for frothy cappucinos and lemon granita.

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On the Road in New Brunswick

New Brunswick was a revelation for me. I wasn’t a stranger to Canada’s east coast, what with being a Newfoundlander with many family connections in Nova Scotia, but I’d never spent much time in the only officially bilingual province in Canada. So, Cuz K (a Newfoundlander who’d grown up in New Brunswick) made sure my summer visit was going to change all that.

But first, we had a fabulous cousins’ party to attend to when our cousin Beergirl arrived from Halifax, well supplied with coolers of beer and other alcoholic delights. Oh, did I mention that Cuz K has the most amazing view from her house over the St John River in Nackawic?

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Other the the beautful countryside, Nackawic is reknowned world over (according to local signage) for being the location of the world’s biggest axe (only to be rivalled, I think by the world’s large hockey stick in Duncan, BC — I’ve got a picture of that too).

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Shaking off the vestiges of our jolly evening, it being August and holiday time, we packed up our swim gear and headed to the beach the next day.  The sun was hot and glorious, the ocean fresh and reviving, and there was lots and lots of space. And it was a Saturday in August. Am I going to tell you the name of the beach? Would you tell me? (Okay, okay — it’s the New River Beach Provincial Park).

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After the beach we headed into the pretty seaside town of St. Andrews for an early supper of fish and chips washed down with mouth-watering Bloody Caesars (and a Virgin Mary for the driver) on the outside terrace at The Gables. We finished off our day with a walk along the pier as the sun began to set.

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Around St. John’s, Newfoundland

My last couple of days in Newfoundland were spent in and around the capital St. John’s. And by “capital” you’re thinking concrete skyscrapers, and modernistic tower blocks, you’re in the wrong city. In St. John’s the key word is “colour”.

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One of my favourite parts of St. John’s is the fishing village of Quidi Vidi which hugs the harbourfront.

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We stopped by the excellent Mallard Cottage restaurant in Quidi Vidi for dinner one night. The restaurant is tucked into a tiny cottage overlooking the harbour. One of the best meals I had in Newfoundland.

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The next day I had a good wander around the city, enjoying the relaxed vibe and the gorgeous weather.

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Queenie’s husband Wizard Rob and I headed south one day to get me on a whale boat. We stopped by pretty Petty Harbour on our way.

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Then down to Bay Bulls to catch the whale watching boat at Gatherall’s. We were on the look out for hump whales and puffins.

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Gatherall’s: http://www.gatheralls.com

Mallard Cottage: http://www.mallardcottage.ca

A Newfoundland Road Trip

I’ve been very remiss these past couple of months. I haven’t finished posting the photos from my summer road trip around the outports of Newfoundland with my cousin Queenie. Oh, I’ve been meaning too… but, you know, life.

So here it is, the penultimate post about my wonderful Newfoundland holiday. Then tomorrow… marvelous St. John’s. Oh, and do me a favour? Let’s just let Newfoundland be our little secret, okay?

A short drive along the coast from Eastport is the outport village of Salvage (pronounced Sal-VAAAGE), with a stong ‘A’. Canadian radio host Michael Enright calls the 5.6 mile walk between Eastport and Salvage “the most beautiful in the world”. Well, I’m not going to argue. We spent a couple of hours exploring the town, and the location provided an embarrassment of riches for my camera.

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We left Easport a few days later and headed along the northern coast, through the remote seaside town of Wesleyville. The weather had turned misty, making for some evocative images.

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Just down the road we found the fantastic art shop, Norton’s Cove, run by artist Janet Davis and her husband. Have a look at her website: http://www.nortonscovestudio.com where you can buy her unique Newfoundland artwork.

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We made an overnight stop in my hometown of Grand Falls, where we caught up with relatives and had a wander around the town. I even caught my cousin’s son make a home run at the local LIttle League game.

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Then we hit the road again the next day, for our final stop, St. John’s, the oldest English-founded city in North America.