Monday, March 02, 2015

Sorrento, Italy

Nigel has planned another one of his great trips for us, this time with a toddler! We are staying in Sorrento, Italy, and travelling around from there. The small red dot on the Tyrrhenian Sea marks our destination.
We are shuttled from a great little B&B in the hills overlooking Sorrento called Villa Monica. As we walk to the main square we peer over the ridge to the gulley below. Our host tells us the building down below used to be a ceramics factory.
We can look back at it as we walk on. It has been bought by people wanting to turn it into a pasta factory. There will have to be some sort of lift/elevator installed. It is dizzying looking down.
The town has all the charming little streets of Italy without a lot of the tourist hubbub now that we are off season.
Sorrento is in the lovely position of being a coastal town.
Travelling with a toddler has been very fun. Italians love children, from the people on the street to the people serving us in restaurants. We eat most nights at Il Leone Rosso Ristorante and Pizzeria. Every night we are seated beside the wood oven and our little munchkin is fascinated with watching the pizzas being made. Of course they love him and bring us plates of tester pizza as we wait. I think this is the best value place to eat in Sorrento. Excellent pizza and fresh pasta. They even brought us a free dessert on our last day.
Sorrento is lovely and the streets are lined with orange trees. I would guess this is our munchkin's favourite fruit at the moment and so he was fascinated to see them hanging all over the trees.
We wander around and explore the churches. Above is the courtyard of Chiesa di San Francesco.

Even the broken old brick path is full of nuances.
From the waterfront edge of town we look down from the cliffs to the Marina Piccolo (small marina) below.

One of the routes down to the marina is via a switch back road deep in the gorge that cuts into the town itself.
We check out the cafes in Piazza Lauro.
Our guide book leads us to a small lemon tree grove on the outskirts of town with amazing views. Unfortunately it looks abandoned and locked up.
The water is a beautiful aqua colour.
The views are still great.
More orange trees that we are told are not the best for eating. The shops are filled with oranges that we buy and eat everyday. They are huge, sweet, and juicy blood oranges.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Turkey: Oludinez, Kaya Koyu and the Blue Lagoon

On the second day in Oludinez we decide to drive out to Kaya Koyu in the morning. Our guidebook suggests we could walk it from the town as a half day hike as well.
Kaya Koyu is a ghost village whose Greek Orthodox Christian inhabitants, according to the Lonely Planet, were forced to leave their homes in the compulsory exchange of populations between the newly created Republic of Turkey and Greece in 1923.
It had been a population of 3000 inhabitants arranged in tiers up a slope. The roofs are all missing which always begins the slow decay of structures.
While the Greek inhabitants were being shipped west, Macedonian Muslims were sent to occupy the abandoned buildings.
Most of the new inhabitants chose to leave rather than stay, considering the land too poor. Above you can see the remains of a fireplace and chimney in the corner.
Although we can't enter the church due to restoration and recently discovered cracks that make it dangerous, the above is a photograph of what the inside of this 17th century high church now looks like.
The view from the outside that we can see.
Today the local inhabitants live in several hamlets in the valley below the ruins.
Although the land in the valley below is fertile, tourism has been on the rise and the main attraction in the area have been the ruins. Above you can still see some of the blue paint on the plastered walls.
Nigel amongst the walls.
We survey the sprawling village and decide to meander to the far side.
Another view of the church from our climb.

Partial stairs remain.
I come across several large concave structures that look like cistern water collections. Here is one that is still holding water.
On the far side we spot a small chapel high on the hillside. It looks like it might have a great view.

Sure enough, from one side of the hilltop we overlook the valley and the old town.
On the other side we see out to the Turquoise Coast.
A view from the window inside.

The little hilltop whitewashed chapel.
We then ascend and climb the fort at the opposite end of the village before deciding to head back to Oludinez.
on our way back we drive a bit further past Oludinez and get a view from the side looking down.
Further up the coast you get a view looking looking back.
We drive through the pine forests on a road that has been carved out of the mountain on a cliff edge at times.
These cliff edges stop further development in the small villages ahead where the only tourist market are in camping huts, a more bohemian, hippy place to stay. (although some of the guide books balk at the pricier cost of staying in such limited accomodation). Above is pictured Butterfly Beach which looks like it might get mostly shade in the day due to the high cliffs on both sides.
We head back to Oludinez town and decide to visit the beach the town is famous for, the iconic sandbar that lies across the mouth of the Blue Lagoon. It is in Oludeniz Nature Park which costs 5 Turkish Lira to enter. Above is the path in the park that leads to the lagoon.
An arial photo stands on a billboard at the parks entrance.
it is a lovely afternoon. Mid September to October is an ideal time to travel to Turkey because the weather is not scorchingly hot and it just skirts the highest tourist season. It can get a bit chilly in the shade, but I am feeling like my body temperature is higher than normal these days anyway. Yes, those are my feet relaxing on a lawn chair.
Another shot of the beach from my lounging position. Coming from North America I was not aware of European beach rules. There are lawn chairs and umbrellas for anyone to use. You sit yourself down on one and someone will come along and give you the rate for the day or half day. You pay and the chair is yours. You can come and go and no one will take it as long as you leave something on it like a towel.
I do go for a swim. It really is the shoulder season now and you have to lie in the sun to be warm, I notice. Nigel gets chilled in the shade.
I am looking from the tip of the lagoon's sandbar towards the mainland.
Above I am looking at the sandbar's tip. The tree bit is not connected.
We spend several hours here. We are not really beach people or lie-in-the-sun-and-tan people, but if we were this is a lovely place. The long beach right on the town front is also lovely.
We head back and have a nice meal at Buzz Bar and Grill Restaurant. I need a simple meal that will digest easily tonight and opt for the pasta which was delicious. It is a nice restaurant (more elegant that most here) with nice food and a quiet atmosphere.