Friday, 11 April 2014

Tourna a Sorrento

Leaving Vesuvius (the Big V) behind across the bay, we moved on to the Sorrentine peninsula for a few days, finding it to be a relatively built-up area with narrow winding (often tortuous) roads, where nobody drives a big car. Just as well, then, that we had hired a little Cinquecento. But even this looked large against its older relative.

Part of the enjoyment of a holiday is in its planning, and ours was greatly helped by some websites about walking and the botany of the area - led us to the author's walking page.... which led to an ex-pat's walking and botany page..... which led to another..... which has the following commandments that show considerable sense........
These sites are a mine of information, and we were lucky enough to meet both Ruth of the "Walk with Us" page, and Giovanni who writes the first two sites, and enjoyed a walk down to the coast with them. It was a relatively easy walk, but some of the ones that they arrange are like mountain climbing.

 This part of the Amalfi coast was lit up by tree spurge as well as by the sun and the shining sea. Lovely!
There were plenty of anemones in flower, which I took to be the same as our wild variety as they were so familiar, until I was reminded that they are garden plants with us.
That's Capri over there in the background, but I wasn't tempted to visit, despite Spike Milligan's complimentary report in Mussolini, My Part in His Downfall. Or was it Where Have All the Bullets Gone?
On leave on the Amalfi coast at Christmas, he says "The whole place has architectural maturity: there are numerous creepers and vines growing in profusion on the walls and balconies. In summer it must be a riot of flowers, right now it's a riot of gunners, there is a scramble as we dash for the best beds (if any)....".  Yes Spike, it is a riot of colour - in spring at least, before the sun burns the vegetation in summer.

Asparagus pea, or tetragonolobus purpureus
Blue pimpernel
Nettle-leaved figwort
If flowers were profuse, the birdlife was not. Serins were in every tree, of course, and British garden birds were seen and heard in the hills. Occasional Sardinian warblers appeared briefly before diving into cover, and there were very few raptors. All indications were that birds in Italy have only survived shooting in small numbers, and those that have, learned to keep their heads down.

One exception to that rule was, however, a showy hoopoe that was seen while I was elsewhere (typical) - maybe the Italians have a love for this endearing bird which they don't share with the rest of the animal kingdom.
Lizards were, however, everywhere, and provided much entertainment. Italian wall lizards were most common, although other, unidentified, species were also seen.

And the Ierano headland looks like a lizard too.


Just look at the beach - deserted! The cafes were open though, and charged just 1.50 euros for a coffee, served on the veranda overlooking the sea. Ices were cheap too :-)


jelltex said...

Having read all of Spike's war diaries, I was ready to fall in love with Capri. I felt like I had been waiting all my life to go there, to sit in the square sipping liqueurs.

I went over on one of a fleet of tourist boats, and the place was packed. But worse than that, Capri is horrible, full of designer shops and places to eat that are so expensive and serve such poor fayre.

I was with people who knew where the crowds would be less, but I don't think I have ever been so disappointed in a place before or since.

Kingsdowner said...

Thanks Jelltex, that's good to hear - the boat trips aren't cheap either!