Spring Blossoms on the Amalfi Coast

This week has been the classic mix of the rain showers and glorious sunshine that herald the arrival of Spring. This is the time of year I don’t mind not having a car or scooter as walking becomes even more pleasurable an experience than usual here. Over the past few weeks I’ve made one of my favorite walks many times, each trip noting the blossoms and tiny leaves growing larger and brighter. While the sun was shining the other day, I took my camera along and photographed the blossoms along the way to share some of the beauty of spring on the Amalfi Coast here on Ciao Amalfi. Happy Spring!!

 

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Blossoms looking over Ravello

 

 

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Forsythia

 

 

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Figs & architecture in Amalfi

 

 

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Blossoms and blue sky

 

 

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Wisteria with view of Pogerola

    

These wisteria photos are just a mere temptation of the beautiful blossoms bursting forth all over the Amalfi Coast. The wisteria is in bloom, and this is one my favorite events of the year here. Head over to Bell’Avventura where you can see just how gorgeous it is in Scintilla’s recent post Desperate Housewives on Wisteria Lane – Eat your heart out!

It is paradise!

Travel Inspirations: Australia’s Gold Coast

 

For this week’s Travel Inspirations series we’re off to Australia with travel writer and photographer Cecil Lee who shares with us one of his most inspiring travel destinations. Travel photography fans, be sure to check out Cecil’s photo blog Travel Feeder to travel around the world in images. Welcome, Cecil!

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I love Gold Coast. I love the weather, the people as well as the environment. Though it was a few years ago when I visited this theme park capital of Australia, many memories  on Gold Coast are still well kept in my mind. Why? Not only was it my honeymoon trip, Gold Coast had also inspired me a lot in my future travel and also my blogging tour then after.

Gold Coast is to most travelers the attractive city located in the Southeastern corner of Queensland. Its sub-tropical climate with bright sun all year long, surfing beaches, high rise resort apartments on the shore, 60 Km of beautiful sandy coastline, and happening nightlife have made it so popular to, not only foreign visitors, but also the local Australians. If you look at the statistics, out of those over 10 million visitors to Gold Coast each year, 40% are from domestic travels. So it is also an inspiring local getaway destination. Why is it so attractive?

 

 

My first impression when I arrived in the city was its liveliness. Everything in Gold Coast seems to be full of energy all the time that I couldn’t find any weary moment. The sky is superbly clear and bright without any hint of air pollution. You could get fresh air everywhere and perhaps this is the reason why I felt like traveling more than ever before! If you think it’s too hot for you, drive up to the rainforest mountain hinterland in the West of the city to have a cup of mountain tea with breezy weather. It had made me an avid traveler!

How it had inspired me? I started blogging about travel not long after my visit to Gold Coast. This tourist city of Queensland Australia has everything for me to blog about. From good to bad, there are so many different aspects of travel I experienced during this trip. The people here are extremely friendly that you can always think of a topic and start talking to a stranger. They are also too honest to cheat anyone including tourists! The city is so safe that you could wander around the downtown or back lanes to explore the inside stories without worrying being disturbed. The driving culture is very healthy as motorists do behave themselves most of the time, which is great for pedestrians especially when cars and bikes are the most common transportation around the city (motorists will even stop their cars in favour to any crossing pedestrians even under green light!).

 

 

For a travel photo blogger like me, Gold Coast had also given me tremendous photographic inspiration. There are almost too many photo opportunities in the city attractions, including surf beaches, various theme parks such as Dreamworld, Sea World, Warner Bros’ Movie World, various wildlife park like Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Lone Pine Santuary, World heritage mountain range in the Hinterland and also off course the 60 Km long beautiful sandy beaches including Main Beach, Surfers Paradise, Broad Beach, and other canal cruising.

Perhaps I have seen only the best part of Gold Coast, but the travel inspirations I got from it was priceless.

Cecil Lee is an avid traveler who is also a passionate travel blogger and travel photographer living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He writes about travel for MNUI travel insurance and on his own travel photo blog, Travel Feeder.

A Welcome Sheep and Goat Invasion

 

Yesterday evening while I was finishing up my work for the day, I heard the tinkling sound of the little bells that the goats and sheep wear here on the Amalfi Coast. For some reason that sound just makes me inexplicable happy. Smiling, I stopped to listen as they passed through the small piazza outside our garden. But then that tinkling sound got really loud, as if the sheep were IN our garden. “Oh, no,” I thought, “Someone has left the gate open.” I had visions of a nice, plump sheep munching away at my new gardenia. I looked out the window to instead see the overgrown terrace above our garden filled with sheep and goats!

 

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How perfect! I’ve always joked about getting a goat to cut down on the weeds next door so they stop growing into our garden. This was the perfect solution as this crowd of goats and sheep were clearly happy to have such a feast before them. They worked away for about an hour, while some of the goats explored the area. I do suspect they were trying to figure out how to get to my gardenia down below!

 

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Just listen to that wonderful sound! I had the windows open and the house filled with their happy calls and tinkling bells. This morning I can see the real dent that they made, and I hope they come back soon to work on the lower terrace.

 

The Weather Plays the Tricks on April Fool’s Day

 

It was a beautiful sunny morning. “Ah,” I thought,  “The first of April, and a perfectly lovely day for the boats to start running.” Standing with my morning cup of tea, I watched out the window as a boat surprisingly crowded with passengers headed into the port of Amalfi. Today the Travelmar Linea Intercostiera Amalfitana service started for the new season, with boats running between Salerno, Amalfi and Positano. Prices for these ferries are very reasonable (between €6-10) and the service is quick and easy – and not to mention an extremely beautiful way to see the Amalfi Coast!

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Feeling optimistic about lovely spring weather, I went to the desk to work, with thoughts of a nice afternoon walk in mind. But while I wasn’t looking, the weather pulled an April Fool’s Day trick on me. Before I could say “Pesce d’Aprile,” the clouds came. And then the wind felt left out and decided to come for the laughs. Raindrops were just falling on my head as I went out to bring in the mail.

 

Oh, well. Isn’t that just spring for you? Hope you all are having a trick free day. And watch out for becoming the Pesce d’Aprile!

Travel Inspirations: The Power of Healing in Hiroshima

I am very please to launch my new series called Travel Inspirations with a guest post by Abigail King from Inside the Travel Lab. Sometimes it’s around the familiar corner and sometimes it’s around the world, but you never know when your travels will take you to a place that hits you deep, a place you will carry with you for the rest of your travels. This week Abigail shares with us some moving moments and beautiful photographs from her travels in Hiroshima, Japan. Welcome, Abigail!

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The view from Miyajima island is often described as one of the most beautiful in Japan. A softly curved Torii, a scarlet figure a little like the symbol pi, rises out of the calm water against a backdrop of mountains and the ferryboats crossing from Hiroshima.

 

Laura invited me to write about a place I love and how it inspired me and I thought of this corner of the world. It’s tranquil now, with its rows of stony lanterns and gently lapping shore, but in 1945 it witnessed one of history’s worst moments.

 

When the Enola Gay dropped the world’s first atomic bomb, killing 80,000 in a single day and thousands more through injury and disease, the world was introduced to a new level of fear and horror. One that became synonymous with the name of the place itself.

 

How could such an act become inspiring?

 

A visit to twenty-first century Hiroshima, a clean city with efficient trams, schoolchildren in uniform, shopkeepers, parks and all the workings of a healthy, happy place, showed me the power of healing.

 

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The Peace Memorial Park uses monuments, rainbow paper cranes and commemorative services not only to remember the dead but also to promote peace. A flame burns in front of the cenotaph, not in vengeance or retribution, but in peace.

 

Across the water, on Miyajima island, it’s easy to get swept up in the tourist driven port that sells geisha shoes, rice scoops and trinkets covered in calligraphy. However, as the sunlight fades, the island offers quiet, inspiration and even a glimpse of peace.

 

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Abigail King is a journalist with a passion for travel. She blogs at Inside the Travel Lab and writes travel features for Cheap Weekend Breaks and MNUI Travel Insurance.