Autumn Reflections

 Autumn Colors in Ravello on the Amalfi Coast

Autumn glory in Ravello at the Hotel Parsifal

It has been hard to know what to write. Tomorrow will be three weeks that my husband has been sick, and every day I hope he will be feeling better. We’re thankful that it’s nothing extremely serious and we’re anticipating a full recovery. It has just been very tough and very slow. On the days when I have had the chance to even think about writing something here–between trips to the farmacia, waiting for doctor visits, taking care of my husband and desperately trying to keep up with work–it has seemed dishonest to write without any regard to what is actually going on my life.

While I can’t look at these autumn photos I’ve taken recently without remembering what I was doing and the worries or hopes of that particular day, when I do look at them they also remind me that in the midst of everything there has been time to see the beauty around me. That’s one of the reasons I take photos. I suppose, in a sense, it’s one form of mindfulness. Refusing to get caught up so much that I’m not brought to a standstill to admire the rich colors of the autumn leaves, a pile of crates filled to the brim with grapes from the harvest or the early morning glow of the sunshine on deep red vines. And so I share some of these mindful moments and their beauty. Yes, they definitely do help.

Amalfi Coast Travel Autumn Wine Harvest

Time for the vendemmia on the Amalfi Coast

 

Amalfi Coast Travel Autumn Scala

Autumn hues in Scala

 

Amalfi Coast Travel Autumn Leaves

Crunch crunch crunch …

 

Amalfi Coast Travel Autumn Colors

Early morning sunshine on deep red grape vines

 

Amalfi Coast Travel Scooter

Last days of help from my trusty old friend before it gets too cold

Peace is the Way

Peace is the Way

Today is the International Day of Peace, a day designated by the United Nations General Assembly as one dedicated to “strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.” I’m joining in with people from around the world to share a moment of peace with you. May you find your way to peace–at least for a few moments–today. The more I take a step away from the hectic pace of life to meditate, the more I see how that peace from meditation stays with me in all my activities. Whatever meditation means for you, go there. Maybe that means taking a walk, looking at the brilliant colors of  autumn, listening to the wind or gazing at the clouds. Or perhaps it means sitting meditation. Or maybe you get into that quiet space when running or doing yoga. It’s all good. That’s the start of finding your own way to peace. The impact on your life is immense, but the impact on the world is unlimited!

If you’d like to join in the International Day of Peace, check out the World Peace Global Meditation on Sunday, September 21, 2014 organized by Unify.org.

September Storm Clouds Amalfi Coast

Majestic Clouds

September on the Amalfi Coast

September is usually a very busy month with work and catching up after the summer, and especially so this year after traveling to America to visit family in August. In my free moments, which are already few and far between, I’ve been working on updating some things behind the scenes and adding a few new features for Ciao Amalfi to make the blog far more accessible. In the meantime, the Amalfi Coast has been putting on quite a show of its majestic landscape. Last week was stormy, which brought with it some spectacular views courtesy mother nature.

September on the Amalfi Coast Atrani

Watching big storms pass by out at sea is a remarkable experience. When I took these photos there was lighting in the distance toward Salerno, but over Amalfi, Atrani, Ravello and Scala the sun was shining. You could get lost in the big white clouds, which is precisely what I did for a little while.

September Storm Clouds Amalfi Coast

But then it was back to work time!

 

Easter Weekend Errands

Amalfi Coast Travel Rainy View

Not a bad view!

This morning we set out early to do some shopping for Easter lunch before the shops got too crowded. As Easter is really the kick off to the tourist season on the Amalfi Coast, we also hopped to beat some of the traffic. We got through the shopping at the fruit and vegetable shop (line not too bad), the butcher (line much longer) and even scored a small pastiera without too much of a wait at all. We whizzed past the traffic that was totally blocked coming into Amalfi (cringing because we knew we’d have to come back that way since there is only one road …) and decided to stop by the mechanic in Conca dei Marini to have him look at the tires on the car. Big heavy clouds loomed over the mountain, but the view toward Praiano with the Li Galli islands off the coast was still a lovely sight while we waited.

Amalfi Coast Travel Rainstorm

It’s going to rain!

After awhile the sky darkened and I watched as a rainstorm swept quickly across the sea toward the coastline. Just before the rain arrived there were several young tourists that passed by with a map looking rather confused and in search of a hiking path in the mountains high above. I poked my husband outside to help them, but there was really no convincing them otherwise, so he eventually just pointed them in the right direction. One wouldn’t really call this a good day for hiking, yet there were a lot of people out doing just that. At least the hiking group below were mostly fitted out for the rain, although their boots were sounding a bit squishy as they trudged past. They looked happy though!

Amalfi Coast Travel Easter Weather

It’s a long way to Tipperary, er, Positano in the rain!

On the way back to Amalfi we did get stuck in that traffic, and it was getting later and later by the moment and our stomachs were rumbling. I rustled through the shopping in the back seat of the car and pulled out the small casatiello, a rich bread made for Easter in the Naples area, and tore off a chunk for each of us while we waited. I suggested some sopressata and my husband dug out a knife he keeps in the car for emergencies. You know, emergencies like pre-Easter picnics in the car while stuck in traffic in Amalfi. One must always be prepared. It was hilarious and delicious at the same time. So, the shopping for Easter is done and there’s still a little sopressata left for tomorrow. Buona Pasqua a tutti!

Brave Toulouse

Ciao Amalfi Toulouse

Meet Toulouse … one brave kitten!

Today is two months since Toulouse’s big day. Early in the morning on December 17th, we packed up Toulouse and headed off to the veterinario, the vet, for surgery on his right front leg. You might remember the dramatic way little Toulouse came into our family on a Monday at the end of last summer. As a tiny kitten he was attacked by a stray cat right in front of our eyes and suffered significant nerve damage. He couldn’t walk at all for about a week, but slowly he regained movement in all of his legs except the right front one. Discussing his situation with an experienced vet and childhood friend of my husband, we we made the difficult decision to amputate the leg that he couldn’t move. We knew it was the best option for Toulouse’s well being, but it was still a hard choice.

Toulouse and the Lobster

The day after Toulouse’s surgery

Eventually it would have developed more complicated issues, and the younger we did it the easier it would be for him to adapt. Turns out that getting used to moving around on three legs was pretty easy! Since he hadn’t had use of that leg since he was about 4 weeks old, he was already a pro at jumping, running and playing. We noticed it was significantly easier for him without the weight of that leg or the claws getting stuck.

Toulouse With Blue Bandage Sleeping

Toulouse sporting his blue bandage after the surgery and being spoiled

We stuck pretty close to home for Christmas and New Year’s while Toulouse healed. It was a rather slow process since he’s a rambunctious kitten. He pulled some stitches out and had to have 4 more put back in. He didn’t seem to notice much, but it freaked us out. He was far too busy playing and enjoying all the fun things of Christmas. Like wrapping (and unwrapping) presents!

Christmas with Toulouse

Christmas presents come in boxes, panettone comes in boxes … I love boxes!

Toulouse is a curious, playful and very sweet little guy, and he has quickly become a part of our family. We couldn’t imagine the house without him! And although he may only have one front leg, he has already figured out how to use it for maximum cuteness.

Toulouse Cuteness

Cuteness

Toulouse had an unlucky start to life, but we’re so grateful to have him in our lives. He needed a family to love him, but I suspect we needed him as much as he needed us!