ciao-amalfi-theme-creativity-1

My One-Word Theme for 2018: CREATIVITY

For many years now, I’ve started the new year by choosing one word that encapsulates my goals and intentions for the year ahead. While there are a lot of people out there doing this, I think the idea was inspired some time ago by my friend Michelle over at Bleeding Espresso. I find with my attention focused on one idea that I carry with me throughout the year that it often has more impact than resolutions. Those can so often get left behind.
 
Last year my one-word them was CHANGE. Hoo-boy was it ever a year of change. Although, as the end of the year approached, I did have some doubts about having made positive progress with change over the course of the year. Let’s just say December arrived and taught me a thing or two about change. While all positive, it has felt an awful lot like a roller coaster. I don’t really like roller coasters. But I’ve gripped on extra tight to CHANGE and am going along for the ride to see what exciting new places it takes me. And just maybe I’ve thrown my hands up in the air and screamed in exhilaration a few times!

I can see that CHANGE is still in full swing in my life and will certainly be carrying over to 2018. At times I thought maybe I was looking at a two year theme. But I had a sneaky suspicion another word would arrive. For me these one-word themes always come rather unexpectedly. When they do you just know it’s right. Just when I thought I had settled on another word, this year’s one-word theme arrived a couple of weeks ago and made itself right at home. CREATIVITY.

ciao-amalfi-theme-creativity-5

Ahh … now that just feels right. Much of the change in 2017 was shifting situations in to make space for bringing more creativity into my life. While, yes, it’s true that there’s already a great deal of creativity in my life, what has been missing is the space to pursue new creative projects. From the home remodel project we’re about to start in Amalfi to spending more time with photography and some possible projects I can’t quite share with you yet, this is going to be an exciting year full of CREATIVITY!

Do you have a one-word theme for the year? Please do share it below in the comments. I’d love to hear how you’re envisioning your 2018!

ciao-amalfi-estate-san-martino-1

“L’Estate di San Martino” in Amalfi

During breakfast this morning, I heard the weatherman on the TV talking about the “Estate di San Martino,” which means the Summer of San Martino. This is similar to what we call an Indian Summer in the USA. It’s when the weather is particularly nice after a cold spell, but it refers specifically to this period since the festival for San Martino takes place today. I looked out the window and it was a gloriously sunny day. A true and proper L’Estate di San Martino! We spent the morning running some errands before stopping at the Gran Caffè, which has outdoor seating overlooking the beach. You can spot the umbrellas in the upper right of the photo above. It’s one of my favorite spots in Amalfi for a Spritz or a light lunch. Today, with the sun shining down, it was perfection.

After lunch we took a leisurely stroll along the waterfront in Amalfi all the way to the end of the town’s largest pier and then back again. One of the things I love about Amalfi is that even though it’s small there’s a wonderful passeggiata if you walk from one end of the town to the other.

ciao-amalfi-estate-san-martino-5

The harbor still feels empty after the busy summer months, but the winter is my favorite time of the year for taking photos along the waterfront. There are still a few gozzo boats and the usual cast of colorful fishing boats that stick around all winter.

ciao-amalfi-estate-san-martino-vertical

Although the piazza was surprisingly busy, the waterfront was very quiet. It’s especially nice to walk along here after lunch, when many people are still resting. You can sit on a bench, take in this view below and for just a few minutes feel like you have it all to yourself.

ciao-amalfi-estate-san-martino-6

The sun was deliciously warm today, and a few people were even taking advantage of that on the Marina Grande beach. I would have loved to have spent a little bit more time in the sunshine. More rain and clouds are in the forecast for the week ahead – all the more reason to enjoy the sun today!

ciao-amalfi-estate-san-martino-2

I hope you enjoyed this quick update from a beautiful day in Amalfi. In this world of social media, it’s a pleasure to get back to my blogging roots. However, if you’d like to join me for more daily updates from the Amalfi Coast, you can find me on Instagram @ciaoamalfi.

 

Last of the October Beach Days

If you’re lucky, summer comes back for a little visit in October. These lingering summer days are extra special at the beach on the Amalfi Coast, because they’ve already been abandoned by the crowds. We’ve had so many warm days this month that it seems strange to have already set the clocks back for daylight savings and that November is just around the corner. How did that even happen?

It’s that time of year to start the annual hunt for the tricky ingredients for the Thanksgiving dinner I’ll be preparing before too long. Every once in awhile the cold north wind has been blowing down from the mountains and I’ve already made the “cambio di stagione” change in our wardrobes from summer to autumn and winter. Yet at the same time the sun has been shining and beckoning us back into summer.

ciao-amalfi-santa-croce-october-1

Catching the boat to Santa Croce beach from Amalfi

Last week we took a trip back to summer and spent the day at Santa Croce beach near Amalfi – always one of my favorite spots. While we were walking along the harbor debating lunch plans, my husband spotted the boat from Ristorante Da Teresa arriving. We glanced at one another only very briefly. “It’s a sign,” I called out, already running down the steps to the pier to jump aboard.

ciao-amalfi-santa-croce-october-2

Ready to go to Santa Croce

The Darsena pier, which you can see above, is where you can catch the boat to Santa Croca. Look for this long, pale pink boat with the sign saying Ristorante Da Teresa.

ciao-amalfi-santa-croce-october-3

On the way!

Climb aboard and in a few minutes you’ll be at Santa Croce beach. The boat service is complimentary for patrons of the restaurant or if you’re renting a sunbed and umbrella.

ciao-amalfi-santa-croce-october-4

Arriving at Ristorante Da Teresa

The only way to reach this rocky beach is by boat. Usually, there’s another restaurant called Santa Croce to the left, but it had already been dismantled for the season when we went last week. The sea can be so rough during winter storms that the entire restaurant structure is pretty much removed for protection. When we got ashore, I spotted two lonely looking orange sunbeds on one side of the beach. They were lonely no more! I’ve been to Santa Croce many times, even at the end of the season, but I’ve never had half of the beach to myself. It was divine.

ciao-amalfi-santa-croce-october-7

Now this is my idea of the beach …

I really needed some time – just me and the sound of the sea. It was completely relaxing soaking up the autumn sun and listing to the waves tumbling little rocks to and fro. It was a bit too chilly for me to swim, but my husband took a dip before lunch.

ciao-amalfi-santa-croce-october-8

Having the sea to yourself

After a bit we went upstairs to the dining terrace for a relaxed lunch overlooking the sea. As always, the meal was excellent.

ciao-amalfi-santa-croce-october-11

Lunch with a soothing view

A crisp, local rosé was the perfect complement to a delicious meal. Naturally, seafood is the best choice here, and we had antipasti of friend anchovies and squid cooked with roasted peppers. Then pasta made with a local fish called gallinella.

ciao-amalfi-santa-croce-october-13

Summer sunshine and an Amalfi Coast rosé

After lunch it was back to the sun for a little while before returning to Amalfi. There were a few boats coming and going, dropping of travelers for lunch at Da Teresa. Otherwise it was total tranquility.

ciao-amalfi-santa-croce-october-5

Hang on summer

I spent some time reading and scrambling around like I always do on the rocks to take photos. Never gets old this beach. Water is such a soothing element for me, and just being near the sea can wash away a world of stress.

ciao-amalfi-santa-croce-october-20

Back home to Amalfi

It always comes too soon, but before long it was time for the last boat back to Amalfi … and to our busy October days. But for just one day I could pretend it was still summer.

 

 

 

Italy Blogging Roundtable

Italy Roundtable
This blog post is part of a series called The Italy Blogging Roundtable. Every month our group of Italy based writers takes on a new theme, and you can read the contributions for this month’s topic – Elements – at the links below. We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Please share the stores if you’ve enjoyed them!

ArtTravA Gift from the Earth: Potatoes in the Alto Adige

At Home in Tuscany

Bleeding Espresso

Brigolante

Italy ExplainedSecrets of Underground Naples

Girl in FlorenceThe Man Protecting Tuscany’s Sea: Paolo Fanciulli

Italofile

ciao-amalfi-ferry-service-to-minori-maiori-cetara-beach-minori-travelmar

Amalfi Coast Ferry Service to Minori, Maiori & Cetara

ciao-amalfi-ferry-service-to-minori-maiori-cetara-beach-minori-travelmar

Get Around the Amalfi Coast with Ferry Service to Minori, Maiori & Cetara!

For ease of bus and ferry transportation connections, I often recommend travelers stay in Amalfi while visiting the Amalfi Coast. However, thanks to the ferry service Travelmar started running last year connecting Maiori, Minori and Cetara with the ferry line between Amalfi and Salerno, it’s now easier than ever to get around the Amalfi Coast! My favorite way to travel between towns on the Amalfi Coast is on the ferry, which you can read more about here. If you’re planning on staying in Minori, Maiori or Cetara—or would like to visit these towns during your stay—it’s now easy and scenic to do so by ferry.

ciao-amalfi-ferry-service-to-minori-maiori-cetara-beach-minori

Take the ferry to Minori

I really love Cetara and Minori – they’re both smaller towns and are usually a bit less crowded during busy season. Cetara has an old world fishing village charm, with its picturesque beach and watchtower. There are some excellent restaurants just a few steps from the beach where you can try dishes made with the local garum – an anchovy sauce made since ancient Roman times in Cetara. While in Minori you can explore the winding streets and visit the Villa Romana. Maiori is geographically one of the largest towns on the Amalfi Coast, and it has long seafront, more shopping and is often a bit more lively in the evenings.

ciao-amalfi-ferry-service-to-minori-maiori-cetara-beach-minori-cetara-from-ferry

Cetara from the sea

With the Travelmar ferry service to Minori, Maiori and Cetara, you can easily hop between towns along the coast that in the past have only been accessible by bus if you’re traveling by public transport on the coast – highly recommended! And thankfully there are quite a few connections daily, which makes it very convenient. Check out the Travelmar schedule to find out more.

ciao-amalfi-positano-wisteria-1

Italy Roundtable: The Rush of the Strange and Unfamiliar

ciao-amalfi-positano-wisteria-1

This month’s Italy Roundtable topic “foreign” brought in a host of interesting topics from the group – all thoughtful, reflective and informative. Be sure to check them all out at the links below! While I am a foreigner living in Italy, there’s another aspect of the word “foreign” that has been rattling around in the back of my mind this week. The secondary meaning of the word is listed as “strange and unfamiliar.” Dictionary example: “I suppose this all feels pretty foreign to you.” Now that sounds about right! It got me thinking. When was the last time you experienced something foreign? There’s a thrill that comes from the strange and unfamiliar. It means stepping out of your comfort zone, whatever the experience might be.

ciao-amalfi-positano-wisteria-2

I don’t know about you, but I thrive in the strange and unfamiliar. Not that I go in search of it. I’m certainly not an adventure seeking sort of person. Perhaps more of the sort that enjoys finding the adventure in everyday life. Whatever it is, I find that I am the happiest when I have quite literally no idea what I’m doing. It probably started with when I fell in love with studying ancient Greek in college. That was remarkable. Then there was that time I was a data analyst for Fannie Mae. (Seriously.) Or when I decided to study art history in graduate school and called up my mom to ask, “Hey, Mom, so I have to include a research paper with my application. What’s a research paper?” Then there was the time 10 years ago when I moved to Italy without speaking any Italian. Or when I started freelance writing and editing. The land of “strange and unfamiliar” is my home.

ciao-amalfi-positano-wisteria-3

So why the wisteria? Well it’s pretty. Besides that, it represents a moment I had recently that reminded me how important those strange and the unfamiliar moments are in our lives. Sure a trip to a new country around the world is exciting, but how can you get out of your comfort zone right now, right where you’re at? When I went to Positano earlier this month to see the wisteria, I decided to make some video clips so I could start learning how to use iMovie. It may have taken me a few weeks to finish that video, but when I uploaded it to YouTube yesterday, I had a rush. There it was. Something strange and unfamiliar. I have quite literally no idea how to make movies, and yet there I go putting one out to the world to see. It’s nothing special. I have a lot to learn. But what is special is that incredible experience of doing something strange and unfamiliar!

Go out and try something foreign this week – a new restaurant, a new drink at your local coffee shop, a new way to drive to work, a new genre that you usually don’t read, a new craft, a new recipe, a different type of creative endeavor. Don’t worry if it doesn’t work out. Let me know how it felt to experience something foreign!

 

Italy Blogging Roundtable

Italy Roundtable
This blog post is part of a series called The Italy Blogging Roundtable. Every month our group of Italy based writers takes on a new theme, and you can read the contributions for this month’s topic – Foreign – at the links below. We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Please share the stores if you’ve enjoyed them!

ArtTravRefugees in Tuscany: New Book Questions Preconceptions

At Home in TuscanyForeigners in Tuscany

Italy ExplainedThe 5 Letters of the Alphabet Banned by Mussolini

Girl in Florence50 Shades of “Foreign” in Florence, Italy

ItalofileFrom Foreign Language to Lingua Franca: Italian Immersion Programs in Italy