What took me so long to get here?

I visited the little town of Vietri Sul Mare (which is the first town along the Amalfi Coast) for the first time recently and fell in love with it instantly. It’s known to be the ceramics capital of the Campania region and one of the prettiest towns I’ve laid my eyes upon. I’d never heard of it on previous trips but since I’m living here now, I really want to discover places that I’ve never been before and am now wondering what took me so long to find this charming and picturesque town!

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Splashes of colour can be found on the walls and floors, even the water fountain had me in awe. The shopfronts are loud and bold luring you in to more of the same inside. The shopper in me wanted to buy everything in sight and the student in me settled on a fridge magnet to add to my ever-growing collection.

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Ten minutes walk from the town you’ll find Vietri’s beaches which are located at the at the base of a steep cliff.  There are also local buses that you can catch from the town square.

 

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I spent an afternoon at La Ciurma spiagga which is a privately owned beach on a deck with lounge chairs and a DJ. As the afternoon progressed, the music got louder and to my surprise I loved the tunes he was playing which took me back about 10 years to my party days. One thing to note is that the lounge chairs are placed quite close to eachother but this is common on Italian beaches.

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Another beach I visited was Spiagga Del Travertino which is a small pebble beach that can only be reached by boat and is frequented mainly by locals. Make sure you take your own lunch as there there is only one vendor here who sells drinks and ice-creams. I recommend picking up a panino with cold meats and cheese from the local deli on the mainland before you leave. Spending time here was a wonderful local experience for swimming and tanning and I loved that it wasn’t packed with tourists as I was surrounded within earshot of Italians speaking their native language. I’ll just have to remember to bring a beach umbrella or a hat for next time!

Best seat in the house

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The best pizza I’ve had in Italy to date was at Divina Vietri and I’ve had a few pizzas over the years! I’m craving a Diavola now as I’m typing. This pizza was on a another level, the dough was light and airy and the ingredients fresh. The pizzas are served on a basket and the location is lovely, overlooking a small square.

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This town was love at first sight for me and I’m already planning my next trip back!

 

A dream come true!

After returning from my trip to Italy last year the urge to go back grew stronger. This always happens when I return home, however this time it was different. I don’t know if it was because I had turned 40 and something had really shifted within me, but I really felt the need to make this happen for a little longer than just a holiday.  I love this quote from the book The Alchemist by Paul Coelho (a very special gift I received from a very special person):

-When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it-

I can honestly say that’s what happened to me during this whole process. I always knew I could get a study visa but I didn’t want to study something that I wasn’t passionate about. It’s funny how things can be staring you in the face but perhaps the timing wasn’t right, or you were looking in the wrong places. It was right under my nose the whole time – the courses at The Sant’Anna Institute in Sorrento (where I am now a student) were always there, and I found  that that they offered subjects that I had a keen interest in. What more could I ask for? A school in the town that I dreamed about living in!

It’s been 2 weeks since I made the big move to Sorrento and it still feels like I’m holidays, as opposed to a student who will be living here for a year. I must say I found it hard leaving home and more so family and friends who I love so dearly, but that still wasn’t enough to deter me from pursuing my dream. I’ve always wanted to live abroad and after spending so much time here over the last few years, it was a no brainer that this is the sort of lifestyle I wanted to experience.  Don’t get me wrong, working as Project Manager in the Finance Industry allowed me to grow in a professional manner, make some wonderful friends and provide me financial stability but I still felt there was more I wanted to do with my life outside of that world.

My close friends and family know how persistent and passionate I can be when I set my mind to something. This is easily the most challenging decision I’ve had to make in my life and it wasn’t something that just happened overnight. The transition hasn’t been easy, however I knew by giving up certain things that I would gain so much more. Yes, I am the oldest girl in my classes by far (almost double everyone else’s age), yes I’m scared shitless of alot of things and unknowns, yes I have to train my brain to study again and hell yes, I feel like so grateful and blessed that I have this opportunity and I intend to make the most of every moment! Below are some photos I took of Sorrento (including the one above) in my first photography class with my new Sony A6000 . Stay tuned for more of my Italian adventures and travel tips by subscribing to my blog !

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Endless views near Bar Villa Comunale

Surprised by Singapore!

Singapore was never really on my travel list until recently when my friends Paul and Rebecca moved there. Lucky for me, I had the best tour guides a girl could ask for who had lots of local knowledge on what to see, where to eat and what to do. It wasn’t long after I had arrived that left me wondering why I hadn’t visited earlier. On this trip, I was lucky enough to be there for New years celebrations but more on that later.

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New Years celebrations!

The following points may be of interest to you if you’re planning on visiting:

  • You can’t buy chewing gum in Singapore
  • Singapore taxi drivers are typically called “Uncle” (which is an affectionate and respectful expression for someone once they reach a certain age)
  • Singapore’s streets are extremely safe as crime rates are low
  • English is widely spoken and understood
  • You don’t need your winter woolies at any time of the the year as the average temperature all year round is  32 C (90 F), unless of course the air condition is way too high in a taxi, restaurant or shopping centre.
  • Any kind of littering  (including spitting) is an offence that you can get fined up to $1000 for

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Where to eat & drink in Byron Bay

I was able to take Byron Bay off my travel wish list this weekend. It’s somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a long time and I finally made the trip with two of my best friends from childhood. It’s located in the far north-east of New South Wales and is renowned for its free spirited vibe. We stayed at the Elements of Byron which is a resort 10 mins away from the main town centre and just behind  Belongil Beach.  We booked a lovely furnished two-bedroom villa with a great layout that came with 2 bathrooms and king sized beds. We relaxed by the pool and spa for a short time in the mornings while the sun was out, however since it rained for most of the time that we were there, what else could we do but eat?

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My top 10 travel apps

Before and when I travel, I rely so much on technology to research, find the best deals and get the most of every destination. Below are my top 10 travel apps that I never leave home without:

Skyscanner & Iwantthatflight

Both Skyscanner and Iwantthatflight have websites and apps that allow you to compare flight fares with a wide range of airlines. You can compare car hire and hotel costs too. I always set price alerts to keep an eye on the best fares especially  when they have dropped.

Tripadvisor

TripAdvisor provides reviews of accommodation, restaurants and activities. I’m the type of person who will spend hours trawling through reviews to ensure I choose wisely depending on location and ratings. One thing I have noted is that just because a hotel or restaurant isn’t in the top 10 but it still has a high star rating, I will definitely consider it.

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Turning 40… in Italy!

Unlike some, I wasn’t afraid to turn 40.. in fact I tell people my age (even though women aren’t supposed to). I always thought I would celebrate my 40th in New York having been there 7 times but over the last 4 years I found a new love – Italy.

I’ve been to the Amalfi Coast several times and spent alot of time there last year, so going back to celebrate this year was a no brainer. I knew exactly where I wanted to be on my birthday – on a boat trip to Capri that I had already done 4 times with Pasqualino Coast to Coast. It’s my favourite thing to do while I’m there and have had wonderful experiences every single time… my birthday was no different and it was such a magical day! If there’s one thing I recommend you do if you’re ever in Sorrento, it’s a boat trip with Andrea which you won’t regret.

The photo that captured the essence of the day

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