Travel

Remembering the Amalfi Coast

It seems like an eternity ago now that my feet touched down on Italian soil after a dream Greek escapade. In reality it was only 5 months ago that our plane took off from Santorini and landed in Naples via Athens. All those memories come flooding back to me now. The ease of changing countries in Europe, the splendour of short flights and the eagerness to see everything that a country has to offer. I love to travel. To expand my horizons and explore new places with open eyes, a yearning soul and a refreshed mind. Every day to awaken and get excited for all that is planned as well as the unexpected surprises. To travel is to live.

Flashback to the end of March and the start of beautiful spring weather. We didn’t spend much time in Naples until after visiting the majestic Amalfi Coast so our first point of interest was finding the bus that would take us directly to Sorrento. That was our base for this leg of our trip and a glorious town where lemons grew in abundance and their scent filled the air. Specialty shops sold limoncello and you could walk down long, picturesque streets and shop for all the souvenirs your heart desires.

We took a guided tour of the Amalfi Coast from Sorrento in an 8-seater mini van and our extremely confident driver Massimo who navigated all the twists and turns of the road with great precision and confidence. Our first stop was Positano, the jewel of the Amalfi Coast, with its vast mountain vistas and multi-coloured houses stacked on top of each other like Rubik’s cubes. We were only given an hour to spend in that enchanting town with sparkling blue water but since we were there so early in the morning it felt like we had the entire place to ourselves.

Next on the tour was the thriving and extremely beautiful town of Amalfi. The crowds in late-March were plentiful and it would be crazy to imagine what goes on there in the peak of summer! Our driver gave us about 1.5 hours there so we quickly ran up the steps and entered the miraculous Duomo di Amalfi. The interiors of the cathedral were intricate and ornate and I highly recommend a visit even if you’re pressed for time. Amalfi had everything one could possibly want and more. For the brief amount of time I got to walk its streets I could already see that this town was pure gold in terms of lifestyle, shopping, food and relaxation.

For lunch our tour guide took us to the oldest and most marvellous hillside town of Scala where we devoured a light three-course meal. The views from that place were to die for!

Finally we made our last stop in gorgeous Ravello. The home of two lavish villas – Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo, though we only had enough time to visit the latter and what can I say, every square mile of that place was perfection. Our visit was just before the flowers started to bloom but nonetheless the views totally impressed us.

When researching which tours to take along the Amalfi Coast we were spoilt for choice. As it was low-season we waited until we got to Sorrento and then booked our tour from the Information Centre next to the main train station. The company we went with is Amalfi Coast Tour Select. Our driver was witty and charismatic, knowledgable, precise and with a great sense of humour. His driving along the winding roads was incredible. In my experience a tour is always the most memorable part of a trip and having the right tour guide is ultra important. On this occasion, we were thrilled with our tour even though it was a bit of a rush from start to finish. The more you see the better, right?

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Music

Jack Savoretti – “Written in Scars” Review

jack-savoretti-written-in-the-scars

With the launch of his new album “Written in Scars” last week, Jack Savoretti is finally getting the recognition and acclaim he deserves. The album reached #13 in the official UK Chart. I’ve blogged about this wonderful artist in the past (Jack Savoretti: musician, dreamer, poet), but when an act is this talented and this good, it definitely requires more publicity. So here we are.

Jack’s music comes from the heart. Whether you’re listening to his music online or getting goosebumps from his sensational live shows, there’s no denying that this man is the real deal when it comes to emotional lyrics and powerful melodies. His husky voice draws you in, enticing you to listen and dream with every note. The album isn’t yet available for purchase in the Australian iTunes Store, so I’m listening to it on Spotify with his commentary on each new track. My copy of the album is on its way from the UK as we speak.

Jack’s music has evolved so much from his earlier years but each one still has his very unique stamp on it. This album showcases a bolder, braver artist, no longer afraid to challenge himself musically and go to new places previously unattainable. The true artist in Savoretti shines through, gaining him more recognition and keeping his long-time fans happy.

The opening track “Back to Me” sums this fierce new direction up beautifully and is a testament to how far Jack has come. The album progresses with bold music like “Home” and “Tie Me Down”, both strong melodically and a powerhouse in his vocals. The title track “Written in Scars” was the first song written for the album and sets a rebelious, even revolutionary mood that is evident throughout the entire record. In his own words this is “an album done with tremendous determination” and the final track “Fight ‘Til the End” really completes the album with a strong beat and repetition of the lyric “never back down”, showcasing that determination that Savoretti presents in each of the 11 tracks.

Interestingly enough during the commentary Jack mentions that all the music on this album was recorded on the same day it was written, an extraordinary achievement given the technological age we live in. This not only provides a great sense of authenticity to the music, but also helps it feel genuinely from the soul.

Here are two exclusive acoustic recordings of “Home” and “The Other Side of Love” (courtesy of HMV) filmed at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen in London. You can catch Jack touring around the UK, with a select few shows in Italy also in the works. Please visit his website for more info and show your support.