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Posts Tagged ‘calabria’

This is FINALLY my last post about Italy.

On the last few days of our Italian adventure, we hung with Cherrye and Peppe’s friends and suddenly it was just like they were our friends too. We went out for pizza to their favorite pizza place.

Then went to a bar for limoncello and gelato.

One night, we learned how to make homemade limoncello. Remember this lemon tree?

Cherrye was all prepared by pre-soaking the lemon rinds, so it would be ready for us to drink.

Here’s an action shot of us pouring and straining.

Peppe taught us how to make risotto then we st down to enjoy 1 Euro wine. Later, some of Cherrye and Peppe’s friends joined us for limoncello before we had to start packing up.

The next morning we hit the road and said goodbye to Cherrye, Peppe, and Max,  thanking them for being such wonderful hosts and friends.

And with that, we said arrivederci to Italy.

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The coolest thing about Southern Italy is that there are so many places to visit within a few minutes, to a couple of hours driving. So our next day trip took us to Pizzo.

Another cool thing about Southern Italy, is that almost everything is on the coast, so you get beautiful views almost everywhere you go!

For our first stop in Pizzo, Cherrye brought us to the Chiesa di Piedigrotta.

According to legend, some sailors were caught in a very bad storm and thought they’d all die. So they prayed to the Madonna, that if their lives were spared, they’d build her a shrine. So they washed up on this beach, climbed into this cave and began building a shrine to the Madonna.

Over many years, artists have come come to add to the shrine, and there are many aging, yet beautiful, sculptures and frescoes that give thanks to the Madonna.

A trip to Pizzo is not complete without trying the famous Tartufo di Pizzo. To call it just ice cream would be a sin, as Tartufo is so much more. To find it you go into downtown Pizzo and stop at almost any restaurant. Many of them claim to have created the Tartufo.

Make your own taste test contest by trying several places. But anyway, to the Tartufo. Tartufo means truffle, and the traditional tartufo is chocolate and hazelnut ice cream, with a liquid chocolate center, rolled in cocoa powder.

We also tried a white chocolate version that was equally delicious.

After your tartufo. You might want to walk off a few calories, and Pizzo has plenty of breathtaking views.

This is the Murat Castle. We couldn’t go inside the day we visited, but after seeing Murat, during our trip we saw 3 of Cherrye’s 5 favorite fortresses in Calabria.

No trip with girlfriends is complete without a (mostly complete) group photo!

I’ve got one more post about Italian hospitality before we wrap up, so I hope you don’t miss it.

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On our 4th stop in Italy, we stayed in Catanzaro, home of my friends Cherrye and Peppe, for a few days. (Unsolicited plug here: Cherrye and Peppe have a fantastic B&B, Il Cedro, so if you ever find yourself in Italy, do yourself a favor and go visit them. Cherrye also has started doing ancestry tours, vacation planning, and so much more through her company My Bella Vita, so she’s been brushing up on her Southern Italy history. Much of this trip was only possible due to her expertise, so I’ll include some links to her posts about them if you’re interested in learning more.)

One of our day trips took us to Le Castella. From afar, this looks like a giant sand castle. It dates back to the Homer/Odyssey/Mythology/BC times. It’s pretty cool to possibly be standing some place so old.

The same day trip also took us to the ruins at Roccelletta. These ruins have both Greek and Roman history. Although some may say have been ruined (heh!) by the installation of some modern art pieces throughout the ruins.

And before I continue my recapping, a gratuitous shot of a lemon tree. No wonder, limoncello is such a popular thing in Italy!

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Ok, so you probably forgot that I went to Italy last year, but I did. And I’m just now finally wrapping up all my posts about it, almost a year later. That’s what I get for being lazy and just not getting around to writing about my trip having so much fun in Italy and taking so many pictures that I have a hard time choosing which ones to show you.

Here are all my posts on Italy if you’d like to catch up from the beginning. I’ll update this post when I finish everything (I think I have two or three more left) so anyone interested in a trip to Italy can find everything in one place. If you have any questions about anything, let me know.

Staying in touch on your overseas vacation

Italy: Almost there, our Amsterdam layover

Italy: First stop, Rome Part 1

Italy: First stop, Rome Part 2

Italy First stop: Rome Part 3

Italy Second stop: Florence

Italy Third Stop: Scalea

Italy Third Stop: Scalea – Adventures

Italy Third Stop: Scalea – Adventures Part 2

Italy: A Public Service Announcement

Italian Cooking Lesson

Italy 4th Stop: Catanzaro – Pizzo

Italy 4th Stop: Catanzaro – Le Castella and Roccelletta

Italy 4th Stop: Catanzaro – In Italy You’re Always With Friends

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Cherrye, from My Bella Vita , and I were talking the other day about blogging and  traveling, and I thought it would be great to have her share some of her best travel tips.  I haven’t been on a major trip since last year, but I since I do periodically travel for work, these tips are still very applicable.

So, without further ado, take it away Cherrye.

_____

For the last decade I’ve been in a perpetual state of planning international vacations, flying to said destination or recovering from the trip (and getting ready to do it all over again.) I’ve made mistakes-like the time I thought I was too cool for a fanny pack and was relieved of my cash and credit cards on the train to Venice-and I’ve done some things right-like avoiding abduction on the streets of Salzburg. But through it all, I’ve learned a few things about prepping for a big trip and Andrea asked me to share some of what I’ve learned-the hard way!-with you today.

Here are three things I do to prepare for a big trip.

1. Know Before You Go

This should go without saying, and even now I’m amazed that I would travel to fabulous foreign destinations without even picking up a guide book.

Ridiculous?

Yes!

I am afraid to look back and see what I missed out on by not being prepared … but you don’t have to.

Especially today, vacationers can go the Internet, read blogs written by destination experts or locals, follow these people on Twitter, find their fan pages on Facebook and ask for book or movie recommendations that are based in the city they plan to visit.

Not only will this help you prepare for your trip, but you will also gain a better cultural understanding of the place you are visiting and it might help eliminate some of the culture shock you’ll experience upon arriving.

2. You *Do* Need an Itinerary

You’d be surprised at how many people spend thousands of dollars on a vacation without properly planning the details.

Even if you don’t want every detail of your day mapped out-which, for the record, I’d agree with-you should jot in the major things you want to see or experience and double-check opening days and times to ensure you don’t end your vacation on a sour note.

3. Keep a Running List

I have one basic list I use for every trip I take. It is saved on my hard drive and when it comes time to plan a new trip, I print it out, look at my itinerary and add or delete things, as necessary.

Make a copy of your final packing list and keep it in your carry-on in case your checked luggage is misplaced or items are missing from your bags upon arrival. When you pack for your return, just add in the few things you purchased on your trip and hold on to your list until you get home.

I learned this final part a year or so ago, after more than $800 worth of personal items and clothes went missing during a Lufthansa/Air One flight. (To be fair, they eventually paid up, but that is a whole ‘nuther story.)


What other tips do you have for preparing for an international trip?

Cherrye Moore is a freelance writer and Calabria tour consultant living in Catanzaro, Italy. She writes about traveling in Calabria on her site, My Bella Vita and about her experiences as an expat in Italy for AffordableCallingCards.net.

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