Learning about the three main species of jellyfish in the Black Sea while waiting for a ferry at the edge of the Bosphorus might not be considered a typical item on the itinerary of a traveler’s first day in Istanbul. Our informant, Ahmet Kideys, was not a tour guide either. He’s trained as a marine biologist and serves as the executive director of the Permanent Secretariat for the Commission for the Protection of the Black Sea from Pollution (Black Sea Commission), a group dedicated to environmental cooperation among the six countries surrounding the sea. Continue reading Not a traveler’s typical first day in Istanbul→
Date: 2/21/09 (Saturday) Location: Campania and Lazio Regions, Italy
In a rented Fiat 500 (cinquecento), we spent the past week on a culinary and wine tasting tour of the Campania and Lazio regions of Italy. We visited Benevento, Guardia Sanframondi, Castelvenere, Telese, Ceprano, Frosinone, Atina and Minturno. We also visited archeological and geological sites of interest in Naples (National Archeological Museum), Pompei (Pompeii Excavations and Mt. Vesuvius) and Pozzuoli (Phlegrean Fields).
Yesterday was market day in Gaeta. The sunshine enticed everyone outdoors for a shopping frenzy. The tomatoes looked redder, the fennel bulbs shinier, and the smiles brighter than they have in weeks around town.
Lisa does most of our shopping for fruits and veggies on via Indipendenza, but she can’t resist a lively market once in awhile. The fennel spoke to her this week, so last night we had it braised as a contorni (side dish) with a left-over red rice risotto with chicken and roasted butternut squash — yesterday’s food inspiration. The day before it was spinach soup made from the most delicious spinach bought from an older woman across from Da Natalino’s butcher shop. And then there was the ricotta cheese from our favorite deli — that became the inspiration for veggie lasagna. We are so lucky to have access to such wonderful foods here in Italy. It’s a good fit for our efforts at more mindful and healthful eating.
Part of our winter health and wellness program includes daily walks around Gaeta. Today we set out just before sunset and listened to the loudspeaker-enhanced flag lowering ceremony as we strolled past the USS Mount Whitney which arrived in port today, and we stopped in at Bar Bazzanti for a cafe macciato and to admire the signed print from the Lepanto series by American artist Cy Twombly who lives in town. He inscribed the poster with a short poem:
“By the sea, by the sea, how happy we will be, in the Bar Bazzanti.”
Nothing of note here as this was just an overnight stop for us. The purpose-built marina was almost empty, and we had an unhelpful dock-hand while securing the boat for the night. Luckily, no damage was done, and we left early the next day. The east coast of Sardinia is very rugged, remote and beautiful. We enjoyed the views and a pleasant sail, although it was the second day in a row where we experienced a sudden wind shift late in the afternoon.
A big city and busy port with everything a cruising sailor needs, that is if you like big cities and busy ports. Cagliari is also very old and historic with lots of charm, and although we found the marina facilities adequate, they certainly lacked the polished appearance of some of the fancier places we had been in Portugal and Spain. Everyone was helpful and friendly, and we managed to stretch our legs quite a bit on the long walks into the city center.
A beautiful day to sail around the south end of Sardinia, some of the time in the company of a Swedish-owned yacht with the owner and three crew aboard on their way to Malta. In very settled conditions, we anchored at sunset for one night in shallow water in the small bay which has been used since Phoenician times and is the site of Nora, an important Phoenician-Roman archeological site.
We arrived in Sardinia after a rougher than expected crossing from Menorca and had no problem making a night entry just after sunset. We followed a ferry into the harbor and tied up alongside a floating dock recommended by friends on s/v Onyx which turned out to be part of Marina Sifredi. With no one around after hours, we checked-in the following day.Carloforte is a wonderful, small town on Isla San Pietro, connected to Sardinia by ferry. Like many small islands we visit, the pace of life is slower here and the people are more relaxed than on the mainland. The locals are very friendly and eager to chat with sailors arriving by sea. We struggled a bit to make the transition from hearing and speaking Spanish to Italian, but luckily the marina staff spoke English to help smooth the way.