November 10, 2014

Socks With Nine Yarns
Pattern: K3P1
Yarn: Nine Bits of Leftover Sock Yarn
Needles: Circular - 2.25 mm
Before we left for Italy, I finished off a pair of socks using the remnants of yarn from nine other pairs. It was fun trying to fit the colours together in the best possible way and I felt very thrifty indeed. I have knit so many socks over the last seven years that I can easily wile away the winter months on other projects like this one.
While in Italy, we visited the ruins of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Paestum, and Oplonti. We were a small tour group (twelve plus three hosts) and had an excellent guide, Luciano, who possessed a wealth of knowledge that he was able to convey in such a clear and concise manner.
Street in Pompeii with the various shop fronts. There are grooves visible in the stones of the street from the iron clad wooden wheels of chariots and carts.
The Romans had wooden folding doors with grooves in the stone for sliding them open and closed. I suspect they did as good (if not better) job of hanging doors than our present day contractors.
The amphitheatre at Pompeii
An example of the beautifully painted rooms of the Pompeii villas
A glimpse into the past - 79 A. D.
A wine bar - one of many on the streets of Pompeii - and we think wine bars are a modern day thing!

November 01, 2014

Come Back To Sorrento

 Imperial Hotel Tramontano
We have just returned from a tour of Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast and how we loved Italy!
The first morning there, our marvellous guide, Luciano, dispelled any romantic notions we might have had about the famous song "Come Back To Sorrento". Indeed, not written by someone pining for his lover, the song was composed as a plea for the return of postal services to the town. Who knew! 
Ah, the beautiful Imperial Tramontano Hotel in Sorrento. With its wide marble staircases, oil paintings depicting the traditional life of Campania, balconies overlooking the sea, gardens with palm trees, and the dining room facing the ocean (where the waiters wear white in the morning and dress in black tuxedos when serving dinner), it should be called the Grand Imperial Hotel Tramontano!
This was the view from the balcony of our room with Naples, Herculaneum, Mount Vesuvius, and Pompeii in the distance.
A side view from our hotel balcony at night.
Sorrento, like all towns along the Amalfi coast, has thousands of tourists and lots of gelato!

There's no end of shopping. Sorrento and all the towns on the Amalfi Coast are chock a block full of stores with high end designer clothing, scarves, Italian linens, hats, jewellery, foodstuffs and pasta seasonings. And many, many tourists. Italy seemed like a nation of tour buses.

The area is known for its pasta production, ceramics, lemon and olive harvests, and there's no end of specialty lemon products - lemon candies and soaps, limoncello liqueur, and ceramics painted with lemon motifs.
Women Take Note: Once outside the hotel, public toilets are not designed, like those in North America, with the comfort of women in mind. They have no toilet seats!

We walked through a small lemon grove in Sorrento. Lemon and olive trees also overhung the sidewalks and the roadsides.
At one time, there were hundreds of craftsmen in the area who specialized in inlaid wood products - boxes, frames, furniture, etc. Now there are less than twenty doing the work by hand, working with veneers of cherry, walnut, mahogany, ivory, etc. We visited the museum of inlaid wood and the large pieces of furniture were stunning.

We purchased very little in Italy as we were there mainly to see the sights, visit the archaeological   ruins, and experience the lifestyle. We could not resist, however, bringing home a box of inlaid wood which we bought from an elderly gentleman who still does the work by hand with his brother at a shop in Sorrento - A. Stinga.

Beautiful majolica tiles set into a stone wall on a street in Sorrento
An inner church courtyard close to the hotel where weddings are often performed.