After spending an action packed vacation in the States for a couple of weeks, we headed back to Italy sanz Ben. He stayed behind to spend some time with relatives, something we have come to call Cousin Camp. Now, don’t get me wrong, a house that is accustomed to the “general noise” of a nine year old can be awfully quiet and difficult to get used to, but we made our best attempt. We missed our little munchkin, but a few weekend getaways were quite nice.
Each month, the base sends out a list of festivals that are happening in the area. This is how we learned about the cheese rolling and the festival of fire. It’s great, we start off looking for a festival and stumble onto the cutest little towns. We either stop or mark it on our map so that we can come back to it at a later date. So, our first weekend home without Ben and first up, a renaissance fair. Not really, but there was to be an old castle up on a hill, and music and a flag corps. We punched the coordinates into what we have have come to know as the one of the most beloved members of our family…Jeepus. Yes, you might know him by other names, like GPS, but for us, Jeepus tells us where to go. I may have mentioned it before, but roads here in Italy are not like roads in the states that can be generally described as asphalt with a nice white or yellow line down the middle allowing two cars driving in opposite directions to pass each other. Oh no…heeere, a road can easily be described as a dirt path large enough for barely one vehicle to pass but is meant to allow two and Jeepus doesn’t actually know its name so he just calls it “road.” By the some miracle of God, we find the festival and with a sigh of relief realize…we are back in Italy.
The festival was fun. I got to shoot a bow and arrow, I’m not a bad shot I must say. We wandered around, enjoyed the parade and the costumes and finished off the evening with a great big loop of deep fried sugar something…and it was marvelous!
Next up, the Amalfi Coast. Much of our planning during this time was done by the seat of our pants. We made our first stop in Positano, a coastal town that everyone had recommended and we finally got around to going. Next, we went to a town called Praiano. It was amazing! We decided to visit because of their annual summer festival called “Luminaria di San Domenico,” an event that occurs every year in August to celebrate Saint Dominic.
Every year, since 1606, Praiano inhabitants used to decorate its balconies, terraces, gardens with lighting system composed by wax and oil. This custom handed from 1599, when Dominican Monks came to the Monastery of Santa Maria a Castro, placed on the hill above Praiano. “Luminaria di San Domenico” has a particular meaning: Domenico’s Mother, before giving him birth, she dreamed a dog with a torch in his mouth to burn the world. So when Domenico was born he had to diffuse “God’s word all over the world”.
While there are different activities during the festival that include candles being lit in the Piazza and floating lanterns filling the sky, the night we went we were treated to an amazing fireworks display like we have never seen. Hundreds of people crowding the Piazza for the chance to catch a glimpse of the spectacular show! Set to music, it did not disappoint! Pictures cannot begin to capture this amazing sight.
The following weekend was Ischia (pronounced I-shk-i-a). We visited a Health Spa called Negumbo. It’s what we would call an amusement park for adults…combination of Zen-like thermal pools, hammam (Turkish baths), contemporary sculpture and private beach on San Montano Bay off of the island of Ischia. Throughout the park are thermal pools that range from 18°C – 38°C (which is like 64-100°F) some within the same pool! One of them, the Labrinto, (labrynth) is a circuit of two contrasting pools, one has 38°C (100°F) water and the front one 18°C (64°F), you are supposed to walk 5 laps through both of them to get the full effect of massage on the lower limbs and feet. I wussed out, but Rob was brave as he sighed and relaxed through the first and shivered and chattered his teeth in the next. Some of the pools were in caves. There was also swimming in the bay where the waters stay low and have sandy bottoms well past a couple hundred feet out! All in all, it was a experience like none that Rob and I had ever experienced and it was an amazing day trip!
As much as I loved our second mini-honeymoon I was ready for my little munchkin to come back home!