Grazie, e ci vediamo subito… Thank you and see you soon

Good friends and good times – an arvo of windsurfing in Sardinia

Yez pretending to work on Twizzle, Sardinia

SY Twizzle

Monaco port

It’s strange to think that it has all come to an end, but in a great way, it doesn’t feel as though I’m leaving behind the adventure that was 6 weeks in Europe. Instead I take home with me a new language, knowledge of what it is really like to live and breathe the Italian culture, particularly that of the South which is rich in passion and emotion! I’m also bringing home with me some great new friendships having met Italians, English, Swedes, Dutch, French, puerto rican, American, Spanish, Scottish, Kiwi and Finnish people throughout my travels. In addition to the few extra kg’s, I bring home knowledge of cooking in the South of Italy, a cuisine quite different to any other region … Much higher in calories too but hence delicious!

Thank you for following me and meeting me at airports, historical sites, beach clubs, volcanos and sailing regattas. Thanks also for putting up with the poor spelling and grammar, and grainy photos at times, as I hastily tried to punch out a quick update. I’ve loved receiving your comments and emails of encouragement, love and well wishes. It has constantly reminded me of the beautiful network of family and friends I am coming home to, which makes leaving Europe (particularly in the summer!) that much easier. I wrote a post a few weeks in to my trip about the importance of family and friends and the emphasis Italians place on it. As well as a new language, which has opened my eyes to the real Italian culture, the importance of family and friends, love, support and loyalty is the other important thing I will bring home with me.

So, time to get packing. Meet me at Sydney airport at 5.10 am Saturday morning if you like… Yeah right! Realistically I look forward to speaking to you and seeing you all very soon.

Lots of love and arrivederci,

The life of a princess




A very quick post before I race out the door and get my helicopter (not kidding… Yez has arranged for me to leave Monaco the way I arrived.., in style!) to Nice airport before flying to Rome for the night and leaving for Sydney the next day.

My time in Monaco followed Porto Cervo and was nothing short of fabulous… Living life like a princess! Yesterday we spent the day at Plage Mala sipping Rose and running in and out of the water from our sun beds at La Reserve. Following Mala we headed down to Monaco port for a few drinks with friends then up to the roof terrace at Miramar overlooking the yachts for dinner with a group of us. Post dinner we hit Budha Bar up near the Casino for cigars, red wine and people watching! Needless to say I’m feeling a but sketchy today and think I need to get away from my dear friend Yez before my health deteriorates any further! But seriously, it’s been a phenomenal way to end my European adventure. I’m very spoilt.

Better run. Hopefully I will get one more post in before I fly out of Rome in 24 hours time.

Meet me at the airport in Rome!

Arrivederci Porto Cervo… Bonjour Monaco!




Talk about a terrific past few days! From the time I arrived in Porto Cervo I was treated like a princess – attending all the parties each night … at the Yacht Club one night, the next at Phi Beach, Baia Sardinia, (where the other photos were taken… Including the one of Yezzy and I) and finally the owners dinner for race crew at Clipper Restaurant where we ate like kings sitting up to a 5 course feast! My days were spent either windsurfing, lazing at the beach with a group of friends while eating the local dish Spaghetti Buttarga, or wandering around Porto Cervo waiting for the guys to finish their day of racing on Twizzle before joining them for post race drinks in the piazza.

After a huge final night, a bunch of us jumped on the ferry the next day and did the overnight trip from Olbia to Genoa, then arrived at my mate’s apartment in Monaco this morning, overlooking the port and ocean (see the photo).

Tonight we have a few friends coming for dinner so after lunch and a wander we’ll make a trip to Carrefour and shop for my Tarte de Citron and whatever Yez is going to cook for the main. Tomorrow we’ ll do it tough again and head to Plage Mala, an old favourite beach club where we used to spend any spare moment we could while working on the boats all those years ago. Not much happens there except for some people watching (frequented by the rich and famous!), many bottles of rose and some French pizza while lazing on luxurious sun lounges and running in and out of the crystal clear mediterranean sea.

It’s certainly nice to return to my European home… The fairyland that is Monaco.

Meet me at the Yacht Club, Porto Cervo



A little update from my iPad while sitting in the yacht club in Porto Cervo marina. The photos are taken from my luxurious lounge chair upstairs at the club, overlooking all the sailing yachts which are here for the Loro Piano regatta. My mate Yerin whom I’m staying with is heading up the race team on Twizzle, a 60m yacht, the largest in the regatta.

Yesterday was a lay day for the race crew so yez picked me up from the airport in Olbia then after a quick change into my togs, me and 6 guys from the crew piled into yez’s car and headed to the beach for an afternoon of windsurfing (could be my new fave sport!) and wine! At around 6ish we came back to the apartment, did another quick outfit change then cruised down to the marina for the regatta PizzaParty at the yacht club which was attended by all crew and owners of the yachts in the regatta. And just when I thought I had had my last Naples pizza a week ago, they had flown in the pizza makers from Naples for the party! Of course.

Today racing is currently cancelled as its howling outside and actually too windy for racing a 60m. So we are sipping cappuccinos in the yacht club instead, and waiting for updates on conditions.

Tonight there is a beach party at Baia Sardinia so a little siesta and laze by the pool will be necessary this arvo to prepare.

I’ll take some better photos and post soon as these ones don’t do Porto Cervo justice! It is truly stunning here and pretty nice to be on land enjoying it (all possible because of the generosity of Yezzy!) rather than on board cleaning cabins and hoping to escape for a quick dinner as was the case the last time I was here 7-8 years ago!

The Campo of Colours & Arrivederci Roma

Campo Di Fiori market

Zucchini flowers are everywhere in Rome

For my last day in Rome, I thought I would do something food related. Ok, so I do that everyday! After breakfast and a Gino coffee, I took off to Campo di Fiori to see the market. The colours are what is so striking about these markets. Tomatoes come in every colour – some even a little purple/blue, zucchini flowers are bunched into bright yellow posies smiling at you ready to be bought and stuffed with 4 types of cheeses, some fish and ricotta, or simply deep fried in a light batter (although my suspicions are correct, the deep frying of everything is really just characteristic of the south (of Italy).

As you wander around the Campo and surrounding streets, the air is thick with the sweet smell of marmilata croissants and donuts, and in every bar you will find a line up of Romans downing their caffe espresso and enhaling a pastry.

And so, as I pack my overflowing suitcase once again I am content with my 4 days spent in Rome. Like any big city, there are plenty of tourist traps, but when you discover a locals’ haven or manage to find a friendly face to have a chat with your whole day can turn around in a matter of moments.

A domani… where you can meet me in Sardinia.

Romans to the rescue!




If you know me well, you probably knew it was inevitable at some point… ‘it’ being a little bit of homesickness! And so after a few (only a few!) tears over Skype to mama this morning, I dried my eyes and set out to tackle Day 3 of Roma. It was another hot day, the sun was shining, and I have only 1 week left in Europe so needed to get a grip!

I started out at Gino’s Bar next door for a stand up coffee with the locals. Gino’s Bar is super modern and is just that, a bar made of glass below which lies an array of paninis, ribbon sandwiches and various bakery items in both large and mini size. Yesterday I had failed to notice the two crystal bowls of whipped cream sitting on the bar piled up high with a spoon standing in each for you to help yourself and add to your coffee or dolce! Tourists don’t seem to visit this bar because most wouldn’t understand the concept of a coffee with no-where to sit and drink it! After paying one euro for my cappuccino, ‘Gino’ gave me a wink and wished me a buona giornata and off I went.

Next stop was the Opera Theatre to see if I could get a ticket to the final night of Atila, tonight. I could hear the conversation in English in front of me and alas only tickets starting at 200euro. However, after a quick chat in Italian once it was my turn at the box office I understood that there was a restricted view seat left for 17euro. So I took it. The lady in the ticket booth then informed me that she would upgrade my seat anyway for no extra. Winner!

Feeling a bit better about life, I decided to push my luck and attempt to firstly find a post office in order to post some loot home which I’ve accumulated and which no longer fits in my suitcase (you would think this would be easy but asolutamente no in Italia! As luck would have it, I took a wrong turn on the way back to my hotel and discovered one (without signage of course), 20m from my hotel. Inside I took a number and waited to be served. In Italy, many many people still appear to pay their bills at the post office, so you always wait in a queue. When my number was called, I was greeted by a lady who at first seemed a little aloof so I apologized for my Italian and the conversation for the next 20mins was simply fantastic… Not only did I understand her, she was so impressed with my Italian, saying it was so perfect and she was particularly impressed hearing that I had studied in sorrento because, as she explained, and as I know, the dialect ‘down there’ is very very different and difficult to understand. Explains why I couldn’t understand a word in Naples, where it is at its thickest!

By lunch time I was quite peckish and found a street near the post office where the Roman men were young and dressed perfectly as though out of a Ferragamo ad, and the food was fresh, modern and delicious (like my fellow patrons!).

Following lunch and a gelato near the Spanish Steps, I got the metro to Termini to try out just how realistic it is that I get the metro then train to the airport at 5.30am on Thursday to fly to Sardinia, then returned to the hotel.

And now I must sign off, and go and pretty myself up for the Opera tonight.

(Photo with my girlfriends in Sorrento – Nerissa from England and Anne from Finland)

Meet me in Trastevere, where the menus aren’t translated – finally!

Vesuivus and a cruise ship – Bay of Naples

Villa Borghese, the lake

Tiber Island – taken from Trastevere, Rome

I had grand plans to tackle the Catacombs today, but post my run around Villa Borghese this morning, I decided I would keep in local and save the out of town trip for a day when I had more energy. Turns out site seeing is hard work! Ok i’m kidding … I can hear you all laughing from here.

Instead I walked for about 5 hours! Following breakfast on the roof terrace of my hotel at Piazza Barberini, I headed down Via Tritone, past the Spanish Steps (popped in to a few shops in the hope of finding a 30th birthday party outfit but let’s just say this body is not is tip top condition for clothes shopping!), continued across the Tiber towards the Vatican, saw the crowd spilling down the steps and into the square and decided to save my visit for another day (and probably another trip), and wandered along the river until I made it to Trastevere, a cool and predominantly locals only area of Rome where the restaurants are filled with Romans, the streets are narrow, and the menus aren’t translated into English, German and French. Finally. And I wasn’t disappointed in the quality either. The typical buffet style lunch of 8 euros for a plate was delicious. The highlight being the eggplant and cod bake which sounds horrendous but was the best things i’ve tasted in Rome (ok, besides San Crispino gelato).

Post lunch, I wandered back across the Tiber viaIsola Tibernia,through the Jewish Ghetto where the trattorias were packed and Romans spilled out of the pasticcerias.

Tonight I’m heading to a very cool locals joint near Ponte Cavour/Spanish Steps for an appertivo and possibly dinner. It’s still hot here, but today a little overcast so fingers crossed the sun comes out for the rest of this week as I take of for Sardinia on Thursday morning and am very excited to see a familiar face of a great friend.



Meet me at the Trevi Fountain… my favourite place in Rome


There are few places that literally take my breath away, but the Trevi Fountain in Rome is one of them. You hear the rush of water just before you round the corner to the tiny little piazza where the Trevi Fountain is, and the sight is so magnificent it gives you goosebumps. I arrived in Rome yesterday around lunch time after a relatively painless train trip from Naples, especially considering i’d had a very late night the eve before … saying goodbye to Sorrento and new friends at the local hangout Insolito. So while not overly impressed when told that my room wasn’t ready at midday (I would’ve done anything for a little lie down!), I changed shoes and went to explore the area around my hotel. I knew I was close to the Trevi but was completely surprised when I stumbled across it (i’d left the hotel without a map so was wandering aimlessly) in all it’s glory. And so after declining a photo with a bunch of 70 year old Italian men, I tossed a couple of coins over my shoulder (one for you and nan mama!) and slowly made my way back to my hotel, stopping in at the Gran Caffe Roma on Via Veneto for a tuna salad.

After a guilt free siesta I freshened up and hit the Pantheon for an apperitvo and a bit of people watching before going to a stroll to find a little restaurant off the usual tourist track. And that I did and had a delicious risotto con scampi. My original choice was fettucine with mushrooms but after an initial conversation in Italian with the owner, who was more than pleased to be having a chat in his native tongue, I was then bought a small starter of the mushroom pasta to begin! A couple glasses of house red and a gratis limoncello later, I declined staying for another limoncello and began my wander back home, via the Trevi so I could find thegelateriaSan Crispino which so many people had told me about. And I now know why. Step aside Sorrento, this gelateria is better than all of yours put together!

Today I have explored Rome by foot for 6 hours checking out Villa Borghese (beautiful gardens), Campo di Fiori (plenty of hidden trattoria’s to explore for dinner I think!), Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Piazza del Popolo and all surrounding areas. The weather is boiling hot – over 30 degrees with blue skies and sunshine, so once it cools down a little I’ll head off for an early evening run around Villa Borghese and might keep it local for dinner tonight.

Arrivederci Sorrento… and thank you for the time of my life

A hidden beach I found on my run this morning – Regina Giovanna near Sorrento. Stunning.

At the secret beach

(Firstly, apologies the photos arent the right way up! More IT problems but I figured i would put them in sideways rather than not at all… I had heard about this gorgeous little beach near Sorrento so took off this morning at 6.30am to find it, about 20 mins run out of Sorrento.. the photos dont do it justice but it was certainly a beautiful goodbye present from Sorrento)

Since leaving Merrill Lynch back in March, what should have been, or perhaps I’ll say, could have been, a confusing, maybe depressing and potentially demotivating time of my life, has instead been exactly the opposite in every facet. In fact, I don’t remember ever having such clarity on a number of aspects, issues and topics. Each and every day I wake up looking forward to it, particularly since arriving in Sorrento.

At 6:30am in the morning, I find myself giggling at the number of scooter beeps that I get while out on my morning run, and chuckling at the cyclists in the peloton as they just about crash into one another while turning their heads to look back at me as they pedal past and call out ‘EXCELLENT, BEAUTIFUL’ in English with their Italian accents and then give me the thumbs up.

After a quick discussion post breakfast with Annamaria to see if I’ll be home for dinner that night, I then get excited to stop in at my favourite pasticceria on Corso Italia – Rita’s, where not only does the barrister make the very best cappuccino that I’ve ever had, he knows my order senza zucchero and puts a cocoa smiley face on the top of my froth and always bids me buona giornata as I leave.

On my way to school my fruit lady spies me coming down one of the narrow cobbled stone alley ways in the historical centre and has my apple and pear ready to go as I rush past and exchange a euro for my goods, and I like it that she speaks to me in Italian despite me hearing her talk to other tourists all day in English.

At school, most days, I get a thrill out of being able to actually construct sentences and hold a conversation in Italian in present and past tenses. In fact this morning I was happy to meet my favourite teacher, Lucia, near the station on my way to school and be able to grab a quick stand up caffe with her and carry a conversation for the 20 minutes it took us to walk to school.

I love walking through the town as though I’ve lived here for much, much longer than I actually have, and in a funny way getting a bit bugged by the hundreds of tourists who meander along the narrow streets speaking German, English, and French.

It makes me so happy to see an Italian’s face light up when I say I’m learning to speak their language… as though no-one ever came to Sorrento to do such a thing! Especially not a single Australian female travelling da sola (alone).

Come 5pm, people watching is always at its prime and I get excited to suss out a new bar or café, order my glass of vino bianco and have a chat to the waiters who in general smirk at me drinking wine, while all the locals are taking their afternoon coffee shot.

It is comforting to arrive back at the apartment in Parco Verde to a real ‘home’ (as opposed to a hotel room), where Annamaria will be standing in the kitchen and always greets me with a huge smile and energetic ‘Ciao bella!’. While I have complained, well let’s call it commented, on my 2-3 course meal every evening, I actually always look forward to seeing what she has on the menu and hope that one night she will once again cook that magnificent, mouth-watering pasta napolitana but alas, it is always something different. Always.

After dinner I love to get a little dressed up in my jeans and boots, do my hair and makeup and wander around town, usually with ferrero rocher gelato from Primavera Gelateria in hand, and window shop at the fabulous negotzi (shops) on Corso Italia. Or else meet up with some new friends – Erica from New York, Nerissa from London, Irina from Moscow, Pablo from one of the Sorrento beach clubs, Daniele who owns the nightclub, Anne from Helsinki, Joanna and Ton from a little town in Holland, Marcia from Florida, Antonio from the Sorrento Theatre… and many, many more, for a drink or 10 and faccio le ore piccolo! (stay out until 2 or 3am!).

So as I prepare to leave Sorrento, as you can imagine mi sento triste, I feel sad! But the memories I’ve made here will stay with me for life. The people I’ve met, the places I’ve seen, the experiences I’ve had have all changed me and my outlook on life. I leave Sorrento completely energised and excited about Rome (tomorrow!), Porto Cervo, Monaco and beyond. If only I could fit a little more Sorrento in my suitcase than a small bottle of Limoncello… but that said, I’m carrying a few extra kilos (at least!), have a fantastic, deep tan and don’t think I’ve ever felt better.

Before I left Sydney, I printed out a poem Badge sent me a couple of months ago so that I could read it over and over again. I had it stuck to my computer screen at home and read it every day, particularly as I was booking my Italian adventure! I’m not sure of the author but I love it and have made it my mantra. Thanks Badgerygarfield.

This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often.If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; They will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love. Stop over analysing, life is simple. All emotions are beautiful. When you eat, appreciate every last bite. Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people, we are united in our differences. Ask the next person you see what their passion is, and share your inspiring dream with them. Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself. Some opportunities only come once, seize them. Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them so go out and start creating. Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion.

The Wedding of Elena & Vincenzo

The groom – Vincenzo, and his mama


The ceremony

I arrived at the Cathedral San Michele in Piano di Sorrento just before 11:30am where my language teacher, Elena, was getting married to her fidanzatoVincenzo. Of course the location of the church was not as per Google Maps. Typical! Vincenzo waited out the front of he church, alongside his mother, to welcome all the guests who were predominantly family Elena had told me… 80 of them in total. Vincenzo was then quickly ushered inside moments before Elena pulled up in a black BMW sedan with her father. In Italy, the don’t tend to have bridesmaids. If you have young nieces they are sometimes flower girls, but as Elena had none, it was just her and her dad.

I would estimate it took Elena under 2 minutes to get out of the car, walk up the stairs of the cathedral (it was huge), and walk down the aisle. She was gone in a flash.. hence I have very few good photos as you can see! She didnt even pause at the start of the long aisle she had to walk down, she just kept on going like it was a sprint!

Being such an intimate wedding, I chose not to stay for long. She was a very traditional bride as you can see, in a long white gown with a substantial train. After the wedding, the reception was being held in a villa called Villa Clairmont up high overlooking the Bay of Naples. The feast apparently includes over 10 courses including antipasti, pastas, fish and meat. And of course dessert! Elena and Vincenzo are now off to New York and Miami for their honeymoon for 2 weeks.