Travelling Leila

My impressions about the places I visit

Archive for the month “October, 2013”

Adventures of the Azeris in Italy – Baia di Sorgeto


Whoop whoop, it finally happened – the bustling Larissa’s efforts overcame the passivity of the Italian side: they managed to find the tour operator conducting tours in Russian, and its representative came to our hotel to provide all kinds of guidance to its Russian-speaking  guests.

A small group of the latter gathered in the pool area, dominated (or at least, so he thought) by a man from St. Petersburg, with traces of heavy drinking on his face, not speaking any foreign language, and trying hard to show everyone how rich and cool he was: he expressed the desire to have only individual tours, was only interested in Michelin-starred restaurants and said something like “One should use a choke chain on the tour guide, to make sure they only do what you tell them to do”. His aspiration for ‘separatism’ was actually quite convenient for us, as this specimen would be extremely unpleasant to be around on any tour. His wife, by the way, looked quite simple and seemed to feel uncomfortable with her husband’s statements.

As a result of the conversation with the representative of the tour operator we got vouchers for a tour on Wednesday, and also learned about the Sorgeto bay located right here, near Sant’Angelo, and Le Fumarole beach located on a volcanic basin, heating the sand up to a hundred degrees centigrade. It sounded, though, like all you could to at Le Fumarole was baking potatoes and eggs in the sand, so we decided to abstain from a trip there and visit Sorgeto. As we were explained, the beach there pretty much consisted of natural stone beds with trickles of thermal water at 90-100 degrees Celsius flowing into them from under the ground. Combined with sea water, it results in overall temperature of around 35-40 degrees.

We took a water taxi to Sorgeto. The sailing was very pleasant, and we saw the “Elephant” rock on our way. However, Sorgeto itself, where we had been even encouraged to go at night, did not impress us that much: it was basically a jumble of huge boulders, looking scary to even step on (to us, at least), and even more so to try to lie on – it seemed absolutely impossible. Therefore, we returned to Sant’Angelo on the very next taxi.

Can you spot the elephant?


Baia di Sorgeto



Adventures of the Azeris in Italy – Ischia Porto


All this sightseeing is nice and interesting, but who said one shouldn’t be shopping when abroad? We’d been thinking for ages how to do it, and were first planning to travel to Naples, but then realised it would take us two hours to get there and two more to get back, especially that the opening time of the shops wasn’t very clear. Due to summertime many places here are closed from 1pm till 4pm, working a little in the morning and till midnight in the evening. And besides, August is the month of holidays, culminating on August 15 , the holiday of Ferragosto, which is an ancient pagan festival of the sun and harvest , adapted in Christianity as a day dedicated to the Madonna. Therefore, the working hours of shops (if at all? ) were under big question.

As a result we compromised . We had already mentioned that in general shopping in Sant’Angelo is virtually inexistent, so we were taken to Ischia Porto, the “capital” of the island. We were told that under the order of Mussolini each Italian city should have its own Via Roma, that is the street of Rome – usually it is the main street with all the shops concentrated on it. Ischia Porto is no exception . We arrived there at 6pm, and the street was crowded . However, we saw very little brand shops as such – most of them, just like in Sant’Angelo, contained a hodgepodge of several items by various brands. Still, after walking along the street till 10pm, each of us ended up with some new clothes .

The taxi driver, which was supposed to take us back to our hotel, told us that the price was not negotiable, but would rather be calculated based on the meter. We were pleased with the idea of not having to pay 40 euros this time. Well, indeed, we didn’t have to – the meter counted 60! We tried to argue, but the driver’s reply was that this was the night fare. Why 11pm had to be considered as night already – is an altogether different question, but arguing any further was simply pointless.

Adventures of the Azeris in Italy – La Mortella (Ischia)


From time to time we are promised that a Russian representative of some travel company will come to the hotel to “tell us everything” and organise a tour. But we do not believe in anything any longer and try to entertain ourselves as much as we can. Having gone through the available booklets, we decided to visit the La Mortella gardens.

These gardens were planted by an Argentinian gardener who was the wife of the famous English composer Sir John Walton. They settled in Ischia in 1949, and, for the inspiration of her talented husband, she created the lower garden, full of the most rare plants from all around the world, including the giant Amazonian water lily Victoria amazonica, a leaf of which, as we all remember from our school books, can easily hold a month-old baby (dedicated to those lilies is the Victoria House, where water pours into a pool out of a  the ‘bocca’ (mouth) bas-relief); the Chinese paper tree, lotus, bamboos, Araucaria , bromeliads (that’s all I could remember, although there were lots more).

La Mortella - Bamboo

La Mortella

La Mortella

La Mortella

La Mortella - Lotus

La Mortella

La Mortella

La Mortella - Victoria Amazonica

La Mortella

La Mortella - Lazy Cat

The upper garden was created after the death of Sir Walton , in his memory. He is buried right here (and so is Susana – his widow, who died later and who is referred to as the soul of the garden). Clambering up, we saw the Greek theatre , a pool with a bronze crocodile, the Temple of the Sun, the Thai pagoda and a concert hall, where they show a documentary with Lady Walton herself talking about the garden. We did not watch it all, but caught the moment where Prince Charles of Wales was admiring her replicated version of the Victoria House at Chelsea Flower Show in London.

La Mortella

La Mortella - Thai Pagoda

La Mortella - Templa of the Sun

La Mortella - Temple of the Sun

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