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Let’s Go for a Walk!

Let’s Go for a Walk!

TOP 8 PICKS: BEST SHOES FOR WALKING ALL DAY IN EUROPE

Anne’s walking flats on Gaudi-designed sidewalk in Barcelona.
We never quite know what a day will bring as we explore Europe with our tours, but one thing’s for sure, there will be LOTS of walking! We’ve clocked over 20,000 steps in a day more than once, and oh, do we miss it! So we’re always looking for great shoes that we can walk in all day. For us, the holy grail of shopping is a pair of shoes that look cool and feel comfortable for a full day of walking. It’s taken many years of experimentation, and our closets are full of wannabes that don’t quite cut it, but we’ve managed to find 8 pairs that we can wear walking all day without pain.
Kirk and Anne at a Slow Travel Tours gathering.
Our daughter, Sunshine Woodyard, is also a travel writer, and we collaborated with her on this story about the 8 Best Shoes for Walking in Europe. Kirk is devoted to his Mephisto shoes for travel, and I also love wearing flats by Me Too, Aerosoles, and Allbirds  – their Treebreezers are pretty, comfortable, and great for walking.
It’s a long walk to Capri’s Arco Naturale – wear good shoes!
We’re still dreaming of travel past and future, and we’d like to share the story of one of our favorite walking destinations: The Eternal City. A couple of years ago, we spent just one day in Rome and managed to squeeze in many of our favorite spots. Perhaps you’ll find inspiration for your next Italian journey! Italy is always captivating, and we are planning our return in the Spring for our Wonders of the Amalfi Coast tour. Perhaps you’d like to join us!
Our Wonders of the Amalfi Coast tour takes us all around the Island of Capri.
If you have a particular travel bucket list item to fulfill, there’s no time like the present to create a grand plan! Our custom private tours can make your dreams come true. If you’ve got an idea for a European destination to explore, and you’d like some personal guidance, we hope you’ll connect with us at info@musicandmarkets.com
In Love with the Amalfi Coast!

In Love with the Amalfi Coast!

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  How about an unforgettable holiday with us at  New Years’ Jazz in Italy?

What do we love about the Amalfi Coast? Well, there are the VIEWS – always astounding, always drawing oohs and aahs, whether we’re relaxing by the pool at our favorite Capri hotel, approaching iconic Positano from the water, gazing up at the majestic Duomo of Amalfi, posing before the Faraglioni rocks of Capri, watching Vesuvius fade into the distanceas we speed across the bay, pulling into Capri’s colorful Marina Grande before spiraling high above to Anacapri, or enjoying the vista from the Belvedere of Infinity in Ravello. We’ve taken in these views for nearly twenty years, and they still make us gasp anew each time!
Then there’s the food….a fritto misto fresh from the surrounding waters, a caprese salad created on the island for which it’s named,
pizza in the land of its birth, a lemon granita (a slushy) from our favorite cart up the hill in Positano,
fresh fish from the sea below us in Ravello, and that marvelous lemon-tinged lunch we learned how to make with our guests at Villa Maria Agriturismo, under the lemon groves above Minori, before enjoying it with yet another fabulous view.
We also love the history that surrounds us – that 13th century Moorish style cloister and loggia of the Duomo in Amalfi,the peaceful Villa San Michele, constructed in Anacapri for a Swedish doctor at the turn of the 19th century, incorporating relics from the ruins of a villa of Emperor Tiberius on which it was built,
the gardens and cloister of Villa Cimbrone, dating from the 11th century, and the mysterious 13th century passageways  in Atrani and Amalfi, even more enticing after dark.
Is it any surprise that we chose this fabulous part of Italy to premier our Wonder Tours last spring?!
We’ll be back in April 2020  – why not join us and experience these wonders for yourself?

Captivating Capri

Captivating Capri

Monday, July 20, 2015
Amalfi, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
How about celebrating Mozart in the matchless city of Bath, England in November?

We’ll speed on the sea to Capri, but first we have to get to Amalfi from Maiori..along the barely-wide-enough-for-2-little-cars Amalfi Coast Highway…will these buses make it by each other? Not without a LOT of manoeuvring! 07201501 buses can 2 pass only with major maneuveringI continue to be in awe of these patient and skillful drivers – I can’t imagine driving a car on this road (although Kirk does it expertly), much less a huge BUS!
The sea is wide open – no challenge to avoid other boats here – and soon Capri comes into view. See that dot of white about a third of the way down the ridge? 07201501 capri in sightThat’s our destination – who knows what it is?!
We quickly load into a taxi and head up the rock from Marina Grande, 07201501 in we pileand soon we’re walking the peaceful paths of Villa San Michele in Anacapri,07201501 to villa house and gardens Dr. Axel Munthe’s exquisite house and gardens built over the ruins of a Roman emperor’s palace in the early 1900s. We love how he incorporated Roman relics discovered during construction – a marble face here, a bit of a pillar there…07201502 axel munthe homeThrough the shaded gardens, 07201502 exquisite gardenswe stroll to that white spot we saw from the sea on our approach…07201502 f by the chapelour group has expanded a bit, with the addition of two of the marvelous musicians of the Amalfi Coast Music Festival, 07201502 group has expandedpianist Boaz Sharon and flutist Nancy Stagnitta, who’s taking the photo.
And there, far below is where we sailed in, with this red granite sphinx gazing down on us – we could see the white building, but not this red speck from so far away. 07201502 where we came from from the end look up and seeOlga and her daughter have been relaxing on the rooftop cafe, and we join them there 07201503 back to cafebefore browsing the shops on the way back to Anacapri’s main square, 07201503 capri sandalsthen making our way07201503 lunch ahead to lunch at Il Solitario. 07201503 lunch under the vinesSharing a toast, we all agree that a Caprese Salad tastes best in Capri, 07201503 why not begin with capreseand imagine the fishermen catching our lunch early this morning. 07201503 why not continue with seafoodThe only way to get from the marina, and Capritown, to Anacapri until 1874 when a road was built, was a still-usable stairway zigzagged into the cliff. The ride down, along the side of Monte Solaro, is as scary as that staircase! 07201504 cliffside roads to capritownAnacapri is the quieter, less-glitzy town on the island, Capritown is the one FILLED with high-end shops07201504 jewelry – including a grand total of FIVE Ferragamos! 07201504 ferragamo one of 5But as you know from our stay here earlier in July, the entire island is filled with beauty – keep looking around and up as you shop and stroll!07201504 keep looking around tooA quick funicular descent, 07201504 to marina grandeand we’re back on the boat towards the mainland – arrivederci, Capri! 07201505 bye byeOh how much beauty that rock hides in its crevices! 07201505 rock hides much beautySoon we’re pulling into Amalfi, 07201505 to amalfiand we meet again for a final dinner in Maiori. 07201505 goodbye dinnerChatting with Edith, the charming mother of Leslie, the festival director, we’re the last to leave…and tomorrow we’ll say goodbye to this gorgeous coast and head for Tuscany!

 

Feasting in Capri

Feasting in Capri

Monday, July 13, 2015, continued
Capri, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
How about celebrating Mozart in the matchless city of Bath, England in November?

After that VERY strenuous hike we deserve a good meal or two, right?! And some nice relaxing time by the pool too! On the way to the pool Kirk can’t resist deadheading (he actually does this wherever he goes in the world)…he always leaves a garden prettier than when he arrived. 07131503 the deadheaderAnother plus at San Felice, the beautiful pool…with lots of chaises to soak in the sun, and inviting corners in which to relax under an umbrella. 07131503 why not relax heeThe poolside bar offers an extensive menu, and a glass of cold crisp white is the perfect aperitif as we choose our lunches.07131503 z lunch by pool“My brother caught these this morning…” says the owner…07131504 brother caughtBut we decide on something lighter – a salad for me, grilled vegetables and buffalo mozzarella for Kirk….and we’re wowed by the size of the mozzarella! 07131504 massive mozzThe afternoon’s spent napping and relaxing by the pool – now I REALLY feel like we’re on vacation!
We’ve chosen another place with a view for dinner, and aren’t disappointed. Panorama’s been open less than a year, and in addition to the obviously spectacular view, 07131504 walked down between marina and townthere’s a garden right beside the outdoor dining area, 07131504 under lemon tree dinnerand the meal is as delicious as the vista. Capri, you’re a delight!

An Island Hike

An Island Hike

Monday, July 13, 2015
Capri, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
How about celebrating Mozart in the matchless city of Bath, England in November?

We’ve long wanted to walk Via Krupp, a beautiful curving walk with great views of the Faraglioni, the rock cluster on the south side of Capri, but once again it’s closed…as it has been every time we’ve visited. So we’ve chosen another hike for this morning, early, before the heat of the day…to Arco Naturale. Up via Tragara, through an al fresco restaurant where the only one stirring is the Signora, cleaning up after last night’s diners, then down towards the rocky shore, and there it is, one of Capri’s natural wonders. 07131501 arcoAs we pass back through the restaurant’s terrace we see stairs angling down, with a sign to Capri center and via Tragara – another way back – let’s try it!
Well if we’d known what we were getting into we would have taken the original way back…and we should have COUNTED all the stairs we climbed, up and down –  at LEAST a thousand. 07131501 by another wayPausing once in a while to take in the views, such as this unique property filling a point with its modernity (the sun so bright that a photo was difficult), 07131501 house on a pointwe were wishing that we had brought water…we had no idea our hike would be this long!
Finally the Faraglioni came into view – we’re getting close to civilization! 07131502 closerAnd then we sighted yachts from Marina Piccola, 07131502 marina piccolaand soon were out of the woods and on a paved walkway near this impressive hotel, loosely based on  a Corbusier design.07131502 perched hotelThe wilderness is behind us, and ahead are gardens laden with lemons and morning glories,07131502 woods behind now gardensvivid homes, their color accented with brilliant bougainvillea, 07131502 z vividand just beside the flower covered property we posted on the previous blog, a lush wisteria vine over a hundred years old!07131503 century oldJust before we step through the archway of San Felice is one of our favorite entries – 07131503 near albergoa lovely walkway to a private home.
Now for a well-deserved breakfast in the garden!

Dreamy Capri

Dreamy Capri

Sunday, July 12, 2015
Capri, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
How about celebrating Mozart in the matchless city of Bath, England in November?

As we did before our Prague tour, we’re fitting in a weekend escape before the Amalfi tour starts on Wednesday. We were seaside in Barcelona in May, and this weekend will be an island getaway – to an isle that has long been a prized escape for the likes of emperors, movie stars, and the rich and famous. But there’s still room for thrifty dreamers like us! Off we go on a ferry this morning, passing by fabled towns along the coast, tiny islets dotting the sea here and there.07121501 by renowned towns Rudolf Nureyev owned these three gems in sight of Positano, and spent the last years of his life in a gorgeous villa – can you imagine the views?!
Capri’s not far off the end of the Amalfi Coast – Kirk describes the area as ” the Amalfi Coast is an exclamation point between the bays of Naples and Salerno, and Capri is the dot at the end of the point.”07121501 dot at end of exclamationWe pull into the Marina Grande,07121501 marina grande

hop into a taxi, and whisk up to the Piazzetta, the center of Capritown. 07121501 piazzettaAs our driver zigzags up the narrow roads, a helicopter or two whirs overhead, and he tells us that the owners of yachts helicopter over to visit friends on THEIR yachts moored on the other side, at Marina Piccola.
We’re dropped off near the center, since no vehicles are allowed further (the lanes are just wide enough for people), and walk to the Albergo San Felice. 07121501 up to capritown then walk to thisThrough the arches to a lush garden, and up the steps into a cool and simply elegant white inn – even better than we’d imagined!
Even in the heat of summer, Capri is lush with color – the wisteria (which we usually expect in springtime) draping pergolas and terraces right along with summer blooms such as this façade-covering bougainvillea.07121502 exploreIn search of dinner-with-a-view, we choose Da Giorgio,07121503 dinner and enjoy a delicious meal almost as much as the stellar view. 07121503 with a viewThis gorgeous island deserves its hype!