Chasing Davies

January 24, 2020

Four Nights on the Amalfi Coast of Italy


 
I'm back after a long break over the holidays and start into the new year. But I just planned this year's European vacation and was re-inspired me to get the rest of my Italy adventure posted (I still dream of this trip!).  Here is part two of our Italian getaway last September 2019! 

Reminder on the first post and part of our trip: a few days in Rome.  

1/2 Day in Pompeii

Before we got to our second spot, we took a pit spot on the way to see Pompeii...


From Rome, we took the high speed train to Naples. We learned that you do NOT have to get to the train station in Rome much earlier than your train departure time at all. You don't even know what terminal you are at until 10-20 minutes before it is set to depart. And only then when you know your terminal (they show it on the big screen), it take a few minutes to get to the assigned terminal.  


If you get to the train station 30 minutes before your scheduled departure, you'll have plenty of time. Getting to the train and boarding was also super simple. We had assigned seats, and all the seats around us were open, so it was quite relaxing.  


Once we got to Naples, we transferred to the local Circumvesuviana (felt like the NYC metro) and that takes you straight to the main Pompeii entrance (vs. just the general town like the high speed train does).  You buy your ticket at the station, and the Circumvesuviana comes every so often (like 5-15 minutes). 


The experience is not super great. But it gets the job done and drops you off right where you need to be (literally, across the street) - so it was worth it. But basically, it's just like riding a crowded metro car. And if you have luggage, like we did, it's even more annoying. But after 20-30 minutes, you are there!


And you can check your luggage at the Pompeii ticket entrance for free (DO NOT check the luggage at the Circumvesuviana stop station, as that costs money, and literally across the street at the Pompeii entrance is a free one).  We learned this the hard way.


We bought regular Pompeii entrance tickets after waiting in a short line. There was a separate line that after people got tickets they waited in a much longer line for an audio guide/tour info. We use the free Rick Steve's app to listen to a guided tour through our phones (just like we did throughout Rome), and it was great, free and no extra lines.


Pompeii was way bigger than I expected - wear comfy shoes because it's dusty and there are uneven walking paths all over the expansive space. It was very neat, and definitely recommend visiting! 
After our few hours in Pompeii, we grabbed a slice of pizza and went back to the Circumvesuviana station to continue south to Sorrento to begin our second part of our Italian trip.


Staying in Sorrento

We decided to stay in Sorrento for the next 4 nights, since this city has the most options to travel in and out to other cities for day trips.  Plus, Sorrento was super pretty and a bit bigger than other southern Italian cities, so there were more options and better costs for finding a place to stay!  

We stayed in the heart of Sorrento in a great apartment that had updated bathroom appliances, was completely clean and a comfy bed! We could walk everywhere - including to the dock to catch the ferries to travel for our day trips to Capri and Positano!


Our first night in Sorrento, we walked all around and ate at a cute little restaurant, sitting outside to enjoy the bustling city square!  You probably know that southern Italy is known for its lemoncello. So we started our southern Italy portion of the trip with a lemoncello cocktail.  

We soon found out that you get a shot of straight up lemoncello after every meal though, so we became super fond of this lemony-tart liquor. I also got my fill of cannoli (my favorite).


By the time we got to Sorrento, for our second part of our trip, I also needed to find a laundromat. I worked really hard to pack light(ish), with a carry on sized bag (expanded to its biggest size) and a backpack.  We found and walked to a laundromat for a quick load of washing, and then air-dried the times back at our apartment and had fresh clothes for the back part of our trip. 

My FAVORITE meal (of maybe the whole trip... but that's really hard to narrow down) was at an "off the beaten path" restaurant my husband read about and found. La Cantinarria del Popolo had meat hanging from the ceilings and a huge outdoor patio. The first night we tried to go, there was an hour and half long line - and we were too hungry to wait it out. So we went for lunch on our day we stayed in Sorrento and it was so good.


1 Day in Capri

We took a morning ferry out of Sorrento to Capri for our first day trip away and spent the day on this adorable, quintessential and famous island. We started with a private boat tour around the island. Vittorio was our guide on his lovely boat with beautiful music and a comfy bow. We relaxed and took in all the beautiful views while Vittorio gave us some awesome history (he's lived there all his life!).



And while we were at it... we took a little detour on our boat ride to enter the blue grotto. I was super nervous because I don't like small spaces, and especially no control of getting out of said small spaces.  But we had to do it. 

A small boat came to get us off our bigger boat. You get real close to the ones you are with and the guide takes you into the Blue Grotto. The worst part (for me) was going in and out of the entrance. They go with the waves through this small opening and you have to lay back so you don't smack your head. It all happens fast and is a bit stressful, but once inside - it really is pretty! Very... blue!


All in all, if you are looking to do a boat ride tour of any sort around Capri, pay just a little bit more to do the private (relaxing) way vs. shoved on a boat crammed with a bunch of other tourists, a la...


After our morning adventure on the water (and during a quick rain), we ate lunch before we took by foot to explore the Island. We hiked and rode the chairlift to the very highest part of Capri, Monte Solaro. Here you can get a 360 look all around the island.

{his beer came in a fancy glass and side bucket of ice to keep it cool!}


We walked the small, winding streets lined with shops to get back down to the ocean level. We ended the day relaxing at a beach bar with a drink, and gazing at the beautiful ocean before taking our ferry back to Sorrento.


1 Day in Positano

After a day spent in Sorrento, and our last full day in Italy, our grand finale was in Positano. Another easy and lovely ferry ride from Sorrento to this colorful dotted getaway town for a day exploring. 

Positano might have been my favorite Italian town, with colorful and vibrant views at every turn. Our plan of attack for seeing this town was to spend the morning walking around the town - all the way up to the top! We started with breakfast at the beach level and watched as ferries came and went.


By afternoon, we hit up a local grocery store to got sandwiches, drinks and snacks for a beach picnic. 

We had brought out swimsuits to spend the afternoon lazily on the beach.  This was one of my very favorite parts of the trip. It wasn't just any beach day - the views were extraordinary, we had adorable beach chairs and an umbrella, great people watching, and Greg actually relaxed which was amazing in and of itself.  We ate our lunch, read, talked and took a few dips in the ocean to round out our day.


Positano was a great way to go out! We ferried back to Sorrento and ended the day and our Italian adventure with dinner and packing.

Leaving Italy

The next day, we ferried to Naples to fly out, fondly waving goodbye to Italy! Because we flew TAP, we elected for a free 2-night stop over in Lisbon, Portugal on our way home... so while our Italian trip was over, we still had 2 more days of our vacation to explore a new city.

More on Lisbon to come!

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December 18, 2019

Downton Abbey Movie Watch Party & Inspired Food Contest


 
All the characters that you know and love from the series are back together in the new Downton Abbey movie! So, I had to gather all my favorite characters in real life for a watch party upon receiving my copy of the Downton Abbey DVD from Walmart (also available on Walmart.com).

The story in the movie picks up where the series from TV left off.  And just like from before, the plot thickens around meals, at the dining table and over tea it seems! Since my favorite combo is a movie and food, I thought adding a food dish contest inspired off of the movie would be a fun addition to the watch party! 

The rules were simple. My friends coming over for the Downton Abbey DVD watch party could choose to bring (and participate) in the contest. I created and pre-shared the score card, so that they could optimize their dish selection for the best chances. Other than that, you just had to bring over any sort of dish (app, side, dessert, etc) inspired by the Downton Abbey cast and time period.

Once everyone arrived, we first judged the looks of the dishes and then dug in! Our plates were full with all the British inspired goodness. It was fun to try some new dishes and everyone really got into the spirit over the excitement of the movie.


The scorecard:

We started with English cheese and crackers!

The contestants and their dishes:

 We had such an awesome variety of dishes. In addition to the English cheese ;), we also had "downstairs" beef Wellington, cucumber tea sandwiches, lemon bean cake (made with actual cannelloni beans!), Dutches potatoes and berry scones. 

And, I really loved all the food. 


And after the movie, we finalized our votes and added it all up. We had a winner for each category and an overall winner.


 The overall winner was my friend, Angela with her "downstairs" beef Wellington dish. They were really good! She went with the theme on downstairs vs. upstairs since they were made with ground beef instead of sirloin. ;)

But the real winner of the night? The Downton Abbey movie! 


Head to Walmart and purchase the new release of Downton Abbey DVD today (and don't forget to pick this up for a gift!)

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment , but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #DowntonAbbeyAtWalmart  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

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December 6, 2019

Favorite Wears: Cozy Winter Pieces


 
There is nothing that I love more about winter than layering on all the cozy pieces and cuddling up with a good book, warm drink and my family. I am a super homebody come cold months, and I'm definitely ok with that!

I've rounded up some of my personal favorite winter items and some that I have my eye one (most, if not all, are on a holiday sale of some sort, too!) to share with you for gift ideas for the friend that's always cold or to help you through winter.  So whether you have to get out and about, or able to hunker down at home, these winter-friendly items will keep you warm one way or another. ;)

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1. The most popular sweatshirt during Cyber Monday (and still on sale!). I love the side slit that allow the sweatshirt to move with you more freely, and comes in tons of colors (though I'm loving this lavender).

2. Sherpa lined Doc Martens! I'm a 90s girl and wore Doc Martens in middle school/high school. It's so nostalgic to see them making a comeback, and I am really wanting a pair - this sherpa lined pair would be a winter dream!

3. Pink Coat (use code FLASH48 for 48% off now through end of day 12/7)- I love coats that are in fun colors (I mean, if you have to wear one)!  This other pink coat is 50% off (price as marked).

4. Sherpa zip up is REVERSIBLE! You can flip the sherpa to be on the inside, which is brilliant and extra cozy!

5. Cozy sweatpants for laying around the house, but cute enough to slip out of the house in.

6. An oversized sweater that is super cozy and comfy - easy to dress up or down pending if you are staying in our going out, and easy to wear over leggings. This mock neck sweater for less is also a great option!

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1. Shaggy and soft pillows to cozy up your couch (my kids steal these, but the few times I've gotten to cuddle with mine, it's been glorious!).

2. Barefoot Dreams super soft and oversized blanket (and another very popular item from Cyber Monday) will make you never want to leave the couch!

3. And if you are staying in, might as well make the right cold day drinks with this Winter Drinks cocktail book.

4.  I haven't tried this, but am super intrigued... a gentle steam eye mask in lavender to turn your cozy night in to a spa night in.

5. The bigger the scarf the better in my opinion. This oversized scarf comes in several colors and is super soft!

6. Fleece lined leggings keep me wearing leggings all year around! I have a hard time taking these off when it's cold outside! 


What are YOU wearing and using to stay warm? I'd love to know your favorite items in the comments below!

Shop all the cozy items featured:


Stay warm!


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