Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The agencies of tourist guides in Sorrento: to turn the holiday into a magical experience

Nowadays we are in possession of many tools that allow us to organize our holidays completely independently. We must admit, however, that these solutions are not the best choice if we want to turn a vacation into a magical experience, an unforegetable holiday perfectly able to satisfy our every need, our every wish and even the smallest desire that could be born in us during the holiday. Maybe you do not think that you have any desires to meet and that's because you've never been to Sorrento and its peninsula. These lands are so rich, overflowing with history, traditions and secrets to discover that they will create a thousand different desires in you.

In this case, then the best solution for your vacation in Sorrento will be to rely on the agencies touirst guides, agencies that allow you to explore the area in the best way possible and to give you a magical vacation, making it a real unforgettable dream. What can agencies do for you?

The agencies allow you to organize trips of all types. You will have the opportunity to reach every town on the Amalfi coast, such as, for example, Positano, Ravello not to mention of course the islands of Capri and Ischia. You will see towns that seem to be on the verge of throwing themselves in the waters of the sea. In fact, perched atop steep cliffs. You will see vast beaches, but also full of small intimate coves. You will see restaurants that have amazing views, where you will be able to enjoy the local dishes and pastries that are seen all over the streets of the towns, streets where cars could never be able to pass, with window displays of specialities and scents that comes from every corner of the town. You will see the lemons with their yellow intense skins that are grown, overlooking the sea and the vines from which comes the grapes for fine wines. You will see churches that are
beautifully sun-kissed and who are dressed  for the events of the towns.

Not only will the agencies allow you to sail the sea on a sailing boat to experience all this from a distance or to get on a helicopter to see Sorrento and all its wonders from above. Do you want to go around the wineries?  Want to visit a farm in the area?

Do you want to discover the secrets of hand made crafts? All this is obviously possible by relying on a tourist agency. Then you can still arrange a visit in the beautiful city of Naples or archaeological sites of Herculaneum and Pompeii, in short you can live every corner of the territory with the opportunity to discover all the information, every secret you want to have answered and every question that comes into your mind.

Believe us, a holiday of this kind is a holiday that enriches the mind, which quenches your curiosity and your desire to discover the world,  Italy,  its history, a holiday in which you will never regret but rather fall in love with, an experience that will be etched in your heart forever.

Why Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, the Campania? These are simply the places that make you fall in love and literally steal your heart.

Find out more about Sorrento on http://www.guidesorrento.com/

Friday, 27 June 2014

Distinctive Dwellings: The Masseria

Scattered about the fertile plains and low hills of Puglia stand white-washed dwellings that bear testimony to a particular epoch of southern Italian history.  Known as a masseria, these isolated rural structures once protected and housed numerous farmers and their families in a communal, cloistered setting.

The lands of the south were primarily distributed among the aristocratic elite who owned vast holdings in the feudal system of the time, first initiated under Frederick II and then continued by the rulers of the Kingdom of Naples.  The peasants worked the land in exchange for housing and a percent of the harvest, and they tended the estates for the mostly-absent owners.

The masseria was similar to a Spanish hacienda, a protected compound surrounded by walls and often bearing a watch tower.  The windowless walls had only one entry gate, which would be closed at night, and to ward off possible invaders or brigands.  Inside was a courtyard surrounded by the main house and smaller outbuildings.  It was a self-sufficient dwelling.  There were animal stalls and storage rooms for grains, goods, and farm equipment, along with fruit trees and a vegetable patch.  In the courtyard stood a water well, a wood-burning bread oven, and often even a chapel.  The courtyard served as a petite piazza, a gathering space for sitting, chatting and menial household chores, as well as playground space for the children.

Outside the walls were the fields of grains and olive groves, and pastures for the animals.  Larger vegetable plots and fruit orchards were common, too.  The farms were quite isolated from each other, so each masseria was its only microcosm, a country community in miniature.  Farmers, their families, and household servants lived, worked, worshipped and played together within the complex.

Things changed after the Unification of Italy when the owners started spending more time on their land and turned them into "masseria palazzo" structures, more prestigious and less "working farm".  Eventually, the feudal system was abolished and the lands divided up.  Many of the masserias were abandoned as people immigrated or took jobs in the cities.  Today, however, there has been renewed interest in the unique structures, which are found predominantly in Puglia and Sicily.  Many have been restored into inns and restaurants; others still serve as the headquarters and housing for determined but modern farm families. 

Look for these peculiar walled compounds as you travel around the south, and maybe dine in one to get a glimpse of a way of life that once was.

Spaghetti al Tonno

From Gioconda's Kitchen - Spaghetti al Tonno (Spaghetti with Tuna)

As you probably know by now, Gioconda is a fabulous cook.  Today, she shares a recipe which is not only a family favorite, it's super-easy to prepare, as well!

Gioconda says:  This fresh and tasty sauce is prepared in just a few minutes while you wait for the spaghetti to boil!  I make it when I'm late getting lunch together or when unexpected guests arrive.  It's a great one-pot meal.
  • Ingredients for 4 people:
  • 300 grams (12 oz.) spaghetti
  • One can tuna packed in olive oil
  • 300 grams ripe tomatoes, chopped (it's alright if they're canned)
  • 50 grams (3 TBSP) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 grams (2 tsp) salt-cured capers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 spoonful of minced parsley
  • 2 or 3 basil leaves
  • Red pepper flakes (if you like a little spice!)
  • Salt
Prepare the sauce:

In a large pan, heat the olive oil together with the crushed garlic.  Empty the tuna into the pan along with capers.  Cook a minute while you break up the tuna with a fork.  Add the parsley and tomatoes.  Cook for a few minutes on medium-high heat.  Tear the basil leaves and add it at the end, and taste to see if you need to add a little salt.

Prepare the pasta:

Boil the spaghetti in a large pot of water.  Use at least 4 liters of water, add salt, and cook until the pasta is "al dente".  Drain the spaghetti, keeping some of the water.  Add the drained spaghetti to the pan and toss it with the sauce over a medium-high flame for a minute, adding a little of the cooking water if necessary.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

The Unification in the Kitchen

While Italy's history stretches back a few millennia, the peninsula as a nation is rather young, having only been unified in 1861.  But shortly after the official act that formed the nation, a book helped bring the country together more surely than politics or paper-signings every could.  It wasn't a treatise or ideological discourse; it was a cookbook!

The concept of a national cuisine is even younger than the Republic.  Regionalism still abounds, providing the peninsula with loads of variety as you travel around.  The specialties of Bologna are quite different from those of Napoli, for instance, and until relatively recently, residents of those areas would have been quite unfamiliar with each others' recipes.

Nowadays, Milanese-style risotto or a meat-rich Bolognese sauce can be found in kitchens and trattorias nationwide, thanks in no small part to Pellegrino Artusi.  He's so famous only one name is necessary. Every Italian regardless of age knows immediately who you're referring to.  That's because Artusi wrote the book on Italian cooking, literally.  His cookbook, La scienza nella cucina e l'arte di mangiar bene (Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well) was the first to be made available to the masses, and the first to unite regional specialties of the peninsula into one tome. 

It was also the first one to be written in Italian.  Up until Artusi, cookbooks tended to be written in French and distributed among the upper classes, or they were penned as booklets in regional dialects, focusing on the local dishes of a small, provincial area.  Cooks from Lombardia couldn't read a booklet from Sicilia, and vice versa.  His book was considered to be an excellent example of the usage of modern Italian language.

Artusi was a 71-year retired silk merchant when his book was first published in 1891, and it has been in continual circulation ever since.  He couldn't find a publisher for it, so he financed the printing himself.  After a couple of years, word spread and he was printing more and more runs.  Artusi expanded the book through the years, adding recipes that were sent to him by readers.  By the time he died in 1911, he had published its 14th edition and it had grown to a whopping 790 recipes.

Today there is hardly a household without L'Artusi; the most prized copies, with treasured hand-scrawled notes and splatters, are passed down from mother to daughter.

Pellegrino Artusi was born in the central region of Emilia-Romagna, then moved to Florence at the age of 32.  His book is very heavy on recipes from those two areas, but he did take care to include the dishes from other regions, such as ossobuco from Lombardia, riso from Veneto, maccheroni from Napoli, and sorbetto from Sicilia.  This was completely unique, and in doing so, he cracked the kitchen window to the aromas and flavors of the diverse regions of the country.

The Green Cross

Pharmacies in Italy are easily distinguished by the green cross outside their doors.  Almost always lit in neon, it's a beacon to the beleaguered who need cold remedies, aspirin or lip balm.  They carry the normal array of health and wellness goods that you would expect, along with various lines of natural shampoo and cosmetics, too.

Some are homeopathic-oriented with natural and homeopathic remedies available.  They might also carry a range of organic health food products and gluten-free foods. 

The pharmacist is often the first point of consultation for minor ailments rather than seeing the doctor.  They have some medical training and offer advice and possible treatment options at no cost.  They're able to dispense prescriptions for many conditions without a doctor's visit. 

There is always a pharmacy available 24-hours a day and on holidays.  They take turns on the night shift to accommodate emergencies.  A weekly listing is published in the newspaper and posted outside each pharmacy.   While you can get treatment for minor ills at a pharmacy, serious medical emergencies require a trip to the emergency room (pronto soccorso).

Monday, 7 April 2014

Backpacking in Colombia can be so much FUN!

If you meet someone who has recently traveled South America, you should ask him which the best country to travel in South America is. 9 out of 10 people will tell you that it is Colombia!

Why Colombia is a popular travel destination among backpackers though it still remains a mystery.  So, what is it that the backpackers love most about Colombia? Is it food, nightlife, beaches, or something else?

Food in Colombia
Let’s start with food. In Colombia, you will get to taste a great variety of street food. The street vendors here will offer you hot dogs, hamburgers, empanadas, pizza etc. to keep your taste buds active. The street vendors in Colombia are more like small mobile restaurants. They have everything; starting from cooking plates, utensils, gas bottles, drinks fridge and plastic chairs. You would have never imagined that eating on the side of a very busy road can be this much fun! The whole experience of trying out street snacks in Colombia is so much fun that you would want to do it again and again.

South America is filled with colonial cities; Cartagena though is quite unique amongst them. You will find old forts here and a city wall with canons so as to protect it from the enemies. As you go inside the city wall, you will find colorful colonial buildings the beauty of which can simply not be matched. The biggest fortress in Cartagena is Castillo de San Felipe, which took almost 100 years to build. Tunnels were made in this area to bring in the supplies needed for the construction of the fort.

If you are in Cartagena, it would be a great idea to also check out Palace of Inquisition. It’s a museum from 18th century and features interrogation methods and torture instruments which were used to determine witchcraft back in the day. November is the time for Cartagena’s annual fest. You just got to be here at the time of the festival as the city is filled with vibrating energy. It’s time to party in Cartagena for the travelers while locals indulge themselves in by spraying shaving foam on them.

It is to note that in some parts of Colombia travelers really need to be careful; however, if you are cautious while traveling Colombia, you will soon find it quite safe there. When it comes to Medellin, a lot of people would refer it as the dangerous city of Colombia, but if you visit it you will find it one of the most fascinating parts of Colombia. You would be stunned to know that in the year 2012 The Wall Street Journal ran a competition in which Medellin was awarded as the world’s most innovative city award.

Overall, backpacking in Colombia can be so much fun if you remain a little cautious. You should visit the country with an open heart and it will give you memories that you won’t forget for a lifetime.

Author Bio: AndesTransit is Colombia’s #1 bus schedule lookup website. Get the latest bus schedules for buses Colombia and start your journey today!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

When Might you Need a Professional Chauffeur Service in London?

When it comes to choosing a professional Chauffeur service in London, it has plenty of options. But when does a chauffeur service offer the biggest advantages over public transport or a taxi? While a professional chauffeur service can be a boon on any journey through the capital, there are a few occasions when the advantages may be at their greatest.

Making Peak Time Journeys

Many people will find their working day doesn't always end when rush hour begins, especially if they have a particular offsite event to get to. Travelling through London at peak times is never easy, but with a professional chauffeur service in London, journeys can seem a lot more manageable than other options.

Driving for yourself is stressful, public transport is packed, and taxis are in demand and finding one that can reliably make your journey may prove difficult. A chauffeur service, on the other hand, will allow you to travel in maximum comfort and relax while in transit. On top of that, to a professional driver with chauffeur driving experience it will be familiar.

Though rush hour traffic will always present difficulties, a professional chauffeur service will minimise any delays and help you be sure you are in safe hands.

Repeated Journeys

On a busy day when you have multiple meetings on different sites, you may find you need to make repeated journeys through the capital. Without the help of a chauffeur service in London, travel can be difficult when you have to make repeated journeys in quick succession. Public transport can be unreliable, and a single delay can cause a domino effect on the rest of your day.

A taxi is better, but a chauffeur service offers the same convenience with much greater comfort. This is important, because repeatedly travelling from place to place can be a rushed and exhausting experience, and this can affect your work performance. Using a chauffeur service becomes much more comfortable thanks to the spacious, luxurious vehicles used. This means that instead of being an uncomfortable rush, each journey gives you a chance to relax and recover before getting to your next destination.

Important Meetings With Other Businesses

Using a chauffeur service travel becomes comfortable and easy. But there are other advantages besides the purely practical. Using a chauffeur service for transport will create a strong, positive impression on other businesses you work with – or ones you are hoping to work with.

Arriving in a practical, comfortable, high-class car driven by a professional chauffeur will look far more impressive and professional than emerging from the back of a taxi. As professional chauffeurs are well-versed in the difficulties of London driving, it will also help minimise the danger of arriving late.

Alternatively, if somebody from another business is coming to meet with you, providing a chauffeur to take them to you from their office or the station will also be a great way to impress them.