Il Fortino – Seafood, Crystal Clear Water and Sunshine

Lunchtime – and a belly that makes it clear that food is the best choice now. We are in Ischia and just finished a whole morning in the beautiful Giardini La Mortella. Very relaxing and very refreshing as we spent much time just sitting in the shade of big trees and in front of many ponds.

Passing the beach I thought that the best place would be on the beach. And I remembered a nice little restaurant right on the shore: Il Fortino. I hoped it would be still there. It’s a long time ago I came the last time for lunch to this restaurant.

Il fortino is a wonderful little restaurant that is built on a tuff rock directly in the water. It is a perfectly place to sit in the shade, looking out on the crystal clear water and the beautiful silhouette of Forio. Nothing more relaxing.

The food is various. Of course everywhere in Ischia is the seafood the first, but who doesn’t like fish or other seafood has always choices like meat, zingara (bread with tomatoes, lettuce, mozarrella and ham, toasted), bean soup and much more.

My lovely man likes ice cold water with a lot of ice cubes. No problem, just to ask.

We had a wonderful lunch. I had of course seafood and salad. My man opted for something more ‘male’: sausages and really yummy french fries and some bean soup.

We stayed a little longer just to enjoy the shade, the breeze and the crystal clear water. I loved the view on Forio, its Torrione, symbol of the town, and the white Soccorso church. I loved to feel at home again.

(this is NOT a sponsored article!)

Restaurant Il Fortino, Forio d’Ischia/Naples, Campagna/Italy:

For further information:
Restaurant Il Fortino, Forio d’Ischia (in Italian)

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A Morning in the Tropical Giardini La Mortella

I love gardens and whenever I have the possibility to see one, I go. When we were in Ischia we couldn’t miss the Giardini La Mortella.

I know the gardens from when they opened in 1992. Since then I have been there numerous times but the last time maybe more than 10 years ago. I was very excited to visit the tropical garden again and explore the differences to my last visit.

La Mortella means ‘the myrtles’. It’s a private garden which was originally created by Susana Walton in 1956 when they decided to live here permanently. She was the wife of the English composer William Walton and lived here until her death in 2010.

It is located on the top of the San Francesco bay and includes also a museum of the composers life and work. In the Greek theater Italian and foreign schools of music perform more than 70 times a year. In 2004 it was awarded with the first prize as the most beautiful garden in Italy.

The garden was designed by the famous landscape architect Russell Page already in the fifties. It never stopped developing since then.

Numerous fountains and pools are integrated in the outcrops of volcanic rocks. Water plants, tropical and exotic plants from all over the world can be found here, living in a harmonious environment.

There are the lower gardens in a shady and ‘refreshing’ valley. The upper gardens are more sunny and display Mediterranean plants. But here you have also the most beautiful view on Forio, the Soccorso church and the watch-tower.

Glasshouses and pavilions complete the garden aspect. You sit in the shade of the Thai tea house in the silence of the lotus flower pond. Or you have your 5 o’clock tea in the tea house. You can admire the most beautiful orchids in the tropical greenhouse and listen to the voices of the parrots in the aviary.

Impressive is the huge water lily victoria amazonica. Unfortunately a photo here is nearly impossible due to the light situation.

The admission price of 12 € per person was spent more than well. We were there about 3 hours in the garden, sitting at the crocodile cascade and at the various ponds, listening to the birds in the bird house and wandering around in the shade of huge tropical trees.

There is a parking place coming from Lacco Ameno, the upper entrance (which for me is new as I knew only the lower entrance). In June and July there are concerts in the Greek theater, in spring and fall every weekend in the recital hall. I unfortunately never have been to any of these.

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Giardini La Mortella, Forio d’Ischia, Campagna/Italy:

For further information:
Giardini La Mortella
Via Francersco Calise Operaio Forio, 45
80075 Forio d’Ischia/NA

Opening hours: 9 am to 7 pm

For a perfect hotel to visit Ischia I recommend Villa Melodie

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Pampered at Villa Melodie in Forio d’Ischia

For a few days in Forio/Ischia I chose a little hotel as I don’t really like huge accommodations. Villa Melodie is my favorite one for a stay in the town where I lived for most of my life.

It is easy to find, right on the main road that goes around the island. Half way between the famous Poseidon Gardens and the town center of Forio it is nonetheless a very quiet place. It has a parking place which unfortunately doesn’t give shade to the cars in the summer heat. That’s a pity!

The hotel itself is surrounded by a very beautiful garden which shows in every corner the love for nature.

The entrance leads straight to the hall with a welcome counter on one side and the bar on the other side. There are comfortable chairs for relaxing and the many big windows make it a very light room.

After greetings and chats we got our room. A fine double with a nice balcony to the pool side. They don’t have too many rooms, something in the twenties. Some are on the roof with an amazing view towards the sea or the mountains.

The room has all what is needed, also a hair dryer. Very important for most of the people is to have free WiFi – I left my laptop at home as I came for full vacation 😀

There is another bar at the pool, spacious and cozy. The pool is huge and surrounded by sunbeds. Below the bar there is an inside pool with hot thermal water.

Personal experience:
Villa Melodie for me is always a joy because I feel welcomed and home all together. The room is quiet during daytime and night. They don’t have guests that party and don’t give music and dancing evenings.

The pool is wonderful refreshing in the hot summer days and lying on a sunbed it’s a great place for dozing or reading a book. I didn’t try the inside pool as I don’t go into thermal (radioactive) water. But it’s very nice and hot – please don’t stay longer than 10 minutes!

In the morning we had breakfast. It’s a continental breakfast. Lot’s of sweet choices – like Italians love it – but also cheese, ham, hard boiled eggs and more. Coffee, tea, cappuccino and more come out of a self-service machine.
Half-board is possible, you will be asked in the morning what you want for dinner.

We decided the day before leaving to stay another night and were lucky: we didn’t even need to change the room.

I had a funny experience one morning when we had breakfast: a German couple got up and came over to our table. The man asked me if I am Heidi and I said yes. He took my hand and said: “Thank you for recommending this hotel. It’s 15 years now we are coming every year and it’s the most beautiful place to stay. Thank you so much!” My boyfriend was nearly falling from the chair, he couldn’t believe how much a ‘celebrity’ I am. Very funny! (I was a tourist guide in Ischia for 25 years)

I recommend:
We rent a scooter the very first day. That was the best choice ever. In the summer the traffic is really crazy (especially for people from other countries) and there is no parking place to find, and most of the time costs a lot of money. With a scooter you are free to go wherever you want and always find a place to park.

We did a tour around the island the first day to get a good impression where is what and stopped at breathtaking view points. I wanted to show my boyfriend why I love so much my home. The other days we used it to go everywhere and visit places like the castle or go to the beach.

I took him to different restaurants – for my man’s fun everywhere the owners came to the table and greeted me personally. We have been to Peppina di Renato (try the pizza with potatoes, onions and gorgonzola), to Il Comignolo (perfect for boar, ostrich, beef, pork and rabbit, all clean meat), La Tinaia (great for pizza and seafood) and L’Oasi, Panza, Ischia (all kinds of typical Ischitanian cuisine) and some more. All offer great taste and a wonderful ambience.

(this is NOT a sponsored article!)

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Villa Melodie, Forio d’Ischia, Campagna/Italy:

For further information:
Villa Melodie, Forio d’Ischia
Via Capizzo, 6
Forio d’Ischia/Na 80075

Tel: +39 – 081 – 998364

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A Walk in the Streets of Baile Atha Cliath

Some weeks ago I was a whole day in Dublin walking through the streets, shooting some colorful doors and having lunch at Temple Bar.

Dublin is amazing every time I walk through the streets of this very cosmopolitan city. Nowhere I have seen so many nationalities together, and they all look like they feel home here. It’s an open city yet full of traditions and history.

I was with my boy-friend and one of my best friend to have a look at the main cathedral, to show my man Temple Bar and the Irish feeling, to have a look at the famous Book of Kells and of course the library at Trinity College and smell the sea at Blackrock.

A little about the history of this today nearly 2 million busy city:

It is a place that already in prehistory had some human settlements. Officially Dublin was founded in 988, but also nominated around 140 AD by Ptolemy, a Greek cartographer. But the then Viking settlement was preceded by early Christians who lived also both side by side, each on another side of the Liffy, river going through the city.

It remained a mainly Viking settlement until 1169 when the Norman Invasion of Ireland took over.

400 years later the English Crown started a new era for Dublin. It became the center of of Irish administration. By then the population rose to 50.000 inhabitants also thanks to a rich trade of wool and linen with England.

In the 18th century Georgian Dublin became the second largest city in the British Empire. Many streets were built in this architecture style. Places like Temple Bar and Grafton Street still have their Medieval character and are not effected from era transformation. Another reason helped Dublin to prosper: the foundation of the Guinness brewery in 1759. It became Dublin’s largest employer.

During the industrial explosion Dublin and Ireland stayed a little outside and the city itself lost the importance since also the seat of government was transferred to London.

The Easter Rising, the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War damaged the city heavily. But after all it still remains the capital city of Ireland.

That is history. Modern Dublin is so open and full of youth from all over the world. And they all sit together in the pubs and enjoy the Irish atmosphere.

We loved to walk in the streets, to sit in the parks, to have Guinness and Irish stew.

Later we have been at the seaside at Blackrock which was once a little fishing village. Here we had a long walk and later some dinner which was also very nice. Here a little the daylight fooled us as we thought it was around 7 pm and it was 10 pm so it was not that easy to find a place where to eat in the first moment.

Highlight was definitely the library of the Trinity College. But also just strolling through the streets and listening to all the languages, breathing the sunny but fresh air was wonderful. We were very lucky with the weather, sunny and dry and warm for Ireland.

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Dublin, Co. Leinster/Ireland:

For further information:
Dublin Webside

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A Postcard from Dublin

Which is one of the most famous postcards one can receive from Dublin or Ireland? Exactly: the colorful doors.

So no wonder when I was lately in Dublin I had a look at these different styles and colored doors.

Luckily I was with a friend who told me a story why the doors are always looking so different.

Not different to today Irish men also centuries ago liked to go to the pub in the evening and having a pint of Guinness, and second, a third… until the bell rings at 11 pm and the last order has to be done. So very often the men came home a little less controlled and lightly confused sometimes which door is the right for the home, all looking grey in the night. And it was not uncommon that they took the wrong door and finished in the bed of someone else’s wife. Of course the ‘right’ husband was not amused like the wives themselves.
But now we know a woman finds always the way to re-direct her man in the right place and the wives colored their doors all in another color. So no excuse anymore for the husband to find the right door. If the man lives in the house with the purple door then he has to come back to the house with the purple door. And not the green one.

Of course there is another story. In the 17th century the Georgian Dublin houses and of course doors looked all the same. Beautiful entrances but not really distinguishable from each other. So Dubliners wanted to give them a more individual look and started to decorate and paint them after their own personal gusto. Bright colors, decorative knockers and a nice lantern.. and suddenly the doors looked all different like the house owners were.

I like the first story better than the second. But both are nice and a good explanation for these colorful doors.

Dublin, Co. Leinster/Ireland:

For further information:
Dublin Webside

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