Perfect week in Puglia

Took last week off to just relax, do very little, eat great Italian food and most of all escape the weather in Holland.  By sheer chance I found this house on Mr & Mrs Smith which looked amazing on the their site and it was.  The property was very private so we didn’t see anyone for the entire week, the house was really large so we had our own bathrooms.  Best of all was the weather.  Later in the week it was 36C which was fantastic.  All day we just read books, took a siesta, had wonderful food, swam in the pool and just emptied our heads of all of the usual.

   It’s amazing how easy it is just to dump all the rubbish that is in your head and give yourself the time to reflect on where you are and what is important in your life.  We don’t do    it enough which is a shame.  The fact that there was no real desire to leave the house at all speaks volumes.  We did go into Cisternino a couple of times for dinner as well as to the beach once for a look but that was it.

Each morning I could get up just before the sunrise, sit by the pool and meditate.  The meditation combined with the peace, the warmth and relaxation helped to focus my mind on my goals for the next few years and how to execute.  More on that later.

If you want an amazing week, I cannot recommend this villa enough.  You have to book well in advance because generally it is fully booked from April to September.

Talking Heads – Incomparable

Having an evening watching clips and listening to my favourite band of all time.  They are still the only band that I ever flew from one end of a country to the other to watch  in concert and they are still the only band that I would fly anywhere in the world to see again, but that I fear is something we will never see again. 

Let me know if you are as big a fan as I am. 

Turn the volume right up and enjoy!

I Love My Kindle

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a new wireless Kindle from Amazon.  All my adult life I have a steady, not prolific reader.  With all of my favourite authors like Neal Asher and Iain M Banks, I have usually ordered the latest hardback editions.  On my last trip to India where I carried with me 3 novels plus 2 travel guides, I suddenly had 6 kilos of books with me.  I also have to admit that up until that point I could never see the point in an e-reader, but on that holiday, I understood.  I did consider for approx 2.5 secs an iPad but then realised I wasn’t that desperate to be cool and frankly I am too tight to spend that much money on a large i-nophone.

So I researched the Kindle and bought one.  Fantastic, it is great.  The the sharpness and definition with the electronic ink pages is much much better than I expected.  It is as easy to read as a book.  Font size, line spacing and page orientation is completely adjustable.  You can browse the library of 400,000 titles, most of the classics are free.  Newspapers, magazines and blogs as well.  Instant delivery, no postage costs.  Light weight and very easy to hold.  Can hold up to 3,500 books (more than enough for a 3 week holiday with the family) and in your books you can bookmark a page, highlight text and save as well as annotate something that you want to reference in the future.  If you install the Kindle application on your iPhone, you can also read you book(s) on your iPhone and the Kindle knows the last page you completed on the iPhone, so you don’t have to search to catch up.

If you enjoy reading, I really recommend the investment.

Cows and Tigers – two excellent books related to India

Since the trip to India last month, aspects of India now keep appearing in my life.  This post is about two really excellent books, each very different.

The first is titled ‘Holy Cow’ by Sarah MacDonald.  Sarah used to work for the radio station Triple J in Australia (the only station worth listening to in the country by the way) and she followed her boyfriend to India after he was posted as the ABC correspondent.  Sarah couldn’t work so she travelled India looking for her own personal enlightenment via yoga or religion.  Her experiences are wonderful and told with such a great sense of humour.  She had previously backpacked around India and decided that she hated the country with a passion.  As she was leaving, a beggar read her palm and told her she would return one day for love.  Eleven years later she does.

The book that I am currently reading is one that I stumbled upon at the airport this week – ‘White Tiger’ by Aravind Adiga.  This is his first novel and with it he won the Man Booker prize in 2008.  It is funny, sarcastic, witty and the pages just keep on flying past.  A book that wont let you stop until you finish it.

If you have been to India already, both these books will pull memories flooding back in and if you haven’t yet been, you will still have a big smile.

If you like music

For my recent birthday I was given headphones that have been specifically designed for the ipod/iphone by B&W.  This company has long been a favourite as they produce astonishing speakers.  I bought a pair of B&W speakers 25 years ago, they are still being used and they are still amazing.

If you really, really enjoy listening to music and you want to splash out on state of the art headphones then check out the B&W P5’s.  You will not be disappointed.

Italy for a week

Decided at the very last moment to go to Italy for a week.  We are going to grab a car at Rome airport and then head off into the area of Abruzzo for a few days.  Basing ourselves in a little B&B in Scanno, do some hiking, weather permitting, eat some amazing local food, sample a fair range of Montepulciano wines (just to ensure consistency) and drive around the area.  Perhaps go up to LÁquila to see how it is after the earth quake a year ago.  We are then going back to Rome Friday afternoon to spend a weekend in the ‘Eternal City’ and have dinner with friends.  Not bad for a last minute decision.

My weekend in Paris

Just back from my weekend with Zoe in Paris.  A really great experience.  Walked and walked and walked covering a lot of territory.  For the first time in my life I went thru the 3.5 hour experience of queuing to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but the joy that it bought to Zoe overcame the frustration of the experience.  I did learn one thing that I thought was pretty cool.  The engineered design of the tower means that the actual overall weight of the tower has a lesser weight than the equivalent volume of air.  If you could take a cylinder with the dimensions of 88 mts diameter and 324 mtrs high, the air inside would weigh 10,265 tonnes versus 10,100 tonnes of the Eiffel Tower.

So over the weekend we covered Eiffel Tower, Place Concorde, Champs Elysee, Montmarte, Sacre Coeur, Salvador Dali Musuem, Musee Orsay, Jardin des Tuileries, Trocadero, St Michel and L’église de la Madeleine.  This also included Sunday brunch with my (almost) life long friends John & Annie with their grand daughter.  Some ground was covered!

The main thing was that Zoe and I had a ball.  Took photos, explored clothing shops (Zoe) as well a fantastic chocolate shops and cheese shops.

I did feel sorry for her though.  On Friday night she ended up sleeping in the bath with the door closed because my snoring was driving her insane 🙂   Solved the problem for Saturday by buying her ear plugs.