A Royal Swimming Hole in Sorrento

Long after the summer tourists have left Sorrento and peace returns to my adopted hometown, romantic visions are born anew in the city’s historic past, such as the legend of Bagni della Regina Giovanna.  It’s said to be the ancient swimming hole of Queen Joanna of Naples, the 14th century royal who was quite saucy.  She married her cousin…she was Bagni della Regina Giovanna Sorrentoeight and he was six.  Yes, controversy starts young in Napoli.  He was eventually hung by his genitals from a hunting lodge and she married twice more before being smothered to death at the age of 56.

Locals say Bagni della Regina Giovanna was where the young Queen went to swim with several young lovers at a time.  It was shielded then, as it is today, by a limestone arch, secluding it from the sea beyond, just off the beaten path.

It’s not easy to find by car or foot.  It’s better to take the bus from Sorrento toward Massa Lubrense.  Ask the driver for the stop to Bagni della Regina Giovanna.  It’s not an easy hike.  You climb down, and down, and down some more, along ancient, cobbled Roman walkways.  Then you climb among the jagged rocks down toward the rock-lined watering hole – no rest for the weary at this beach.  There’s a reason it’s also better in September – the summer heat is gone for when you make the long, strenuous climb back up the hill.

Let our Italy travel specialist help plan your perfect journey to Sorrento and beyond!

Posted in Europe, Italy, Italy travel Concierge, Off the Beaten Path, Travel Blog | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Amalfi Blue Sea Glass

I have been on a quest for blue sea glass for years. You might even say that I am a bit obsessed with it. It’s a lot harder to find than you might think. Oh, there is plenty of green and brown glass and clear bits of broken beer and soda bottles which line our shores but blue is as elusive and as ethereal as the seafoam which floats through your toes.  Which is Amalfi Blue sea glasswhy I was delighted with a beach stop, off the beaten path, of Italy’s very blue Amalfi Coast.

I had driven by this spot many times over the years.  Actually, it was more like driving over it since La Costiera Amalfitana snakes its way through the mountains which hover over the shore below.  This day, a dear friend suggested we park precariously along the road and climb the steps to the beach below where locals gather at Fiordo di Furore.  What I discovered was a treasure trove of Amalfi Blue sea glass.

There were bits of royal, blue and aqua chips just glistening at my feet, sparkling in the warm summer sun, making this girl smile at the realization that there is true magic in Amalfi Blue.

Let our Amalfi Coast travel specialist help plan your dream journey!

This post is part of the #SundayTraveler series

Posted in Amalfi Coast, Beach escapes, Europe, Italy, Italy travel Concierge, Off the Beaten Path, Travel Blog | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Top 5 London on a Budget

London, known as being the most expensive city in the world for culture, actually offers a host of tourist opportunities off the beaten path which can be had for £10 or less.  Our London travel specialist offers her Top 5 London on a Budget:

  1. Regent’s Canal Boat Ride - the cruise from Little Venice to Camden Lock is about 50 minutes and you can get off at either end and catch a later boat for the return trip.  Depending on which cruise line you choose, London Waterbus or Jasons, adult fares run from £8.00 one way to £14.00 return and off-peak one way fares are even cheaper.  Don’t bother stopping at the London Zoo.  It’s a small zoo and only good if you are traveling with the wee ones.  Grabbing the London Pass could also save you a few bob.
  2. 100 Club (100 Oxford Street) – you can visit one of London’s legendary music clubs on an off-night and catch great music and quite possibly hear the next big band to swim across the Pond with tickets often as little as £10.  And for absolutely FREE admission, you can visit the “Ain’t Nothin’ But…” (20 Kingly St., SoHo) blues bar because there’s nothing like hearing Chicago-style blues in London town.
  3. Donmar West End Theater (41 Earlham St., Seven Dials) – You never know who you will find performing at this intimate West End theater.  London’s leading men such as Jude Law, Jeremy Northam and Ian McKellan have all starred in its productions.  The theater only holds 250 people and tickets can be had for as little as £10 with the special Barclay’s Front Row seats.  Those reduced tickets are released Monday mornings for shows two weeks later.
  4. Portobello Road Market – no trip to London would be complete without at least a visit to the Saturday morning madness of Notting Hill known as the Portobello Road Market.  Walking is free and think of all the history you can absorb in a couple of hours perusing the antiques.
  5. My Old Dutch – this chain of pancake houses is located throughout London.  They offer sweet and savory pancakes and waffles throughout the day, so there’s something to satisfy your breakfast, lunch or dinner cravings generally under a tenner.  Trust me, if I lived in London, I would be a regular at this place.

Let me know how you make out and if you find any other deals along the way!  Tah!

Our London travel specialist can help plan a journey for any budget.

And visit all of our fellow wanderlusters at the

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Posted in England, Frugal Friday, London, Top 5, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments