Thursday, August 6, 2015

Ercolano Scavi & Pompeii, Italy

So it's been forever. But I'm back making an effort to document our holiday because it really was so much fun and I don't want to forget all the small experiences that make the trip memorable. So our first day in Naples was really interesting. After saying goodbye to Mauro, we got comfortable on the bus and I had a good sleep. It was nice to just sleep soundly and wake up and take in the scenery again before closing our eyes again. We were leaving from Sora to Naples and it was 11 euros, so cheap and stress free.

After getting off at Naples, our brains were switched on again in trying to find our hotel. We made plans to dump our bags, and continue on towards Pompeii because we wanted to make the most of our time and soldier on. Finding the hotel was easy enough because Tony had the internet. THANK YOU GOD! It was literally over the road and our accommodation was sort of like a backpackers accommodation at Hotel Ideal but it was so cheap we paid like 30 euro each and they've just had a refurbishment so rooms have had a fresh coat of pain and new linen to brighten it up. If you're planning a trip to Sorrento or Amalfi coast but are on a super strict budget then you could stay in Naples and catch the train down. It's easy enough to do if you don't mind the extra travel.

Catching the train was fun. We had our super-hawk-eyes on to ensure that we didn't get rolled by gypsies. Naples has a pretty bad rep for that, and I guess you just have to have your wits about you. We met lots of interesting people on the train and ended up getting off at Scavi to explore the ruins of Herculaneum. We wandered down the road and paid the 10 pound each to explore with an official guide. It was really worth it because our guide was so knowledgeable and while you can appreciate the old ruins on your own, it doesn't mean as much without the stories behind the ruins. The way she spoke about it, you could just see the place come to life in your imagination.

Herculaneum was destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79 just like Pompei but I am so glad we stopped here first because you can see the whole village and even the original wood that was charred by the ashes still remains today. I got a sense of what life would have been like here walking through the remains with the guide. It felt weird to be able to walk in and around the houses with original tiling still in tact. The baths, the central rooms,  the views of the garden. It really was a beautiful place.

Ercolano was a holiday village by the seaside. These boat houses and other rooms still have human bones inside visible from the viewing decks.

One of the many Roman Baths. The tile work here is amazing and still in good condition after so many years.

Posing up in  the ruins of an old pub. They'd serve wine and hot food here.

After Herculaneum we had lunch at a cute cafe and by that time we were so hungry so we ordered an entre and a main. Obviously there was a small language barrier but the staff were so helpful. We ordered some arancini balls to share. I asked how many balls are in a serve and they said 5, so we ordered 2 serves to share with 10 arancini balls altogether because they are usually the size of a golf ball. We almost choked when then 10 huge balls came out the size of oranges thinking "Wow this is a bargain" but that was short-lived when our bill arrived with 30 euro charge for the damn arancini balls. LOL. 3 euros per ball. Oh my. I was speaking to the waitress who seemed really apologetic, because it really was a miscommunication on both parts. We decided to take it as a lesson learned and they gave a free coffee each while we all split the arancini cost. We still laugh about those damn balls, and we were full because they came out after our mains so we weren't even hungry by then.

After lunch we were deciding weather or not to soldier on and catch the train towards Pompeii. We were feeling tired and full but we decided that we should go so we could spend the next day making our way to Positano. So on we went towards Pompeii to soak up more history and see first hand, things that we saw in text books during high school. Pompeii was huge in comparison to Ercolano and I'm glad we saw both and it's definitely doable to do both in a day and to do it independently without being on a tour bus.

The most refreshingly delicious drink. Half orange half lemon juice/slushi fresh from a vendor outside of the park.
Back in our hotel having a rest after a long warm day out. 

Just over the road is the train station. Literally a 5 minute walk so it's really accessible.

This whole trip was booked independently using booking.comI spent time reading reviews looking at places close to public transport. I planned it this way because there was no prepaid tour going to the places we wanted to visit. It worked out really well and I have since then planned all my other trips using this site. They are usually really prompt and it's great having the book now, pay later option. I have had one horror booking at Brighton and I've been really disappointed in their response to it thus far. I've emailed at least 3 times and they claim to have not received my email. Hopefully it will get sorted soon.

Big love,

Falala Mele

PS. Keep your eyes peeled because my sister and I have decided to blog from this spot....So there will probably be a few changes.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sora, Italy pt.2

Sora was my most favourite place during our Easter break. If you missed the first post of pictures on Sora, then you can find them HERE. We only stayed a short 2 days but the Italy Farm Stay left a lasting impression.

We woke up early and headed into Sora for morning walk up to the old ruins. After the long walk we made it back to the Farm Stay for our afternoon cooking class with Maria. It was so wonderful because Maria showed us how to make authentic fettuccine. Her secret was adding some semolina to the pasta mix because it keeps the pasta tender.

After our cooking class, we made our way up the road to the local and last remaining shepherds in Sora. Antonello told us that it is a solitary profession so many sons would prefer to settle down and find a wife than to herd the sheep in the mountains.

The shepherds make cheese daily. They still do everything by hand and make incredible cheese. We were able to sample two different varieties of cheese when staying at the farm stay because they buy local and organic if they do not grow or make it on the premises.

The shepherds allowed us to join in on the cheese making activities and even asked if we'd like to become shepherdesses. I think he was shopping for a wife for his son. Can't blame old uncle for trying right.

We started by removing the excess whey from the cheese. It took a lot of concentration to do it properly, but it was such an awesome and authentic experience. If you visit the Italy Farm Stay ( and you really should) then please ask to visit the local shepherds to make cheese. It was only 15 euros and you can also buy the cheese and it's honestly ridiculously cheap. I ended up paying 10 euros for a wheel of cheese (even though it only cost like 5) because I would feel bad paying anything less, seeing the quality and work put into producing the cheese.

The shepherd's Great Grandfather making cheese in the original building before the new shop was built.

After the cheese making we returned to have our final meal.
First we cooked the pasta then we made a quick sauce of capsicum, olives, red onions, shallots and herbs with olive oil. This simple sauce that was poured over the hot pasta once it was cooked. We all enjoyed our meal immensely and left the table feeling completely stuffed, but in the-best food ever-type of stuffed.

We had:
A delicious white bean bruschetta
Capsicum and Olive Fettuccine
White bean puree and lentils
Wild foraged greens sautéed with garlic in olive oil
Pickled beets and cheese from the local shepherds
Creme Caramel Custard with sultanas

The next morning we were up early to catch the bus to Naples and our dear friend Mauro aka Federico dropped us at the bus stop and helped us buy our tickets. We were in Sora for 2 nights but I felt as though I could have stayed for 2 weeks to really soak up Italy through my senses. This is definitely a place I want to return to.

Big love,

Falala Mele

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Team Us

Mele Vintage Denim / Forever 21 Leggings / Tee Spreadshirt - Pulu Jeans New Look / Shoes Converse / Tee Spreadshirt 

For the longest time we have had Omarian's song- Post To Be on repeat. This catchy little jam had us grooving up in our house, giving us inspiration to cook, clean and dance daily. My fave line was Chris Brown's "team us, we aint worried about you", and being people who literally quote everything from lines, I decided to make it into a t-shirt. Even if you don't know the song, the tees pretty much sum us up.

I went onto Spreadshirt to make the tees primarily because I was looking for extra long tees and these went up to a 5XL. I think the shirts were 15 pound and are really well made and printed. Theresa and I always have lines or sayings that we plan to print and we never get around to doing it, so I'm glad we got some sorted.

I'm still in love with that loose 90's style, leaving my hair as is and opting for a totally laxed-out look. It's also super comfortable and practical because we walk EVERYWHERE. I am not one of those people who suffer for style. I like to keep it real.

We also get asked if we are twins A LOT and lately it's been fun to play on that a little. Only a few years ago, we were obsessed with being completely different, and to be honest we did have different styles but as we continue to grow into ourselves, we're happy with wearing clothes that we want to wear regardless of who else is wearing it. I don't know if you've picked up on it, but we even have the same shoes and we'll wear it on the same day and that used to be a real no no.

Paris was fun. It had been 6 years since I had first visited and it was the first time my sister had been. I will share some more pictures soon but I just wanted to share the outfits. I promised some style posts so here is the first one.

Jacket Vintage / Shirt Primark / Skirt City Chi / Shoes Converse 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sora, Italy Pt. 1

Barcelona was a great introduction into our 2 week Easter break. It was easy to navigate and there seemed to be a lot of English spoken. This allowed us to navigate our 2 day stay without any trouble at all. WINNING!

After Barcelona we flew into Ciampino airport in Rome (which is the smaller airport of the two) as we were advised that this airport would be easier starting point to make our way to Sora. When we arrived and there seemed to be no one around. We looked and couldn't find customs desk so we followed the signs to an exit which allowed us to collect our bags without even getting our passports stamped. Weird!

Then we managed to buy a ticket on the shuttle bus service to get into Rome before buying a bus ticket to get from Rome to Sora.  Arriving in the termini was kinda crazy as it was huge, busy and it was buzzing with loads of people; all trying to either sell you something or 'help' you for a fee. We wandered down to the ticket booth and used words and pictures to communicate with the ticket officer. After about a 30 minute wait and a 5 minute-sort of-conversation, we walked to our train platform before catching a bus which felt like it was in the middle of nowhere. Anagnina was an older, rundown looking bus depot and the locals catching the buses sure had never seen anyone like us before because they couldn't help but to stare. I was just as amused at their interest in us so I giggled as we waited for our bus. We initially jumped on a bus heading back to Rome but luckily the bus driver directed us off because we were on the next bus to Sora.

The bus ride was pleasant and the scenery was wonderful. We arrived to the town of Sora as we had booked the Italy Farm Stay and were immediately greeted by Federico; a burly older man who said in his thick Italian-Brooklyn accent "Are you English? Follow me".

We scoffed single slices of pizza as we waited for Antonello to pick us up. Federico told us that he was a taxi service if we needed to get around town. After this initial excitement, we piled into the van and were speechless when we arrived at the farm stay. It was just on dusk, but I had never seen anything like it before. The snow capped mountains looked as if it were a painted backdrop and we placed our belongings away excited for dinner, a shower and a rest.

The next morning I woke up early to catch the sunrise and ended up going for a walk around the property. It was so nice to hear the babbling brooke and birds singing first thing in the morning. I miss those simple things when I'm living in the city.

After breakfast we decided to go for a walk in town to the castle remains as it would only require a couple of hours because we had booked a cooking class for the afternoon.

I don't think the photos do the place enough justice. I highly recommend you visit the Italy Farm Stay. It is such good value for money and it is a food lovers heaven because they grow or make everything they serve. It is in my opinion the best way to have an authentic Italian experience. It's only 2 hours outside of Rome so it is very doable. If you're worried about catching public transport, Federico can pick you up for an arranged cost. My friends said that they would have paid for the convenience and comfort but I personally love figuring my way on public transport because it makes me feel like a real independent traveler.

Big love,

Falala Mele