Travel A to Z – Unforgettable to Wine

So what would be my unforgettable memory from 50 odd years of travelling?

Well having watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade again last night I decided that visiting the Treasury at Petra, where the exteriors for the film’s finale are played out, would probably top my list. It was also featured in the video for the Sisters of Mercy‘s Dominion single back in 1987, which aside from being by one of my favourite bands also quite neatly illustrates the quarter-mile gorge or Siq that leads you to your first glimpse of the Treasury building or Al Khazneh as it is properly known.

We visited Jordan back in 1993 and ancient Nabateaan city of Petra was at the top of our ‘to see’ list. The Nabateaans established the city around 312BC, only for it to decline under the Romans and eventually be abandoned. It was lost to most of the world until 1812 when the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt coined the phrase “a rose-red city half as old as time”. Of course the local Bedouin tribes knew it was there all the time and used the ruins for shelter.

Al Khazneh is thought to have been built about 100 BC. Nothing quite compares to emerging from the Siq to behold the whole imposing structure that is carved out of the living sandstone cliff face. Local legend had it that bandits stored their loot in the urn at the top, hence the name Treasury and it’s also the reason why the urn has been pockmarked by Bedouin bullets in futile attempts to spill the treasure.

V is for Visas

Over the years I have collected visas for the USA, Egypt, Turkey, Australia, Jordan and most recently Russia. Athough they may look pretty in your passport, visas are a bit of a palaver to get and in reality only an officially sanctioned state robbery. The Russians in particular wanted to a whole lot of information ranging from occupation, military service and education to every country we had visited over the past ten years and then for filling in the form ourselves charged us £30!

Egyptian Visa and other stamps gained on 1992’s adventure down the Nile

W is for Wine

Help there’s been so much I can’t remember! I do enjoy a nice glass of wine, but I don’t really know enough about it to claim to be an expert. to be fair I’m as happy sinking Spanish rose from a tetra pack that cost under a Euro as knocking back fine Champagne.

I think my favourite wine experiences are associated with specific events: like drinking chilled Frascati with a bowl of salted nuts in Frascati; sipping that over-oaked fizz the Aussies make as the Sun set over Uluru or a nice chilled Cava watching the Sun set from above the clouds on Mount Teide on Tenerife.

Chilled Cava above the clouds

Shipscook’s Italian Job – Monnalisa Ristorante

Right in the heart of Sorrento’s ‘Drains opposite a very pretty church we found this place. It’s the Monnalisa Ristorante and is a great place for people watching while you eat.

Al Fresco dining at the Monnalisa

This has to be one of the best places to get a pizza in Sorrento. We ate there a couple of times and I really enjoyed the pizza picante, which is made with pepperoni and four kinds of cheese, including pungent Gorgonzola and a ball of fresh buffalo Mozzarella . Fabulous with a glass of chilled Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio white.

Picante pizza with fresh Buffalo Mozzarella

Mind you I was surprised that I had much room left after the bruschette we had for our starters. The tomato bruschetta was really fresh and quite delicious, however

Your standard tomato Bruschetta

the Neapolitan bruschetta, with ham, basil and cheese, was really gorgeous and particularly filling.

Neapolitan Bruschetta with fresh Buffalo Mozzarella

Even the nibbles, that are customarily served with drinks in Italy, arrived in style on a delicate little stand with a pair of tongs.

Sophisticated nibbles

The Monnalisa has a well recommended ice cream parlor, but we were always too full after the main course to stuff anything else down.

So what’s the damage? Bruschette and pizza or pasta for four with wine, water and coffee between €90 to €100.

Monnalisa Ristorante, Via P.R.Giuliani,18/20, Sorrento.