The Crown Jewel of the Tyrrhenian Sea
Join us on a journey to one of the Mediterranean's island treasures, Sardegna, also known as the island of Sardinia, located just west of the Italian coastline midway to Majorca and the Bealeric Islands. We'll focus our exploration on the northern region of the island and the picturesque Maddalena island archipelago, its granite rock outcroppings sculpted by the wind and waves into dramatic landscapes against the sea. This is a paddler's trip, offering the experienced paddler opportunities to paddle diverse conditions, yet providing ample protected waters for those newer to kayaking to enjoy the incredible beauty one can only experience from the cockpit of a kayak. For sure, the rewards will be great as we lose ourselves in the adventure, finding some real gems off the beaten path. Expect to establish some long-lasting friendships with the people we meet as we share exceptional food and sustenance at the table.
Although part of Italy, Sardinia is in-and-of itself, a world apart. The native dialect, Sardo, has been identified as the closest living language to the Latin spoken by the ancient Romans. The island was once controlled by Rome's greatest enemy in the Mediterranean, Carthage, whose armies threatened Rome itself under the leadership of their famous general Hannibal Barca. The Bronze Age Nuraghic civilization left their mark on the island as well; these ancient builders constructed countless stone towers scattered through the countryside, an archaeological mystery waiting to be solved by those of us with the Indiana Jones-gene! Even the rock formations have an other worldly appearance, shaped by the Mistral, that harsh west wind that accelerates down the Rhone Valley, across Provence, and then out to sea sculpting the island's coast line into organic shapes. The result reminiscent of the smooth, flowing, carvings of sculptor Jean Arp if one uses some imagination. This is a place not to be missed!!
The clear azure sea that offers us breathtaking ocean-bottom-views 60 or more feet below our kayaks will be the stage upon which we become the actors in this dynamic drama of ebb and flow. Lots of paddling to be found, secret places to explore, hidden sea caves, secluded beaches and the opportunity for some lively surf will be part of the action too. For land lubbers there will be opportunities to hike or bike instead, and of course time can be taken to find a cliff-side perch and simply watch the ever-changing sea.
At the end of the day, we will all have experienced some fun, some serious paddling, and an unequaled sampling of food and wine prepared in a traditional manner. Could be just the ticket for a great getaway!
May 19* - 29*, 2017
* Travel days
$3750 per person based on double occupancy; singles add $500
The Price includes 9 night accommodations in Inns or hotels, meals as noted on itinerary, in-country transportation once you have arrived at our first night's Inn as outlined on the itinerary, ferry to Sardinia, kayaking gear and safety equipment, and highly qualified & trained guides
Imagine paddling through volcanic archways, a glimpse of a precipitous coastline coming into view, and then the full drama of la Costeria Amalfiano before you its landscape of color, texture, and relief are woven into a dramatic tapestry that permeates the soul.
When the goddess of love Venus emerged from the swells of the Tyrrhenian Sea, seven gemstones were lost from her crown as the waves crashed all around her. These seven stones became the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago: Elba, Giglio, Capraia, Gorgona, Pianosa, Giannutri and Montecristo. So these are the gems of Tuscany encompassing 600,000 acres making it Europe's largest marine park. The most famous and largest of these islands is Elba, dominated by nature with its long sandy beaches, small inlets, vertical cliffs, and transparent deep blue sea. The Etruscans mined metals here, to the Romans, it was a destination resort, and to Napoleon it was his home away from home during his exile. We'll visit small medieval villages, sample local fare rich in genuine flavor, and explore the stunning coastline of white sand, hidden cobblestone beaches,and rugged rock outcroppings.
From here, we'll journey to the heart of Tuscany, a region first inhabited by the ancient Entruscans, who cherished the hills, the land, and the air as a place of sanctuary. For Chiantigianos it is the place to cultivate the grape, harvest the olive, and to savor the sights, sounds, and scent of the hills. For us peregrinators, wayfarers as the Roman tourists called themselves, it will be a delight for the senses and truly an adventure for a lifetime.
Exploring the Five Villages of Cinque Terre by Kayak
(9 days & 9 nights in Italy)
Join us for an unforgettable kayak adventure along the soaring coastline of Cinque Terre, an enclave of five villages perched precariously above the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Also known as the Italian Riviera, this region of Italy boasts not only incredible kayaking but an intricate network of hiking trails between the villages allowing visitors to experience the beauty from both sea level and a bird's eye view. Accessible only by boat or train, the five villages remain untouched by the encroachment of development, which changes the character and charm of such special places. This is a destination that offers an authenticity, a slower pace, yet, provides a diversity of activity that truly sets it apart.
Enjoy five days of paddling from village to village, our lodgings wonderful Inns and hotels with panoramic views of the Mediterranean. A special addition to the trip is an exploration of Porto Venere which was a major trading center throughout Medieval times. Its wide quayside offers a multitude of cafes and quaint shops and, with some careful wandering, you may discover the most delicious pesto to be found anywhere in Italy. We'll leave that discovery to you!
What makes this trip especially interesting is that it offers so much more than just the paddling. The spectacular vistas of the Ligurian Coast are complemented by the food, the wine, and the subtle play of light on the colors of the landscape. These are all qualities that contribute to the essential nature of what Italy has to share. Participate in an authentic Slow Food cooking class, a full day of gustatory comeraderie with hands-on preparation, involved cooking, and the resultant feast by mid afternoon, a fitting culmination to the day's "work".
There is no better way to create a memorable journal of your experience than a photographic record of where you have been and those with whom you have shared your adventure. Our uniquely structured photography workshop lends itself to just that... a process that develops a sense of effective composition rather than technical complication. Our instructor and Tuscan guide, is a noted photographer in the region. His approach is positive and reinforcing and provides you with the opportunity to grow and test your skills whether you are looking through the viewfinder of a high-end DSLR camera or framing your shot on the screen of a point-and-shoot. Photo opportunities abound from ancient Roman baths and hidden Etruscan ruins, to the day to day activity and commerce in the local butcher shop, Macelleria, a place where our group will have a chance to feast on a sampling of meats, cheeses, and wines that will constitute our late day picnic lunch in the field! This will be a "full" day excursion in more ways than one.
So come join us on our maiden voyage to Cinque Terre. "Piano, piano, piano", as the Italians say, "slowly, slowly, slowly" enjoy life, perhaps as it should be.
*The first and last days listed are international travel days
$4750 per person double occupancy; singles add $600.
Price includes accommodations for 9 nights in Italy, meals as noted on itinerary, kayaking equipment, qualified and highly trained guides, and transportation once in Italy as noted on itinerary.