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The original world nomad "Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance." - Confucius.

Wild figs in the mountains

ITALY | Wednesday, 26 September 2007 | Views [1717]

Surprisingly, you lose the throngs of package tourists just a few hundred metres up the main street in Amalfi as you start to climb, making the many walks around the hills here sheer joy. The small wild figs grow in so much abundance it seems that many are just left to drop and rot, yet on a strenuous climb up out of the valleys it is so easy just to reach up over a wall and pick a few.

Unlike Australia, these people have had to use their land more carefully just in order to survive and is why dense housing leaves maximum arable land for cultivation; lemon and olive terraces are as spectacular as anything on Bali.

These hillside towns must have been dirt poor not so long ago, with even electricity and running water recent additions. Now there seem to be few young people left as they migrate to the cities in favour of better opportunities, a global trend, and I wonder what will happen to these places in next 20 years? These places can't become retirement homes for the British since you have to be pretty fit to reach them!

We are self-catering in an apartment here and food is easy with the deliciously tiny vine-ripened cherry tomatoes at just €2 per kilo. The local fruit shops don't like you handling their produce and some of it looks decidedly moth-eaten but inevitably has great flavour.

Ravello is our kinda town: a small hill town full of discrete 5 star hotels and local restaurants to match. The food is often plain and simple (fish, risotto, salads etc) but really well prepared and served. Best of all, for us at least, they don't mind two energetic boys running about or making a huge mess of the table. When I apologised for the mess as we left they just held out their hands, shrugged and said said "Bambini!" as if to say what else. I can't quite imagine the same reception in the UK where the last time we were there we came across a sign saying "Children and dogs welcome (on leads)". Mmmmm . Quite so.

Sorrento, by contrast, is apparently hugely popular with the English and Germans so before we arrived I said to Yuki "I bet the food is the worst on the coast". She thought I was exaggerating. You can imagine the rest.

There is an interesting historical mix of Christianity and Islam here in the Mediterranean. Five hundred to a thousand years ago the tables were somewhat turned with Islam being the religion of knowledge, learning, culture, openness and tolerance and Christianity being the religion of control, persecution and intolerance.

It makes you wonder why it changed, if the tables will turn again and what the Imam's of 1000 years ago would think of their modern day descendants?

Tags: food, land, landscape, people, resources

 

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