It was a Sunday morning and we were up very early to leave Sorrento. We were going to travel along one of Italy’s most famous stretches of road and by leaving early we could avoid most of the trouble.
Again Ereni, our tour guide, was bright and cheerful. How she keeps it up I have no idea but it is great to see someone so enthusiastic. Also, Giovanni the bus driver was back again. We packed the bus and departed.
There was a lot to cover today, we would be winding our way along the Amalfi Coast, through Positano and chilling out in Amalfi and Ravello.
The road that runs along the Amalfi coast is something akin to a rally stage. The tight winding roads with cliff face on one side and the cliffs edge on the other make for some incredible views. Herein lies the only problem with this wonderful stretch of road. There are lookouts along the road, but not a lot of parking space for visitors. So people will simply pull to the side of the road get out and take pictures. Giovanni had to be especially careful since he was driving a coach along this road that would far better suit a Vespa.
Our first stop was at a lookout that did have enough space to park a bus… although just one. As we got off the bus for a picture stop, there were two stalls, one was a fruit stall that also sold Viagra in a bag…(it’s dried and ground Italian chilli) and the other was just snacks. But what we had stopped for was just an absolutely breathtaking view of Positano. The mist in the air from the morning sea breeze hadn’t cleared and the sun was pushing through. The head lands along the coast looked incredible bathed in sunlight. This was a perfect spot to get a group photo. Ereni did the honors with my camera. I could have easily spent half a day taking photos from this area. From the incredible view up the coast to the bright colours of the fruit stand there was no shortage of inspiration.
We continued our journey after a breakfast of fresh fruit and simply drove through Positano. We continued along road that seemed to just get narrower and tighter. I wondered how Giovanni was managing to steer clear of oncoming traffic since it felt like there was no where to go. As we continued along the road the view was simply breath taking. The whole time we were trying take in as much of the view as we possibly could. Oh a word of wisdom for anyone taking this Busabout trip. If you want the view, sit on the right hand side of the bus, but if heights are not your thing, perhaps sit on the left.
We arrive at our next stop just as the traffic was getting noticeably heavier. Welcome to Amalfi. This coastal town in Salerno, Nestled among amazing cliffs on this beach town is just stunning. We walked from our parking near the water and walked up the main street. Ereni told us about St. Andrews Cathedral (Duomo) as we approached it. The black and white exterior was just beautiful. I hd seen my fair share of churches by now in the grand scheme pf things and simply wanted a coffee. A short stroll from the Duomo was a coffee shop that sold cakes and pastries. I walked just a little bit further up the hill and hidden next to a restaurant was the cutest little fountain. This fountain is meant to be Amalfi. There are numerous little statues of people going about their day herding sheep, carrying water and whatever else. It was just the strangest thing to come across.
After a short time exploring we returned to the waterside to join the optional boat tour to spot the houses of the rich and famous on this brilliant coast line. I really don’t remember a lot of what was being said along the tour, houses of the rich and famous were pointed out and the natural rock formations were amazing. The view of the town from the water was wonderful. The highlight for me was going for a swim in the ocean. We swam under a natural rock arch, and some people on the tour climbed it and jumped into the water. It is said that for a married couple to kiss under the arch will bring good fortune to them in their marriage. As the water was starting to get a bit rough we boarded the boat and returned to port. The experience was simply refreshing and one that I would recommend to everyone even if just to cool down in the hot sun.
Once we dried off and returned to the coach, we continued along the coast to Ravello. It wasn’t a long drive but it was approaching lunch time and Ereni took us to this little Cafe that made some incredible food. Ravello is a maze of a place. there are so many alleyways and paths that I could imagine getting lost here would to be very easy. It is a beautiful town that unlike its coastal neighbor Amalfi, sits much higher up the hill. Once I had my lunch I joined a few from the group and were sitting in the Piazza Duomo finishing their lunch. The Piazza Duomo overlooks the valley, across what looked like working farm land, to the next hill.
This is another town that I would one day like to visit and actually spend longer than an afternoon. This was the last sight seeing stop before returning to Camping Roma. What I can say about the trip is that Ereni was successful in sharing her love of Italy. We got to see a part of Italy that I fell in love with. This was the type of experience that I was hoping for. The heart of Italy where things move just a little slower, a relaxed laid back approach to life. La Dolce Vita, The Sweet life. I suppose that we are all looking for that in our own little way. I was happy to experience it here, and maybe I will take a part of that with me to try make my own la dolce vita.