Wednesday, April 1, 2009
THE AMALFI COAST
Monday, March 30, 2009 Travel Day to Sant’ Agnello on the Amalfi Coast
Our first stop after breakfast was a run over to the Internet Shop to check emails and then back to the B&B to finish packing. We’d selected the later train to avoid the crowds and we were right. We took up seven seats with our luggage and no one complained. The ticket for today from Rome to Naples was only twenty one euros for both; second class and no seat reservations required.
We arrived in Naples about 1:30 pm and walked to the secondary station for the Circumvesuviana Train that runs between Naples and Sorrento; that ticket was just under seven euros for both of us. We barely made the 1:45 pm train and talked with a couple from Illinois all the way down. It takes about an hour for the trip because this train stopped at every town along the way. We got off at the last town before Sorrento called Sant’ Agnello. I’d found a Hostel here that sounded too good to be true on the Internet. It was about a ten minute walk from the station but the Hostel is only about a year old and is in pristine condition with all the bells and whistles.
As we walked out of the station to our first landmark on the directions we’d been given by the Hostel there was a young man sitting with luggage who asked where we were headed as we probably looked confused. He said they were headed there also and his brother was out searching for the place; he invited us to wait and we did. His brother arrived within minutes and said he’d found it but it was further than they’d thought. So the four of us started out, Mary did a good job stretching her legs to keep up with them and they were good enough to slow down a bit for us. Turns out they are also twins, but identical, and from San Diego California. They are on a trip to celebrate their twenty-fifth birthday which is tomorrow, March 31st. Small world isn’t it!
We’re in a twelve bed mixed dorm but only girls tonight. I don’t think there’s another person here who is over thirty! We decided to have dinner here, they have a chef and the food is five euros for each plate! What a bargain…and no fee for the bread. We enjoyed a tomato stuffed with pasta and vegetables tonight. The kids are wonderful to us…they love it that we’re “hip” grandmas with computers and IPods.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009 The Coast of Amalfi
Breakfast is included in our room charge of only twenty one euros per night and it was as good as the eight euro breakfast that we had in Provence. This place is truly going to spoil us for the rest of the trip! Weather prediction is for rain so everyone backed out of the trip to Amalfi but we decided to go anyway. Left about 10 am, packed our rain ponchos and headed for the train station, a ten minute walk; stopped along the way to purchase two bananas and some bread for lunch on our trip.
We only had to take the train for one stop to Sorrento. There we purchased round trip bus tickets to Amalfi and joined the group waiting to board the bus. Enjoyed talking with a couple from Ohio who had just spent two days at Capri and they said that due to the weather both the Blue Grotto Boats and the chair lifts were closed; we may rethink our plans to go to Capri. We were fortunate enough to obtain two seats on the right side of the bus so that Mary could enjoy the fabulous views down the cliffs as we drove around the hairpin turns high above the Mediterranean Sea. I’ve seen grown men cringe at this view so I was very proud of her and she even agreed to take the same seats on the return trip. There were times when one looks down and only sees the water far below as the edge of the bus obscures the edge of the road. The only thing more exciting is if you have the seat behind the driver and have the opportunity to see the bus appearing to be going over the side of the cliff when turning corners. The best part of going to Amalfi is the bus ride there and back.
Today we had an added treat as for some strange reason that can only be termed “Italian”; the public bus stops just after Positano; everyone gets off the bus and walks nearly two kilometers and then waits for a bus to arrive (we waited a good half hour) for the rest of the trip to Amalfi. Good news was that this break enabled us to see the miniatures villages that are created in niches along the road in that particular area. Bad news is that we had to stand in the rain for about fifteen minutes while we waited for the bus along with about a dozen other people. In the group were half a dozen Americans and we again enjoyed exchanging travel stories as we stood in the rain. Yes, we had to repeat the process on the return trip but this time it was twenty minutes uphill; good news was that the bus was there when we arrived but it didn’t leave for half an hour.
Our time in Amalfi was brief; we only spent about an hour because it was raining all the time that we were there and we also knew we had a long return trip to make. We checked on taking a taxi from Amalfi to Positano to bypass the bus issue but fifty euros seemed a bit steep so we decided to take the bus. We walked the side streets, took photos of the church, had a taste of limoncello (the fabulous liquor of this area made from the peel of lemons) and of course a final treat of lemon gelato before going back to the bus for our return trip. We arrived back at the Hostel by 6 pm; a fun day even with the rain and unusual bus trip deviations.