Monday, October 16th, 2000 Traveling South on the A1
Up early, Jim loaded the car before breakfast. Packed a lunch at breakfast and on the road by 7:57 am. Sprinkling lightly as we left. Decided to go through the center of Florence and up to the Piazzale Michelangelo on the way to the A1 Autostrassa. We’d been by it several times while we were here but it was so hazy we hadn’t stopped. It was so clear today you could almost touch the Dumo and other buildings down in Florence! Got some wonderful photos. Made the A1 by 8:42 and headed south to Rome. Had some spurts of rain, sometimes heavy but also lots of sunshine! Our first stop was for diesel at Chius-Chiaciaco just outside of Sarteano about 9:42. Drove past Orvieto at 10:04 and passed a wonderful looking hilltop town called Orte just north of Rome on the A1 and 204 crossroads. Skirted past Rome about 11 am and by 12:30 we were passing Naples.
About 1 pm we reached Salerno and that’s when the fun began. First of all we were out of cash so had to use the Visa to get off the toll road. I was already in a sour mood as I was dieting and also mad at Jim for tailgating a car while trying to get him to pull over to the right lane so he could pass him. Italy rules of road he said! Scared the wits out of me as the guy wouldn’t move over! Then the guys behind us started doing the same thing to us!
Left the freeway and got turned around in town. Lots of narrow one way streets. One so narrow with cars parked on both sides that many of the ones that were parked turned their side view mirrors so they wouldn’t get hit. We were down to inches in many places. Finally headed back to the Autostrassa and started all over again. This time we found the road we needed for Amalfi! But what a road. Steep, narrow, twisting! It’s the kind of road that turns your stomach to pure acid and the driver’s fingers get cramps from stress! Buses honked their horns on the curves and had to wait if there was a car coming! We felt safest behind a bus! Finally arrived in Amalfi. Went up a narrow street per the instructions from the Internet. Saw the hotel but couldn’t find a parking place. Finally a parking lot attendant said to tell the police that we had reservations for the Amalfi Hotel and they would let us park illegally for a short period of time until we could get into the garage hotel! First time we knew that the hotel had a parking garage. Jim left me in the car in the Dumo Plaza while he ran to the hotel. They were putting a new door on the garage so our car remained on the street for another hour. Great hotel, but so much stress in getting here!
Walked around town for about an hour taking photos. Lots of tourists. Some charming shops. They sell liquor made from Lemons. Plus everything else made from lemon including the china and glasses decorated with lemons. The town is built into the side of the hill and is networked with stairs and tunnels or hallways. You can walk the length of the streets without being on the street. You find small restaurants all over, on back streets, and down alley after alley.
Spent some time watching TV…. yes we have a TV with satellite hookup, which means CNN and some other English speaking stations. Watched the floods in the Italian, French and especially Switzerland Alps. Clinton is trying to solve the peace problem between Israel and Arabs. The Navy is trying to find out who bombed their ship….so many world problems that we’ve hardly been aware of for the past several weeks without TV access.
Had dinner in the hotel dining room. Fixed menu with pasta or soup, ham, fish or veal, vegetables, and fresh fruit for dessert. Really hit the spot and only 25,000 Lire each. We also got a bottle of gas/water and half liter of white wine for only an additional 10,000 Lire. That makes a very nice dinner for the two of us at about $28.00 total. Then we went for a walk and found more interesting areas of town. Walked into a store featuring everything on Lemons....she gave us a sample and we ended up buying two bottles to take home! Thought they’d go good some evening with Lemon Pie from Marie Calendars with our friends on the lake.
Back to the hotel about 10 pm. Going to sleep in tomorrow. Then explore the town some more and probably take a boat cruise in the afternoon to see the Emerald Caves. Jim is writing postcards! He’ll do about one for every ten that I write!
Added note: About six of the Italian hotel guests decided to go to the patio outside our window when the restaurant closed. They had a great time till about midnight, but we could hear everything they said…just couldn’t understand a word they said! But they did move inside at midnight! The church bells, which are not the best we’ve ever heard…kinda tinny sounding…ring every quarter hour, twenty-four hours a day! We told the hotel that we are leaving on Thursday, which is two days early. They were very upset and offered to change our room, etc. But it’s really the drive that is the underlying cause. The noise we could have dealt with. We'd planned to go in and out to visit several different sites; I have no desire to make that drive again except when we leave!