Tag: Amalfi Coast

Amalfi and Positano (aka the day we wore kagouls)

I mentioned during my packing post that the forecast for Italy wasn’t great and that I had invested in waterproofs. In the first few days I’d only used mine to walk from the bedroom to the bar (and therefore it was already a worthy investment!) By Thursday, it was worth it’s weight in gold.

The Amalfi Coast drive is renowned as being absolutely beautiful, with sheer cliff drops, sea views, and towns precariously built into the rockface. There are the usual organised trip options, which we always avoid where possible, plus the local SITA buses and the red sightseeing bus. The SITA bus, although cheaper, makes quite a lot of stops between Sorrento and Amalfi and is renowned for being very busy and hot. The red sightseeing bus stops just once at Positano and then again at Amalfi – a 90 minute journey overall. It also has the benefit of audio description in 5 different languages, which is useful for finding out what you’re seeing and a bit of history.

By the time we got on the 10.45 departure there were only 4 seats left – all of which were on the left side of the bus, The right side is the place to sit on the outward journey for the best views. Luckily, at Positano (which is where the best views of the coastline start) some people got off, so I pushed the husband into grave jumping action and we got to see more of what was going on.

It had looked overcast when we had breakfast that morning but seemed to be brightening up (in my little optimistic head) by the time we left the hotel. I’d checked the forecast and Positano looked to be getting better weather during the day than Amalfi, but I was confident (in my own naive manner) that we’d get away with it.

My little optimistic head was wrong; alas it wasn’t to be. I’d be lying if I said the weather made no difference, as visibility was reduced and everything looks better in the sunshine, but the coastline was beautiful nonetheless.

Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast 2

Amalfi Coast 3

Amalfi Coast 4

Amalfi Coast 5

Amalfi Coast 6

Then came the rain. Full credit to the driver, who’s dexterity around the sharp bends and twisty turns made for a comfortable drive as we meandered our way along the coast.. I couldn’t have navigated it in a car, let alone a great big bus! Just look at them!

Amalfi Coast winding road

As we headed down towards Amalfi the weather took a distinct turn for the worse and the wind started to howl; leaving the harbour looking grey and uninviting rather than the pretty blue sea we’d imagined. The harbour itself was a myriad of buses and coaches, and people huddled under canopies to escape the weather – not the picturesque scene we expected and made for a rather gloomy destination.

We hadn’t planned to spend too long in Amalfi anyway, wanting to get back to Positano, but the weather made our decision easier and we stayed just long enough to snap a few pictures and christen our kagouls before jumping back on a dry bus.

The cathedral is a fabulous building.

I don’t want to do Amalfi a disservice, as I’m sure on a dry day it’s absolutely beautiful, but it’s not much fun squelching around and getting rain in your eyes while trying to sightsee (believe me, I tried). I would definitely give it another try next time I’m in Italy.

Frantically looking for the light at the end of the tunnel (literally!) I used the wifi on board the bus to check the weather forecast in Positano, which suggested the rain would definitely be stopping! Clinging to that hope we took the 45 minute drive back along the coastline, laughing and freaking out at some of the terrible driving on this crazy road!

I’d read that Positano was a must see for it’s prettiness and higgledy piggledy cliffside development. And so we got off the bus once again, into the rain, with the dogged determination to see what all the fuss was about.

Wearing my kagoul (again!) with an umbrella up (it was that wet) we set off down the hill. The rainwater was running down the gutter and the views across the bay were somewhat obscured by a myriad of tourist umbrellas but it was impossible not to fall in love with the tumble of pastel buildings, ceramic shops and restaurant terraces with gorgeous seaviews.

 

Positano 5

Positano 4

Positano 3

Positano 2

We followed the natural slope of the town down towards the harbour, pleased to note that the rain was easing.

We took refuge in a beachfront restaurant where we ate bruschetta, aubergine parmiagiana (me – boy was this good; one of the best meals of the holiday for me), spinach and ricotta ravioli with butter sauce (husband said this was delicious) and drank wine and beer.

Bruschetta La Cambusa restaurant

Aubergine Parmiagiana La Cambusa restaurant

Spinach and ricotta ravioli La Cambusa restaurant

After lunch the rain had stopped and we had a mooch on the beachfront. There are some great boat trips available including a trip to Grotto Smerelda which I’d love to see.I’d happily base myself in Positano next time in Italy. You can visit Capri by boat, as well as being a short drive back to Amalfi where there are bus trips to other villages along the coast like Raffaello and Maiori.

It’s just so pretty!

Positano painted tables

Positano painted tables 2

Positano walkway

Positano building

Positano flowers

Positano plants

Positano shrub

Positana Santa Maria Assunta

We jumped on the SITA bus back to Sorrento as it arrived just as we reached the bus stop, and it’s fair to say the driver was a lunatic! I was glad we hadn’t taken that bus all the way along!

It’s unfortunate that we did the drive on a rainy day, but it was either that or miss out (as it was our last full day) and I’d rather have seen it not it’s very best than not seen it at all.

Have you ever been to this part of Italy?

 

 

 

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A massive sigh of relief, “I-tal-you”

From what, you might ask?

(or might not!)

Is it relief at having passed my job probation? Relief that the weather forecast in Wales has improved since my last desperate post? Relief that the Foo Fighters have rearranged some dates after cancelling Wembley due to Dave’s broken leg?

Nope. None of those things.

It’s relief that finally, at last, after weeks of deliberation and stress…

…we’ve booked a summer holiday.

I’ve mentioned before that I have a predilection to being dramatic, but in this case rightly so. I truly believe that we have never struggled to agree on a week away as much as this year.

Timing was an issue; we have so much on over the remaining summer months (I know, diddums) that we were struggling on when to go (and no point shoehorning something in for the sake of it). Realistically we don’t have time until mid October, by which point many of the traditional resorts in Europe are too cool temperature wise to guarantee a great holiday (not that it’s all about lying in the sun, but for what we were originally looking at that would probably have been the case).

Expectation was also an issue, because neither of us would commit to what we actually wanted from a holiday – was it just lying around doing nothing at all, or maybe with some sightseeing thrown in, or total sightseeing? We’ve danced around each other nervously, with husband eventually telling me that he would go along with whatever I wanted to do (probably because I was getting this wild woman of Borneo look in my eye and started twitching whenever a week off was mentioned).

Egypt was on the list; Sharm el Sheikh for late season sunshine and a day trip to the Pyramids as we’ve both always wanted to go. But recent horrors in Tunisia made us rethink that plan. Even if we scrapped the pyramid visit and just stayed in the resort, where there’s increased security, Egypt is a bit too close to the conflict for comfort; especially when attacks have happened from the sea. And do I really want to be sunbathing and watching an armed security team from the corner of my eye. Er, no.

Hong Kong was also on the list, but then with even more things popping into our calendar that require time off here and there, we don’t really have enough annual leave to do it justice. And it’s a bloomin’ long flight to only have 5 real usable days once you take travel time into account. Plus it would be full on doing and seeing stuff, which I don’t think is what husband really wants (although he’s too scared to say anything – negative or positive – by now, in case it finally tips me over the edge!!) So that was shelved.

Greece was a real contender, as it’s still warm into October and they really need tourist investment right now. But we’ve been to Greece for the past two years and weren’t sure if we were just considering it because we didn’t know where else to go.

And then I came across an amazing deal in Italy. Flying into Naples, staying just outside Sorrento in a cliff side hotel. Free minibus to Sorrento multiple times each day. Excursions to Vesuvius and Pompeii. A boat trip to Capri. A drive along the Amalfi coast. All options that are open to us, if we want them. OK, it’s not going to be scorchio in October. But it will, at worst, be t-shirt and shorts weather in the day, perfectly nice for sitting outside overlooking the sea and reading a book. Ideal temperature for sightseeing. And should the worst happen, and it rains, we’re staying at a fabulous all inclusive hotel so we can sit inside and eat and drink all day long.

I’m thrilled. Beyond thrilled, actually. I’ve been wanting to visit the Neopolitan Riviera and always just assumed we’d do a city break. This way we get the best of both worlds – relaxing AND sightseeing, It’s a really economical way to do it as well, which is always good (OK, that’s all relative, but cheaper than a city break and a separate chilling holiday, and also great value due to being all inclusive, as food and drink in Italy is expensive). We’ll probably eat out a couple of times, and obviously spend money on some excursions. Pompeii!! I come over all Frankie Howerd (oo-er) just thinking about it!

(and now my poor attempt at humour in the title of this post makes sense as well, no?)

Meanwhile, to get me even more excitable, here are some pics. Just wow!

Sorrento Sorrento 2

Pompeii

Vesuvius

Green Grotto of Capri Amalfi Coast

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