The Amalfi Coast


 

Rome site has been quiet this start of season.

With 5 days off looming we wondered how we would fill our time. Cheeky trip to Sorrento anyone?

We is me and Laura, the other crew on site with me. After checking with our boss, the day of departure rose sunny and warm and we felt like we were off on the start of a very good thing.
We stood on the train on the way down. Reading upright for most of it, I still marvel at how you can disappear into another world even amidst the most distracting of circumstances. Like trying to stay upright. When we finally got seats the Italians around us, all strangers to each other, pulled out strawberries,  huge and shining, and offered them around the carriage. Insisting that people take more and more until the carriage was full of smiling faces bighting in to bright, soft, red jewels.

In Naples we walked with our faces screwed up in the force of the sun.

The noise and the dirt and the crazy, strong natured people surprised us. Yelling, pushing, racing, honking, whistling, they are a very intense city of people.

Pizza in this city is a beautiful love affair.

Small shop fronts were overflowing with customers vying for a slice of attention (or pizza) so we chose somewhere a little quieter. Just a margarita, the barest of flavors, but every single one of them is so strong and individual that you really don’t need any more. How do you know you are in Italy? The tomatoes are even more flavorsome than the cheese.

Sorrento at last and we were welcomed at Hotel Londra with an unexpected 3 course dinner which we could barely fit in! Food coma and bed.

Laura and I woke to a drizzle, a downer on our plans but we tried to make the most of it. We were just a short walk from town where we found old churches to shelter in, markets to browse and Gelato to be tasted. The flavors were exotic. My choice – Mascarpone, caramel and pine nuts with Ricotta, honey and walnuts. THAT’s what I’m talking about.

In an effort to escape the rain we opted for the ‘hop-on-hop-off’ bus to Positano and Amalfi. Laura was fast asleep in no time, and I struggled to stay lucid to enjoy the breathtaking scenery. In Positano the rain was lashing down and one look between us said we were not getting out here. On the way to Amalfi we hit heavy traffic and that was it, I was asleep for the next hour until we stopped in the centre of Amalfi.

Amalfi for us was about the pastries and the cathedral.

There’s is large and intimidating, rising several stories high suddenly out of nowhere when you round a corner. It is a strange stripy orange against the green green mountains. Stripy churches seem to be a trend in Italy, the duomo in Florence springs to mind…

In the not so distant background of the cathedral, much smaller churches balance precariously on the tips of rocky outcrops, or snuggle deep into crevices, just peeping out of the green.

The drive back to Positano was splendid. As the last one on the bus I got to sit in the jump seat. The perfect spot for viewing the incredible scenery but also a terrifying spot for watching Italian driving. My heart was in my mouth for much of the driving including one point when I exclaimed ‘Mama mia!’ out loud, and I think the driver laughed at me.

The rain had stopped and clouds were hovering around the mountains. Either sitting on top like a spray of babies breath wreathed atop a brides head, or else they were moving, falling swiftly down the slopes as if the clouds were in fact a sheet of water and the mountain a giant waterfall.

That night we again ate well at the hotel and then fell heavily in to bed.

The next day broke more promisingly than the last however the cost of the ferry across to Capri put us off our initial plans. Instead we walked to the town again before catching the train back to Naples, winding our way through towns where lemons as big as my head practically pressed themselves against the windows from the trees tightly boardering the train. This view slowly merged with stations covered in graffiti, red tape and rubbish the closer we got to Mt Vesuvius. We made it just in time for our connecting train, again packed full, and watched movies for the three hours back….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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