Thursday, 10 September 2015

Postcards from Italy: The Amalfi Coast - September 2015

With the whirlwind of excitement and organisation in the run up to the wedding, I don't think we had given much thought to the honeymoon - so after the long drive back to London from Cornwall, we set off for the airport to embark upon our Italian adventure.

Our first challenge greeted us in the form of the drive from Naples to the Amalfi Coast - and I think it's safe to say that with hindsight we might rely on public transport if we were to do it again! The Italians are renowned for their 'bad' driving, so throw into the mix a hire car and Kev's first experience of driving a left hand drive, followed by the narrow, winding mountain/coastal roads and you get a snapshot of the chaos/stress!

Safe arrival on the Amalfi Coast
Still, we made it - safely and sans accident - a small miracle given the state of the cars that drive along the Amalfi Coast highway. Literally every car has dents, scrapes, scratches and with no attempt to patch them up. The narrow roads, volume of traffic and the Italians' general disregard for the rules of the road makes diving round here a white knuckle ride!

On leaving Naples, we took a very scenic mountain route - though it was quite possibly only me that could enjoy the beautiful panoramas as Kev's eyes were firmly fixed on the sharp turns and steep inclines! We passed through little villages such as Tramonti and Maori on the way and even got caught behind a marching brass band going through one, which only added to its charm.

The Amalfi Coast is exactly how we'd imagined it and, unsurprisingly, it looks just like the pictures. It's amazing seeing the houses, stacked on top of each other and carved into the mountain, with the busy highway running along the coast. Each little town has its own personality - we are staying in Atrani, a small village a mile outside of Amalfi itself and I think we have probably visited every cafe/bar/restaurant in its little pizza during our 3 days here!


Anyone for limoncello?

From Amalfi we walked for miles up through the lemon groves and vines up to the mountainous village of Pomonte, affording us spectacular views of the red rooftops of Amalfi below. After a 3 hour walk uphill to the top we decided to reward  ourselves with a glass of wine in the courtyard next to the local church...only to find ourselves the only tourists in the middle of a funeral procession! 

Shortly after our first sip of wine a sombre bell began to chime and all the locals (who were waiting in the bar evidentially) got up and waiting at the top of the steps for the funeral party. Then the vicar arrived up the steep flight of steps, followed by the coffin and mourners - so we were really glad we decided against having a peek inside the church (before we realised what was going on)!

View down to Amalfi

The next day we took the ferry from Amalfi to Positano (having sworn off driving whilst we are here!) which was a great way to see the coastline and a stress free - and not to mention quicker than driving - way to get there. 

Positano is one of the picture postcard views of the Amalfi Coast and one of the best known towns. A bit more upmarket than Atrani, Positano boasted a plethora of boutiques selling clothes, jewellery, shoes, artwork, plus the usual tourist tat!

Arriving into Positano


Having visited Sausalito in California during my trip to San Francisco earlier in the year, I can see why it is called the Californian Positano!  

The beaches along the coast are pebbly with grey sand, with just a narrow portion allocated as the 'public beach' - it seems no one really visits (certainly in low-season) the private sections of beach with their neatly arranged sun loungers and colourful umbrellas, so locals and tourists alike vie for space on the pebbles.

As you might expect, the Italian gastronomy lives up to expectation - so far we have sampled delicious local seafood and fresh, hand-rolled pasta, crisp pizzas, regional wines, strong espressos and limoncello...all at a fraction of the price of what we'd normally pay in London. 

I think we're going to like it here!

No comments:

Post a Comment