10.09.2013 - 14.09.2013 25 °C
Well, we're back home now and didn't get to update the last leg of our trip - the Amalfi coast. Better late than never! So George had been waiting the whole trip to drive along the coast, which is known to be one of the most beautiful and hair-raising drives in Europe. It did not disappoint! It wasn't the scariest drive we've ever done (word of advice, avoid the mountains of Albania) but it was definitely tight, windy, and wonderfully scenic. There were many fruit stands along the way and we decided to stop at one of them, which turned out to be a mistake since the fruit vendor tried to rip us off. Almost $10 for a couple peaches and figs? Who do you think you're fooling buddy?? He ended up cutting the price in half and although the fruit was good it was not worth the effort.
Can you see why George was excited?
We found our hotel and the entrance was unlike any we've seen before - literally stepping right out onto the road. The B&B was on the fourth floor with no elevator. I definitely got my exercise this trip! We walked into the centre of town, which was virtually across the street from our hotel, and were really impressed by the feel of it. Yes, it was touristy, but it was quaint with very few cars going through it. Just what we needed after a couple days in Naples!
Many a capuccino were had on this terrace
Our first full day in Amalfi was our beach day and ironically, the first day we saw clouds on our trip. Actually it seemed like there would be a downpour at any minute but luckily that never happened. It managed to clear up later that morning and we had a beautiful, relaxing day at the beach. Perhaps the best thing that happened that day was George learning to tread water! All these years I've tried to teach him how to tread and float (how does a 31 year old man not know how to swim?) and finally he managed to pick it up. He's turned into a guy who wasn't particularly interested in swimming to not wanting to come out of the water! I'm so proud.That night we had a fancy dinner for one of our last nights before we went home. It was nice to get dressed up and enjoy a real restaurant.
The next day we took a boat to neighbouring Amalfi town, Positano, a 25 minute ride away. Again, it looked like there would be a downpour at any minute but it managed to hold off. We walked around town, which had narrow pathways and lots of tourist shops, and ended up at a more secluded beach than the one we went to the day before. This was what I had in mind when I imagined our time in Amalfi. The scenery was beautiful, the water was crystal clear, and George was on his way to becoming the next Michael Phelps.
If only George's arms were longer you could the full beauty
It's almost like Barack Obama was on the boat
Before leaving the Amalfi region we drove up a mountain to Ravello, a small town with spectacular views. We walked around trying to find the best view and enjoyed the quiet that was so rare on this trip. We also stopped at a town called Maiori but unfortunately they were shutting down for their siesta just as we arrived so we didn't get to see too much of it. As North Americans, we can't get used to this siesta concept! Especially when they have such obscure closing times, like 1:20-4:10. What?!?
There is no getting tired of this view!
Our final stop on our little Italian adventure was a resort in the middle of nowhere before we drove back to Rome for our flight the next day. The hotel was super modern and we had a very relaxing evening reading by the pool and just sitting in the room looking at the mountainous view. It came time for dinner and there was barely anything around so we went down to the hotel restaurant thinking we'd eat there. It opened at 8pm - gotta love the late Italian eating time - but there was nobody in there so we decided to take our chances at one of the 2 restaurants we saw on the way in. We went to a local pizzeria where there was a kid's birthday party going on and nobody spoke English. It was as authentic as you're gonna get! It was fun to stumble upon a place like this where there were no tourists and you get a glimpse into real Italian life. We had a blast!
I think something is wrong with these lemons
The next day we drove back to Rome's airport but not before we got another taste of Italian culture when we stopped at a highway reststop. Unfortunately we stopped at the same time a massive group of older Italian women stopped and the bathroom was like a war zone! Yelling at those taking too long, shoving for space, and banging on the stall doors, these women meant business. I got so scared I ran away and contemplated holding it. But I waited outside for the scene to die down and hesitantly went back into the fire. Although my door got banged on, I made it out alive. It was a little too much for this polite Canadian girl to handle.
With that, our time in Italy came to an end and on our drive to the airport we reflected on our favourite moments. There was the history and art of Rome, the food of Naples, the amazing Tuscan beauty, the miraculousness of Pompeii, the entertaining drive through Amalfi. Basically, every stop had its own unique quality that made it memorable to us. That is one thing we've learned throughout our travels - the question "where did you like best?" cannot be answered. Every city brings its own experience as long as you are open to it. And these experiences imprint themselves on who you are, even when you don't realize it. Travel is a wonderful thing. And the love for it is something we hope to pass along as our travel team goes from two members to three.