Monday, February 6, 2017
Salerno and Amalfi by Margot Justes
A great way to start a morning is with a good breakfast, and the one served on board ship was truly amazing. Everything one could wish for, and more, from the bread station-my weakness-to the eggs, sausages, omelets, fresh fruit, grilled vegetables, fresh vegetables, potatoes, even black pudding-blood sausage-my favorite, to bangers, cheeses, cold cuts, and everything in between, one does not go hungry while on board. They even served passion fruit, another favorite and fresh figs. But I digress...
The 1st port of call was Salerno, Italy. I booked a long excursion that would take me to Sorrento, and one of my favorite places in Italy, Amalfi, but then I have many favorite places in magical Italy. I’ve taken a boat along the Amalfi coast before, this time I opted for ground transportation, with Mt. Vesuvius in the background, and the Bay of Naples below, the drive was nerve wracking and breathtaking all at once.
Many big buses, for the many tourists, along with small, and not so small cars packed the narrow road, all vying for the same spot on the tight and curvy road, and every time we went around a corner-and there were many of them- the bus driver would honk his horn to warn others he was coming, sometimes two buses were trying to occupy the same tiny spot, a rather impossible task, and someone had to go in reverse, and a wait would ensue, in the meantime the traffic would built up, and no room to turn back because there were cars piled in back of bus, and so we waited.
Once we came a bit too close to another bus, and the other bus had to back-up sideways and scraped the wall of a cliff so that we could continue on the rim of the road, since we couldn’t back-up. We watched in awe at the intricate maneuvers, and then applauded our driver once the turn was made. The views are breathtaking literally and figuratively, because the bus is right on the edge of the precipice, and there is no way other than continue on the narrow road, or plunge down the sheer cliffs.
Sorrento is delightful, known for their cuisine, and charming streets. We stopped in a wood carving shop, and I fell in love with inlaid wood, so many beautiful pieces, and so little space in my suitcase, but I did manage to buy a few small pieces for family. Now I want to go back with an empty suitcase. It you’re ever in Sorrento do visit A. Gargiulo & Jannuzzi www.gargiulo-jannuzzi.it and it’s in the center of Piazza Tasso, the perfect tourist draw.
Then on to Amalfi packed with tourists as well, if I ever thought that October was past the prime tourist season, the prices and number of tourists visiting Italy dispelled that notion rather quickly, as in Rome, both Sorrento and Amalfi were packed with people. Like Sorrento, Amalfi is a tourist town, and the many souvenir shops selling local specialties, like Limoncello-the sugary, lemony liqueur that is famous in the region, to lemony cookies, chocolate and candies, all lemony and all delicious.
There are the typical tourist trinkets, and of course restaurants, and cafes, lined along the narrow, cobbled and charming streets. The setting and ambiance are sheer perfection, and there is a remarkable church with striking architecture, sea views aplenty-it is truly a wonder, and right below the stairs of the Arab-Norman Sant’Andrea Cathedral with the Byzantine facade which is a must see, then when you’re for a break, right below the stairs of the cathedral is a cafe that serves delicious coffee and pastries. It is less expensive if you stand at the counter and drink your coffee, but the ambiance of sitting outside, enjoying the view, and people watching is worth the extra change.
Happy travels, wherever they may take you.
A Fire Within
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
A Hotel in Venice