Friday, August 17, 2012


Oh those Italian men... The extra squeeze on your hand as they are helping you off a ferry.  The accent.  The great big smiles and lingering looks.  I couldn't help but giggle.  They know and they do it anyways.

My gateway to Amalfi was Salerno.  I debated long and hard within as to whether I'd go by bus or boat.  The risk was if the water was rough, all boats and ferries would be cancelled and everyone would be fighting to get to the bus station and on the buses. 

The buses that go along the coastal road are smaller in size (good shape) and if you don't get a seat or am petite like me, you may not see much of anything.  It was a tough call as the Amalfi coastal drive is renowned and would be a for sure you'd get there thing.  Plus it is cheaper.

In my heart of hearts, I wanted to go by boat.  I've ridden and driven on enough hairpin roads that I wasn't yearning to go on another yet.  Plus your view would be down towards the water or of what is ahead or behind.  Whereas I wanted to see what the towns looked like from below.  And pictures taken from a bus aren't always satisfactory.

I took a gamble with going via a smaller charter boat and it paid off.  It was a beautiful day and as soon as I got on the boat, I knew I would have a great time.  If I lived there I would do everything I could to own a boat.  That ride along the coast was breathtaking and exhilarating as Italians tend to drive their cars and boats as if they were Ferraris. 

There are a number of little towns along the way and if the buildings and colours weren't enough eye candy, there's always the almost naked Italian men zooming by on their boats.  At least the fit ones were. 

Amalfi itself was busy but wasn't overrun when you consider the number of buses, tour groups and people coming off ferries.  I was able to find a place for a drink and a bite to eat no problem.  Things moved slower there, very relaxed.  People did not speak English much at all, if at all.  For some reason I expected to see a town that was a bit spoiled by tourism.  I'm happy to be wrong. 

This isn't the easiest place to get to and summer prices can be high with not great value.  You can't fly here.  The closest you get is Naples airport and even then, most people would fly into Rome.  From FCO to Rome Termini.  Then it is a train to Naples and switch to another train system to get you here.  Naples is known for petty theft.  You can feel it in the air.  It actually makes whatever hair I have on my arm (I'm not hairy) stand up.

One piece of advice.  If you decide to order a lemon granita, be prepared for extreme tartness and bitterness!  Once you swallow it, it is surprisingly refreshing and soothing on your throat.


  1. Thanks for the great photos... and dusting off the archives of memories so long ago.

    I remember once ordering a pizza to go in the Pompeii area (high school trip) and after much gesturing to the shop owner that we wanted to take the pizza with us he finally understood... then promptly folded the pizza in half and shoved it in a bag for us to carry.

    This beautiful labour of love ended up in one big heap of mixed toppings when we unfolded it back on the bus. Still brings a smile when I reflect on it.

    Great that you were able to view the coast from the water... and my wife would agree with your observations of the Italian men.

    Ciao for now.

  2. You got to go to Italy for a high school trip?! My school never offered trips that far -- Boston was our big one.

    I can picture that poor pizza turned calzone all mushed together...

    If I were to do it again, it would be via boat no contest.

  3. At the risk of dating myself, Grade 11; I believe the entire trip including airfare was between $ 325.00 & $ 375.00. I remember we flew with Air Italia.

    The big concern that the teachers and parents had was that we drink only bottled water. You can imagine my surprise when we were at one restaurant and the intitial bottles came to the table with caps on. As they were emptied the servers would gather up the bottles and from where I was sitting I could see into the kitchen. The staff would take the bottles from the table and fill then with running water and return them to the table... no-one the wiser for it.

    No-one that I recall seemed to be the worse for it.

    Our youngest daughter many years later travelled on a school trip that included Italy and Greece. Being an avid soccer player as well as a fan, she had the great fortune to be in Rome, in a bar on the day that Italy won the World Cup. She later commented on seeing all these 'old men crying tears of joy' as the celebrations began.

    It was a year later that she participated in a 3 month student exchange with a male Italian student from the Bra area of Northern Italy and part of her many excursions included that of Cinque Terre... hence the walk down memory lane from my, her and now your Italian experience and photos. Thanks for sharing.


  4. I cannot believe those numbers but I can believe what happened at the restaurant!

    Thank You for sharing. Memories are precious things. I'm happy I was able to help bring some of them back to the surface for you.

    You've obviously lived and are continuing to live a very full life. It's inspiring!