United Kingdom, Italy · 7 Days · 23 Moments · June 2018

Highlights of the Amalfi Coast

15 June 2018

We had two mini buses to take us up to Capri Town, and then further up to Anacapri where we had lunch. Capri is packed but Anacapri is smaller and quieter as less people find their way up there. The shops are an odd mix of tourist tat and high end fashion stores. We had some free time for a wander around, and in keeping with this trip there was a drama when 3 people got lost and didn't make the meeting point. They made it by taxi to the boat just in time!
But for me the highlight wasn't so much the island itself, pretty though it is, it was the views from it looking over towards the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius 😍😎
Friday was Capri. We were up early to catch the 8.20 ferry, but on the way to Amalfi we heard it had been cancelled because it was too windy! After some phone calls we got booked onto a tour boat instead, which had the advantage of taking us to see the rocks and grottoes on the way into Capri Town. Not being a good sailor I was a little scared but all was well and I enjoyed the trip in the end.

14 June 2018

After lunch more sightseeing, through the Galleria and ending up at the very impressive Piazza Plebiscito with the Royal Palace on the left. However the rain started again so we called it a day at 4pm and headed back to the hotel.
After that it cleared up enough to walk through the streets to lunch. The main streets are wide, long and grand while the old town is narrow and crowded. There are lots of churches, generally plain on the outside but incredibly ornate inside. Pizza was allegedly invented in Naples but not at this restaurant, it was soggy and overpriced. However the manager looked like someone from the Godfather so we didn't argue! 😂
Thursday was wet and stormy. We went to Naples, and switched the itinerary around so went first to the Archaeological Museum. We had a guide who picked out the highlights for us, mostly remains from Pompeii. It is amazing what has been found, that tells us how they lived and decorated their houses prior to 79AD.

13 June 2018

Wednesday was our day off. Some people opted to go on trips to Pompeii or Sorrento but I opted for a quiet day. The morning was spent relaxing around the hotel, reading and catching up with my social media 📙 📱
This afternoon I had a stroll down to the village. Its about 10 minuteswalk to the village square, it's a small place and there's not a lot going on, but it has several large churches ⛪

12 June 2018

Finally we got a boat back to Amalfi and bus to the hotel, it was an exhausting day. Before dinner chef demonstrated how it was made and enlisted Anita's help with the tiramisu... 😋
The last section of the walk was downhill ending with 1,000 steps into Positano. Out of 18 starters, 6 of us finished, the rest having bailed out on the way. It was described as relatively easy but it was the second toughest walk I have done and certainly harder than anything in Nepal!
We had emergency services on the phone but after a rest Freddy was able to walk on to Nocelle and from there went to Positano by bus where he had stitches to a head wound from the paramedics. The rest of us had lunch at a tiny cafe where supplies come up by horses.
Tuesday was the Path of the Gods. In the morning we did the section from where we are staying at Bomerano to Nocelle. It was misty to start with, the low cloud meant we were unable to see much of the views although the path itself was clear. Bomerano is about 1,800 feet above sea level and the path has a few ups and downs but was quite even at the beginning.
As the mist cleared the path turned very uneven with rocky steps that involved some scrambling. Several people slipped and fell (mostly because they didn't have proper boots on) and acquired grazes and bruises. One badly cut finger required stitches later in Amalfi hospital. However a potentially fatal accident occurred when Freddy slipped and slid, feet first, over the side of the cliff. He was saved by the trees and some brave (or foolish?) passers by scrambled down and pulled him up. A passing nurse assisted with first aid.

11 June 2018

And finally we went to the top of Vesuvius by bus and walked the last half mile up to the crater rim, at 4,203 feet, for views into the crater and back across the Bay of Naples towards Capri. Although considered dormant now (the last eruption was 1944) you can still see steam escaping from a fumarole in the side of the crater and seismologists monitor for activity 24/7. Naples is a huge city with a population of 1 million and has an evacuation plan should another eruption appear imminent 🌋
The frescoes and tiles are stunning, and it all happened so quickly that a wooden bed frame remains charred but not burned.
You can walk through the streets, visit villas, baths and a fast food joint though I'm not sure the (replica) skeletons are appropriate.
Today started at Herculaneum, an hours drive over the mountains back towards Naples. We had a guide who explained how the 79AD eruption of Vesuvius affected Herculaneum differently from Pompeii, they only got the fast pyroclastic flow which killed everyone instantly and buried the city so quickly that things were better preserved. Only a quarter has been excavated as much of it lies deep beneath the modern city.

10 June 2018

Oh, and I also met THE most beautiful cat!! 😻❤️
Ravello is a small town centred on a main square but the highlight is the famous Villa Cimbrone with it's infinity terrace and gardens. A great way to end a lovely day 😎
Leaving Amalfi, we drove to Ravello and had an excellent lunch with a view at the Garden Restaurant 😋
This morning we went to Amalfi itself, walked around the town and viewed it from the harbour. Its similar to many Mediterranean cities, with a very tourist main street and lots of interesting alleyways and back streets. As it was Sunday there was a service taking place in the cathedral but we were allowed in to listen to some rather lovely music 🎶
It's an hour's coach ride from Naples to Bomerano, where we are staying. There were views of Mount Vesuvius on the way, then we climbed up into the mountains leaving an amazing sunset over the bay of Naples (which I didn't manage to get a picture of). It was nearly 9pm when we arrived, for a late dinner. It was dark so hard to get an impression of the surroundings, that will have to wait till tomorrow... 😴

8 June 2018

It is ridiculous that it takes over seven hours to get to Gatwick Airport but here I am at my favourite hotel here, the Sofitel.