Saturday, May 21, 2011

Amalfi Coast

Whilst I may have mentioned that I love Italy, I do not think I made it very clear.... I absolutely love it! There is no doubt in my mind that this is by far the most beautiful country I have ever travelled to - and I've been far and wide.

I might also have mentioned that the people are great, but I doubt that I have emphasized it enough, they are amazing - always willing to help and incredibly friendly.

Today, was a very busy day for us. We drove from Sorrento to Positano and are now at a hotel in Amalfi. I thought yesterdays hotel was the best hotel I have ever stayed in, but the hotel we are in tonight is just as beautiful. It is also on a cliff top overlooking the ocean.

We were up at the crack of dawn and in the vehicle ready to explore. After finding and securing a hotel room, we headed out (on foot) back to Positano. Believe me the trek is not an easy one since it's up hill. The good thing is that you're overlooking the ocean with eye candy all the way.

When we got to Positano we rented a scooter. The scooters are inexpensive and easy to ride (provided you have a motorbike license). We drove to places today that only people on foot could get to!

From Sorrento all the way to Solerno, there is a mountain range along the coast. This mountain range has buildings scattered all the way up and down it. We managed to find the one road up the ranges at every little town and were rewarded when we reached the top. The views are spectacular with ocean ahead and beautiful architecture all around.

The place has old world charm and one has a feeling that one has been thrust into bygone days. We even saw a Shepard tending to his sheep and donkeys with baskets on their backs carrying produce.

Many of the little dwellings have tiny terraced gardens and each terraced garden has a plantation of some sort on it. The Italians are a very proud nation, they like to grow their own vegetables and fruit. One can see plantations of lemon trees, olive trees, grape vines or vegetable gardens growing in the little terraced gardens.

Lemons are grown here in abundance and lemon liqueur is sold at almost every shop. We went to a distiller today where the owner insisted that we taste many times to make sure we were serious about purchasing a supply. Needless to say, by the time we had tasted enough, we were more than ready for a big purchase.

We have booked ourselves onto a boat cruise to the isle of Capri tomorrow. The boat ride will take about two hours to get to Capri. On the way we will stop off at the Blue Grotto and the Emerald Grotto. We will also be taken on a fact seeing mission and will then be deposited at Capri, where we will be able to explore, shop and relax at our leisure until the return boat ride at 6:00 pm that night. I'm already excited.

We stopped off at a restaurant on the ocean for lunch today. The owner explained that he had a supply of fish that he had himself caught that very morning. He brought them out on a tray and allowed us to select our own for lunch. Then he went back to the kitchen and prepared the most incredible meal for us. I had stipulated that while I like fish, I certainly don't enjoy picking out the bones, so when he brought me my whole grilled fish he stood next to me with a fork and spoon and picked our every bone before he handed my plate to me to eat! The fish was very tasty and boneless!

For dinner we walked to a restaurant close to our hotel. To get there we had to walk down a flight of stairs and through a grove of lemon trees, which canopied across the walkway shading it over like an umbrella. The restaurant is carved into the rock and, like everything else here, overlooks the ocean.

For dinner, I selected the grilled calamari in a balsamic dressing with cherry tomatoes and parmesan cheese. My driver had a pasta of sorts with clams and zucchini. We shared a cheese platter when dinner was over.

I'm loving the buffalo mozzarella with the local wines!


~ Vanessa

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