Monday, October 15, 2012

The Amalfi Coast of Italy

It's hard to believe it's been two months since my last blog post, but in the Higher Education world Sept is the craziest time of the year. Luckily, Christian and I were able to have a quick escape last week for a 4 day trip to Italy's Amalfi Coast. We flew into Naples last Wednesday and picked up our rental car heading straight for the coast. For those of you who have been to Naples, you know why we wanted to get out of there as soon as possible, and for those of you who don' t know Naples, I think if you click on this link you will see why we weren't interested in staying for very long.
We were both excited for warm weather and sunshine, and the views as soon as we got out of Naples did not disappoint. Our first stop on our trip was Sorrento. We could see the city from the top of the mountains as we coasted along the bay of Napoli. 

We only stayed one night in Sorrento, which is a cute town on the coast but very crowded. I will say though, driving in Italy is a total nightmare. Italians are very impatient on the road, and will run anyone off the road (pedestrian or vespa driver). Both Christian and I kept commenting how it would be impossible to drive the coast line in peak season, so if you are interested in going there I would go in the off season!

Thursday morning we hopped in our rental car, Luigi, and headed to Positano.  

The views were absolutely spectacular, and luckily there were a few places to pull off for good photo opportunities. I read that the best part of the coast is the drive from Positano to Amalfi (which we did on Friday) however both of us think that the drive from Sorrento to Positano was the most spectacular.

 We were also excited to have blue skies! It made the views live up to their expectations.

Driving from Sorrento to Positano takes about 45 minutes with no traffic, although we read in peak season it can be up to 2.5 hours. The roads are super small and windy. You can see Christian taking in the view to Positano below.

There are hundreds of religious monument and shrines like the ones in the pictures below.

Positano is a very difficult city to get around as it's built into the mountain. Parking is also atrocious averaging about 70 Euros a day. Luckily we had parking at our hotel, but if you are visiting make sure you take this into consideration as it adds up!

You can also see from the picture that the "beach" isn't really a beach but pebbles leading into the sea. It was quite difficult to get from our hotel down to the coastline but once we made it the view didn't disappoint.

After exploring Positano we headed to a small town called Ravello. It was situated in at the top of the summit, and the town bans all motor vehicles. We parked our car and headed into the quaint village, which was a nice escape from all the chaos from the buses, cars, and vespas on the Amalfi road. The town has 2,500 inhabitants, and 8 churches. The views were really worth the visit.

I did love how most restaurants hang right off the cliffs.

Saturday we headed to the town of Amalfi for a day trip. The weather was rain on and off, but we didn't let that stop us.

Amalfi again had parking that was hard to find and when we did it was expensive.

We only spent a couple of hours exploring and visited a few churches.

Heading up the steps to the church.
I really loved all the details in the churches, especially with how old most were.

 View of Amalfi's "beach"

Crazy Italian Vespa driver trying to drive and hold an umbrella. Really?! 

Italy had a lot of "goods" and "bads", but one of our favorite things were all of the vintage Italian Fiat 500's.
These cars are so tiny- and perfect for Amalfi Coast with all the limited parking.

We thought our little Luigi rental car was small but he looks like a monster next to the little Fiat 500.
 They come in all different colors. Take your pick.

Heading back from Amalfi the weather changed and the sun came out.

Overlooking Positano

 Christian and Me enjoying the sunshine and views!

 Exploring a hidden beach near Positano 

One night for dinner we sat in a cliff hugging Italian restaurant overlooking the city of Positano. There was an amazing heat lightning storm. Christian was able to get some great shots of the lightning in the distance.  

Oh, and our meal wasn't too bad either! A nice way to end our time in Positano.

Saturday we headed back towards Naples to the town of Pompei. Wandering around Pompei we saw this random house with Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs outside. Can you say tacky?

My high school Latin teacher would be so proud as we spent Saturday exploring the ancient city of Pompei. There were a lot of stray dogs wondering around the ruins.  

Christian made friends with one we named Rufus. He liked chasing the pine cones and followed us around throughout the day.
 Pompei Vineyards with Vesuvius Volcano in the background.
 Pompei was a city that was covered in ash when the volcano Vesuvius erupted. It was amazing to see all of the ruins and wonder around the city. It was so much bigger than we expected and had some great artifacts.

The Forum

 More ruins
 The Amphitheatre
 Body cast from the Ash
  I am very glad I got to visit the Amalfi Coast as it was a place I always wanted to see, but it wasn't one of my top destinations. The views were spectacular, but the towns were chaotic, the prices were exorbitant, and we had too many experiences with rude locals to want to go back. Looking back on the trip, I think both of us have mixed feelings on what we saw and what was expected. If you want a convenient relaxing vacation, this isn't the trip for you. But if you want a place with a lot of history and spectacular views hit up the Amalfi Coast.

Until next time, I will see you on the Internet.