The bells of the monestary ringing off in the distance, a dark barks somewhere out there, and the wind is rustling the large leafy tree that is just outside my shuttered window. We awake in Pianeta Maratea, south Italy on a Sunday morning, end of September. The last week of my vacation has begun. Ahhhhhhhhh the delight.
Yesterday we picked up the car at the EuropeCar rental place in central Sorrento. All went smoothly, the gal, Maria, spoke English some and was efficient and helpful. We have been upgraded to the largest car they have, a VW station wagon. It is brand new with all the bells and whistles. It is beautiful and our luggage fits perfectly in the back. It is late in the morning and we are optimistic we will arrive in good time, safely and have a beautiful scenic drive.
Five Canadian women pile in, I adjust the seat, use the electronic key system, and off we go. At first a bit stressful. After seeing how Italians drive, and being on the Amalfi coast, taxiing around Naples … Argh! Can I do this? We wind and weave and get out of the city with little challenge. It is not altogether clear to me who has right of way so I am deciding that when I hear the beep beep of another vehicle, they are saying Hi to me in italian. It helps me not get so triggered, when I remember :).
Then we get on the highway, with Janie carefully navigating and providing lots of overview and information on what might be coming up next and names of places foreign to all of us … We head toward Naples, Pompeii and then get on a major highway heading south toward our destination.
Breathtaking vistas greet us all along the way. Rolling hills, then mountains cut from earth rock, then green as far as the eye can see, followed by coastal villages and views of the sea meeting the shore in a white frothy embrace. Yes, we saw it all. This was a drive that met all expectations and exceeded my dreams.
We did stop twice, once for the WC and to pick up nibbles for lunch …. And once for a more substantial meal at a local agritourismo run restaurant pizzeria. Salad, potato frittes, and shared some mozzarella and tomatoes salad one of the other girls ordered. Light, inexpensive, and very satisfy lion and Italian!
Maratea is a village up a mountain, high above the sea with sea view and a beach access below … A thirty minute shuttle drive with extreme switch backs. Mamma Mia! Pianeta Maratea is name of this resort … Feel free to google it. There is a large statue of Christ the Redeemer on the mountain top just above our resort. And a monastery nearby. We are more than delighted with our villa, on the end of a row of others, with a large balcony overlooking the sea. Deb and I share a room, Marrianna and Janie share and Aurelie on a lovely futon. We share a bathroom, kitchen and the magic of this space. More to follow!
Ps. This is in Italy but a lot of the guests we overhear are English speaking. We heard Italians come here for vacations and it is out of the way … South and away from tourism. Beautiful. We drove by a wedding today in the town of Maratea, as the lovely bride was just stepping in to the church to meet her partner for sharing their future together. Let the bells ring!