Lovely room service breakfast early in our balcony stateroom on Oceania Marina was exquisite. We ate fresh fruit and berries, gluten free products, hard boiled eggs, plenty of juices and coffee. Sailing into this port was beautiful as we watched the looming cliffs of the town of Sorrento. Blue sky, shore birds, gentle mist over the sea and the air was a bit cooler than Rome but not unpleasantly so.
Today, due to the small size of the port, we were tendered in to Sorrento to catch our Pre reserved tour of the stunning and curvy Amalfi Coast. OK – curvy is an understatement. Twisty and wild may be more accurate. Drivers had to back up at times to navigate the hairpin corners. Gentle honks for hello and longer honking demonstrated some frustration for the vehicle ahead who was not moving.
The vistas are stunning. Terraced gardens, sparkling sea, steep cliffs, small coastal villages were the sights we saw today. Stopping to take pics of Positano from both sides and several other cities that call this area home. Our guide and driver from Furore had colourful stories to tell and sang a bit of Italian with his distinctive accent and hearty laugh. We saw beautiful white villa where Sophia Loren lives. There were many 10th century watch towers along the coastline – no longer used but charming in their disrepair. Apparently along this coast if a building can no longer be used, it must be left as it is … not able to upgrade the structure but leave it in its original state as much as possible. Wisteria hung by the roadside, huge lemons and oranges hanging in the trees with bright flowers and beautiful blossoming chestnut trees. Huge green spiky cactus plants on the roadside and around the stony rock cliffs.
Steps, steep and seemingly go up forever – the way most people get around on this coastal road way, heading home and to work. Some, we learn have been here since they were placed in the 6th century! Up, up, down, turn, squeeze and suck in our breath as we pass other vehicles on the road.
Scala is the oldest town of the Amalfi coast, ‘since 79 years after Christ’. Wow! Rosario, our driver, tells about family, religion (both Catholic and superstition), food, wine and stairs!
In Atrani there are no vehicles and only walking steps. The town is compact and likely the smallest village of them all. We are told the workers there always have walked to work in nearby towns, no need for vehicles to get them around – and no parking lots necessary!
The roads seem narrow – He says sometimes narrow and sometimes wider … when the cars park on the wider sections, they become even narrower than the narrow parts. Ha ha.
We stop for a lovely walk through Amalfi and learn about the history of paper making. I stopped in a few of the paper shops that I remember from a previous visit. What a charming place!
Lunch overlooking the view at Ravello was a highlight. We tasted fresh local lemon granita sorbet! Yummmmm.
Tomorrow a later start and relaxing morning to walk about the ship and have a more leisurely breakfast before joining our friends in the group to head to Taormina for some beautiful time walking through Sicily.
Pamella of Italy!