A Travellerspoint blog

Walking Lots

Day 8 Pompeii

Yesterday was one of those OMG days . We started off early full of energy & excitement plan being to catch the bus from Amalfi to Sorrento which is by the way one & half hours .Up , up down, down ,round ,round all to get about 40 k's .plan was working well we caught the bus at 8am arrived in Sorrento at the train station " Circumvesuviana" only to find a strike. Bloody hell ! ! I had read about these sudden strikes but forgot. The strike was from 9 am till 1 pm. No buses from Sorrento to Pompeii only the train or tour bus but some of those cars / vehicles looked a little dodgy . Taxi was another option but approximately 800 € now that was really dodgy.
We finished up wandering around Sorrento. Large town 600,000 pop & masses of tourists. We figure the tourists are mainly English as there are lots of pubs advertising English Fare.
Finally the trains were running again & our train was not only packed with tourists heading to Pompeii & Herculaneum but again masses of school kids. We had sadly decided that as we were so late we would miss Herculaneum & just visit Pompeii. Such a shame because H is a smaller site originally a fishing village & really better preserved as it drowned in a 16 m layer of mud rather than lapilli ( burning pumice stone ) that was the fate of Pompeii .
Well wow! Pompeii it's some 44 hectares we walked & walked it's pretty rough going as you are walking on large semi uneven hard stone roads. It is enormous. Not only do you need to watch you step ankles etc you need to be aware of a few unfriendly marauding dogs on the site. Interestingly we didn't see starving cats unlike on The Acropolis years ago. The dogs must be successful marauderers because they are in great condition. There are a lot of over flowing rubbish bins so I guess that helps .
I had read that you need to wear sensible shoes so had my hiking boots on with thick socks...you really can't credit what attire some people / woman were wearing. It's really sad & they must have suffered.
We walked for I guess 4 hrs then to top it off Bill lead me up onto the bike track which is outside the walls completely surrounding the site. I did the usual whinge but it was worth it. The view looking down was amazing one side the destroyed city the other Mt Vesuvius & then The Bay of Naples.
What a day .However we still had to get all the way back to Amalfi...only waited 10 mins for the train but nearly an hour at Sorrento for the bus. Bus was interesting we all thought the bus driver was lost we seemed to be just staying with in the city . Finally he made a left turn . Apparently at peak hour these huge buses can only do certain turns. It took half an hour for him to get to where he could do this turn & we headed back to Amalfi.
We arrived back after 8 pm SHATTERED even Bill had sore feet ! No going out for dinner we grabbed the closest Pizza & crawled into our room.
Slept from 9.30 till close to 2 am then awake for an hour or so feeling very sore all over but finally back to sleep till after 7 am. Feeling fine now after 2 coffees.
So now for today's adventures. Perhaps a quiet visit to a museum & a wander along the sea front .

Hidy ho folks! Well the whinging lady was almost whinged out by the time we made it back. I'm pretty sure weight watchers should be happy with this deal! The bus drivers seem to have different styles in traversing these cliffs for the one coming back last night did the job without using horn hooter or siren, however he seemed to make the trip much more the adrenalin buzz if one was concentrating on actually moving this hulking great thing along theses roads. He seemed to be playing chicken with the outside drop to the sea. We made it, took a few twilight pics and took our leave for the day.

Posted by Billdeb 23:19 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Day 7 Amalfi


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Ok decided to do today's blog today instead of tomorrow morning. May not make sense to you guys but does to me. We are off early tomorrow morning to Pompeii so by the time we get back tomorrow night I may have forgotten what we did today. Right got it?
Today's effort was off to the amazingly beautiful Cathedral of Amalfi. We have seen a lot of churches / cathedrals over the years of our touring but this one is really quite special. Firstly there are 62 steps before you even get into it. Oh boy !
You all mostly know my thoughts on religion & that I'm not even a Christian but I sat through much of the mass. Firstly impressive procession of priests ( quite a few priests) then altar boys & lots of incense . Then the music started along with an angelic choir with a single young boys voice filling the cathedral. Bill got fed up before I did so off to The Cloister of Paradise built between 1266 & 1268 decorated in Moorish style much like we saw in Granada.
From the cloister we went to the original cathedral that dates back to 596 AD this is now a museum.
I could continue on but I'm sure some concentration will be lapsing by now. Suffice to say it was really interesting .
From there it was down to the crypt ...well now that does hold some very interesting little artefacts . The head & bones of St Andrew Jesus ' first disciple . Theoretically that is! The occipital bone of the skull is bought out on "special occasions " I wasn't special enough of course.
All in all it was pretty cool.

We had read that this area of Amalfi has been central to the art of paper making since 13th C when the skills were bought from China . There is an old paper mill way ,way , way up a hill so off we went . It was fascinating & well worth the walk. It is still set up with access to water wheels which was the source of its power. The place only closed as a functional paper mill in 1969. So glad they have managed to retain much of its original workings.
Bill did make a piece of cotton based paper & he bought some very special paper for water colours. Shame we forgot to pack his water colours . Think we will track some Windsor & Newtons down in Napoli .

Wow for a quiet day we seem to have filled it very well. Lunch is a whole other story . Briefly we met a guy in another restaurant the other day & he suggested we try his his establishment because according to him it isa the best in all Amalfi. He was fantastic we met all the family from mama down to the sons & grandsons , his sister & I don't know who else. Meal was great & the vino & our hosts antics were special. Lotsa fun.
So that was day 7 only 54 to go ..... Life is getting so hard according to Billy .

Posted by Billdeb 08:20 Comments (0)

Day 6 Ravello

sunny
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Back on the local bus this morning off to Ravello which is 7 k's straight up the cliffs. Not really known for being particularly gungho in the bravery stakes I did however choose the front seat. OMG it's quite a scary place to sit ! Times I really felt we were going straight over the cliffs or going to hit the cars or scooters or people in front of us. These bus drivers are something else.
Ravello perches above Amalfi in the hills. Apparently the likes of Wagner , DH Lawrence & Virginia Woolf all " lounged" here.
Stunning gardens & ravishing views & of course the ubiquitous (ever present ) cathedral .This cathedral
was originally constructed in 1086 & has bronze doors dating from 1179. Impressive !
The other impressive site is Villa Rufolo. Wow it's very cool overlooking the sea & villages on the coast. This villa though now in ruins is the setting for amazing concerts. Oh boy these would be events to remember . The setting is quite amazing. I can almost here Wagner's Parsifal .Mmmmm is this another trip ?
The gardens were all changing from pansies to petunias but lots of cyclamens in full bloom .
We wandered through the tiny streets savouring the smell of lemons everywhere. Haven't succumbed to limoncello as yet but it's here in an enormous variety of bottles.
Found a shady spot under large umbrellas for lunch & we ordered pizza & freshly squeezed lemon juice that comes with a sachet of sugar. Needed the sugar I assure you.
Guess we spent three maybe four hours getting there & back. Came back to the hotel for rest then around 3.30 took off for a walk around the harbour seeing the funny English & probably Germans on the beach soaking up the 20 degree sunshine. Well not only soaking up the sunshine but actually swimming too. Desperate times !
We did stop for a glass of vino gazing out to sea & thinking how damned good life is & of course how lucky we really are.
We bought the ever present yummy bread amazing Italian salami & an incredibly smelly blue cheese & that was dinner . Oh & of course a bottle of Cabernet Franc. Bloody great dinner. No dessert however. I did try & persuade Bill to go out for gelato but he says he's " looking after me " yeah right !
Went to sleep after watching BBC repeats of the news only to be woken at 11.45 by what sounded like guns / canon fire . Scary till we realised there was no ricochetting ...fireworks ...stunning over the sea.
Have no idea what they were celebrating but it was a spectacular sight.
That's it for now. Sunday we are spending here in Amalfi Town going to walk the 62 steps up to the Duomo ( cathedral ) & find the museum & the world famous paper making factory. Ciao.

Hi folkies again! Just a little addendum, today being Sunday and with God houses all around, bells are sounding their summoning sound as of seven o' clock and this reminded me to say that in this town, Amalfi, from that time in the a.m. bells chime the quarter hour. This is done by sounding the hour on one bell the adding another tone for the quarter ,15 is one 30 ..2 and 45 is 3 . Din bloody dong!!! Bye.

Posted by Billdeb 22:43 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Walking Lots

Day 5 Positano

sunny 20 °C

Positano the pearl in the pack . Lonely planet says Positano is the most photogenic & most expensive town on the Amalfi Coast. Well it's certainly photogenic & expensive ...well we did buy a dress for Mz Z . Expensive ....mmmmmm maybe I ain't telling.
Ok we started off from Amalfi Town on the local bus . To give you an idea from Amalfi Town to Positano is 17 k's it takes one & a half hour. That gives you some idea of the topography.
Going on the local bus you really don't know when you have arrived at your destination . We stayed a little to long on the bus . Finally realised & managed to get off before we finished up in some other town . We walked back along the extremely narrow road we were sharing with buses,trucks scooters & a few pedestrians. The other thing we really didn't quite realise is that there is a little commuter town bus that takes people from the top to the bottom. We walked right down from the top. Think it took about 20 mins round bend after bend . You need to be really alert & watch your back & front. Lots of traffic & crazy scooter riders. But the walk was fantastic...sun shinning & the views damn good.

We were in Positano for about 4 hours lunch consisted of lemon juice & gelati . Yes bad but the amount of walking I'm sure compensates ? Right !
My opinion of Positano .... Buildings everywhere on ridiculous sites every inch covered in buildings. Quaint shops , kitch shops some really nice designer clothes amongst the tourist "crap" but on the whole I am really glad that I read a reasonable amount & we decided to stay in Amalfi.

Returned to the top of the town via the commuter bus. Thank God ! Had to wait a while for the return bus to Amalfi . They seem to forget what the timetable says & some buses just never arrive. The bus was incredibly crowded but we were lucky enough to get seats for the hour & half return trip. I actually did feel a bit car sick but I think it was the heat & number of people.
We arrived back in Amalfi in need of a little vino of course. Well vino for me beer for Bill . Sat in the sun & talked to some Belgiums who had the cutest little dog. Missing Tilly & The Byrd of course but lots of dogs here of course.

Dinner was a different thing tonight. We bought panini a bottle of sparkling rose & a ridiculous meringue oh & the health side was huge strawberries.
Was a pretty good day but need sleep. Tomorrow we are off to Ravello then Sunday think we will just wander around this gorgeous little town. Heading to Pompeii maybe Tuesday. We are here until next Thursday when we go to Procida Is which is off Capri but not touristy .

Hi lovely listeners,thought I may attempt to give a verbal picture of the bus traffic in the area. Firstly the roads are erratic in their widths due to cliffs and buildings along them, flat or level ground is a premium. The bus is as we have our normal suburban fare, like reasonably large! The driver then has to get these things along at a reasonable gait, hooting to warn possible punters coming the other way around a totally blind bend which the driver knows he has to use more than his share of road to get the bus's arse to follow without it short cutting into the cliff! This goes on most of the way except when encountering another large vehicle coming the other way. At times the passing move is so restricted that both vehicles have to shuffle themselves back and forth , within inches, until we pass.this also happens often. Another thing, vertigo is the norm!!m

Posted by Billdeb 22:12 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Day 4


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Left Roma on the kinda fast train ( 150 k's an hour ) bound for Salerno & the Amalfi Coast. I had read that once we reach Salerno termini there is a newsagents that sells bus tickets to Amalfi. Yep they were right!
Those that know me well understand the snobbish Deborah & the Deb that wants to do what the locals do. Right we had our tickets the bus duly arrived along with masses of students. Bill managed to get our bags into the "hold" certainly no room on the bus & we pushed our way in. Believe it or not one of the lads actually gave me his seat. Chivalry is alive & well !
Well the boys / lads here are quite amazing they must have all seen George Chikaris ( can't remember how his name is spelt) in West Side Story . The hair is just fantastic I wonder if Brylcream is making a come back in Southern Italy??
The bus trip , Oh Boy! It is apparently said that " once in your life you need to experience this trip" perhaps it may have been a little less hair raising if we were not in an over crowded over heated
"kinda" school bus.
For those who haven't been here imagine The Great Ocean Road Victoria then narrow it & factor ten times the bad bits. BUT oh the views .
We arrived in Amalfi & almost déjàvu Cinque Terre well sort of similar. More gorgeous old old buildings with an incredible ambience .
Our hotel is pretty damn nice originally built in 1100 c for an Aristocratic family renovated in 17th /18th c then again in 2004. It's very nice.
After a very quick settle in we took a walk around the town ....narrow streets ,bars , gelati etc etc.
We somehow missed lunch so really by 4 o'clock we were quite hungry but decided to hold off . Went to a bar on the street in the town square I had a local red & Bill a large Nastro Azzuro beer. By the time we finished them sitting in the sun I was really wondering how I was going to last till dinner.
Dinner mmmmm we picked probably the most expensive restaurant in town. Very nice bottle of local Amalfi red . Bill says overpriced but very nice just the same. He ordered fresh sea bass & I ordered a pizza . We really have no idea in Aus of the finer intricacies of pizza making . Designer pizza & designer taste. Then the piece de resistance dessert as only the Italians know how. I had some fantastic Baba & Bill tiramisu .
This was our day lucky we were very close to our hotel . Fantastico mes amis xxxx

Posted by Billdeb 22:48 Comments (1)

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