Monday, August 31, 2009

Chapter 8 - My Amalfi Coast

Positano Beach

We travel from Florence to the Amalfi Coast and it is quite a trip! At Naples we get on a Regionale train to Sorrento. Naples is the first 'taste' of perhaps the working class Italy that we have not yet seen. Naples feels a little threatening, I pull my backpack in close to me and have a firm grip on my luggage. Having said that it is not unlike central railway station in Sydney, your eyes are wide open and you are on alert.
View from our Hotel

The 'suburban' train to Sorrento snarls through blocks of graffitied apartments towering along the train line. There is little of the beautiful buildings I have now become accustomed to in Italy and more of the Western suburbs stock standard housing monsters of Sydney (that I am familiar with!). I discover I have become an Italian snob! How could Italy condone to having these 'types' of buildings anywhere on her shores! Well I guess they call that progress, right?
Coastal roads around the Amalfi Coast

We finally reach Sorrento and get the STA bus (the ONLY bus to catch in the Amalfi) to the scenic Positano. I had an idea of what Positano was all about, but I have to say unless you have visited, unless you have physically been to this place you have no idea. It is breathtaking!! Now I know I have said that of many of the places I have visited but Positano, for me, is the sparkling blue sapphire jewel in Italy's dazzling crown.

The coastal road from Sorrento to the coast hugs the coastline tightly (a little too tightly for my liking). The roads really are not built for 2 lanes let alone parking and buses, but in true Italian style these roads accommodate all of the above. There are tunnels that have been bored through the mountainous cliff sides that are only one lane wide. The STA buses beep there horns as they approach and as they travel through to warn off any motorists that are coming in the opposite direction. You hold your breath the whole way, but it works!

We arrive at our hotel and the view is amazing, straight across the Mediterranean and over looking Positano beach. We immediately get in our swimmers and head to the pebble stoned beach. Even the walk down to the beach is surreal. Cobblestoned lane ways that twist down to the shore line, shoe shops selling beautiful sandals, some tourist shops, jewellery and clothing shops. To get to the spiaggia you have to pass the most divine church. Yes I go in and yes I pray, it's the Catholic way you know.....

Positano is our breathing space. Here we retreat from the monuments and just take in the immediate sights before us. We don't go to Capri or Pompeii. As much as I would like to we need a little down time and with Roma next on the list we just have to stop, reflect and gather ourselves before we go on to the next sensory overload.
The only 'travelling' we do on the Amalfi is to Amalfi itself. So glad we did, what can I say? Divine, breathtaking - Italy!

Amalfi is alive with shops, tourists and locals. The narrow streets twist through a variety of eye catching shops. School children spill out of the local school through the streets of Amalfi en masse for lunch. In the true Italian way, lunch time is king and time for they go Amalfi Beach

For us lunch is a BBQ chook, roast potatoes and bread rolls. I have loved the Italian cuisine but, as in life, it is often the simple things that we miss! A BBQ chook, potatoes and bread rolls on the beach, what more could you want.

Our lunch is devoured whilst we are perched on large rocks on the break wall in the Mediterranean. Our view is the Amalfi beach, there is no better trattoria, perfecto!
The walk to Atrani

After lunch We walk to Atrani - another beautiful jewel studded in this magnificent coast line. We swim off the rocks into the crystal clear, azure blue Mediterranean sea. We dry off, soak up the view then head back to Amalfi for our bus ride back to Positano...just another day in the life...
American Literary legend John Steinbeck wrote
'Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn't quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real when you have gone'
Positano has bitten to the bone for me. I trawl through the many images I have taken and ache to go back. The images are postcard perfect like Positano itself.

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