The Amalfi coast, the southern coast of Italy, is one of the coolest places I have ever been. The towns along the coast have all been built into the cliffs, along with terraced gardens and bougainvillea covering almost every surface. It’s absolutely stunning. Walking around town is quite the task- you feel like you are constantly moving uphill at a 90 degree angle (exaggeration, but not much). A blogger on instagram said you had to work for everything in Amalfi, but that’s what made it worth it. I agree- Amalfi was one of the two places I would have chosen to make my new home during our entire trip.
Our hotel that we booked through hotels.com, Hotel Residencia Sole, served an amazing breakfast each morning on the patio. The owner even made each resident fresh cappuccino every morning. Our entry card also turned on the electricity in our hotel room- that was our first experience with all the ways that lodgers in Europe try to save on utility bills.
So began my European coffee addiction
While Positano and the other towns were certainly touristy, they didn’t feel nearly as crowded as Rome and Venice. That is, until you got on the buses. I called the public transport “the nightmare bus”. Packed like sardines, you ride the bus down narrow, one lane highways along the coast, praying that the bus doesn’t hit a corner or another vehicle and go over the cliff. I regularly saw scooters squeeze between the bus and the rock walls to speed by, my heart in my stomach. One ride was so crowded, I sat on the exit stairs, nauseous from the heat and the fast turns, wondering if I should just get off at every stop. When we reached Positano though, I was glad to have suffered the journey. We walked through the town, exploring the shops and churches along the way. We hiked to the beaches, which were stony but gorgeous. For 7 euros each we were able to rent a beach chair and umbrella for the entire day. The water was cool, and there was beach glass sparkling intermittently along the stony beach. The stones were so hot that I wore my sandals to the shore line and threw them out of the tide’s reach each time I wanted to swim.
That day we also booked a tour for the isle of Capri. There were a number of places offering boat tours, but we wanted someone who could pick us up from Amalfi, where we were staying. Riding the bus early in the morning did not appeal (see above), plus the buses were regularly late or did not seem to match the schedule google maps was giving us. We booked a tour, which ended up being one of the highlights of our trip. The boat took us around the coast and showed us the sights, giving us an opportunity to swim. We then stopped at Capri, where we rented a scooter. Driving on Capri was almost as much of a nightmare as riding the bus on Amalfi- narrow roads with tight switchbacks. I had my first taste of gnocchi on the island, and almost tasted it a second time on that scooter ride. Capri was very touristy, but the views! We rode a lift to the top of the mountain on Anacapri. The clouds were so thick it looked like you could walk on them, like you’d reached the ceiling of the earth and if you’d gone much higher you would have hit space. By the time we had found the lift, it was time to head back to the boat.
Joel and our not so friendly yellow scooter.
Amalfi was one of the few places that I wish we had planned more days. We could have spent 8+ hours on Capri alone, plus there were a number of towns that we didn’t see much of because we only had 3 days. I would go back in a heartbeat.