Our Italian holiday started with the Amalfi Coast. The region is a feast for more senses than one! This was our first tryst with Italy and I feel that there could not have been a better note that was set. This Mediterranean Delight is truly Nature’s wonder and as breathtaking as all the pictures we have seen of this beautiful region. Mountains that kiss the sea, villages in between and lush forests all make visuals that are difficult to beat.
We had about 3 and a half days in the region and could comfortably bask in Salerno,Capri / Ana Capri, Positano and Pompeii. We made Salerno our base, for two reasons, we landed in Rome and the train from Rome stops in Salerno, and after a 11 hour journey, you do not want to spend more time travelling! We were travelling to Palermo after that, and there was an overnight train from Salerno. Therefore for us it was pretty much a no brainer to stay there,and I can easily say that was decision that worked for us.
The Big debate for us was – do we do Cinque Terre or Amalfi. So we settled on Amalfi, and while we did not do Cinque Terre, we decided to visit Portofino in the Liguria region. In Salerno we stayed at Hotel Plaza which is a lovely hotel really close to the Train Station, and is run by a really nice bunch of people. The staff was friendly, helpful and very courteous. They speak very little English in the town, but we managed to communicate and they would always look stuff up on the internet and make local recommendations. There is a an absolutely divine coffee shop named “Puro” right opposite where I promptly went down for my morning cuppa
The Town itself is pretty quaint, has a promenade where it seems like most of the city hangs out. It has a Lovely Church like most cities in Italy and the world for that matter. What I really liked was the food, the people and the old part of the town. The town has two harbours and is easily connected to the other towns that are of interest. While you can take busses to the towns of Amalfi and Positano, Capri is only possible by the ferry.
We started early to Capri, caught the 8 am ferry and reached Capri by 10.The ferry ride is fairly expensive, about 43 Euros for a return ticket, but you must remember that that Amalfi is an expensive tourist trap and a bottle of water is going to cost you about 4 Euros. However I would say it’s all worth it.
We couldn’t do Blue Grotto the day we were there, because the sea was a bit choppy and they were not sure if they would go in, so we decided to head to Capri and Ana Capri instead. Three things to not miss are
View from Villa San Michele –
The Cable Chair Ride to Monte Solaro and hanging out at the cafe. The Cable Chair Ride is not for the Faint Hearted, because this piece of Italian Engineering is nothing but a chair on a cable. This 15 minute ride each way, began with nervousness, but on my way back I was taking a video of it. The ride is totally worth the view and the cafe has great wifi – good enough for a periscope which I did from there of the gorgeous view
Simply walk the streets, like Jackie Kennedy did and see if you like Limoncello
Day 2 – Positano . You can take a bus from Salerno, but we took the ferry, because there was a forest fire in between and therefore bus services were affected. These ferries (return) were only 24 Euros per head
My list of must do’s
Cafe Positano – this is a tough, steep climb up, but once you have climbed up you reach Cafe Positano, you can enjoy your meal with endless view of the Mediterranean and great food. I had the pesto gnocchi and the mozarella salad, which I would highly recommend. But frankly you can eat sand looking at the view and it would still taste good.
Lounge on the beach: I must warn you it’s a pebble beach all the way, so it’s not going to be easy on your feet. However I have this thing about pebble beaches being good for my feet and back like a swedish hot stone massage equivalent, so if that’s your thing you could make time for it.
Positano is a great place for Linens, Espadrilles and the really famous Hand Made Sandals. Safari for Hand Made Sandals, Denari for Moccasins – I did see the most colorful and happiest moccasins there. Lo Scrigno Di Brunella for Linens. I must confess I only bought myself Sandals, though I had my eyes on a lot more.
Pompeii: A short train ride from Salerno The City of Pompeii is an open museum in Italy, very close to Naples. The train ride costs you barely 4 Euros and is about 45 mins. Tickets to Pompeii are about 13 euros. The city was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 79 AD, The city was discovered again in the 1700s and a lot of the site has been preseved as it were and restored. It is also the city where we ate probably one of the best gelatos of our holiday at this Geletaria named “De Vivo”
Needless to say food is a heavenly delight in all of Italy and a country I find extremely friendly for vegetarians. Cheese is fresh, I find the Refined Floor less bloaty or perhaps I am simply more tolerant of it. And it’s not called Dolce Vita for nothing, I loved the gelato and desserts because they were classic and very tasty. Places to eat in Salerno definitely head to La Lampara, La Cucina De Eduardo and La Tambola for Pizza.