Day 13: Views for days from Amalfi


I've come to accept that you can't do everything you think you should do on vacation.

I'm in Sorrento still and probably only did 50% of the things you are "supposed to do" while you are here. I didn't make it to Positano and I didn't make it to Pompei. I'm completely fine with it. To be fair, I did drive straight through Positano and simply elected to not get off the bus.

The thing with Italy is that you need to do a lot of stairs when you are here. It's like this entire country is on a hill. While I love my Jawbone Up, I would have appreciated the "stairs" counter that comes with the Fitbit.

The advantage that I have against most of the other tourists here it seems is that I wake up early. Regardless of the timezone, my body seems to naturally wake up at 7 am so I'm catching the sun rising over Mount Vesuvius while I pack my bag for the day and get breakfast. And by pack my bag, I'm merely referring to tossing some sunblock, my Rick Steve's book, a scarf, and a giant bottle of water in there. I will not be tired of lugging that sucker all around Italy - it is just too big.

Today was another great day in Italy. Every day that I'm here, my life in the North End makes so much more sense to me. All of the mannerisms of neighbors and the unique characteristics that make the "North End" Italian are really exhibited in these smaller communities. You don't see it in Florence or Venice... but leave those bigger cities and head to Cortona or Amalfi and you see it.

For example, my current kitchen has these random ceramic tiles that are much more brightly colored than the rest of the essentials of the apartment. Turns out, they are really close in style to the ceramics that are sold all over the Amalfi coast. Now, that could be a mere coincidence ... or it could be on purpose. My landlord's grandmother (or maybe it was great aunt?) used to live in the apartment that I now occupy. BUT now, when I look at these odd little tiles, I'll think of today when I strolled through Amalfi and loved my 13th day in Italy.

THE BUS
I used all capitals because this bus deserves them. They make it seem like cute little grandmothers ride this bus down the Amalfi coast to Positano and Amalfi ... and let's be clear they do. But, it has further cemented my feelings about buses. The ride to Amalfi is one hour and 40 minutes provided they run on-time and not on Italian time ... and while it's beautiful .... it's a rough ride.

The thing the bus has going for it is cost. I paid less than 8 euros for the privilege to ride that sucker as much as I wanted for 24 hours. A group tour? 99 euros. A private guide? 200 to 400 euros. So I guess the bus wins there, but next time I come here.... private guide it is. I want to see more towns and not feel like I'm going to see my 3 breakfast croisant again. Oh, and there was a crying baby. Isn't there always?

FYI, for the ride back I got to the bus 20 minutes early and claimed my seat on the good side, by the window, behind the driver ... and pretended that someone was sitting next to me. Clearly the way to go. It vastly improved the quality of the drive.

Starting with a bevy
For most of the towns that I've visited this trip, the first thing I've done has been sit and drink a latte or espresso. I'm going to have to make a mental note of this habit because it's such a great way to absorb a bit more of the city, plan a bit, before jumping right in. Plus, given that it costs to use the bathrooms in Italy... buy a coffee and get a bathroom for FREE. I love a good deal.
The Sites
The Cathedral here was another great example of two things. One, people who don't understand what lines are. Two, Germans taking over. And lastly, that every church here is so vastly different. I was quite literally in awe as I moved from section to section. Plus, the artifacts they had there were from like  the 14th century or something.
As you can see in the pictures, these are some pretty varied degrees of styles in this one cathedral. I honestly can't remember it all, so you can google it. But I think it had something to do with the fact that they had one church, then they built another, and now it's one. If that isn't the story, let's pretend it is.
And since I can never resist lighting a candle and saying a quick little prayer, I obviously did that. I have a pretty elaborate spreadsheet tracking all of my expenses for this trip and the only thing I can't keep track of is the candles. There were more of them than there were espressos and gelato. And, I love that.
Around Town
Amalfi is a great town just for walking around, which is probably why I loved it. I can totally see a family on vacation dividing and conquering and meeting up for lunch on the beach. Initially, I had thought I would go to Positano since my guide book had little to say about Amalfi - but I really liked it. For 3+ hours I roamed the town and poked in and out of shops. It was the first place I've been slightly compelled to buy anything in Italy but felt like the prices were too high ... and I did not want to carry any of it home.  

Oddly, there weren't any takers for the "natural viagra". Weird.



I love this picture.
 there are geraniums everywhere! And, they have varieties that we don't have in Boston... 
 I figure if the old ladies can swim and sunbathe topless, I can put my feet in. Check out those sunburned legs? Hot right? Get it? 
Rest and Relaxation
Back in Sorrento, I decided to make the best of the last 5 hours or so of sun by obviously going to the hotel pool. And by pool, I mean pools. I hate the idea that I've packed something in my suitcase, carried it on my back for two weeks, and not used it once. So I went swimming in each of the hotel pools.
To be truthful, I wasn't going to really "swim" but this old man shamed me into it. He saw me just standing there, checking the box on getting in, and shamed me. He was right, it wasn't that cold and it was truly a beautiful view. How many times am I going to swim in a rooftop infinity pool overlooking the bay and Mount Vesuvius? Probably not for awhile.

I closed out the day by watching the sunset again. There is something about a sunset that I'm afraid to walk away from. Like I can't handle the thought that the view could become more pink or more beautiful after I've left ... thankfully, I'm not in a rush these days. So I just grabbed another glass of champagne and soaked it all in.

Tomorrow? Well, I'm checking out of Sorrento... and into Rome. I have three days there of which I'm really only planning activities for less than 2. I'm cashing in some points and staying at the Waldorf so I'm going to spend that last day eating as many Kinder Buenos as they have on the property. Or something else. But I'll probably be eating.

Ciao.

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