Sorry for the delay in publishing. This was a very busy weekend and Day 12 required major editing. Hope you enjoy it. Barb
Day 12 Thursday June 6
Our last full day on the ship. We had a great day until Pompeii. That was a major disappointment. On the other hand, the trip across the mountains and along the Amalfi coast was wonderful. I will update this later with the details. Right now it is 10:20 and I just finished packing. We have to have out bags out in the hall by 11 pm. I’m pooped!
I did buy lemoncello for us all to get wasted.
Temp 64F, wind 4 kts NE, pressure 29.997 inHg, speed 20 kts, heading 281 deg to Civitavecchia, the port for Rome.
The day started out with our guide picking us up in a van, bright & early. This was one of the personal tours that Joe booked, so it was just the 5 of us. We headed south past Mt Vesuvius and the area of Pompeii to the Sorrentine Peninsula. Our guide took us east and south across the mountains and down to the Amalfi coast. All the tour buses go west to Sorrento and then east along the coast. He didn’t want to get behind them when they come back across the mountains. After being on that road, I heartily agree. It was beautiful, but very narrow and winding. Check out the wiggly yellow line that goes from Angri (leaving E45) to Amalfi; SP2b & SP1. The red A is at the town of Ravello, our first stop. It was a pretty little town, perched on cliffs as they all are and surrounded by lemon orchards. We stopped at an ocean overlook and walked trough a tunnel to the Cathedral Square. From there you could look out on houses and orchards clinging to the hillsides. Everything is done by hand; you couldn’t get any machinery up there.
After many more miles of winding roads and vistas of mountains and the ocean, we arrived in Amalfi…THE place to be. It was already crowded at 11 am. We jumped out of the van and walked a couple blocks to the plaza in front of the Amalfi Cathedral. Joe was the only one who wanted to brave the steps to see inside. The rest of us gathered under umbrellas at a sidewalk café and people watched. They had cappuccinos and I had lemon granita. It was more fun than climbing all those steps to look at another church. We also wandered among the shops a bit. I bought limoncello and a second battery for my new camera. The original one lasts only 2 hours on a charge. Shame on you, Nikon!
We managed to rendezvous with our driver and get away without incurring the wrath of the Police. They hand out tickets like water in an effort to keep the streets clear. Then it was more winding sea side roads to Positano. It is much like the other towns along the coast. Lots of houses and hotels for the rich and famous. Since the Amalfi Coast was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its cultural landscape, houses cannot be bought or sold very easily. They are handed down from generation to generation and there are restrictions on their use.
We had lunch in a little restaurant on the side of a steep hill…where else? They didn’t tale orders, just served us the day’s special with the house white wine. It was delicious, far superior to many of the meals on the ship; a simple well done meal. There were 5 courses: grilled tomatoes on herb & buttered toast, a salad of lettuce, chunks of tomato & of cheese, pasta with tomato sauce & a cheese lasagna, fruit with vanilla bean ice cream and limoncello. Good thing that none of us were driving.
Afterwards we drove east along the coast, more beautiful scenery, turned the corner and headed west through Sorrento and back toward Pompeii.
Pompeii was something of a disappointment. Part of it was coming at the end of a long day, part of it was that they were out of maps and we had a lot of trouble figuring out what was what and where we were. Mostly, I felt that it was all a bit shabby and uncared for. There was very little signage. What there was gave you no information unless you already knew what & where things were. The audio tours we rented also required that you know where you were and that signage was few and far apart. It was inconspicuous and not well kept up. The area around the actual archeological site is not a pretty area. It is mainly rundown buildings and low income homes & shops.