Living La Dolce Vita ...
So this weekend I decided to chase after the sun, since London’s summer has apparently already been and gone … all two days of it! I booked a trip to the Italian coast, the wonderfully spectacular Amalfi Coast, south of Naples. Wanting to maximise my time in Italy, I booked the first flight out in the morning which had me leaving Gatwick airport at 6am in the morning. Doesn’t sound too bad does it? WRONG! Leaving home at 2:30am to catch the only train to the airport that will make you not miss your flight, is not exactly what you want to be doing when you’re going on holiday. It’s meant to be relaxing isn’t it? Well regardless, I rolled out of bed all the way to the train station and somehow made it there without falling back asleep on the train and ending up in Brighton. First win of the day! My flight got me into Naples airport around 10am. This is the part where I had to be awake and start paying attention. I still hadn’t reached my final destination. It would have been great if the pilot just dropped me right off in Positano but hey, apparently that’s asking too much. So I exited the airport arrivals hall and headed for the Alibus bus stop heading towards the central train station and ferry port of Naples. At €4 a ticket, it was a fair priced way to make my way to the train station, compared to the overprices taxis waiting just a skip, hop and a jump away from the arrivals hall. Within 20 minutes I had arrived at the main train station, where I was ready to jump onto my train to the town of Salerno. Within 40 minutes I had arrived in Salerno. Yay for European trains! Adelaide Metro, you could learn a thing or two from these guys. But I digress ... I was almost at my final destination, just a short ferry ride away and I would be on the stunning Amalfi Coast. I commenced the all-important carb loading aspect of my trip, because are you really doing Italy if you’re not eating pasta or pizza for every meal? After satisfying my stomach with some delicious homemade pasta I jumped on the ferry that would take me up along the coast, past all the picturesque Italian villages until it finally reached Positano. Words cannot describe how magical this place truly is. Not even photos do this place justice. So I’m not even going to try and explain what it was like to see the picture-perfect cliff side village for the first time. You NEED to go and experience it first hand and then you will understand the pure joy that I felt. I needed to keep pinching myself to make sure it was real. So the last part of my journey was making my way to my hostel. Little did I realise that it was at the very top of the hill, which meant I would have to climb over 700 steps in 30+ degree heat with an 8kg suitcase. Never mind the fact that I was directed up little alleyways that looked like entrances to Italian villas. Safe to say that google maps, was wrong in saying it would only take 15 minutes. More like 45 thanks!!! But once I had arrived I was greeted by the friendly staff at Hostel Brikette and shown my room.
Now the holiday could begin ...
After a very long travel journey I had a free afternoon. I headed for the beach, Marina Grande. And yes this did involve those infamous 700 steps. The majority of the beach is privately owned with sunbeds available for hire. There is however a public swimming area. This is where I headed. Now pebble beaches may look nice but they hurt like hell walking barefoot. So I hobbled very ungracefully towards the ocean. Once in the water it was absolutely spectacular. The views of the village were delightful and the water was very serene. As the sun began to slowly set, I mentally prepared myself for my hike back up to my hostel. I managed to find a cute cafe for dinner with views overlooking the ocean. Of course, I'm sure you can guess what I ate ... If you said pasta, you are 100% right. I had a phenomenal homemade gnocchi with a simple tomato and basil sauce. A glass of local rose went down a treat with it too.
The following morning, with a day of clear skies and sunshine I planned to head towards Bomerano and trek Sentiero degli Dei, also known as the Path of the Gods. The hike is rightfully named for the spectacular scenery it showcases. Breathtaking views over the Mediterranean are on offer throughout the 7.8km path between Bomerano and Nocelle.
To get there proved to be a little complicated. I caught a bus from Positano to Amalfi, around 1 hour of travel. Staying in a hostel at the top of the town proved to be very advantageous for bus travel as it ended up being on the main road and only a 2 minute walk to the bus stop, Winning!! Once in Amalfi, I waited for a bus to the small mountain town of Bomerano. Unfortunatley, the bus timetables don't link up very well and I ended up having to wait almost 2 hours for the bus. I easily consumed the time with lunch, enjoying a Proscuitto and Buffalo Mozarella Panini on the pier whilst people watching. I also got the opportunity to wonder through the small alleyways and boutique stores of the city. I also came across the stunning Amalfi Cathedral in the main square. The bus soon arrived and I made my way away from the ocean, into the surrounding mountains to Bomerano. Once there, I was directed by some very friendly locals through the city's main square and on towards the start of Sentiero degli Dei. Once I started the trek it was very easy to follow with quite good sign postage for the path. There were a few t-sections on the path which made it a little confusing, but I followed my gut and ended up heading the right way. The entire hike was absolutely beautiful. It's hard to believe that such a place exists. Safe to say I had my camera out the whole time and was continually snapping pictures. Considering that it was the middle of August and a weekend at that, the path was very quiet. I passed only 6 or so other eager hikers. I finished the hike in Nocelle, a small district of Positano. I decided to walk back to the town centre, rather than catch a bus and I'm so glad that I did. The walk back presented me with even more spectacular views and I also came across one of the best views, in my opinion, of Positano. I luckily stumbled my way in the right direction and found my way back to the main road which led straight to my hostel. And that meant no 700 stairs today! Well at least not at that moment. After some relaxing and freshening up I headed out again towards the beach for some more people watching and dinner. It had cooled down a little too much for a swim by the time I got down there but it was nice to sit on the beach and watch the tide roll in. I bought myself a Margarita Pizza and ate it there relaxed by the cool sea breeze and serenity of the ocean.
Unfortunately, when you travel you can't control the weather and the next day of my trip presented itself with strong winds and rain. Not ideal when you plan a beach getaway. Not wanting it to impede on my trip, I still headed out with plans to explore some of the smaller and secluded beaches that the Amalfi coast offers. First on my list was the Furore beach, a small beach hidden within the Fiordo Fjord. Unfortunately, the beach was closed off, with the paths from the road being boarded up with orange tape and cement blocks. Safe to say I was a little disappointed but I still had plenty more places to explore so I waited on the main road for the next bus. The next bus took me to Amalfi. I decided to brave the cooler weather and headed for a swim. Surprisingly, the water was not that cold. The heavens however, decided to open up and start pouring down with rain ... not so great. So I packed up my things and headed for shelter. Like most people, I headed for the Amalfi Cathedral. I hadn't had a chance to explore it the previous day so I decided to visit the Cathedral whilst the weather outside sorted itself out. The cathedral inside was beautiful, with so much history. The rain slowly stopped and I headed back towards the bus station, but not before treating myself to a hazelnut gelato.
In the evening I wondered through Positano exploring the city, finding new alleyways that I hadn't yet explored. I found myself wondering past the Hotel l'Ancora. Their restaurant had magnificent views overlooking Positano and the Mediterranean, straight out of a postcard. The menu looked divine too, so I decided to treat myself. A girl has to sometimes, doesn't she? I watched the sunset whilst enjoying a Scampi Linguine paired with 2 glasses of local Rose and even treated myself to a chocolate souffle. I also got to chatting and sharing travel stories with some wonderful ladies from America who were just starting their Italian adventure as mine was coming to an end. With the sun set, my belly full and the final drops of wine enjoyed we parted ways and I headed back to my hostel.
With the weather looking up and the sun shining through the open french doors heading to the balcony I packed up my suitcase and checked out early. I wanted to reach the beach before the tourists started to flock in for the day. It was a beautiful, serene morning. I wondered onto the Mariana Grande around 8:30am and was one of 5 people in the area. I set up on one of the bright sunbeds, started snapping some photos and then jumped into the Mediterranean for the final time of my trip. The atmosphere was completely different without all the swarms of tourists. I sun-baked whilst the beach gradually became busier. Somehow, I got away without having to pay €15 for the rental of the sunbed. I guess if you get their early enough they don't realise. So I stayed on the beach as long as I could but, unfortunately all good things have to come to an end and I had to head back to London. I climbed those infamous stairs for the last time and waited at my hostel for a prearranged shuttle bus service directly to Naples airport. I boarded my flight and was back in chilly London before I knew it, already planning my next trip.