Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Blog from Sorrento (day 6)

Blimey it's hot!  Just got back from the Amalfi Drive trip and we are melting.

It was an early start this morning so breakfast was a little rushed. The drive itself was beautiful, though there is no way I'd ever drive it myself - hurrah for bus drivers. Being a typical organised tour they did a loo stop in the middle of nowhere with a cafe and overpriced gift shop. But it was only short and then we carried on to Amalfi.  We opted to go on the boat tour.  Yes we finally got on a boat! It was lovely to get a breeze, and see the coast from the water.  The buildings are so precariously perched on the hillsides that you wonder how they managed to build them in the first place.  Apparently there is a disco somewhere which has a glass dance floor so you can see the fish under your feet.  I think I'd probably spend the whole time watching the fish!  There were watchtowers all along the coast, both Saracen and Norman, many seem to have been restored and are now restaurants or part of hotels. The guide pointed out the obligatory celebrity pads - Roger Moore's and Sophia Loren's - no waves from either of them though.

The churches have domes covered in majolica (not sure if that's how you spell it) tiles that are very pretty and colourful.  The sea is clear blue, and green in the shallower bits, with the hillsides covered in verdant green, a sky without a cloud in sight and all the villas in whites or pale yellows and pinks.  You can see why artists fell in love with this region.  There were whole hillsides covered in blue morning glories, swamping trees and fences. Truly stunning.

After Amalfi the coach took us up towards Ravello and the views are lovely, though I would hate to live there because it takes so long to get anywhere, the roads are narrow, and the drivers drive with distinct lack of regard for road etiquette.  Basically it would scare the pants off me if I had to drive anywhere!

Leaving Ravello we headed back to Sorrento by a roundabout route through the mountains. Whereas the trees by the coast had been mainly olive and lemon groves here we passed hillsides covered in sweet chestnut trees absolutely groaning under the weight of the ripening nuts.  We swung round a curve coming out of the mountains and there was Vesuvius rising impressively out of the plain.  You didn't get the sense of perspective from the train.  The plain is so large and flat and Vesuvius rises up out of it in like some brooding monster just waiting to strike. There was a plume of smoke coming off to one side, a large fire rather than an imminent eruption!  

Last full day tomorrow and not sure what we are going to do.  We will just have to see what tomorrow brings.

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