Day #10,354: After an 11-hr flight from San Francisco, amounts of anti-anxiety flying meds that would impress a junkie, and a steamy hot blur of a train ride from Rome, Mr. M & I found ourselves in the golden town of Sorrento on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. (“Found ourselves” meaning face-planted into bed at 8pm in a growing puddle of drool. Shoes still on.)
The next morning- showered and de-drooled- I threw open our balcony doors in (what I imagined to be) dramatic Sofia Loren style and surveyed the glittering Corso Italia below.
It was such a quintessential Italian scene that I half-expected a suitor on bended knee to recite romantic Italian poetry to me. Mr. M was not willing to oblige. At least not before breakfast.
Happily, Italians- like most other European countries- take their continental breakfasts Very Seriously.
With jet lag working in our favor, Mr. M & I decided to catch a bus for a day trip south along the Amalfi Coast. The narrow road hugging that section of the Italian coast is famously hair-raising with its harrowing corkscrew turns high up on the Italian cliffs.
Hiding behind splayed-open fingers (a technique 3yr-old Me perfected back in the 80’s when Michael Jackson’s horrifyingly mesmerizing Thriller video was taking over MTV), I tried my darndest to enjoy the gorgeous scenery. Mr. M may have had to take over Photo Duty while I prayed to my roster of deities to keep our tire-screeching bus on the road.
We exited the bus high above Positano, the next little town clinging to the Amalfi cliffside, and zigzagged our way downward through cobblestoned alleyways.
The beauty of true Italian towns is that you honestly don’t need a map… the joy of the journey is in wandering the back alleys and winding staircases.
After some professional-grade meandering, Mr. M & I wound up down at the beach.
If the back alley streets are magical in their unpredictable chaos, Italian beaches are gorgeous in their colorful uniformity.
Italian beachgoers rent a chair and umbrella that are already set up on the sand. Something about the vibrant echo of color makes for a very striking scene.
Next up was the actual town of Amalfi- the most popular amongst tourists judging by the hordes of camera-toting folks among us.
Amalfi truly is carved out of the rocks; its cliffside houses are not for the weak of nerve.
Maybe it was the muggy heat frizzing up my hair… maybe it was the shoving mob of tourists pulsing through the narrow Amalfi roads… or maybe- like 3yr old children and all of Spain- I just need naptime every afternoon… whatever the reason, I much preferred Positano to its more famous sister.
Sensing that it was time for me to take a nap, Mr. M determined we should catch a boat back to Sorrento to escape the oppressive heat, and we stretched out on the deck to watch the Italian coast from behind a curtain of sea spray.
All remaining grumpiness having evaporated by way of a bewitching boat ride and margherita pizza, the hubs & I decided there was no reason that our own town of Sorrento should be left unexplored.
We happened upon the local lemon grove, which was hosting limoncello and olive oil tastings. Done and done.
It was perfection simply getting to explore the narrow streets in town- like I said, wandering is the absolute best Italian activity you can dream up.
That may have been the moment that I fell just a smidge in love with summer on the Amalfi Coast. I was head-over-heels for the colorful beaches and Sorrento’s lusty celebration of food- right down to the simplest lemon. Just like real life love, we had our ups & downs… the humidity? The tourists? They grated on me in that special way that only your dearest loved ones can conjure.
Forget the infrequent lows. The Amalfi Coast was ever enchanting, intoxicating, and maddening.
And that is amore.
Details of the Day:
Casa Astarita: While in Sorrento, we overnighted at the cute-as-can-be B&B Casa Astarita, run by two friendly and colorful sisters. The rooms are located on the Corso Italia, Sorrento’s main thoroughfare, so if you’re a light sleeper, forego the opportunity to have your own Sofia Loren moment (see above) and opt for the rooms along the inner courtyard. Otherwise, the balconies are perfect for people-watching, as the Corso Italia becomes pedestrian-only in the evenings.
Amalfi Coast Bus: The buses running along the Amalfi Coast are theoretically on timetables. Theoretically being the operative word. If you’re catching a bus at the beginning or end of the line (like in Sorrento), the driver will wait for the bus to fill up before actually taking off- and this can take awhile if you’re leaving on an off-hour.
**This post on ‘amore’ seems only too appropriate, as Mr. M & I are currently in San Diego for a very special wedding. Whose wedding, you ask? Bash & Jess, who got engaged on our New Year’s Eve trip to Portugal! Watching this love story come full circle is the best way I could imagine spending my day. Love, quite simply, rules.**