Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cruise: Day 3

Having been to Naples before, and having no desire to EVER repeat that experience, I opted for the tour of "Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast". I had asked the tour director which excursions I really shouldn't miss, and which ones he thought I would be least able to arrange on my own, and this is the one he pointed me to. Tabitha went on the "Pompeii & Sorrento" tour. I'm not usually a fan of organized cruise tours, but I'm glad I took the tour director's advice on this one.
First stop was on the roadside to take pictures of the view above Sorrento. Then we pulled into the city, and were given 1.5 hours to wander and explore. I realized that I had left my photo card in the card reader, so needed to find a shop to get a photo card (unless I wanted to endure a day of scenery with no camera...not happening.) So, I wandered the ancient streets until I found a convenience store, and there stood Tabitha. We laughed at running into each other, but parted... she wanted to shop (and came home later with a sweet little messenger bag), but I wanted to just get lost in the maze of streets. I wound up overlooking the port/ocean, and was totally charmed by the views that Sorrento offered up. Having been advised that lemoncello was a major product of Sorrento, and having seen lemon trees everywhere, I decided that my next stop should include a taste. I made my way into the town square to a cafe, where I enjoyed a tall chilled flute of liquid sunshine.
Back on the bus, we crossed a ridge to the other side of the peninsula, the Amalfi side. As we rolled through every village, the tour guide would tell us in his lilting poetic accent about each one. The amazing thing about the coastline is that it presents a different stunning view, around every curve. We stopped to take photos near a man selling lemons and oranges from the back of his truck. The lemons were larger than grapefruits, with thick rinds like those from California. I opted for an orange to eat then and there, and savored the aroma and flavor with every bite.
We arrived in Amalfi, and I opted to get on a boat and see the coast from the sea for about 30 minutes. I was rewarded with even more awe-inspiring views of the beautiful villages and coast. I think my perfect fantasy vacation would include a motorcycle ride down the Amalfi coast, staying in one of the cliff-hanging hotels, drinking lemoncello, and boating/sailing around. Yes, you'd have to be a millionaire to pull it off, but as a fantasy vacation, I'm not sure it could be topped. Back in the village of Amalfi (population 4,000), I visited the cathedral and discovered that it was built in honor of St. Andrew, whose remains are there. After catching a bite to eat, I hopped on the bus to return. Before we could get far though, we found ourselves trapped in a game of chicken with another tour bus among the narrow one-lane streets of one of the villages. It took about 20 minutes for the two busses to maneuver around each other, with about 3/4 inch between the them. They retracted their rearview mirrors to make it possible. We all cheered at the impossibility of the accomplishment.

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