Welcome to Italy.
We stayed in a delightful hotel in Naples last night, in a slightly grungy area full of people hanging around the local piazza drinking beer.
Rachael fitted right in!!
Quick pizza last night to fortify us for a busy day today.
Up early in anticipation of a full day being chauffeured to Pompeii and down to Amalfi, very excited as we waited for our 9am pick up.
9.15…checking watches…9.30, Rachael getting antsy…9.45, Me realising I may have buggered up…10.00, went back to reception and luckily got another company to take us.
Oops, didn’t verify with first mob, so they dumped us. Regroup!
Aldo, the life (read ‘Hugh’) saver, came to our rescue….and we’re off to Mt Vesuvius which is about 1 hour away through some of the most horrendous traffic you are likely to see.
The traffic in Naples is NUTS. No discernible road rules at all, indication optional. Traffic lights, what traffic lights? It goes something like this, accelerate at high speed, brake suddenly, repeat, hit every pothole, too numerous to keep count, beep horn constantly, curse in Italian and wave BOTH hands in air whilst still driving, miss other cars by millimetres, pray the whole time for a safe journey!!
Mt Vesuvius was terrific, a bit of a climb to the top and then great views back to Naples and beyond. Not to mention the crater, which probably to the disappointment of every kid who gets dragged up by their folks, is not full of lava and hot steaming gas, but just the odd wisp of steam and a lot of dust and rubble.
Then we were off to Pompeii.
I had my doubts about Pompeii thinking it might be a tourist trap, but it isn’t. It’s terrific!
We spent over two and a half hours there, could have easily spent 4 or 5. The only issue was the swarms of guided groups that seemed to descend as if from the clouds, almost swallowing you up in their eagerness. Once you threaded your way through them all was good. An excellent visit, highly recommended.
Aldo, dutifully waiting, bundles us aboard, and we are off to Amalfi via Sorrento. The road gets progressively narrower, and the buses wider!
The road is as crazy as the views, breathtaking!
We stop off at a few points along the way for photo ops, and ciggies for Aldo, and arrived in Amalfi at about 6.30.
Now, the road to Amalfi is pretty hairy, the Great Ocean Road on steroids, but Aldo performed brilliantly. How he missed some of the cars, and pedestrians along the way beggars belief….which makes the fact that he hit the fence backing into the car park at the marina in Amalfi all the more surprising!! Doing about 2kph!
Once we worked out where our hotel was, we forfeited the offer of a porter to assist with our bags….thanks Hugh, and began our journey across to the other side of the crazy road and up the 77 stairs that awaited us and our 22kgs each of luggage.
As is our want, we went up the wrong flight of stairs and had to start again, oh joy what fun that mistake was!!
We eventually found our hotel, checked in, took in the amazing views we had, showered and went out for dinner. Lots more carbs in Italy so we need to work out where we can run in this town without using the crazy road, so as too avoid excess luggage around our waistline.
Quick walk around this beautiful town whilst eating their magnificent gelato before calling it a night and leaving the rest of the exploring until tomorrow.