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Report 1247: A Not-So-Slow First Trip to Italy and Budapest

By andasamo from Nova Scotia, Canada, Spring 2006

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Page 8 of 14: A Wild Ride to Amalfi…

photo by Andasamo

Lazing on the beach

Where to start with the bus ride? I took the window seat. I asked Mom if she wanted a turn by the window, but (gripping the back of the seat in front of her) she said no thanks, she was fine in the aisle seat. I eventually clued in that I should tone down my excited outbursts (“wow, the cliff goes straight down here” and “did you see how close we drove to the side of that building?”) for the sake of any fellow passengers suffering from a fear of heights or Italian bus drivers! Oops. If you are up for it, grab a seat (on the right-hand side of the bus going toward Amalfi) and it is the ride of a lifetime! The bus charged around corners honking and assuming the oncoming traffic would yield (which it did most of the time, although in a couple spots other vehicles had to back up to make room). Not to mention that every time we passed another SITA bus, the two drivers would stop and have a chat through their windows, with seeming disregard for any traffic behind them, and then away we’d go again. The roads were also filled with motorcyclists who would fly by the bus at every chance, even on turns. As I said, it’s quite a ride! I loved it but judging from the comments, other passengers loved it less.

The Amalfi Coast is stunning. The Mediterranean sparkles. The houses seem to climb over each other and grow up the hill. The ancient stone towers silhouetted against the sky or the water are marvellous.

Mom and I got off the bus in Amalfi and wandered around the town. The Duomo is beautiful, with its wide sweeping staircase. We were fortunate to witness the end of an actual wedding ceremony. (Hearing the wedding march on a cathedral organ ... priceless!) I felt a bit guilty for intruding on their private occasion, but we didn’t know a wedding was taking place until we were actually in the church looking around. (In retrospect, the men making a heart of rice on the stone entryway might have clued us in, but at the time we were oblivious in our desire to see the cathedral.)

To save our legs from an arduous walk up to the top of the town, we rode the tiny electric bus, and then made our way back down the steep, winding street. Afterward, a rest on the beach was in order. We dipped our hands in the Mediterranean, then Mom basked in the sun, while I collected a few bits of old beach glass and took a couple photos. (When I got home, I glued the glass onto photos of the beach to make souvenirs for my daughter and niece.) We strolled around the waterfront for a while, then bought a gelato and sat outside a little café, enjoying the picturesque view. On the way back to Sorrento, we got caught in a traffic jam that seemed to stretch for miles and miles. At one point, the driver pulled up to the end of the traffic line, stopped in the street, went into a little store and came back out with a sandwich. Turned out he’d called in his order in advance when we hit the traffic jam. The passengers clapped and cheered for his ingenuity in making sure he got his supper!

Our own supper was, again, nothing to write home about although very pricey, especially considering Mom’s wine had a ton of dregs in it. The waiter was not very concerned, did not replace it, nor was our bill adjusted. Unfortunately I forgot to note the name of the restaurant in my journal. Next time I’m in Sorrento, I’ll search harder for the local spots. But we didn’t let a bad meal ruin our evening – we joined the passeggiata along the Corso Italia and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

I saw many young ladies walking arm in arm with older ladies, presumably grandmothers, and found that very heartwarming. In North America, one doesn’t see the different generations hanging out together very often – not that there’s no interaction, but the interaction is more like a planned visit to Grammy’s house on Sunday, rather than just casually passing time together. And of course we posed in front of the famous Sorrento webcam! Unfortunately I'd not been able to coordinate our on camera appearance with my family back home so they missed it.

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