Published: August 30th 2009August 20th 2009
Oh my god - i'm so sorry it's been so long since we've last blogged. Things have been happening at a million miles an hour and we're just finishing off Croatia at the moment where we've had no access to the internet for about 8 days because we've been on a sailboat. So i think we were just finished Rome in the last blog and were departing for Pompeii before heading to the Amalfi Coast with Kirra and Lauren to continue our over-spending and under-achieving of anything remotely important! We stopped for the night in Pompeii so we could see the ruined city early in the morning hopefully before the scorching heat kicked in - never going to happen with 3 girls! I can't really speak for Bretto on this one as we were seperated soon after making it inside the city and we continued on our own. Kirra and I walked around through villas and shops and down wide boulevards and little alleys, all of which were alive and buzzing with people many moons ago. Unfortunately we got a bit lost because that place is HUGE and we didn't get as much out of it as Bretto and Lauren who followed the guided path. Seriously, Kirra and me both trying to read a big map is a lost cause! Anyway, apparently we missed the best part which was the Villa of Mysteries but we checked out Lauren's photos over lunch so we got a second hand viewing!
After Pompeii, we headed onwards to Sorrento, our base for the Amalfi Coast. We found a camping park with a pool (our only requirement) and set up for the afternoon. Kirra, Lauren and I walked down to the beach for a much needed swim (as the 'required' pool shut at 6pm) and were bitterly dissapointed to find a black silty sand, dirty and polluted beach. Awesome - so we moved straight on to the wine's instead - just as refreshing!
The next day we decided to take the bus down the Amalfi Coast road as we weren't sure how well Norman would go on the narrow winding roads. The bus trip was longer than expected and i;m glad to see I wasn't the only one with my head in my hands from the winding road. The road was wide enough until we got to Positano and then it narrowed down considerably. I swear that it was only a one way road but apparently not - our bus encountered another bus coming from the opposite direction and we scraped by (literally scraped) with no room to spare between us and the 2 foot high barrier protecting us from a sheer drop down to the ocean. I know mum would have had a heart attack but i was quite calm about it all - without faith in your bus driver you;d go crazy on the Amalfi road! So we drove on past Positano and stepped off the bus in beautiful Amalfi. The sea was glorious and warm and blue and the town was very cute. We ate lunch at a nice local trattoria where we bought a few litres of non advertised house wine.
TOP TIP - All the restaurants in the area have wine that they produce themselves but don't advertise because they would then have to pay tax on it. It's usually pretty good and much much cheaper than buying bottles of wine.
So after spending half the day at the restaurant we were too late to hire a little boat to sail around the coast line so we spent the rest of the afternoon at the beach and then took the long and winding road home again. After taking the bus ride we decided there was no reason why Norm couldn't make it so the next day we packed up and drove ourselves to Positano for a morning stroll and some lunch. We were lucky enough to see an outdoor orchestra concert in Positano which was really amazing and made the seven million steps down to the town and ten million steps back up in 40 degree heat worth it! There were no incidents with Normy on the Amalfi Coast road and Bretto did an amazing job navigating all the twists and turns.
After 2 nights on the Amalfi Coast (which was about 60 euro for the four of us in a camping ground in Sorrento - damn peak season!), we drove down the west coast of Italy and ended up in an Italian tourist town called Praia A Mare. The campsite here was even more expensive than Amalfi but we decided to stay 2 nights because the water was so amazing and there was a big festival on with fireworks and a parade the second night. There was not a single non Italian tourist in the town which was kind of fun and after travelling through Tuscany, Rome and the Amalfi Coast, made us feel like we were seeing something a bit out of the ordinary. The campsite itself was full of permanent caravans and the most elaborate camp set ups i've ever seen. It's obviously a recurring holiday spot for Italian families so it was nice to see how the Italians holiday and not be amongst the massive throng of non Italian summer tourists. We spent a whole day lazing on the beach on deck chairs roped off for customers of the camping park swimming in the beautiful ocean (which is even clearer than the Amalfi Coast), reading and then watching the fireworks at night. A lovely way to end a lovely few days!