Salerno and the Amalfi Coast


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Europe
October 20th 2019
Published: October 30th 2019
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Travelling from Ascoli Piceno to Salerno, ITALY involves riding on three trains. Riding on the second train in a small compartment, the glass door opens, and a man begs us for money. I say, “We only speak English”, and he leaves. The ticket master is looking for him. The countryside slowly changes into mountains, and heavily wooded areas. Approaching the city of Salerno, there are huge manufacturing plants, some of which involve canning tomato products. The city has an important port on the Tyrrhenian Sea dealing with around 10 million tons of cargo per year.

In the 16th century, Salerno founded the first medical school in the world. Entering into the center of the city is like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. The tall buildings create a warren of streets where you can be instantly lost.

Getting on a ferry takes us to the Amalfi Coast. First stop is to let visitors off in the town of Amalfi. At one time this city housed 70,000 people, but in 1343, an earthquake occurred and most of the area and homes slid into the sea. We continue on to Positano. Once there, up, up, up we climb as the streets are actually stairs, and we are rewarded with spectacular views. With homes built into the cliffs, where do they park their cars, and how on earth do they get furniture in and out of their houses.

The stores display bottles of lemoncello, a liquer produced here due to the prolific growth of lemon trees.

Catching a bus in Positano to Sorrento I can hardly look out the window as the roads hang onto the mountains and the opposite side plunges into the sea. There are many blind turns and so the bus driver honks his horn almost constantly all the way up and all the way down. The vistas continue with displays of rugged shorelines, embedded caves, and tiny fishing villages.

On the train homeward to Salerno, the ride stops in Pompeii which holds the remains of the Roman city buried in 79AD from the Mount Vesuvius eruption. The area is contained within 170 acres. Travelling below the underpass, from the window, we see bedrolls right beside the tracks.

Now, these Italians really do know how to cook. Armed with amazing olive oil, tomatoes, and cheese does help. Their basil is about five times the intensity in flavour from what we purchase in Vernon. Plus, they only prepare foods that are in season.


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