The Amalfi Coast and How to Get There
Make no mistake, if you are looking for an adventure just try to find your way to the Amalfi Coast. I've heard many tales like mine, and next time maybe I will pay for the luxury of a private transfer. However, the journey is worth it just for the stories and we got some great pictures to prove it.
The Amalfi Coast is a beautiful area of Italy known for its many seaside towns, romantic villas, and rocky beaches. Many an artist has tried to capture its essence. The closest city is the port town of Napoli, home to the best pizza in the world. The area also boasts close proximity to the mystical island of Capri and the tragic city of Pompeii at the base of Mt. Vesuvius.
This is the perfect getaway no matter your interests. You can hike the Path of the Gods, explore the ruins of Pompeii, sail and sunbathe along the coast or go on a quest to find the best pizza, among other great cuisine, in the area.
However, as I mentioned, getting there can be complicated. The easiest part was getting to Naples. The city conveniently has an international airport, major train station with high-speed trains connecting it to Rome and Florence, and a major port with ferries to the surrounding cities.
We used Trenitalia to book our high speed train from Florence to Naples and arrived around 11:00 AM. Then we had to find our way to the ticket office to buy the regional tickets for the Circumvesuviana train which operates six different lines in the Naples metropolitan area. It was confusing which train to get on since the platform was not well marked and there were people asking for money while we waited on the platform.
Hurrying to get off the platform, we accidentally got on the wrong train. Two of the routes head south on the same track, but split such that one travels for Sorrento (our destination) and the other veers east toward Poggiomarino.
When we realized it, we got off at the first opportunity before the lines split. We stood out ostentatiously as tourists in what was clearly a more industrial and residential town. I couldn't help but notice the graffiti on all of the buildings and walls. No one approached us, but we kept switching platforms to avoid being in a crowd of locals looking completely lost.
We finally got on the right train, which was packed, and stood holding tight onto our backpacks. A few young American girls were also on the train and they shared their backpacking stories with us, including getting bed bugs in Portugal, hooking up with Spanish guys in Barcelona, clubbing in Prague, and planning never to go home. Later, Dan and I laughed about how we already felt way too old for that lifestyle. Knowing exactly where we will sleep and that we will not contract diseases from our excursions just seem way more attractive to us now. But it reminded me that travel, no matter it's cost or style can be an awesome, life changing experience.
An hour and half later, our train delivered us safely to Sorrento, which I've heard is another beautiful coastal city. We immediately continued on to Positano by buying tickets for the bus from the Sorrento station. The bus picked us up right in front of the station and made an incredible one hour journey around the steep coastal cliff side.
I had read that if you don't get off at the right stop then you have to go all the way to end of the bus route and wait for the next bus back. As we approached Positano, a young couple somehow got the driver's attention to pull over and stop halfway down.
Not sure if this was the stop we wanted and not wanting to miss it, we hopped off, too, finding ourselves on the side of the road, high above the city of Positano, and with a long walk down ahead of us.
When we looked out over the water though, we realized why the couple had stopped here. We suddenly had the most beautiful view, of mountain, sea and town.
After taking photos, we started the long descent, careful to stay out of the way of the Fiats, vespas and buses that rounded each turn too quickly. On the way through town, we were able to glimpse all of the shops, restaurants and other hotels we could have stayed at.
Finally, around 2:00 PM, we arrived at our hotel, tired, hungry and ready to relax. We found the best pizza place and made the rookie mistake of splitting one over diet cokes with fresh squeezed lemon, which is now my favorite way to drink the classic soda. The pizza is so good, though, you will want your own.
After lunch and a quick nap, we went downstairs only to find that our street had turned into the most romantic scene. Tables were set up for seaside dining and musicians played that classic Italian sound, the likes of La Vie en Rose and more. The town had come alive.
We chose a restaurant right outside our hotel and were seated immediately at a table with a perfect view of the water and boats all lit up and anchored down for the night. I had the ravioli and Dan had the lemon chicken, and we shared a bottle of wine. I always remember that our water glasses were this gorgeous clear blue and I've been meaning to find some like it for our home.
This is still one of my favorite memories, and I can't wait to share the rest of Positano with you.