An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Thursday, June 21, 2018

2015 Girls' Trip to Italy: An Active Volcano, a High Seas Adventure, Lunch with a View (recap, days 5 and 6)

We are just a couple of weeks away from announcing our next trip to Italy, and in the midst of planning itineraries, researching hotels, and deciding on dates, I realized that I never blogged about our first trip (2015 Girls’ Trip to Italy).

Until now. So, for these next few days I will blog about our wonderful trip to Rome and the Amalfi Coast (the sights, the food, the adventures) in the hopes that memories will surface and excitement will build for our next trip …

Day 5 ... An Active Volcano and a Hotel in Sorrento

This morning we boarded a bus and said Arrivederci! to Rome. When my sister and I planned this trip we knew that Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast would offer a nice change of pace from our hectic schedule in Rome. So we left behind history, architecture, and art of Rome, and headed for picturesque towns, citrus orchards, and breathtaking coastlines of southern Italy. 

the coastline along the Amalfi Coast

On the way, we stopped at an Autogrill, the Italian version of a rest stop where, evidently, one can buy a pig. (Am I right, or am I right Wendy and Rose Ann?) We also made a brief stop in the town of Torre del Greco to visit Giovanni Apa, a jewelry store specializing in the ancient handcraft of coral and cameos.

The bus took us through Naples where we got our first glimpse of Mt. Vesuvius, the Bay of Naples, the cliffs of Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast. Everything was breathtaking.
Driving by Naples

Our tour guide, Jane

on the bus

By mid-day we stopped for a guided tour of Pompeii. Now, you can't travel with us without learning a thing or two, and I had prepared my group for Pompeii. They knew things like:  1/ before Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, local people didn't even know it was a volcano because it had not erupted for 300 years  2/ the day before Vesuvius erupted on 24 August 79 AD, the citizens celebrated a huge feast to Vulcan, the God of the Forge (#ironic)  3/ I also provided them with this graphic so they could get an idea of the scope of Vesuvius' plume when it erupted ...

And in case you're wondering ...YES, the volcano is still considered active. The last time it erupted was in 1944. To this day, Vesuvius remains one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes. Some 3.5 million Italians live in its shadow, and about 2 million tourists visit the ruins each year.
the ruins of Pompeii

that "mountain" in the background? Mt. Vesuvius

plaster casts

archaeological finds

After the tour we drove to Sorrento where we checked into our hotel, Grand Hotel La Pace. Once we were assigned our rooms, some took naps while others lounged by the pool, but that evening everyone convened in the upstairs lobby for a welcome cocktail. Dinner that night was at the hotel.
Grand Hotel La Pace, Sorrento

taking in the view

social time before dinner

Day 6 ... Breathtaking Views, a High Seas Adventure, Lunch with a View
Today was all about exploring the quaint towns clinging to the side of the cliffs along the Amalfi Coast. We started out with a bus ride to Positano. For most of the group, this was the formal introduction to the narrow, serpentine road along the Amalfi Coast. People were forewarned: if you are prone to carsickness, sit in the front of the bus; if it makes you queasy to look out the window and see nothing but a steep drop to the ocean, sit on the left side of the bus.
Still, 23 women collectively gasped at the first treacherous, cliff-hanging curve. The Amalfi Coast has 1200 curves ... you do the math. Jane, our tour guide, told us not to worry. "Do what Roberto does and close your eyes," she announced.
FYI, Roberto was our bus driver.
driving along the amalfi coast

afraid of heights? don't sit on the right side of the bus

stopping for photos on a scenic overlook

We arrived in Positano just when a ferocious thunderstorm hit. Undaunted, we donned ponchos and clutched umbrellas and wandered the streets and alleyways. Some explored, some shopped, and some took shelter from the storm in a beautiful café and ordered a cappuccino while watching the storm. (One guess as to what I did.)

ceramic heaven

modeling the latest fashions in poncho-wear

an outdoor café in the rain

cappuccino time

Afterwards, we met at the marina where we boarded a boat in choppy seas for a tour and seaside view of the coastline. Despite the High Seas Adventure, everything was gorgeous. We arrived to the town of Amalfi where we explored, set out a search party for Laura B., and then boarded the bus for Ravello where, amazingly, the weather was now all blue skies and golden sun. In Ravello we had a gorgeous lunch in a restaurant overlooking the sea. We all loved Ravello.
our high seas adventure


ravello, one of our favorite towns

lunch at ristorante garden


best lunch ever

lunch with a view

walking around


We returned to our hotel by late afternoon, changed, and spent the evening exploring Sorrento which is the most perfect town for exploring. It's also great for shopping -- leather handbags, wallets, belts, ceramics, jewelry, table linens, and for SOMEONE ... a HUGE rolling suitcase.
It truly was a marvelous, adventurous day. Best of all, despite a bus ride on the winding Amalfi Coast and a motor launch on choppy seas ... no one got car sick, no one was seasick.
hanging out in ravello

Quote of the day: "It's like driving a bus on a sidewalk," said Julie M., commenting on the tiny road on the Amalfi Coast ... a seemingly one lane road that can somehow (amazingly and miraculously) accommodate two buses coming in opposite directions. Just barely. Without an inch to spare.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's last recap -- Day 7 (in which we use every mode of transportation known to man to get to the island of Capri) and Day 8 (in which we say arrivederci).  

1 comment:

Gigi said...

The pictures are stunning! That road along the Amalfi Coast would have TERRIFIED me.