Friday, October 10, 2014

Italy Day 2: Amalfi Coast

I didn't realize until I started doing research for this trip that Sorrento isn't technically part of the Amalfi Coast. It's a great and beautiful city in its own right though, and very much worth visiting! It's also ideally located right in between a major city/airport (Naples) and the Amalfi coast. Some of the Amalfi coast towns were a bit too quiet for me so I knew I would want to stay somewhere a bit more lively - what can I say, I'm a city girl at heart. I had explored a few different options for getting from Sorrento to the three Amalfi towns (Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello):
  • Public transportation (bus and ferries) - This would have probably been the most cost-effective but I had heard that the buses and ferries aren't timed in such a way to allow for easy, fast travel between the cities. 
  • Bus tour - I was hoping to find a bus tour through Viator or other travel sites to get the best of both comfort and price. Unfortunately, they were really hard to come by. The one bus tour I found wasn't able to stop in Positano due to lack of parking, so we would only be able to experience Positano through a drive-by window view. 
  • Rental car - We had read that the roads are extremely narrow, windy, and difficult to drive so we didn't really consider this option. 
  • Private driver -  Our friend Nicolr recommended Guemar Travel, who quoted us 250 euros for a 9 hour day with a personal driver.
I really wasn't looking to shell out the money for a private driver but in the end, I felt like the splurge was worth it. While I am a pretty budget savvy traveler, I also believe in paying the premium for convenience, time, and the best experience possible! I got quotes from a few other car companies but they were all much higher, so that helped to justify the cost too.

After a quick and delicious breakfast at Bar Veneruso (chocolate croissants for 1 euro!), we met our driver and the Mercedes in front of our apartment at 9am. We didn't specifically seek out a Mercedes; most of the companies in Sorrento and Amalfi offer luxury vehicles with their services.

First stop: Amalfi

Second stop: Ravello

Third stop: Positano

Keep in mind, these are all just iPhone pictures so they definitely don't do the views justice. I have yet to start sorting through our SLR pictures...I'm sure one of us will get to it at some point! I'm just not sure we'll find the time to do so anytime soon. :P

In between the major cities, we also made a few other stops:
- We stopped at a delightful lemonade stand for a refreshing drink. It was smartly situated at a scenic point with a beautiful view, so of course we took tons of pictures.
- We visited one of many ceramic stores that featured home goods and furniture made of volcanic stone with a glaze finish. While the goods were lovely, it doesn't quite fit into our home decor so we didn't take anything home with us. Our style is more modern and classic a la Crate and Barrel / Room and Board.
- Our driver recommended a lunch spot in Positano with a lovely view (as seen in the last picture). The food was pretty average for Italy so I didn't take particular note of their name or location.What can I say, we were spoiled by some pretty high quality food in Italy!

After a long day on the road, we made it back to Sorrento and wandered into a supermarket. After admiring the mouthwatering, fresh produce, pastas, and mozzarella, we scooped them all up and took them home with us to make dinner. It sounds crazy to waste a meal in Italy with our own mediocre cooking but honestly, the ingredients are so delicious there that even our cooking tasted better. Plus, our apartment was well-equipped with most of what we needed to put a meal together so it was nice to give our wallets a little break. Another plus for Airbnb!

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