Saturday, August 12, 2017

Trip to Amalfi, Italy (July 2017)

Amalfi used to be one of four strong marine republics in the past, along with Genoa, Venice and Pisa. The famous Amalfi Coasts came from this town's name. But it is a cute town built along the hill by the rocky sea shore tucked in a little valley of two hills.

We came to visit Amalfi before when we stayed in Rome. At that time, we took a train to Salerno, the other end of the Amalfi Coasts that runs from Sorrento to Salerno. The distance from Sorrento to Salerno, the Amalfi Coasts, is approximately 60 km or 37 miles on the road.

You could take a public bus, chartered mini bus, a taxi or a boat. Each has pros and cons. Public bus is affordable, but you have a chance of standing the whole winding trip, particularly in the summer. You could join a tour that usually runs on a mini bus, but a bit more expensive than public bus. Of course, you have to follow the schedule without complete freedom. Taxi will give you comfort and flexibility to stop where you want to, but most expensive. But, I suppose it is not prohibitive. Boat is another option to see the beautiful towns from the sea, but you can see the towns only in a distance not within the city. Combining these options would be a suggested idea.

We took the public bus from Sorrento, or from the bus station in front of Casa Elena, to Amalfi. Our choice for the most economic option made us stand for quite long, struggling to balance ourselves in the bus that drove zig zag on the winding roads. The bus was already full from Sorrento, the departing point. I could not take any photos of the panoramic and beautiful scenery that passed in front of our eyes. Well... there was an offset in the economic option. As we got closer to Positano, we were able to take our seats, fortunately. But we missed the most scenic route from Sorrento to Positano.

As we got off the bus in Amalfi, the final destination, the familiar-looking small town plaza and the beach came to our sight. The mysterious bronze statue. The small fountain covered with moths. The colorful houses on the hill.

The Amalfi Cathedral named after St. Andrew is the most iconic landmark of Amalfi. It is still actively used for the mass and for wedding. As we entered into the cathedral, a wedding was taking place and we had to get out of the cathedral at the warning that the door will be closed soon.

 St. Andrew was one of 12 disciples of Jesus. He brought Peter to Jesus and also brought a young boy who had five loaves of bread and two fish to Jesus who instructed His disciples to feed at least 5,000 people who followed to listen to Jesus. The legend says that he died on an X-shape cross. He is endeared saint of the town since they believed St. Andrew gave a warning against a pirate attack thus saving people.

A couple of opera singers were performing to promote their opera shows. It was an amusing scene.

Based on a suggestion of a kind volunteer at the information booth, I climbed about 1,000 steps on narrow streets to a vista point where I could look down the city and the sea. It was quite sweaty and worthwhile. Meanwhile, Kristin wandered around the town.

When I came down through another road, I bumped into Kristin. That much there are only a few streets in Amalfi. These streets are packed with shops, restaurants, cafes and famous gelati parlors. Most of them were tourists. Locals are buried among tourists, but they live and find the place their homes.

The town seen from the water looked perfectly cute. The small beach was packed with swimmers and sunbathers. Even on the rocks. But the town just is just too beautiful to miss.

Our second-time trip gave us less curiosity than the first trip, but its beauty was charming enough for us to feel at home. The main plaza filled with tourists was still the best place to hang out and try a different Italian cuisine. Street performers came to the restaurant entertaining us, of course expecting our gratuity. Kristin felt compelled to give because I took this photo.

In the plaza, underneath the statue of St. Andrew, there was a fountain that provided fresh cool water from her breasts. Of course I took some. Cool and delicious. I was content.

Once I was entertaining an idea of traveling further east to see Minori, Mayori, Rabello and Salerno, but I had to fold the idea due to time constraint. Or at least an excuse of time constraint. Oh well... Also, I was tossing around the idea of climbing one of the hills, but it was far too hot for a long hike.I was already wet with the sweat after a short hike to a vista point. Enough!

We took a boat to go to our next destination, Positano. The scenery from the boat was stunning and breath-taking, not only Amalfi but also the entire journey on the way to Positano.

Amalfi remains a endearing place with enduring memory. - Jeffrey

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