Tag Archives: sorrento

Med Cruise II: The Gorgeous Amalfi Coast

Love jaw-dropping coastal scenery?  Amazing food?  Ridiculous roads and fearless drivers?  Yes?  Then you’re in California!  HA, I kid I kid.  But maybe that’s why I felt at home during this port of call on our cruise, the lovely city of Naples.   Before I end up repeating myself though, let’s just paste what I wrote and leave it at that.

May 20, 2013 – Drive of a Lifetime: Sorrento to Amalfi via the Amalfi Coast

We were back at the place where I nearly melted down because of my exhaustion and sciatica last time. The differences were present immediately as instead of docking in Salerno this time, we were in Naples proper. It’s a beautiful area – at least relative to places like Livorno. Our excursion this time was Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. We wanted to go back to Sorrento as it is a beautiful and fun little town. Didn’t have the desire to revisit Pompeii or Capri but the drive down the Amalfi Coast sounded cool. The first stop was Sorrento where we had time to wander, and we got a bottle of limoncello and some more pasta for cooking back at home. The weather was a little dreary but not rainy, so that was good. Sorrento was not the end of the journey though, as we then embarked on the drive of the Amalfi Coast.

Naples Arrival and Sorrento

The Amalfi Coast reminded me greatly of the portion of the Pacific Coast Highway where it’s precarious and white-knuckley as there are steep dropoffs and dramatic scenery. Except add in here that now the road is barely wide enough for one lane of traffic to comfortably drive – but there are two lanes expected to flow. So while you’re looking at the jaw-dropping scenery of things like the coast and cities like Positano and Praiano you’re also having to watch the bus driver navigate his enormous tour coach by the oncoming traffic, often making them back up and drive their cars as close to the wall as they can get. Unfortunately I don’t have many pictures of the drive itself as we ended up choosing the left side of the bus, which was a poor choice as we were driving south and basically the right side was the place to be. I was a bit bitter, but when we got to certain portions of the drive, I was actually a little relieved not to see the sheer dropoff. Better not to think about it.

Driving the Amalfi Coast

We ended up having a lunch at this beautiful restaurant in Praiano that had a gorgeous view overlooking the coast, where you could see Positano in the distance as well as the isle of Capri. Good food.

Lunch in Praiano

The drive continued for a little while until we got to the city of Amalfi, where we stopped yet again for some free time. At this point the weather had gotten a bit more dreary, and in fact, the rain started to fall a bit while in town. That didn’t stop Larry & I from getting our first gelato. We walked the city a bit before heading back to the harbor and eventually getting back on the bus.

Visiting the Town of Amalfi

The bus then took the main highway back directly to Naples, as our route was a big triangular loop. It was a nice journey and despite not getting the most scenic of seats, it was quite the experience.   Also, a big part of the fun for me on the drive back was they played all the “typical” Italian-themed music and songs you could imagine, including things like “Que Sera, Que Sera” by Doris Day, “That’s Amore” by Dean Martin, “Funiculi, Funicular” by Pavarotti….it was almost magical.  Until one of the old biddies on the bus was yelling that it was too loud.  NO JOKE.  She wanted to sleep.  UGH.

Naples to Sorrento to Amalfi

There was a stupid cameo factory visit shoe-horned in at the end – I guess some people want to buy that shit. I’m not among them. When it was finally time back at the ship, we had a little bit of time to relax before dinner. We were having dinner with Harriet and Doug tonight, and that was a blast, getting to know our favorite friends from the cruise thus far. After that, well, Larry & I continued the drinking. Boy, did we. Since we weren’t heading out on an excursion the next day, we figured why not. So after the few drinks of wine at dinner, we then headed down to the wood-paneled Ensemble Lounge where our first few rounds of cocktails were enjoyed while also enjoying the sounds of the various musical acts that performed, including North by Northwest (who apparently got sick since and have cancelled their performances) and the Strings Trio. Then it was time to go to the Martini Bar, where we got properly toasted. I drank way too much. Also saw Melissa and her friend Lacey this time. Good times, good times.

Back on Equinox in Naples

2013 Mediterranean Adventure Pics

Capri, Sorrento & Pompeii + Return to Rome (2011 Trip)

I was appalled to discover that I had stopped posting pictures from my Mediterranean Cruise.  WTF?  I left everyone hanging with my pictures at Mykonos.  How do you know I even got home?  What if I’ve been writing from some Greek island this entire time?  All my stories are just that….STORIES!?!  Anyway, the new way I can display galleries of pictures makes it really easy to post things, so I’ll do that here.  And since I know very few people actually check my site out anymore, consider this post like a DVD’s special features.  🙂

As for the pictures shown here, this was basically the last port we went to before returning to Rome/Civitivecchia.  After Mykonos, we had a day at sea, and the sea was rough.  It was a nice break in the action and I even signed up to get a massage to see if that would help ease the pain in my lower back, ass and leg.  Obviously, I learned later that massage wasn’t going to cut it as it was a sciatic problem, not a muscle problem.  But the massage itself was pretty nice.  Here are pics from that Day at Sea after Mykonos:

Day at Sea, Sept 7, 2011

September 8, 2011 – Our Last Port of Call

So the next day was a doozie.  We knew from when we booked the excursions before the cruise that this day was a long one, as the excursion was high intensity and lasted 10 hours.  OY.  It started early as we disembarked in Salerno and immediately boarded a huge ferry bound for the Isle of Capri.  Not the casino in Biloxi, but the actual place in Italy!  It’s a gorgeous, GORGEOUS island and the weather was wonderful for such a visit.  Unfortunately, it’s MOBBED with tourists.  And in Capri, you arrive at the port but the truly scenic stuff is up on the top of the island, and you basically have to take a funicular.  It’s a bottleneck, to put it nicely.  It’s a fucking nightmare, to put it bluntly.  I’m still in pain and now I’m a little tired (as vacationing can be tiring) but waiting in long, barely-moving lines is a quick way to Rage Town for me.  Anyway, we finally get up there and our tour is pretty awesome.  It helps when the place is jaw-droppingly gorgeous.  You can see in the pictures below, especially when you see the crystal blue-green waters.  Wonderful.

The Isle of Capri

After some time up top gawking at the scenery (natural and masculine) as well as getting some gelato, it was time to head back.  That line was just as fun as the one up.  Then at the bottom, after waiting so our tour group could re-group, it was time to wait in another long line for another ferry off the island.  Waiting in that line created an annex to Rage Town.  Regardless, we got off the island eventually and about 45 minutes later, the ferry got us to the coastal town of Sorrento.  Amazing place.  Fantastic food.  Lots of touristy beautiful alleys through charming buildings, much like in Trastevere in Rome.  After food there was time to browse and shop.  Yay for shopping.

Our First Time in Sorrento

The final stop after this was Pompeii, the famous city that got pummeled by Mt Vesuvius 2000 years ago.  We boarded a coachbus that drove us along the beautiful coastline to Naples/Pompeii.  This was a nice drive.  Pompeii is also great, but I was pretty much exhausted by this point.  I regrettably became irritable.  Sorry, Larry. The most I can say is Pompeii is awesome, but to do an hour-long tour does not do that site justice.  It would be worth it to go back, I believe.  After that visit (and I know I’m doing it a disservice here, as I’m not writing much, but we didn’t get to really experience it that much and it was massively crowded.  It is a phenomenal site though), it was an hour and a half drive back to the ship, which I was soooo happy to see.

The Ruins of Pompeii

We had one last dinner there and a final night to hang out with our ship-pal Amy at the “karaoke” night which only 10 people showed up to,  it seemed.

Last Night at Sea

September 9, 2011 – Back to Civitavecchia and the End of the Cruise

Everyone was most likely packing and resting, as of course, the next day was disembarkation and the cruise line basically tells you, “get the fuck off our ship.”  It’s slightly politer than that, but I can’t say it was much more than that.  Your bags are taken off the ship over night and you can find them in a big hangar once you leave.  My sciatic pain was really bothering me at this point too, and while I had initially intended to reverse our route and take the trains back to Rome, I said “fuck it” and paid for a taxi.  We ended up sharing a van taxi with three older Australian women who had just finished a 27-day cruise.  27 days!!!!  That was most definitely the smartest use of money at that point, although we ended up getting to the airport like 5 hours early, so our flight wasn’t even on the boards yet.  Eventually, we got back…..but that was a long ass day of traveling home.  OY.

Enough of that recap – here are some pics.  Plus I also realized that while I posted on Facebook and have all these pics on Picasa, I actually never posted or wrote about all the time before Day 2 of Istanbul either….such as our three days in Rome before the cruise and the ports before Istanbul, including Santorini, Athens and Day 1 in Istanbul.  For shame!

2011 Mediterranean Trip Pics Index