August 26, 2013

A Trip Down the Italian South

It has been a while since I last blogged, life has been busy! Between flying back and forth twice to Canada in less than 2 months, attending a friend´s wedding, sneaking a weekend trip to Amsterdam, my sister´s engagement and losing luggage last week flying back to Munich - this summer has been busy. I feel like days are just passing me by, and I am trying to hold time shut in my fist. But my dismay is much like of a little child´s  of not being able to hold snow in their fists.

Today, I finally have some time to myself. And I feel like talking about my favourite part of Italy! A place we visited back in the first week of April. I know, I know, it was ages ago! I´ve been meaning to blog about Venice and the Amalfi Coast but, well, haven´t.

South of Italy - particularly the Amalfi coast and the little towns around it have always been on my must-visit lists. So when we were planning our week long Italy trip, I just had to squeeze that part in. While Rome and Florence are rich in history, the Amalfi coast is rich rich RICH in beauty.

We stayed in a town called Sorrento on the Amalfi coast, around 1.5 hours drive from Amalfi town. Sorrento is where the SITA buses (buses that run across the Amalfi coast) start. It is a lovely small resort hilly town by the Bay of Naples. However, getting there is a bit....sketchy. The train that gets to Sorrento is a local train and during late at night it feels seedy and a tad bit scary. I had told Umair about all that I had read about this train ride - Umair dismissed it saying it should be okay. And so he said to take the late evening train.

FYI - Umair was a teeny bit more scared than I was. ;)

Once in Sorrento, we realized it was a great decision to make Sorrento our base for South travels. The buses around the coast and ferries to Capri Island were all easily acceissble. And Sorrento is a charming little town.

I am a very nitpicky traveler. I can be nitpicky in general too but it's very apparent while we´re traveling because I always want to be on time, and know exactly what I want to see and do. Not to say I can't be flexible, but I wanna see what I wanna see! :) So, I wanted to get to the SITA bus as early as we possibly could, and sit on the right hand side on the bus. Yes, I had done my research as to which side of the bus gave better views. I had also read much about SITA buses being super crowded that people would  have to stand. And stand, I did not want! So, rising and shining like an early bird, we left to catch our bus. And sure enough, we were the first few ones to get on the bus, and I was able to sit on the right side! I was excited and nervous and didn't really know what to expect - I had heard the buses drove fast and crazy with sharp twists and turns, so I was a little scared too.

You can see how on the edge of the road we were!

Absolutely gorgeous, the bus ride was! And a roller coaster of an experience. Every time the bus would make a sharp turn, which would pretty much be every few seconds as the drive was constantly through the mountains, I´d clutch onto Umair´s hand for dear life, terrified. But I was mostly just captivated by the lovely views and the enthralling ride.

we had driven through all those mountains

We reached Positano, another small town on the coast, build on the hills, and it literally took my breath away. I had seen it in pictures, but seeing it out there is a completely different experience, one that I can't describe in words. Colourful houses stacked up on the hills, stunning Mediterranean landscape....I truly was speechless. Except for every 2 seconds, when I would repeat exactly this:

2 seconds later:
many 2 second intervals later, when I started 'OM-..':
Umair interrupted: Omg did it stop being pretty?! 

approaching Positano by bus

This was on our way back, when we stopped at Positano.
But before you get too envious of me - let me tell you that I did, after 1 hour of being on the bus, stop enjoying the ride. My motion sickness kicked in, and I felt super nauseous and was done with the ride and wanted to literally open the window and jump off the bus. Okay maybe not literally.

Finally we got to Amalfi town, and as always is the case with us and weather, it was rainy and windy! Umair must have seriously pissed off the Gods of weather at some point, because every city we visit, we get rain. And it has to be Umair and not me because....well, I'm the apple of everyone's eye. Shh, don't burst my bubble. 

Amalfi town

There are all apartments around - such wonderful views they wake up to everyday!

This is how the inside of the apartments stacked up on the hills. Must be no fun climbing for those who live at the top!
From Amalfi, we took a bus to a town up on the hill, Ravello. It was a 20 minute curvy, jerky ride up the hill. But thankfully the journey ended before my nausea could kick in. Plus, this view would be worth any kinda motion sickness!

(in mock tone) "OMG WHERE?!"

I'm back in medieval times!!

And then we headed back to Sorrento. But wasn't that simple. It was possibly the worst ride of my life. Going back, we couldn't get a seat, we were standing. And it was crowded. And my motion sickness kicked in full force. I don't remember the last time I felt so sick like I did on that bus ride. We couldn't continue our journey and had to get off halfway through at Positano. We then shared a cab from there with some very chatty Germans. But I stayed shut because I was feeling sick again. It's strange though - because I absolutely love roller coasters and other fast joy rides. I wasn't expecting to actually feel this way on a bus ride. But I suppose roller coasters are a few seconds and the bus was for almost 2 hours. 

Next day we took a ferry to Capri Island. It was as beautiful, if not more, than the Amalfi coast. But that's another post altogether. 

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