Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 6: The Amalfi Coast - Sorrento, Positano, Ravello and more

Day 6
Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Waking up on the Amalfi coast with the view of Mount Vesuvius was fantastic. We headed down for breakfast which consisted of fruit, toast and coffee - 40 Euros – YIKES!!!! Our dinner last night with wine was 60 Euros – but there were no other choices there for breakfast...oh well...we were in an expensive hotel (booked on Dan’s Priority Club points) so couldn’t really complain.
The very handsome Francesco picked us up at 9:00 am speaking excellent English. How did he learn? U2, Michael Jackson etc. These were his English teachers and inspiration to learn more about the language. A soccer fanatic, he lives in Sorrento and plays soccer about five times a week. He even took time off to attend every single Italy game at the last World Cup - won by Italy he boasted.

Every square inch of land seems to be cultivated in this region. The hillsides are terraced with Olive trees, lemon groves, walnuts, chestnuts, fig trees and vineyards.

The Olive trees had nets tied up around them , soon to be released to catch the ripened olives during harvest time. The olive oil is graded by the acidity, and bruises greatly affect the acidity levels. The nets provide a soft landing for the olives and avoid bruising. The olive oil must pass the acidity test to be classified as extra virgin olive oil.

Francesco drove us through Sorrento to Positano – where we walked down to the water and wound our way back up through paths of beautiful boutiques.

 A stop at the Sireneuse hotel (a five star with exquisite views) gave us a moment to regroup and take some photos from a new perspective. The Sireneuse sits on a high point of the town and overlooks the Duomo and beaches below.

Francesco pointed out several of the locations where the movies “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Beautiful Women” were filmed. We travelled through a variety of other villages until we made our way to Ravello for lunch.

We ate on a terrace overlooking the breathtaking Amalfi coast. The meal was good but I will mention the dessert (as usual ). Homemade lemon gelato frozen in the actual lemon skins...sooo delicious. Actually there were two other fruits on the plate. We think they were peaches or nectarines also frozen filled with their matching gelato.

We continued to the town of Amalfi for more photos before looping back to our hotel.

The excursion took about seven hours and we saw quite a bit without feeling rushed. We said our goodbyes to Francesco and returned back to the hotel for a short rest. We decided to go back to Sorrento that night for dinner.

The traffic was horrible as everyone was coming back from the beach and merging onto the main road to Sorrento. What would take 20 minutes took about one and a half hours, most of it spent inching through a tunnel! We headed down to the Marina Grande and had dinner at a recommended restaurant Il Delphina, a 20 minute walk down to the water. I removed my high sandals and slipped on my flip flops... (I wouldn’t have made it otherwise!) The meal was good but the service wasn’t. We waited a long time until we were even served our wine, and the waiter, although funny was impossible to track down.
We huffed and puffed our way back up the hill and then enjoyed the walk through the streets , all lit with decorative lights.
Our free shuttle returned us back to the hotel where we toasted to la Dolce Vita!
Arrivederci....Stay tuned for Day 7 when we head back to Tuscany!

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