We’re sitting on a SITA bus that’s pretending to be a roller-coaster. The stretch of road from Salerno to Amalfi which runs along the coast is an incredible feat of engineering. The pavement runs inches from steep cliffs above the Mediterranean sea while serpentining around blind mountain corners and climbing up and then back down again. If you pray, now might be a good time to do so.
If you’re going to explore the Almafi Coast, don’t drive. Take the bus. The bus drivers are truly talented and have the experience it takes to negotiate the tiny slice of road between the rock walls on one side and the 300 foot vertical drop on the other. In some spots the road becomes too narrow for two-way traffic and one lane must stop and allow the other through, especially around the blind corners. To try to warn oncoming traffic, bus drivers deliver a series of honks as they come to every corner. There are also massive mirrors at the turns to help drivers see around them.
The ride is incredible if you open your eyes long enough to take in the view. I tend to get motion sickness but I had no problem on the bus, I was too captivated by the mountains and the water and the villages built into the cliffs. When the bus finally deposited us in Amalfi, we could tell right away we made the right choice. Originally we hadn’t planned to stop here but we did some research while in Spain and eventually re-arranged our plans.
Our host Giuseppe met us at a hotel nearby, packed our bags into his car and drove us up into the mountains as far as a car can go. From there he jumped out and helped us carry our bags up 50 more steps to our apartment. I have no words for just how incredible the view is from our balcony. Here, I’ll let the photo do the talking.
We settled in and didn’t get back out until after dark, but even by night it was a beautiful walk down to the city center. Walking down all of the stairs to the heart of the city takes about 15 minutes, it’s A LOT of steps. When we got down to the bottom, Jared realized he doesn’t have his wallet– so back up and then back down we went.
After wandering around for a while, we finally found dinner up another long set of steps at a place tucked away in a corner. Jared got local prawns who got to wear their faces all the way to their saucy death plate. He made a few guesses as to exactly how to eat them and eventually settled on the rather brutal “fork-vs-knife tug-of-war” method.
On the walk back we realize, Amalfi is full of cats. If you see one you can be sure there are at least 6 others within view. When we finally reach our apartment there’s an orange cat sitting on the stoop. We couldn’t help but pet him, he was too cute. When we opened the door to our apartment, he invited himself in and immediately started rolling over. We finally coaxed him back outside but he stood at the door and cried. Poor little guy.
Back in our apartment we watch the night sky from our balcony before going to bed. Tomorrow, we decide, we must go back up into the mountains and explore on foot.