Italy
Spiaggia di Vietri sul Mare

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4 travelers at this place:

  • Day15

    Day 15 - Fri, May 3 - Taking it easy....

    May 3 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    With our decision to skip the day trip to Capri, we were able to have a leisurely morning. It was a rather grey, overcast morning. From the breakfast room, we watched the ferry leave with four of our fellow travellers. Another couple has decided to take it easy today.

    After breakfast, we explored the lower town - the part down her the water's edge. Virtually all the stores in the lower town are cafés and most were just beginning to open up. Retail stores here typically are open from 9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and then closed from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. for siesta time. They reopen then and stay open until about 9:00 p.m. which is what we saw last night. At this time of year when the temperatures are moderate, the siesta time is just a nice break in the day rather than a necessity for escaping the fierce summer temperatures.

    We walked back to the hotel and shed a layer of clothing as the day was warming up nicely. We headed out again, this time up the hill towards where we were last night. It's a maze of narrow streets and tiny shops, many of them ceramic shops. I got a Veltri thimble for my collection. We found a little shop and got sandwiches made up and a I sprang for my one and only date with a cannoli on this trip - Italian bakeries are dangerous places to enter. That delectable treat was seriously good.

    It's finally warm enough to put shorts on - yeah!!! I brought them all this way - have to give them some air time. We are going to camp out for the afternoon to read, watch Netflix, perhaps try out that siesta idea, and take it easy until our dinner date in the dining room here at the hotel at 7:45 p.m. We'll be interested to hear how the Capri visitors made out.
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  • Day13

    Day 13 - Wed, May 1 - Assisi & Amalfi

    May 1 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Today’s first stop was Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis, who founded the Franciscan religious order in the town in 1208, and St. Clare, the founder of the Poor Sisters, which later became the Order of Poor Clares after her death. St. Francis shares honours with St. Catherine of Siena as the patron saint of Italy. He is also the patron saint of animals and is remembered as a lover of nature (his preaching to an audience of birds is one of the legends of his life). On November 29, 1979, Pope John Paul II declared Saint Francis the Patron Saint of Ecology.

    We met up with our guide, Francesca and did a walking tour of the town. Today, May 1st, is a national holiday in Italy when Italians commemorate the labor union movement's social and economic achievements on Labor Day. The town was festooned with red and blue flags representing the two teams of Assisi residents who compete in friendly games on Labour Day. We saw an area being set up for a cross bow competition to be held in the afternoon - alas, after our departure.

    UNESCO collectively designated the Franciscan structures of Assisi as a World Heritage Site in 2000 - we could see why - there are churches everywhere. We drank in the beautiful views and then toured the Basilica of Santa Chiara (St. Clare) with its massive lateral buttresses, rose window, and simple Gothic interior, begun in 1257. It contains the tomb of the St. Clare. This was especially moving for me as my middle name is Clare.

    Francesca told us how St. Francis wanted to be buried with the other sinners (the town criminals) and to be forgotten. Well, he got his first wish, but NOT his second wish. The entire town is a homage to him and a popular pilgrimage spot. Stores sell a huge range of Francis-related products - statues, carvings, ceramics, key chains, t-shirts…..the list goes on and on.

    We wound our way through the narrow streets to the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi (St. Francis). This is actually two churches. The smaller, lower one contains the tomb of St. Francis. When the small church could no longer handle the massive numbers of pilgrims, a huge church was built up above it. The walls and ceilings are adorned with fabulous frescoes done by the Italian artist, Giotto. They depict scenes from the life of St. Francis, including his preaching to the birds. The colours are still vibrant and hundreds and hundreds of years. The mosaic patterns on the floor and on the ceiling and on the pillars made this quilt lady’s fingers itch to take pictures - but, alas, photos are not allowed.

    We had a bit of free time. We got some lunch in a lovely little café run by friends of two of our travellers from California. Simone did another swoop-and-run and at 12:30 p.m., we continued our trip south. Destination - the Amalfi Coast on the Mediterranean Sea. We drove through rain several times, and were finally rewarded with clear skies when we got to Salerno after 4 hours. We saw Mount Vesuvius off in the distance - we will see it again on Saturday. We are actually staying in a little suburb called Vietri sul Mare. We wound our way down, down, down the side of the hill to shore level which whetted our seaside appetites, and then partway back up the hill again to our hotel where we will be for 3 nights. Our hotel balconies are right, and I mean, right over top of the shore line. The view over the Mediterranean is enchanting.

    We are having dinner in the hotel tonight overlooking the sea. Today’s drive was well worth it for theses views!!
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  • Day14

    Day 14 - Thu, May 2 - The Amalfi Coast

    May 2 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 15 °C

    Before I tell you about today’s adventures, I have to tell you about Doug’s adventure last night. One of our travel mates came down with a gastro-intestinal virus when we were in Venice which laid her flat out. We are fortunate to have two nurses in our group. They agreed that Gatorade would be good for the patient. Doug went out last night on a hunt for Gatorade on a national holiday. He headed uphill and eventually found a little place that was open and he got the requisite medicine. But, in the dark, he missed the stairway that would take him back to the hotel. He got hopelessly lost. He asked for help from two young couples. Between Google Translate and their few words of English, Doug was able to relate his sad story. He didn’t know the name of the street for the hotel, and even worse, he didn’t know the name of the hotel! I was watching Netflix in bed when a message flashed on the screen from him asking for the name of the hotel. I scrambled to find it - there is nothing in the room that says the name of the hotel but I found it in the documentation we got from Great Tours of Italy - and sent it off to him. Then I started watching where his phone is using the “find my phone” technology. I was panicky as I watched him drift off the street he was supposed to be on but then, blessedly, he got back on it before I called out the troops. Turns out the young people took him to a parking lot so they could get their car (which is why I saw Doug moving off the main road…) and drove him to the door of the hotel, finding it all a great adventure that they had rescued a Canadian!! The Gatorade was delivered to the patient, who this morning, was looking and feeling much, much better. Must have been the Gatorade…..

    This hotel is sort of upside down. The lobby (street level) is on the third floor. The restaurant/breakfast room is on the second floor. Our rooms are on the first floor and there are rooms above the lobby floor. That’s how things go in a town where most of the buildings cling to the side of a cliff. All rooms look out over the water. We had breakfast in the hotel dining while enjoying the bright sunshine and the sight of dolphins dancing in the gorgeous blue water. We could have sat there all day watching the fishermen and the birds and the dolphins, but we had a 9:00 a.m. date with Simone. We headed off to Sorrento via the scenic route called the Amalfi Coast. The Amalfi Coast is on the World Heritage List for its unique landscape, its natural beauty and its balance of human settlement with the dramatic topography of the coastline. Amalfi was once a distinguished maritime republic and trading power whose influence was felt in the Orient as well as the West.

    Doug and I have seen a lot of fabulous coastal scenery in our travels, but the scenery we saw today vaulted itself into first place for being the most dramatic and beautiful. Look at the first picture - it’s a map of where we went on the Sorrentine Peninsula. We twisted and turned, navigated tight switchbacks, went through tunnels, dodged crazy drivers, edged past tour buses, avoided the cars and scooters that are parked everywhere, and all the while, we all gawked at the incredible scenery. Steep mountains to our right; precipitous drops to our left; a rugged shoreline far below us; and azure blue water as far as the eye could see on a warm, sunny day. We passed through little villages with houses and tiny shops clinging right to the rock face. We saw precious parking spots cantilevered out over the edge. We saw grand villas, terraced vineyards, and cliffside lemon groves. This is where the lemons for the famous Limoncello liqueur are made. It was simply an incredible experience.

    Our first stop was in Maiori. We enjoyed a leisurely stroll along the waterfront and soaked up the glorious sunshine. From there, we went to Positano, passing through the town of Amalfi that gives this coastal area its name. Positano is a major ceramics centre. We went to a shop and learned how the ceramics are made and ogled the huge selection of brightly-coloured hand painted items. From Positano, we cut across the peninsula towards Sorrento. We stopped at a lovely little restaurant that Simone discovered by accident a few years ago and now uses for all of his tour groups. With beautiful panoramic views to feast our eyes on, we had a 5-course lunch along with wine and limoncello! Yikes! This good living is taking its toll…..I'm living at the gym starting Monday......

    Next stop - Sorrento - another town perched atop cliffs that separate the town from its busy (and expensive) marinas. We had some free time here. We easily found the main square, Piazza Tasso, which is lined with cafés. All around it is a warren of narrow alleys, one of which led us to a lookout point with a fabulous view of the beach and the marina. We finished our shopping - a little oil painting of Amalfi and Doug’s tie for Patrick’s wedding - finally!

    Another swoop-and-run and we headed home. Thankfully, there is a highway/tunnel system that cuts across the peninsula that took us home in half the time that the morning drive took. Doug’s constitution couldn’t have taken a second trip like that. (He has done fabulously well on this trip. Yippee!!!) On the way home, Doug and I both mused about how services such as fire, ambulance and police deal with the winding, narrow roads and the hordes of tourists. It’s not an area for the faint of heart….beautiful but challenging.

    Dinner was on our own tonight, so Doug and I climbed part way up the hill to a little pizzeria that Simone had pointed out this morning. We enjoyed a delicious pizza and a bottle of water - our cheapest meal by far, but one of the best.! We kept on going up and up and up and found a lot of stores still open after 8:00 p.m. We were on the hunt for chocolate (as if we hadn’t had enough to eat for one day….) but found only flowers, stationery, jewelry, clothing, ceramics, many cafés and lots of meat/fish/cheese stores. Some of these stores are smaller than our bedroom - we can’t figure out how they survive. We finally tracked down some chocolate which has fuelled this typing session. For future reference, the best selection of chocolate is at the rest stops along the highway.

    Tomorrow, the island of Capri is on the agenda. One of its best-known natural sights is the Blue Grotto, a dark cavern where the sea glows electric blue, the result of sunlight passing through an underwater cave. However, it’s a two-hour ferry ride to get to Capri and another two-hour ride to get back. Doug’s motion sickness gets badly aggravated by the rocking/rolling motion of boats. No sense poking a snake with a stick when he has done so incredibly well. So, we are going to bypass Capri. (There must be YouTube videos of the grotto.) We’ll explore the lower part of the town and walk on the beach and enjoy a bit of downtime. On Saturday we head to Pompeii and then to Rome. We fly home on Sunday.

    It’s been another memorable day. Time for some Netflix watching.
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Spiaggia di Vietri sul Mare

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