Monday, October 24, 2016

Random observations about the last half of our Rick Steves’ tour

  • To visit Positano and Napoli is to renew, to some degree, one’s faith in human nature. The roads on the Amalfi
    Napoli traffic
    coast are narrow and twisting, requiring cars and buses to stop and sometimes back up at hairpin corners. Inside Positano itself, the main street is one-lane and one-way only—yet delivery trucks must stop to unload cargo, buses must let off passengers, large tour groups must cross the street in front of traffic. All of these cause vehicles to back up, but I see few signs of frustration or impatience. People waiting for others know that within a few minutes, others will be doing the same for them. In Napoli, cars, pedestrians and motorcycles move swiftly, seemingly chaotically, through the crowded streets. Large buses sometimes take up two lanes or pull out in the midst of traffic to perform u-turns. Horns are tapped briefly, out of warning but not frustration or annoyance. To see people living together in such close proximity and yet such harmony is encouraging.
  • Even cattle in Italy experience la dolce vita. We visited a farm with bufala italiana (water buffalo),
    Bufala massages -- on demand.
    where mozzarella da bufala is made. The cows live together in clean quarters, and they are able to receive showers and massages whenever they want. They also decide on their own when they want to be milked.
  • On the recommendation of our guide, most people in our tour group used our free day in Positano to take a boat to the larger city of Amalfi, a city packed with tour buses and tourists. Other than being larger than Positano, it is situated similarly on the same coastline, so it has the
    View from Nocelle
    same scenic appeal. It seemed pointless to spend the time and money to miss spending a relaxing day in Positano. Instead, we took a bus up a winding narrow road high up to Nocelle, which was kind of like a ride at Disneyland in itself. Then we had a leisurely lunch at the Santa Croce ristorante overlooking Positano and the coast and islands below. We walked along the hillside trail, and we could have hiked higher into the hills on Il Sentiero degli Dei, the trail of the gods—a five-star Tripadvisor attraction. Not feeling particularly energetic, we took the bus (it runs every hour in either direction) back down after a couple of hours.
  • In Sorrento, most of our tour group took the boat to Capri, and we would have gone as well had we not been
    Lucy wades in the Mare Tirreno in Sorrento.
    there in 2002. I would not recommend skipping Capri if you’ve not been, but Sorrento is a very pleasant city, and since we were nearing the end of the tour, we needed some rest and stayed in town. We found a vine-covered pergola restaurant with shiny floors overlooking the harbor (Lucy’s favorite in the whole trip), and afterward we toured a photo gallery featuring life in Italy in one section and Sophia Loren in another. The gallery had a display of antique but functional music boxes dating back to 1898. We took in the Sorrento Musicale at the Teatro Tasso, which Lucy liked a lot; I, instead, fell asleep while sitting up.
  • Napoli was the final city in the tour, and we had received enough warnings about pickpockets and trash that everyone in our group approached it with various degrees of caution, trepidation even outright fear—most of which had disappeared by the end of our two days. After having been warned repeatedly not to carry purses and bags draped over a single shoulder, I saw many local women who ignored this precaution without any problems occurring. I’m sure there are still some neighborhoods where extra caution is needed, but we felt very safe in the main streets in the city center. We also found the food to be outstanding and yet inexpensive, the streets and train station to be relatively clean, and the Napolitani very proud of their city. We would not hesitate to return.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments welcome.