From the Amalfi Coast to Croatia
22.05.2012 27 °C
A quick hop through Napoli and we find ourselves navigating the cliff top passes of the stunning Amalfi coast. The only reason why people built into the steep rock here, perched over the sea was to escape the barbarians but now it has created a surreal landscape of little towns and fishing villages. We chose to stay in the latter, a tiny out of the way place outside Priaino. Our balcony view through the vines and over the old fishing boats down the jagged coast is spectacular. Seafood pasta, fish stew with crusty bread and a local vino bianco in the trattoria above us with the same outlook at sunset - this is what we dreamt of.
The sun chairs by the crystal clear water beckoned the following so we settled in for a whole day of nothing, save for a few dips and a 3 course lunch (seafood naturally) with more local wine by the water not 15 paces away. We walk into sleepy Priaino at twilight with views of Positano for dinner and know that we'll be back for a longer stay next time. Anyone keen to rent a house here for a few weeks, let us know.
A day was reserved for Pompei by my understanding wife, yet we took our time enroute to stop into Ravello, a ridge top town with cool mountain air
and magnificent views of the coastline. Being Sunday, the markets were on and the band played as men walked slowly with each other to catch up on town news.
Pompei itself was fascinating. From the villas still intact and the temples, theatres and bath house to the stadium (amphitheater), barracks, shops and even the whore house. You can wander the streets of this town frozen in time and get a real sense for what life was like two thousand years ago, what people did, where and how they ate and what they did for fun. Rather than just a distant ruin, this is all given a human perspective by the plaster casts that the excavators made of people in their dying pose (Google Pompeii cast images for a closer look). The reality of what happened here when Vesuvius erupted in AD79 can be seen on the expressions of the people as the city fell and we owe so much of our understanding of ancient society to this site. Just fascinating.
We stayed over in Napoli to catch our early morning flight which gave us a chance to experience a traditional margarita in the home of pizza and yes every other pizza in the world comes second. Light base, thin in the middle, thicker on the edge, a smear of tangy fresh tomato sauce, the right amount of melted mozzarella topped with a sprinkle of basil. So basic, so good. Connecting flights through Munich ad Vienna land us in Dubrovnik and the start of our Croatian tour.
Looking back, we now get John Steinbeck's quote about the Amalfi in Harper's Bazaar (1953) "It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone."
Hope all is well and keep in touch.
CP & Lee