A Travellerspoint blog

Vulcano

Day 20 - Monday 18th July 2016

sunny 28 °C

We woke at 7am today as we had wanted to get down to Lipari port relatively early as our plans were to visit the nearby island of Vulcano. We had breakfast at home and drove to Lipari and were able to catch the 9am hydrofoil across. The two islands are very close, from the two nearest points someone could probably swim over as the gap only looks like several hundred metres. The hydrofoil only took ten minutes and we landed on Vulcano. As the name of the island suggests, there is a volcano here and also thermal mud baths. Our plan for today was to do both.

First thing you notice when you step foot on the island is the smell - the sulphuric acid smell of rotten gas wafts through the air. I believe the volcano is dormant but gasses and steam still bubble to the surface. It wasn't too noticeable when we first landed but as soon as there was a gust of wind then you knew it! We walked a few metres and found a cafe that had wifi - something that's hard to find - so we sat and had a coffee and used the wifi to catch up on messages etc. Once done we started up the road to find the entrance to the walk up to the crater. Hard to judge distances but it seemed like a kilometre walking up the road that was slightly inclined.

We found the path to start the climb to the crater. Our Lonely Planet guide indicated it was about 200 metres but I think that refers to the height not the amount of walking. I decided today to do the trek in my thongs (flip flops). Sounds stupid I know but my socks and shoes especially after going up to Vesuvius were filthy, I thought I may as well leave them behind and this way I can wash my feet off, providing they didn't break on the walk.

Needless to say the walk was dusty and walking on soil with hard rock and even lava underneath. The day was hot again but we got some reprieve from the occasional cloud that passed over and a slight breeze. As we climbed slowly you could start to see the views over the island, the water and the neighbouring islands. Plenty of rest stops on the way, getting close to the top the terrain changed suddenly and we were walking on a light rose coloured rock base. Once we scaled and got to the crater, well the view is amazing. The crater is easily visible in full view as its not as big as Vesuvius. Form this point we could actually see all seven islands in the archipelago know as the Aeolian Islands, or Isole Eolie. The views were spectacular.

The last bit of the climb if you are brave is to the summit via a zig zag path around the edge of the crater. This wasn't feasible (although some groups went for it) as there were numerous steam vents just a few metres away that had the sulphuric gasses emitting from them. The surrounding rocks were yellow from the sulphur, the smell was very strong of rotten eggs. I moved closer to one to take pictures, inhaled once through my mouth and regretted it as I choked on the fumes. From that point it was mouth closed and breathing through nostrils only.

We took lots of snaps as it was delightful to see so much, and then we started our descent back down the path. Much easier going down of course but still needed to be careful crossing over rocks and loose soil. Closer to the bottom was a van selling food and drink. I had my lemon granita and the girls shared a freshly squeezed orange juice.

We finally got to paved road and walked downhill and decided to stop for lunch at the same place as we had stopped at earlier. We had chosen a different place but when we saw that the menu indicated a 15% surcharge on all meals we moved on. Plus we know the wifi worked well at the first place. I had an arancini and panini and was very full.

We headed over to the mud baths, the smell of sulphur a little stronger as we turned the corner. We paid for 4 of us to enter, a towel each (no way we'd use our own towels as the stink stays for ages) and a fresh shower, 26 euro for the four of us. The rest of the family went in first so I could mind our belongings - we can't trust anyone and not safe to leave valuables unattended. The sight of people caked in mud is one to behold - the water is warm but not boiling and you can see the bubbles rising to the top in many spots. The idea is to soak in the baths, then scrape the mud from the ground and cover your body in it. Then sit out of the water and let the mud harden, bit like a facial mask beauticians use, they say the mud is good for you - it better be as the smell stays on your skin for days. Once you have done that you can rinse off in the muddy water, then step out and walk a few steps to the beach to wash all the mud off in the sea. I did my mud caking and looked liked a painted indigenous aboriginal from Australia.

The beach is all rocks again but here in several places you can see and feel the boiling water arisen through the rocks below to the surface. The hot water felt nice, I decided to float on my back and have these bubbles of hot water hit my legs. I was warned that you can get burnt by the boiling water, even though it comes up through the sea water, but to me it didn't feel that hot. Well, was I mistaken! After a little while there must have been a spurt of boiling water shoot up and when it hit my right leg I felt it burn instantly. I got out of the water and headed back to the family. I didn't realise the damage but had three burns on my leg and within a little while one had formed a blister. Serves me right! I went and showered off and changed and we headed back to catch the hydrofoil to Lipari.

We headed home all stinky, showered and got dressed. My cousins were having dinner elsewhere tonight and as this was the last night here for our kids we went by first so they could say their goodbyes and then we headed to Canneto to see what was there. We parked and walked along the street in front of the beach, most places are bars/Cafes that sell coffee and sweets. We ended up at the same bar as we'd been to previously called Bar Papisca. They too had good wifi! We sat and ordered our meals, as I was in the bar I noticed an old friend from Sydney near the door. I knew he was here as well as others from that family as the patriarch and his wife of that family have a house here and spend every summer on the island rather than in Sydney. My family was seated outside and when I went back out I noticed the table where all these friends were sitting. I hadn't seen any of them in many years but have fond memories as a youngster spending lots of time with them, growing up we all hung out together. I surprised them by walking over and calling out "is there room for another Aussie at this table?". The women recognised me instantly, the two men hadn't. Then again they hadn't seen me in probably 30 years or so.

After a little while chatting and having a laugh they came over to meet my family and say hi. They left us to our dinner, we ate and then walked back to the car and headed home for the day, smelling of sulphur still!

Posted by Ace from Oz 12:38 Archived in Italy Tagged vulcano Comments (0)

Canneto and Lipari

Day 19 - Sunday 17th July 2016

overcast 30 °C

After the traumas of yesterday it would've been nice to sleep in today, but I had plans that included us all. Sadly for me the events of yesterday played heavily on my mind, I woke at around 5am and couldn't get back to sleep as my mind was racing. Once we all got up and had breakfast, I had planned for us to attend the Sunday morning mass in the church here at Lami (Lami is the name of the village up here on the mountain). This was particularly important to me for a few reasons. One is that on my last trip here as a 5yo I remember the church and the statue of Mary in the church. The statue is placed up high behind the altar, but on feast days they lay tracks and the statue slowly inches down to ground level on a motorised track. This way the locals can lift and carry it. The second reason it was important to attend the mass is that my parents grew up in this village and the church was very much part of their lives.

The name of the church is the Madonna de la Rosaria, which translates to the Madonna of the Rosary. We got to church 10 minutes before the start of Mass but saw no one, I wondered if I had the time wrong. My Aunty was inside there, she came and introduced me to the 90yo priest, and his assistant, who knew my whole family (naturally). We chatted for a few minutes, and as I said I was emotional that day already but pretty soon he had me in tears when he told me he was godfather to one of my friends I grew up with in Sydney but who sadly was murdered a few years ago.

I went and sat with my family and listened intently to the church service. It was in Italian of course so I had trouble following it. I was mostly surprised however how few people attended Mass, just 21 including the four of us. Whilst the church is in the midst of the mountain there are plenty of houses and people around, so not sure why there weren't more attending. The church is small but very beautiful, marble floors and nicely painted walls. I loved the experience of doing this with my family, it meant so much to me spiritually.

After the service, we walked down the path to the cemetery where all my ancestors are buried. My Aunty pointed all the family members to me, especially both sets of grandparents. My Aunty had brought fresh flowers so we helped her put some on the graves - the cemetery isn't spread out on a lawn but instead is a rectangle yard with tombs built on top of each other, 5 high. It was hot there but there were menacing dark clouds, we decided to move on and head home. It wasn't until a while later that I realised I hadn't seen my Aunty (my dads sister) and uncle who were buried there - apparently there was another section of the cemetery we never saw. I intend to go back before we leave here.

We came home and changed clothes from our nice church attire and into our swim wear, our plan for today was to circumnavigate the island so the kids could see it all, they leave before us and only have three nights on the island. We started the drive from Canneto, first we tried to find Spiaggia Bianca - the White Beach. It's not named that for the colour of the sand, the beaches mostly here are rocks and maybe black sand. It got its name as the area had pumice mines and factories, the volcanic rock was mined and exported from here for many decades. Over time the rocks and dust would have settled on the sea floor and from a distance the water colour is almost fluorescent green. There were no distinct signs for this beach, we stopped at one spot and looked down - the road is a few hundred metres above the beaches so it's always a long walk down. Unsure and not willing to traverse down the cliff for no reason we kept driving further.

We turned onto a road into a small town called Ponitcello, the road went all the way down to the water. We parked and looked around, there was a beach just nearby next to the old abandoned pumice wharf where the sand was actually white. We didn't swim as it was overcast and didn't look that inviting. We found a caravan that sold food and had lunch there. We jumped back into to the car and headed on around the tip of the island, the next town we found was called Aquacalda, which means "hot water" in English. By now we realised this rental car was given to us with only a quarter tank of gas, and by the town we got to Aquacalda the needle was getting low. There is only one petrol station on the whole island, over in Lipari and we were a bit worried if we toured too much we'd get stranded. We didn't stop here but continued on, the climbing up and down of the roads certainly chews up gas. We only stopped once at a little spot high up on the hill and they were selling a lot of local produce, like handmade biscuits, and Malvisia which is a sweet dessert wine made on the island. We drove further along, I pointed out the various landmarks and sights as we went and made our way into Lipari to fill up the car.

The weather had improved as it was gloomy earlier, we headed back to Canneto and stopped at the end of the road and grabbed our gear for a swim. The water was refreshing, not too cold and the only problem is walking over the hot rocks to get in and out of the water. After a swim I walked down the main street mainly to see what shops were there. I found Tano Bar, everyone had told me it had the best granita on the island (granita is like a lemon sorbet, found in almost every shop here and very refreshing on a hot day). I started talking to Gaetano the owner and of course he knew most of my family and relatives. He also introduced me to a couple sitting down who knew my family. Everyone knows everyone as I've said before. I finally got back to the beach, then went up the street to my cousin's house and came ack to the beach with her youngest daughter Alessia. The kids had a ball playing together in the water, using Stephanie's GoPro to film themselves underwater.

I had offered to take my cousin and her family to dinner tonight but she kept on refusing. Not sure if that was because she is always tired and still recovering from the stroke or was embarrassed to accept a free dinner. We went home, showered and came back and took Alessia down to us with dinner. We ate on the street right beside the beach at the same restaurant where we had bought the pizzas last night. The meals seemed ok, I ordered prawns but here they are extremely tiny and cooked with the shells. The shells were soft so I wasn't sure if I had to eat them whole or peel them. I ate a couple intact but didn't like the taste so sat there trying to peel these minuscule prawns. Can't say I enjoyed the meal, and was still hungry so I ordered a dessert.

We dropped Alessia off at home and headed back up the mountain to our place. Despite only arriving yesterday, tomorrow is the last full day here for our kids before they move on. The plan for tomorrow is to wake early and get moving so we can explore the neighbouring island of Vulcano.

Posted by Ace from Oz 06:39 Archived in Italy Tagged lipari canneto lami Comments (0)

Milazzo and Lipari

Day 18 - Saturday 16th July 2016

sunny

After a restless night of sleep - somewhere around 12:30-1am some idiot kept honking his car horn - and also the steamy conditions, I was awake early and first thing I wanted to do was to walk down to the port nearby to make sure the hydrofoils were actually running. At the time I got there one had already gone and the second was arriving soon. So at this stage the services were back on, but as the guy there said, nothing is ever guaranteed when you rely on Mother Nature. I walked just a few streets heading back to see what was open for breakfast, not much, maybe because it was a Saturday, but found a cafe literally around the corner. I went back and showered and we headed to the cafe for our breakfast. The day was gloomy and pretty soon it was raining, at some stages quite hard. Great, we had to lug four suitcases and all our hand luggage back to the port. After breakfast we headed back and packed our gear, all the way back down the stairs. We made our way to the port, only five minutes away, and luckily the rain had stopped.

We arrived there just after 10am, our departure time was 10:45am. The service was late so by the time we boarded and took ft it was past 11am - that didn't matter, at least we were on our way. The trip is about an hour, we were going to arrange to have a taxi pick us up on arrival, a friend of my cousin that lives on the island. But I had a message from my cousin saying he was busy, so when we arrived we carted our luggage and took the public bus. The arrival port is in Lipari, the main city of this island which is also called Lipari. We took the bus to Canneto, a town only a few minutes away around the other side of a narrow patch of land in the island. We jumped from the bus and were greeted by my Aunty, she normally lives in the north of Italy but spends a lot of time here in the south as her daughter and grandkids are here. She is basically the only one that looks after the house we are to stay in which is a few kms drive up the mountain. She had also arranged for me to borrow a car from someone she knows, and this is where more problems arise.

We all walked up the street and went to visit my cousin Daniela, we are first cousins and she grew up in Sydney but moved with her whole family to Italy in 1986. I hadn't seen here in 30 years. Sadly too she suffered a stroke early this year and whilst she has recovered she still has difficulty with a lot of things. She is only 46 so way too young for this to have happened. Needless to say the hug and greeting was emotional, and yes I was crying. It was probably more the fact she isn't fully fit but also the fact of the distance of time. We met her husband Giuseppe and daughters Martina (who turned 13 yesterday) and Alessia (11). My Aunty lives in a small flat beneath, she graciously cooked up a quick lunch that we ate, then took me to the car she had borrowed for us.

I wasn't expecting much from this car, only that it would get us around mainly up and down from the house because it's so high up the mountain you can't walk. The car was a bomb - dents, scratches, bumper falling off, it was very poor. And the guy wanted 30 euro a day to use it! I had no choice as I had wanted to get us into the house, I took Vicky and my Aunty and whatever luggage I could manage and we drove up to the house. This house was built by my grandfather, who I never met as he passed away 11 years before I was born. My mother, who is now 88, was actually born in this house. It is small but well built, solid brick and is at the end of a narrow lane near the edge of the mountain. But - I cannot describe the view accurately. You walk up the steps to the balcony and you can see down to the town of Canneto, the beach, the Mediterranean Sea, you can see the neighbouring island of Vulcano, you can see Sicily in the distance and a bit of the mountain to the right. No one lives in the house, my Aunty maintains it as best as she can but she is on her own and not getting any younger. She tries hard to keep it neat but needs help, it's not easy getting to the house and hard for an elderly lady to maintain it.

My Aunty had people staying on the house that left yesterday to make way for us and they had left the place untidy, I don't know how they managed to stay there. There was dust everywhere, on all the surfaces making wonder how they could even eat. They also had a dog in the house and there were tufts of black fur all over. There was half a roll of toilet paper left, no food or water (not that we expected that). I left Vicky at the house as she started to clean up their mess and took my Aunty back down to Canneto, so I could return with the kids and their luggage.

I got the kids and luggage into the house, and once settled the plan was go to into town and get some necessities for the week. This is where things get worse. I parked the car in a spot just above the house that belongs to the neighbour - I was going to park it higher up the lane once the luggage was all brought in. I tried to start the car, and the ignition block jammed. I tried and tried and tried but it wouldn't budge. I was there for over half an hour, swearing profusely and nothing worked. I rang my Aunty and cousins to let them know we were stuck here. Even worse I was blocking the neighbour's driveway so I was getting worried I'd be getting abused when the neighbour came home. I'd only been on the island a few hours and I was utterly frustrated and angry.

I wandered up the laneway just to get some air and get away from the stupid car, a guy came down on his Vespa and then I heard the car horn so I figured he was the neighbour and was getting my attention. I walked down fearful of getting abused, I explained to him the situation and he wasn't the neighbour but was a tradesman who was working on the neighbour's house (they weren't actually there, they lived in Milan) but he had his work trucked parked in the property and wanted to get it out to pick up a delivery. He tried to squeeze through the narrow gap I had left but no use, he was stuck. He called my Aunty and explained what was going on and asked whose car it was. In the conversation I heard him say his name, when he finished the call I asked him his name as the surname was familiar to me. Turns out his is a cousin to friends of mine back in Sydney, people I'd know for decades. On a small island like this people all know each other, and so many have migrated to Australia there are links to people all over.

Having made the connection we then sat there together and chatted about stuff, in Italian so I had to try hard to understand everything. My Aunty and cousin were trying to reach the owner of the car but couldn't. My Aunty caught the bus up to the house and we sat there for a couple of hours, both Antonio (the man who was trying to get his truck out) and then another neighbour came down to get this stupid car started. While I was a complete stranger to Antonio he was so nice and helpful. Knowing my situation he called someone he knew down in Canneto who runs a legitimate car rental business to get me another car. A car is a must for where we had planted ourselves, several kilometres up the mountain. There is a walking track to get you down to the town but is too steep to get back up. Then Antonio offered me a lift on the back of his Vespa as there was a car available for the week. I hopped on behind him, held on to the seat strap for dear life as helmets aren't a norm here. He took me to the car rental place, it was 6:30pm by now so was lucky he was still open and got a little Fiat. Nothing great, it was a 2 door, bit messy and couple of things looked broken but it worked, so I drove back to the house.

The events of this afternoon left me totally exhausted. From the excitement of being here for the first time in 47 years and seeing my cousin, to the frustration, desperation and anger of the car troubles. I was a mess, physically tired and mentally exhausted. I got wind from my Aunty later that the first car owner is blaming me for wrecking his car - please - it was such a bomb and had history of ignition trouble, I just happened to be the sucker that was using it when it fell apart. I have to confess - it was at this point I wished I could pack up and leave the island. Mechanical issues will always occur, things break down, but to be blamed for this I was totally shattered. I pride myself on being a good person and was deeply distressed at hearing this. I showered as by now we were all getting hungry, there was no food or toilet paper either. We dashed down to Canneto to get to the supermarket before it closed so we could get them, we just made it.

I had arranged to have dinner at my cousin's place, I didn't want to burden her with cooking so we went and grabbed pizzas nearby. We took her husband Giuseppe with us, the prices weren't that expensive but going anywhere with a local means you get looked after. We ordered 8 pizzas for us all, and they only charged 5 euro each. Our first bit of good fortune since we arrived on the island. We ate together and talked, her youngest daughter Alessia is full of beans and chats all day, it was cute watching her and our kids trying to communicate. After eating and a couple of drinks, the wave of exhaustion hit me - I was very tired and needed to rest. We said our goodbyes and made the climb back up the mountain to the home. It's so isolated up there you barely here anything, especially at night. We were all tired and soon headed to bed and I hoped for a better day tomorrow.

Posted by Ace from Oz 11:44 Archived in Italy Tagged eolie lipari aeolian canneto Comments (0)

Sorrento to Milazzo

Day 17 - Friday 15th July 2016

semi-overcast

Today was shaping up as a big day - a lot of driving, car ferry, more driving and then a hydrofoil. We were going to cover more than 500kms to get from our hotel in Sorrento to the island of Lipari off the coast of Sicily, to the town of Canneto where my parents were born and all my ancestors before them. We all got up early so we could hit the road, the last leg of the hydrofoil was not booked as we had no idea what time we would get to the port to catch it. We did our packing and met at breakfast at 7am, I was still full from the dinner of last night, I only ate a couple of bites and some fresh orange juice.

By the time we got organised and packed into the car one last time and hit the road it was 7:55am. I had wanted to get going a little earlier but we soon took off back through the streets of Sorrento for one last time (thank heavens for that!) and was glad to see the end of the crazy drivers and motor scooters there. Again we struck traffic getting onto to the autostrade, once we hit that we had open road. I drove for two hours before having a rest stop at a roadside diner. We kept going, stopping a little while later as I was feeling tired and had lunch. By now we had crossed into the southern Italian region of Calabria. There were some roadworks that slowed us down for a long while, then we had a massive downpour of rain - I could barely see the car in front - so had to slow right down. It was the first i had seen of rain of any magnitude since arriving just over two weeks ago. The rain came in strong bursts several times but as we neared the southern mainland it eased away.

We stopped one more time about 40km from where we would need to drive the car onto a boat to cross from mainland to Sicily. We got to the port and drove around looking for a ticket, once we bought it we lined up in a queue. One ship was just leaving so we had missed that but the crossings are frequent, within about 10 minutes the next boat arrived and we drove the car onto the boat. The trip across to Messina on Sicily is only a short one, about 20 minutes. It only travels about 5km, I had thought many years ago that they were going to build a bridge across the strait but that never occurred. We drove off the boat and headed for the final destination of Milazzo, to return the rental car and catch the hydrofoil to the island of Lipari where we would spend the next week.

And now this is where things all start to go wrong!!! I dropped Vicky and the kids at terminal where the hydrofoils leave, drove downtown and filled the car with petrol (gas) and returned it. I was hoping we'd catch the 5:45pm service across but by the time I walked back to the port it was 5:40pm already. Vicky was lined up at the ticket window, people were there and it seemed a little crazy. We had turns lining up as it was hot and little aircon, it was evident something was wrong as the queue wasn't moving. It took 45 minutes to reach the ticket window only to be told all the services leaving today were full. I hadn't booked tickets as I didn't know what time we'd be able to get there, the best they could do is put our name on a waiting list in case booked passengers failed to show. This was a lost cause, the waiting list was long and people all around were getting frustrated. The reason they were all booked up was because of bad weather that morning. All the morning services were cancelled, therefore those passengers then all booked up on the later services, creating a jam of people. We were then told there was no way we'd be able to get off tonight. I asked a lady what were we to do as we now had no car and a ton of luggage. She just shrugged her shoulders and said I needed to find somewhere to sleep. We bought tickets for a hydrofoil for the next morning so we had reserved to get off the mainland. I had wanted to get the first one out at 7am but Vicky wanted to sleep in and not rush so we booked the 10:45am.

So now the race is on to find somewhere to spend the night so we could leave the next morning. Given lots of people were stranded there would be a mad scramble now for rooms. I dashed across the road to a place similar to a travel agent and asked where the hotels were and if we could get room and was told they were all full. I went further along and asked at another travel place, they pointed me to a hotel close by so tried there. They also had no rooms but the young lady was very helpful and knowing we were stranded and from Australia she mentioned she knew a lady just up the road who rented rooms, she called it a "Pensione". In English it would be similar to a dorm or hostel, she rang them for me and said they had two rooms for the four of us. Not knowing what condition they'd be in but knowing we had to share bathrooms with others, I told her to reserve them - we were desperate and that might have been our only hope. The cost was 20 euro per person, very cheap so I knew it would be simple.

I headed back and grabbed the family and luggage and we made our way over. As we got there the lady owner was out front talking to other people I'd seen that were stranded too as they were asking for a room. She told them she had none left, we were lucky we grabbed the last two. I laughed when I saw the name of the place - get this - it was called "HOTEL CALIFORNIA"! I imagine the one The Eagles sang about might have been a touch nicer but a cute name. It was a four storey apartment building, the owners lived on the ground floor and there were 3 floors that each had 4 rooms and two bathrooms (although I think some rooms had en-suites). Of course there was no elevator, I had to carry the heavy suitcases - by now Vicky's weighed a ton - up the narrow stairs. We were up two floors, the kids were on the first floor. By the time we got everything into the room I was sweating badly.

The rooms was very simple - two small single beds, there was a window and balcony, no aircon but they had a floor fan, a wardrobe and a table with two chairs - that's it. The shared bathroom had the smallest shower I've seen other than those on a cruise ship, and there was no shower curtain. But all that didn't matter, we had shelter for the night and hoped this problems of today would disappear overnight. We all showered as we'd been traveling for 12 hours by now and were tired and frustrated. We headed down the street just a few steps away and ate at a restaurant and once again were not disappointed with the yummy dishes we got. We ordered way to much pizza though and couldn't eat it all. We headed back to our rooms and went to bed hopeful of more luck tomorrow. The room was stuffy so we slept with the balcony doors open and the fan going all night, but I was still sweaty throughout the night.

Posted by Ace from Oz 11:40 Archived in Italy Tagged sorrento milazzo Comments (0)

Positano and Amalfi Coast

Day 16 - Thursday 14th July 2016

sunny

We had to wake up early today and get moving quickly. Stephanie had booked to do a mountain hike so we had to be at a place called Praiano by 8:15am. On the map the town is like 25km away but there is no straight road at all, from our hotel to Praiano is all narrow windy roads some along the coastline, so we had to allow plenty of time to get there. We grabbed a bite at breakfast at 7am and soon we hit the road. We hadn't seen that part of the coastline until now. Certainly the views are amazing as usual, and we made it to the drop off point in Praiano with plenty of time to spare. We waited for the rest of her hike group to arrive, being a family of 4 from San Francisco and the guide. We then left them for their strenuous activity and heading down to find somewhere to sit and have a proper breakfast.

I've said before parking anywhere in the area is scarce, we drove back through Praiano looking for a spot to park so we could walk around but there was none. We drove back towards Positano as that was where the pick up point would be after the hike. As we drove there were cars parked at a hotel that was by the cliff side, isolated from anything else and as there were spots we quickly pulled in there. I desperately needed a toilet by then so we went into this hotel and after using the toilet asked if we could have breakfast even though we weren't staying there. It was after 9am by now but they served breakfast until 10am and for 15 euro each we sat and ate and had an awesome view of the coast and Positano. Looking over the balcony of the terrace we could see straight down to the water many metres below, I'm amazed how these were hotels were built on the edge of a cliff. All the staff were dressed in bow ties so it looked fancy, I googled it as we had wifi and rooms were $500 and over for a night. Lovely views, not sure if they had a pool, but nothing else to do there as they were miles from anything or anyone.

We took our time leaving the hotel as we had a few hours to collect Stephanie after her hike. We drove back to see where the collection point was, so we knew for later. We then decided to drive into Positano to see what was there but more so to see if we could park. The road into Positano is one way down from the main road and one way back up the other side. We drove down far enough to think we were walking distance to the beach - we had no idea how far it was, and found a parking place and left the car there. We walked downhill through the narrow street past lots of shops and tourists. We snaked through laneways and soon had found the beach below. It wasn't as crowded as I had expected and we thought that knowing we can park the car somewhere that we'd come back for a swim with Stephanie after her hike.

We walked back to the car, only there for an hour and paid 5 euro for parking - i knew it wouldn't be cheap - and we made our way out of Positano back to the collection point. We were there early so we drove up the road from where they'd all be coming down from by bus. The road kept going up and up and up, we find a little gap we could pull over and we were so high up the mountain it was almost making me dizzy! We figured we'd see the bus carrying the hikers pass us, as it was the only road there. It was only a few minutes later the bus did pass us, the hike guide saw us through the window and waved so we followed the bus down to where they dropped Stephanie off. From there we headed back to Positano and parked again and headed to the beach.

Like most beaches here there is no sand - the beach surface is all rocks. It was a hot day again and once we changed into our swimming attire and went onto the beach you could feel the heat off the rocks. Certainly walking from where we laid our towels to the water was hard, rocks under your bare feet and they were boiling! But the water was clear and refreshing, considering the amount of boats that were there and tourist activities I'd have thought the oil and gas may ruin the water. You could smell it as the boats moved around but couldn't tell looking at the water. It was a little windy so standing in the water was actually chilly. We swam a couple of times then dried off and headed towards the car but stopped first for some lunch.

We headed back to our hotel in Sorrento - this was our last night there and Vicky had wanted to do some laundry before we left but the last few days was so hectic we never had the chance. It's the earliest we got back I think around 4-5pm or so, Vicky managed two loads of washing and drying as I repackaged the luggage for tomorrow's travels. We ended up going to dinner fairly late once everything was done, some of us had ordered 2 courses but sadly for Vicky she had only ordered a steak and it was so late getting to her it was after 10pm. She was tired and hungry and the two alcoholic drinks whilst waiting for the food had made her sleepy. Once we had all eaten we headed straight to bed - not a good feeling on a full stomach - as we had an early start in the morning as we had to drives over 500kms to our next destination.

Posted by Ace from Oz 11:36 Archived in Italy Tagged amalfi positano praiano Comments (0)

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