I don’t know what we were thinking when we booked our flights on this trip, but they always seem to require us to get up very early. This was the case with our flight from Santorini to Rome. We were up at about 7:30 – ok, I guess not that early, but I have become accustomed to the 9:00am rise and shine. We hailed a cab and soon joined the airport queues to board our flight to our soon to be temporary home-land… Italia.
We arrived in Fuimicino airport in Rome. My luggage was looking much worse for wear when it came off the baggage carousel than when I had said goodbye to it on the conveyor belt only a few hours earlier.
We picked up our hire car – a FIAT 500 (cinque cento) with a sun-roof and hit the A1 Autostrade bound for the Amalfi coast. Eldad suggested we find somewhere to stop along the way for lunch or to explore. Given he was driving, I was the navigator and charged with finding a good place to stop. I saw on the map a place called Avellino. Both of us love an Italian wine called Fiano di Avellino. I wondered to myself if that is where the wine comes from. I input Avellino into the GPS imagining our stop ahead – perhaps a gorgeous village or some old wineries to stop at along the way.
The A1 is a good highway, with lots of signage – which is good, because we had come to discover that our GPS may not be the most reliable of navigation tools. We took the turn off to Avellino and came to a city…. A city where everything was closed. We had come right during the Siesta time – not a single shop, bar, restaurant, gelataria was open. The GPS took us further into the centre of Avellino and through the main piazza – still nothing open, no-one around and no where to park. We made the executive decision to head back to the autostrade and get to Amalfi instead.
After I had an argument with the GPS which tried to take us down a one way road, and three times directed us to go the opposite way than the signs were posting, we eventually found our way back to the right direction.
We cruised around the tight bends of the Amalfi coast taking in the beautiful views out to the sea, up to the cliffs and the pretty villages we were passing. Our hotel was in Amalfi itself. Eldad did a great job of navigating the steep, tricky and unfamiliar twists and turns to bring us safely to our destination. I did a great job of choosing the musical accompaniment for our journey – Radio Britter.
Our hotel room was not as big as the one in Santorini but we opened the balcony doors to a massive terrace with a view of the sea and the town of Amalfi. I know I keep posting about lovely views etc etc. But I really do feel so lucky – lucky that we are able to do this trip, lucky in that we have had gorgeous weather and lucky that there a such beautiful locations all over this world that we can see and be a part of.
That evening, we joined the other tourists in the piazza in front of the stunning Duomo to enjoy our afternoon aperitif and people watch. We happily enjoyed our first meal in Italy at a restaurant on the water called Lo Smeradlino (after the emerald grotto near-by) and of course a gelati before calling it in a night in Amalfi.