Amalfi Coast, Italy
To be honest, the Amalfi Coast wasn’t as great as I expected. We went with high hopes of beautiful beach villages and a Mediterranean paradise… and sure there was definitely some of that, but for the most part we just found hoards of tourists and a terrible public transport system. We decided to call Sorrento our home-base, and from there take the bus to Positano and Amalfi. Sorrento is a small summer vacation town filled with condominiums on the outskirts and a small commercialized old city centre. Pretty much your standard touristy summer spot. It seemed like the majority of the people there were German or British vacationers that were thrilled to talk about their money and their wealth as they lavishly enjoyed meals in luxurious restaurants and wore big hats to cover their precious skin from the sun. I guess what I’m trying to get at is that It felt like the place is no longer an “authentic Italian destination” but rather a tourist hub that has lost its uniqueness to the evil hands of cheesy tourism.
Don’t get me wrong though, Sorrento is not all bad! During the day we took a stroll across a lemon farm right in the centre of the city where they make their own limoncello (and give you free samples). We glanced out to the horizon for a beautiful view of Mount Vesuvius and then walked down a steep path cut into the cliff and landed on the coast. It’s such a shame.. it would have been such a beautiful view from down there if every part of the beach wasn’t privatized and closed off for overpriced restaurants… We still gave in to the tourist trap and bought a drink-with-beach-chair-included to layout for a while. Besides, they do make some delicious seafood (yum fresh sardines!). By night, the streets fill with youngsters all holding their motorcycle helmets as they go out with their friends. It’s almost like a fashion statement. So amusing. But we quickly found out that is was really hard to find a good bar in Sorrento. It seemed your only option was to get a drink in restaurants that look somewhere between an american diner and a french café. Another option was a “club" appropriately called “American Bar” with a stripper pole, a disco ball, and karaoke. Not really my scene thanks.
The next day, we woke up fairly early to catch a bus to Positano. To put it simply, this bus ride was CRAZY. The bus drivers must go through some insane training to be able to pull off those tight turns in such tiny streets on top of a huge cliff! When we finally reached Positano in the over-crowded bus, we were greeted with a beautiful view of the coast. The further we walked down, the more I was ready to leave… There were tourists everywhere. To the point where you feel you can’t even really walk.. or breathe. All the shops and restaurants were completely catered to those typical “rich American tourists” with everything spelled out in English and priced up double or triple the normal price. We didn’t spend too much time there. We got right back on the bus and continued to Amalfi. Personally, Amalfi was so much better! It’s just bigger, so the crowds have a bit more space to disperse. We walked along windy streets and found the perfect place to have some delicious Neapolitan style pizza. Yum!
On our way back to Sorrento, it was absolutely impossible to catch a bus. The lack of organization was incredible. There were lines of people complaining everywhere and yet no bus to be found. So, as the “carpe-diem” travelers we believe ourselves to be, we impulsively decided to hop on the bus that said Ravello instead. Best idea ever. We successfully escaped the hoards of tourists and landed on a charming mountain top village. Ravello is not on the coast, but it’s absolutely breathtaking. It’s a very small town with great views of the mountains and adorable medieval passageways. It’s known as the “City of Music”. After a quick look around, we were finally able to catch a bus back to Sorrento. What a day!