If you are lazy to watch the educational videos, you can always try this movie, rather crap but it did give the feeling about how it was.
We found Pompeii very impressive, we walked and walked till the closing hour and had a feeling we had it for ourselves.
Ok, the brothel is the place that you are never alone, it was super small but full of old Germans, so we had a quick look and tried to get out asap. It worked.
Lots of places in Pompeii are closed as excavation works are going on, so we did not manage to see everything. Some people say that Herculaneum is much more impressive because it feels more real. We would have loved to see that too but did not manage to fit it in the agendas. Next time! We were surprised that Pompeii itself was a really lively place, in the evening all the streets were full of people and the square was full too, and they were all Italians.
The next day we had a plan to visit the giant itself - Vezuvio. When we arrived, the parking was already full, we were just lucky enough to get the last place on the side. Not bad, because if you miss it, then you have to do a rather long way up... not the best activity when it's hot. The walk up is around 20 minutes, we were happy that we had taken our walking boots, so much easier. Some Russian ladies had also came in their high heels, so everything is possible!
Agerola and San Lazzaro
After the visit we were heading straight to our base point - Agerola, San Lazzaro. It's a small village up in the mountains with a view on the Amalfi coast. We were staying in B&B Mira Mare (beautiful place! The view from the room and the terrace! Wow). We were also making fun of the name as it sounded more like rio mare commercial with poor Kevin Costner (why the hell to participate in such a commercial???) MMMM, rio mare... hahahaha
We were pleasantly surprised with our b&b, it was very well located and it was actually a farm. Liliana and her sons Geraldo and Francesco were really kind and great hosts, we even got a demo hot to make cheese.
The next day we had planned to experience the Amalfi coast for 100%. It became clear to us that driving was not easy there, busses were ignoring any transport which was smaller than them, Italians simply drove like crazy and tourists were so scared that were blocking the traffic any way...
To find a parking in Ravello can be really challenging but the rule is simple - the more levels up you park; the more you pay, up to 5 eur per hour. We were lucky to find a parking in the auditorium and it was not that far from the centre. The main object for us in Ravello was villa Cimbrione. Oh, so pretty!
We got a really great lunch in Mimi for a very reasonable budget (and this can be a challenge in Ravello). Aperol spritz is my definition for summer and holidays!
After Ravello we had a plan to see Torre dello Ziro (in the books it was included in the "must see" part), but somehow we went the wrong direction and ended up somewhere else. Well, this somewhere else was really pretty and felt very authentic!
Torre dello ZIro
Finally we found the real Torre dello Ziro and I confirm - it is a must see. Beautiful views on Amalfi and Atrani, around serenity but under bustling life.
Conca dei Marini
As it was very hot, we decided to check out the beaches the next day. We opted for Conca as it was just under our b&b (just 800 m under). Finding a beach can be more complicated than expected, parking is always a problem. We were so lucky that we were allowed to park our car (for free!!!) at a parking of a posh hotel. I admit, I had to use my charm for this. Or the doorman just had pity for me. I don't know. Anyway, after 300 or so steps we were at the beach. Lovely but still too cold to swim, so just hanged around.
Our next objective was to find the famous Da Adolfo restaurant in Laurito beach, on the way to Positano. It was an opportunity to explore the coast (mainly trying to avoid busses...). I had read about Da Adolfo in Amanda Tabberer's book "My Amalfi coast". There is a whole story about the restaurant and how she fell in love with the son (she describes him as Italian sex god I think...) of the owner and how it changed all her life. And I think we identified the ex Italian sex god! An older gentleman, over 40 now... I just hope I'm good at identifying people, maybe not. Anyway, we were very curious to see if the place was really worth it or it was just a tourist trap. And it was worth to walk down and up those 400 steps! The grilled mozzarella on lemon leaves was succulent! Mmmm
The path of Gods
As rain was announced for the next day, we really had to squeeze in another activity for the day. It's the picture of the path that had attracted me to the Amalfi coast, so we were really keen to discover the path in reality. But on our way we got squeezed by a crazy bus driver and the cover of the side mirror flew away... of course, it was scratched... here came the wish to have a full insurance... But now it was too late... So in not so nice mood, we were discovering the path of Gods. Wonderful! You cannot get lost and amazing views are there all the time! There was even a water fountain on the way to Praino to refresh oneself.
We were amazed to see so many houses on the way, there was no road to access them, so they were still using donkeys to bring supplies!
Amalfi and Atrani
As promised the next day is rather rainy, we spent quite some time doing nothing but in the end we decided to go to Amalfi, this time by bus, just to be sure :)
Amalfi was very crowded, lots of people who are just shopping and eating, nothing else to do!
We really preferred Atrani, felt much more authentic and we got there an amazing lemon spritz.
Valle delle Ferriere
The next day we had planned to walk from San Lazzaro to Valle delle Ferriere. We we warned to follow the map closely as it was easy to get lost. Well, we did! Big time! Some of the routs were not in the maps as the forest was being cut and we simply took the wrong turn. We did feel that the direction was wrong but what really made us turning back was a head of a doll that we found on the road... very scary. Finally we met somebody who showed us the right direction and we could continue the adventure. There was only one couple who came in our direction. Respect to them as the walk up is very very hard. We were just going down but in some places it was pretty extreme - just sharp stones!
Our walk lasted one hour, two hours, three hours, then we got lost again (Italy is not Switzerland where everything is indicated!) but somehow we found what we were looking for - the waterfalls!
The waterfalls are actually behind a fence as it's a natural reserve, we were hesitant to cross but as we saw some other people doing so, we did it as well, a beautiful place! The walk to Amalfi leads through beautiful scenery, lemon grooves everywhere. We also passed ruins of old watermills (valle delle mulini).
On the last day we went quickly to see Vietri sul Mare - a lovely village where ceramics is on every corner.
We saw Maiori and Minorion on our way and realised that we had not missed anything by not staying there.
The highlight of our trip was a dinner in Zi Carmine, the best Italian food ever! I though that stories how la mamma cooks was already history but here it was a true experience! We were the only ones in the restaurant (it's kind of difficult to find it and you have to walk up a steep street). We had the most amazing anti-pasti ever. Even grandma came to encourage me to eat more. But I could not! With primi we were done! And then they brought home made limoncello. Not a glass, but a whole bottle! Such a hospitality! Of course I was scared to have a huge bill but it was only 30 euros! We could not believe our ears. If we had had the same in the centre of village, we would have paid at least 50 - 60 eur. So forget about Leonardo's and Da Gigini (good only for pizza), ZI Carmine is the place to be - everything fresh and home made!
Holidays were gone, so quickly! It was time to return to Brussels. We just had to give back the scratched car and pay the bill... But a "bon giorno" and a smile can save the trouble!
- Naples is really sitting on a hot time bomb, The Vezuvio hasn't erupted for a while, the clock is ticking probably...
- In Amalfi every single m2 is used for something, planting tomatoes or roses or anything. You should see how space is used in the cemeteries! Impressive!
- Beaches are not so impressive in the Amalfi coast, well, I guess I'm just not used to have so many unknown people around me while being on the beach - I'm from the north, I need some space! :)
- Observe the cars, they are all scratched on the left side, no surprise there, they are crazy drivers!
- Want a real limoncello, try this one - l Alambicco
- Although kilometer wise places are not far from each other, commuting takes a lot of time, whether you drive a car or sit in the bus.
- It's not necessary to have a car in Amalfi but it does give you far more freedom.
- Sunflower book "Sorrento - Amalfi - Capri" is a great guide to figure out different walks.
- In the beginning the book of Amandas Tabberer "My Amalfi coast" did not impress me at all but after you have got yourself familiar with the coast, it actually has some nice tips.