Ay Yi Yi – NO WATER!!
Needless to say after a day or two of living like a cavewoman in some respects, I decided to take off again. I'm pretty low maintenance, but I really like hot water - and that presumes I have water!! God definitely used this situation to get me off the mountain and out into other places of Italy. Destination: Amalfi Coast.
If you’ve ever been there you know how very beautiful it is. For those of you who saw the Hollywood version of Under the Tuscan Sun – it was the Amalfi Coast that the lady and her new Italian boyfriend visited at one point in the movie. I remember them touring around on a scooter, looking very Italian and exceptionally happy.
Scene from "Under the Tuscan Sun"
The Amalfi Coast is certainly stunning in its beauty ………. and terrifying in its traffic. I’m glad I wasn’t driving. Being a passenger was thrilling enough for me – and I was there in the tail of the tourist season. I can’t imagine it in the middle of the summer, when scores of giant tour buses hog the (only) narrow curving road and often have to stop, back up, and go again in order to make it around a sharp bend.
I sat at a beach bar with WiFi in Vietri sul Mare (near Salerno) and booked an evening at Mamma Rosa B&B, in a hamlet above Positano. Somehow I got there and an older lady hanging over her balcony immediately called my hosts to inform them of my arrival. You see there are 227 steps up to Mamma Rosa’s and some direction is needed from the street ………. but every step is WORTH IT!
View from my balcony at Mamma Rosa's
Angelo and Mamma Rosa
Even better, Angelo told me that his cousin, Salvatore, had a restaurant on the square, within walking distance. He assured me of a great meal, and offered to call so that I’d have a good table. I am so thankful I went to Il Ritrovo that night. When Salvatore realized I was a guest of his aunt and cousin, I received the royal treatment. Free bruschetta and prosecco to start. An excellent meal beyond description. Free cookies and a special after-dinner liqueur made from melon afterwards. And when the waiter brought the bill, he handed me a cellophane package. I said, “What’s this?” and he said, “Something for you to smoke.” (Just a joke ;-) It was a special blend of spices that Salvatore, who teaches cooking classes, makes for pasta dishes. Can’t wait to try it! Such sweet, funny, joyful people.
Forum of Pompeii - Mt. Vesuvius in the background (it used to be a cone-shape before it blew its top)
The next day I toured Pompeii where Mt Vesuvius rocked the world of this port city in 79 AD. The eruption occurred around noon and I can’t imagine the terror as people tried to escape the toxic gases and ash. It’s my understanding that they didn’t even know that Mt Vesuvius was a volcano until it blew. Life stopped in a matter of minutes for close to 20,000 people – another reminder that life can change in an instant. I'm thankful that God is my rock, a place of refuge when the whole world shakes.
I decided to skip Naples altogether and turn back inland. I had an opportunity to dip my toes in the Tyrrhenian Sea at Meta outside Sorrento, but the crush of tourists and the whole tourist atmosphere unsettled me. So I turned north again, heading through the area to the east of Rome.
That evening I got as far as Sora, a rather small city in the midst of beautiful mountains, but only 30 minutes from the sea and not far from Rome – perfect for someone who likes small town life, with access to a big city and the beach.
View from the Portello della Fate balcony that evening
...........and the next morning, Market Day
I stayed at Portello della Fate – a lovely B&B. Here’s the scoop – I arrived rather late without a reservation. I’m standing on the street, pushing the buzzer over and over, praying – no answer. Suddenly a man walks up speaking rapid Italian, and then an older man saunters up. Benny (who was born in Sora, but lived in New York City for some time) translates – the owner just left to tend his Irish Pub (yes - an Italian man with an Irish Pub), but they will call him. They do, he comes, I get a beautiful room with two balconies on the piazza for a good price – tutti bene (everything is good).
Mauro was such a good host that I felt compelled to eat supper at his Irish Pub. He was so nice to me – free snacks, special attention, turned up the TV when a favorite song came on so I could dance a little. What can I say except that if you’re ever in Sora, you better go to Mauro’s Irish Pub and Portello della Fate B&B. You won’t regret it!