16.05.2014 - 20.02.2015 69 °F
Thursday morning, we get ready to depart the Hotel Laurus Al Duomo in Florence, but not before stopping at the rooftop restaurant for breakfast. The hotel provides a rather nice buffet with a definite European slant. One of the items on the buffet is a wonderful cheese, very similar to the type we've enjoyed on our many lunchtime panini. I'm curious about what type of cheese it is, so that I can attempt to find it in the USA, so I stop by the prep area and ask one of the servers. She obligingly shows me the wheel it was cut from, and explains that it really doesn't have a name...it's just their "local cheese". As we learn through the rest of our trip, that's pretty typical. Each area we stay in has it's own local cheese...the only cheeses that have names seem to be those (gasp!) imported from other areas.
After breakfast, we gather are belongings and make the short trip uphill to the train station at Santa Maria Novello. We've prebooked our tickets for the fast train to Rome, where we'll switch over to the Frecciargento to Salerno. As we reach Naples and Vesuvius, heavy clouds have moved in, and it's beginning to rain.
From the train station in Salerno, it's an easy 10 minute walk down to the harbor and our boat to Amalfi. We're thankful once again that we've learned the art of minimal packing...we each carry a 17" suitcase and a small backpack, making travel incredibly easy. Our boat is about half full, so we head up to the upper deck, but the drizzle is persistent, and we ultimately seek shelter below. The trip from Salerno to Amalfi is pretty, even in the rain.
We're renting an apartment in Amalfi, so we're met at the dock by a rental agent from TechnoCasa to escort us to the apartment. We've rented this through FlipKey, and we're very satisfied with the experience. The apartment, Dolce Vita A, is perched at the south end of Amalfi beach, up a flight of about 70 steps. It has two long but narrow balconies overlooking the beach, and the views just speak for themselves. We couldn't be happier.
Just imagine waking to that view each morning! The only minor drawback is that directly below is the busy coastal highway, which means there is constant noise from motorcycles, cars, and buses until about 11pm each evening, but balanced against the beautiful views (and the opportunity to watch locals celebrate a birthday party on the beach), it's no problem for us at all.
Each morning we are there, a different small cruise ship is anchored offshore, using tenders to bring cruisers to Amalfi.
Tonight, we enjoy the ambiance of the town, and admit we've fallen in love with it already. While it's busy with day tourists, in the evening things quiet down, and you get a real sense of the place. Tomorrow, we'll start walking the trails through the hills of the coast. Stay tuned for breathtaking views and hair-raising stories!