I've discovered that nuns can be hip too. The ones I met had iPods and cell phones. Who would have guessed?
So we got up early this morning (as usual) to catch a train to Salerno on the amalfi coast. Our train, according to our E-tickets, was scheduled for 7:39 am so we got to the station before 7 as roma termini is huge and we had a feeling it could take us a long time to find our train. Sure enough.
We ran around for a good 20 minutes checking all the departures boards.. All of them said the same thing: the only train to Salerno was at 8 and it was a different make of train then our tickets were for. Confused, we went to the train information desk. A very unhelpful lady told us in patchy English that our train would show up 15mins before departure and we took her word for it. We left to get coffee and juice.
Then we really started panicking, as our train had not yet shown up on departures, and it was supposed to depart in 15 minutes, and we had already paid for the tickets.
So I left my mom with the bags, grabbed our E-tickets, and started running. I came across a much friendlier employee inspecting a train, and I ran up to her in complete panic. She informed me that Salerno wasn't the final stop on our train, and that we had to get on the Palermo train, platform 11. We managed to squeeze on about 5 minutes before it left the station.
We found our assigned train car, and started looking for our carriage and seats. We walked past a carriage full of 6 Italian nuns in full black robes. I smiled politely and kept walking. Then I checked the seat numbers. Sure enough, two of the seats in that carriage were ours. Believe me, kicking 2 nuns out of their train seats leaves you feeling like you have done something very wrong.
Then mom went and spilt powdered sugar on one of them. Luckily it was the zen one and she was really cool. It triggered a conversation, then she switched into French because English was her 3rd language and I had an interesting time trying to communicate with her.
The train ride came as quite a relief. We have walked a crazy amount this last week and sitting back watching the Italian countryside fly by for 2 1/2 hours was a required relaxation period for us.
Once we reached Salerno, the bus leg of our trip began. Though we hit a speed bump when the 11:00 bus didn't come, and we ended up waiting an hour for the next one. Time passed fast, though, and I made buds with some college kids traveling abroad and two ladies who were on the train with us, one compartment over. Then finally the amalfi bus came, and the bus ride from hell began.
Don't get me wrong, the ride was beautiful and I'm glad we did it. But the vomit under a seat near the front of the bus could have been called 'foreshadowing'.
The amalfi highway is very hard to describe. It clings to the seaside cliffs, hanging far above the ocean. It is very narrow with many blind corners and every time the bus turned a corner it had to honk because it was invisible to cars on the other side of the turn. Any car we encountered had to pull over as far as possible and stop to let the bus pass, the road was that thin. You weren't allowed to talk to the bus driver because he had to concentrate so hard on the road.
The views were spectacular, well, from what i saw. I spent the second half of the ride laying across two empty seats with a barf bag in my hand, willing myself not to puke. I didn't have anything in my stomach though, thank god, because I hadn't eaten since an early breakfast, and it was at the time nearing 1:00.
We got to amalfi, and thankfully everything inside of me stayed where it should. Though amalfi was only a stop on our way to positano, we stayed for an hour or so to get some Italian pizza(deliciouss but we got nailed with another 'cover charge'.. Where's the logic?). We went around town, and amalfi is a very beautiful place. But then it was time to move on to our final destination of the day: positano.
Bus ride number 2 was just as winding but much more successful, maybe because it was shorter and my stomach had settled down. Positano is a very visually dramatic town. It's pastel buildings fall all the way down the cliffside to a beach encircled by rock. Cliffs rise around the town, and the buildings are built over, under, on, and in the stone. We found our hotel by an unbelievable fluke (we guessed which bus stop to get off on, picked the first road we saw, walked down it, and came across our hotel. Yeah.) and after ditching our bags, we went to explore.
Since it was approaching late afternoon we didn't have much time to look around, but we managed to make it to the beach and town centre, then back again. Positano has alot of stairs. Like ALOT alot. Who needs a stair master when you have positano? On the way down to the beach it was a nice stroll, but then on the way up we truly realized how many steps we had breezed down. Basically, up kinda sucks. But it's okay, because the views are fantastic and I need something to keep me in shape anyways.
Well today was a pretty dynamic day, and we are looking foreword to seeing more of positano tomorrow.