Night Location: Amalfi, Italy
Song of the Day: Get Set - Taxiride (Get set everybody, We're on our way...)
Mumisode of the Day: Although this seems to happen frequently to Mum, she was 'targeted' by Gatwick airport security and her Country Road bag - which is completely packed with odds and ends including 14 coathangers, vitamins, belts, hair dryer (looks like a gun), pegs and other paraphenilia - was completely emptied out onto the desk and scrutinized at great length. After getting the 'All clear', she had to attempt to repack all these bits and pieces with us all hovering.
Amber and David have now been awake for 40+ hours so this may be a little short! The day started with an awesome surprise. Mum, Dad and Gemma all surprised Amber and David by showing up at Gatwick airport ready for the flight to Naples. They originally thought that the other three were arriving in Naples earlier.
After a big meal in the British Airways lounge we were quite literally on our way. Very excited to be on the plane. Amber lucked out and on a completely packed plane she got an entire row to herself. Flight went smoothly; touch down over the mountains into Naples.
We picked up the keys at the Hertz desk and set off on a massive trek to the car rental lot. This involved a lot of crazy Italian traffic, footpaths and strange men who ogled but offered no assistance to the packhorses! At last there was the people-mover: a Ford Galaxy, complete with sunblinds and mealtables in the back.
With Dad at the wheel we edged out into the Italian - Napoli traffic. The real adventure, however, did not begin until we exited the motorway onto the 'highway' that was the Amalfi Coast road. Thanks to Navman, this involved an intersection where the only helpful word was 'STOP'.
This road has to be seen to be believed, and while it is described in the guidebooks as 'spine-tingling', that doesn't quite do it justice. It's picture perfect: a narrow road that hugs the cliff, so high above the sea, and it winds in and out of little gorges. All would be well if this was your private road, perfect in fact. This was definitely NOT the case. One shares the road with cars, trucks, buses, massive coaches, cyclists (who according to David have a death wish), and pedestrians pushing prams.
This was not the only great comment from David. He also commented, "Who in their right mind would build a town on the side of a cliff face?" Amber, thoroughly out of character, covered her eyes and made gasping noises at every meeting with another vehicle (to clarifly, crazy Italian drivers). Gemma, also out of character was not at all nervous and had her hand out the window, laughing at Amber and taking photos.
We knew that our apartment was somewhere in Amalfi. This was an excellent help. The instructions via email were to look for the apartment office, somewhere between the taxi stand and 'Bar Savoia' in the square by the sea. How romantic! Only not so! After Amber recruited the help of some local men who advised us to turn around and head back to Salerno, something that Amber was NEVER going to do, we made a call and were advised to enter the square with the church and head up the hill until approximately Number 44.
Then the Navman directed us into a tiny dead end lane full of restaurants, parked cars, potted plants and Italians chatting in the road. Upon discovering the dead end and with a small amount of panic, Gemma leapt out and attempted to help Dad reverse the people-mover. The Italians were horrified and directed Dad backwards toward the cafe. With a great deal of skill (think back to the tiny village in France) we were out.
The next street was even smaller, and did not look like a road; more like one was driving into a shopping mall. The Navman insisted it was the correct direction, and after Gemma convinced the policeman that we definitely wanted to go up this street, we all held our breath and entered the square with the church. Hallelujah! After cruising past the locals sitting in their chairs in the courtyard with their gelato in fluted dishes who just gazed at us like we were crazy, while others waved, we started up the hill. Once again, it felt like we were driving down the aisle of a shopping mall, with old ladies and children who wouldn't get out of the way of the trolley! We were finally spotted by the Amalfi Vacations hostess, who beckoned us into a carspace and we were here.
The apartment is up only 30 steps and is just beautiful. Really tall ceilings, tiled floors and windows that fold out and look down at the town. We are only a few steps up the hill from the square (with the church). So lucky!
The weather is just balmy! We all wandered down the street, had a fantastic Italian meal with bruschetta and pizza (local marghareta is excellent), tomato salad and lots of water.
We think we'll end here. The car is safely in the garage, where Amber feels it should stay for the remainder of this excursion. The itinerary we shall work on in the morning. Love to everyone back home.