In 2008, we booked a week in the Italian seaside resort of Amalfi, near Naples, which was quite a departure for us.
Up.at 2.30AM for our drive to Gatwick.
Breakfast at Garfunkels at the airport, after a smooth check in.
Flight left on time at 6.15 and arrived in Naples at 10 local time.
The Autostrada was quiet, getting us to Amalfi in 1.5 hours. but it was very hot in the small bus. Ryan was feeling ill, so we had a short rest by the harbour in Amalfi, before taking the hotel bus for the drive up to the
Excelsior Grand Hotel, which is high above the town.
Once there, the view was (at least) as impressive as the brochures and website suggest, with a stunning vista over the Bay of Salerno, Amalfi and the surrounding area.
Our rooms were clean, spacious, if a little spartan, but being on the end of the patio area, where perfectly positioned for a family of 4.
The hotel Pool was a good size and a welcome respite from the hot sun.
Dinner on our first night was very good, with everyone enjoying sitting on the hotel balcony overlooking Amalfi as the sun dipped into the Med.
Sat 9th - Amalfi
The hotel provided a good buffet breakfast, with plenty of choice, although not the Egg and Bacon some Brits might require (this isn't the Costa Brava).
For our first full day, we took the hotel's courtesy bus to Amalfi town centre.
It dropped us on the harbour front and we walked through the arch into the main square, looking at the Duomo's impressive staircase and exterior.
We drank from the impressive fountain (cold and fresh) and ate delicious Italian ice creams and then walked up Amalfi's tiny streets, looking at the shops and the mix of glamourous Italians and stereotypical American tourists from two
cruise ships that we'd found moored offshore in the morning.
After a while we returned to the square and ventured down onto the public beach.
This was a huge disappointment. It was very crowded (2/3rds of the tiny beach area is private, leaving little space for the non-paying public). The sea was very warm, but it looked dirty and there was rubbish
floating in it, which may have come from the cruise ships. We stayed a couple of hours, had a beer and a light snack for lunch and then returned to the hotel.
The day rounded out with another good dinner and the moon on the Med was magical.
Sun 10th - Ravello
On Sunday, we took an open topped bus to the nearby town of Ravello - renowned for its remarkable views over the Amalfi coast.
It was hot when we got there, but a small breeze was felt in the square.
A religious service was in progress at the Duomo and the sound of the singing from inside was calming and evocative.
After a little shopping for gifts for relatives, we walked through the winding paths and streets to Ravello to Villa Cimbrone and its gardens.
From here we marvelled at the stunning views from Terraza Infinite - An aptly named place, with a precipitous drop to the valley below.
We enjoyed a rather expensive drink in the tea garden next to the Terraza (mostly for the shade afforded by the main trees here) and then wandered back through the garden to the villa and then
back to town where we had another drink and a snack lunch before exploring a few more backstreets and returning to Amalfi on the open topped bus.
Ravello was a lovely little town and the Villa Cimbrone's views gardens and grounds were impressive, but I hadn't felt well all day, perhaps drinking too little water, so I probably didn't get the
most from it.