The Amalfi Coast

Cameron and I were lucky enough to spend an entire week at the Amalfi Coast - and boy do you need that amount of time there, at a minimum. The Amalfi Coast is teeming with tourists from all over the world who come to experience the true Italian culture, unbelievable scenic views and stunning coastal villages. I’m not sure I will be able to put into words just how incredibly beautiful this place is - but I am certainly going to try.

A Home Away From Home

During our first four nights at the Amalfi Coast, we stayed in a small coastal town called Atrani, situated only a 5-minute walk from Amalfi’s square. The ultimate highlight of our trip was the charming B&B we stayed in, owned by an adorable senior Italian couple named Pino and Pina. Pino was dumbfounded by the amount of bags we were lugging around Italy, and much to our embarrassment, we were profusely sweating and thirsty when we arrived, having climbed hundreds of steps to get to the B&B (apparently Italian’s don’t ‘do’ elevators). He greeted us with a kind smile and hug (bless) and offered us a refreshing red orange juice on our arrival (a drink that soon became an Italian favourite of ours), which seemed to help our heart rates return to normal.

Our seaside view from the bedroom was spectacularly, breathtakingly, captivatingly, unreal! Pino woke us each morning, very proudly pushing a service trolley full of delicious breakfast goodies to our private balcony so we could eat overlooking the shimming Italian ocean and watch the sun rise over the hills. We were spoilt with freshly baked croissants, a variety of yogurts, organic fruits, an assortment of delicious home baked cakes by Pina, juices, coffee and tea. Pino would pop his head over from his own balcony calling, “Riana, would you like another tea?” Let’s just say he got to know us very well.

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Ravishing Ravello

After a blissful first night’s sleep in Atrani, we spent our first full day exploring Amalfi before heading to the picturesque town Ravello. We had lunch in a fairly well hidden garden restaurant with exclusive views of the coast – in fact, we almost had the restaurant to ourselves. The town was small but sweet, full of boutique shops and Italian eateries. We also discovered Ravello’s most beautiful church, which I vowed would be the place I get married in one day.

Somehow, we managed to take a wrong turn when venturing back to Atrani, resulting in us having to climb an extra hundred or so steps up-hill (a maxi dress, heeled sandals and the height of the Italian sun equals a VERY unimpressed Riana), but we met a lovely English couple in their early twenties who helped us find our path again. The views from the walk really were indescribable, and watching Cameron scream like a girl as he was chased a majority of the way down the mountain by a tiny, vicious kitten made it all the more amusing (sorry Cam).

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Path of the Gods

The next day we hiked the well-known trail ‘Path of the Gods’, a personal favourite experience of mine. We caught a bus to the small town Bomerano, which marked the start of the trail. Embarrassingly, I became very travel sick on the winding mountain roads and had to vacate the bus for a short time to avoid vomiting on the rest of the tourists. I was still rather queasy by the time we reached Bomerano, so before setting off on our hike, we had lunch in a cute café alongside the couple we had met on the previous day in Ravello. I also purchased a bargain $5 jumper from a little boutique (do you know me?!), then off we went on our hike.

A walk that could be done in two hours took a lot longer, due to the amount of times we stopped to take photos. The panoramic views you see at every turn are astonishing. I highly, HIGHLY, recommended the Path of the Gods to anyone staying on the Amalfi Coast. We finished off the walk by heading to Positano, where we drank some well-deserved limoncello, I met an adorable fur friend and we sunbathed for the rest of the afternoon.

We saw some different ‘sorts’ of views on the beach of Positano. Much to my disgust, one man stripped completely naked beside us (we saw e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g), another helped his young son hold his willy as he urinated next to me (pretty sure it wasn’t the sea water spraying us) and another couple were practically making a baby in front of us. Despite the ludicrous manners of Positano’s locals, we had an awesome time. We finished the day with a scenic boat ride back to Amalfi. Perfection!

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Doctor Doctor

We had planned on visiting Salreno the next day, but I soon realised we hadn’t taken a trip the emergency room yet. So, in typical Riana fashion, I decided one was due (I didn’t really do it on purpose, promise).

Whilst tucking into a delicious Italian salad, a wedge of food became nicely lodged in my throat. After about 30-minutes of anxiously waiting it out, I convinced Cameron 'this-was-an-emergency', and so we went on a hunt for the nearest hospital. This proved difficult in a foreign country where no one understands my bazaar condition (seriously, whose throat spasms whenever it feels like it?), but finally a group of kind pharmacists hailed down a cab full of unimpressed American holidaymakers and we were soon en route to the hospital.

Finally we reached the emergency room, but on first impression, we were no better-off than in the cab of grouchy yanks. It looked as though we had been dropped off at one of those mental wards you see in a horror movie, home to the possessed Antagonist. You know; the chilling bare rooms, old white paint peeling from the walls, broken grey hospital beds. GET-ME-OUT! I don’t know who was most scared, Cameron or me. I was jabbed with a cannula (“is that needle sterile?!”) and injected with a muscle relaxant drug. Luckily, the ol’ Italian doc seemed to know his stuff, and within a few minutes I began to feel some relief in my throat. After about 45-minutes in the hospital, we were free to leave. We were pleased to get out of there, but even more pleasantly surprised we didn’t have to pay a cent. That’s right, we are expecting a hefty fee from the ordeal, but surprisingly we walked out not a penny poorer. Not even the cab driver wanted to charge us on the way there. He must have felt sorry for me, unlike the Americans.

Cameron tried to convince me I hadn’t ruined the day (thanks babe), but the majority of day had kind of disappeared. My bad. We went to the beach where we soaked up the last of the sun. Safe to say Cameron kept a close eye on me with every mouthful I ate on the rest of the trip. And note, we did end up visiting Salreno the following day, but I wouldn’t recommend it - pretty boring!

Mandatory Medical Joke
Yesterday I accidentally swallowed some food coloring. The doctor says I'm OK, but I feel like I've dyed a little inside.

Isle of Capri & Sorrento

A much fonder memory I have of the Amalfi Coast was a day trip to the Isle of Capri. We set our alarms early and took a boat to the island. I swear I caught a fly as we docked. Our mouths dropped at the sight of the stunning bay and bustling cobblestone town. We followed the mighty crowd toward a small side street where we discovered signs pointing toward the main town.

We started along the walk oblivious to the lengthy climb we had ahead of us. Bless the oldies who were huffing and puffing on the sidewalk, and the poor young girl sucking at her asthma pump like it was dummy (“would it be weird if I ask her for a puff?”). By the time we got to the top, we were out of breath, sweaty, and ready for a big feed.

It was all worth it once we got there, and yes, the pensioners and asthmatics made it too. The views were panoramic and spectacular of rich blue seas and olive hills. The shops weren’t all that bad either (THEY WERE INCREDIBLE).  We could have wandered around for hours on end - in fact, we did. But we had planned to visit Sorrento in the late evening, so we eventually headed back to the port, but not without taking a few wrong turns along the way.

Sorrento was gorgeous too, another beautiful Italian coastal town of the Amalifi Coast. As the evening drew closer, we had dinner at a raving restaurant in the main square where we took in the very European spirit of Sorrento; live acoustic music wafting through the salty air as we drank wine and nibbled at garlic soaked olives. After dinner, we wandered the quaint maze-like roads filled with Italian street markets, before taking a bus back to Amalfi. The drive took over an hour and the cliff edge route was both intimidating and breathtaking. It was great to see a panoramic view of the Amafli Coast from a nighttime perspective though. I fell to sleep easy that night.

Please, if you ever go to the Amalfi Coast, take me with you.

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riana horner