Amalfi coast, Capri & Pompei
On the morning of Wednesday 13th October we awoke to a low mist that had descended on Agira. It was to be our last day on Sicily as we needed to get back to the mainland and drive to Naples to meet Jeremy and Harvinder who would be arriving on Thursday.
We had come to Agira to try and find a company called 3G Web who stocked an Alfa Awus 036H network card I was interested in buying which would hopefully allow us to boost our wifi range and allow us to connect to the internet more easily. Their website gave an address which turned out to be a block of residential flats. Of the six entry buzzers, five were marked with names, none of which said 3G Web. I called their telephone number and spoke to a man who understood that I was the Englishman who had emailed him some days earlier. Unfortunately he did not speak much English and I was unable to get his flat number from him. By now I was getting frustrated with how difficult everything seemed to be and was about to give up. We stopped at a petrol station and Joy suggested asking there. The assistant spoke some English and he called the telephone number we had. It turned out the address on the website was his personal address but following the help from the petrol station we now had the office address too. Minutes later we had arrived at the office and purchased the network card as well as a higher power antenna.
Finally we left Agira and headed straight for Messina to catch our ferry back to the mainland. We were greeted by heavy rain on our arrival which caused a mud slide which resulted in us sitting in a traffic jam for over an hour. Progress was really slow and that evening we had only made it as far as a layby on the motorway.
Thursday morning we pressed on to Sorrento, the weather was much improved and the coastline very pretty. We had planned to stay at Camping Santa Fortunata for a couple of nights but when we arrived they informed us that were closing for the season the following day and we could therefore only stay one night. This was contrary to information they had given me by email earlier in the year and rather than have to keep moving we decided instead to check into another campsite even closer to the town centre, Camping nube d’Argento. In the afternoon we headed out to Naples airport to collect Jeremy and Harvinder before returning to the campsite, via an Auchen supermarket for supplies.
Friday morning we walked into town to the port and boarded a ferry to Capri. On board was a man selling spaces on a guided tour of the island and after a quick discussion we all agreed to book 4 spaces. Once on Capri a minibus was there to take us around various locations on the island. The streets were extremely narrow and I was pleasantly surprised at how good the driver was, certainly much better than some of the awful driving we had experienced in Italy thus far. The guide gave us lots of information about every location we visited and even suggested the best places to eat for lunch. The tour price included a ticket for the cable car back down to the port and once the tour was over Joy and I headed back so that we could catch up with some laundry in Sorrento. Jeremy and Harvinder caught the last ferry back and by the time they had returned to the campsite Joy and I had finished washing and drying our clothes. We had even managed to find an unsecured internet signal at the launderette which allowed us to catch up with some emails whilst the clothes were being washed.
On Saturday we caught a bus into Amalfi and then another bus to Ravello. The majority of our time was spent visiting Villa Cimbrone which overlooked the sea and had beautiful gardens. A plaque explained that Greta Garbo had stayed here when trying to escape Hollywood.
Once back in Sorrento we decided to eat out. After an enjoyable meal we decided to carry on to a bar or two to have a drink and celebrate Jeremy’s birthday. Since we had 2 Americans in the group we decided to start in the American Bar. On entry the sight that greeted us somewhat surprised us. The place was full of German teenage girls who did not seem old enough to be drinking. The bar also had karaoke and the German girls enjoyed getting up on stage and singing songs from before they were born……..BADLY! Jeremy remarked that he felt like he was in Kintergarten but Harvinder and I quite enjoyed watching these cute teenagers, even if our ears were being punished by the noises they were making. We agreed to leave and check out another bar. Local advice recommended the piano bar which seemed like a pretty relaxed place. A man was playing piano which added to the laid back ambience. After a couple of drinks we decided to head back to the campsite though I think Harvinder was quite keen to stay up all night and party.
Sunday the weather was again looking good and so we caught the bus again to Amalfi where we spent an hour or two exploring the town. We then walked along the coast road to Atrani which is a much smaller town before returning by foot to Amalfi. To end the day we decided to catch a bus to Positano to explore the narrow streets before ending our visit with a drink at a bar overlooking the sea. Once the sun had set we caught the bus back to Sorrento.
On Monday we left Sorrento and headed for Pompei. Our campsite was Camping Zeus, located just metres from the main entrance to the Pompei archaeological site. Joy and I spent the rest of the day relaxing which Jeremy and Harvinder explored the town of Pompei. On their return they seemed impressed with the cathedral and with a local restaurant that had given them free wifi and free meloncello which they claimed tasted better than lemoncello.
We decided to spend Tuesday visiting Mount Vesuvius. The weather was lousy as we boarded a coach which would take us most of the way up. With no chance of getting decent photographs I decided to return early. The others stayed a little longer, catching a later bus and then exploring the town again. In the evening we all decided to eat out at the restaurant Jeremy and Harvinder had found the day before. Joy and I took our laptops to make use of the free wifi. The meals were well priced and the service very friendly. More free meloncello was given to us and I had to agree that I preferred it to lemoncello. This would be the last night for Harvinder who was heading to Rome the following day for a flight to Portugal where he would spend a few days.
Harvinder was up early Wednesday to make sure he maximised his time at the Pompei ruins before leaving for Rome mid-afternoon. The rest of us explored the ruins at a more leisurely pace. The scale of the ruins was impressive and the audio guide very helpful. Under normal circumstances I think I would have been even more impressed with Pompei but I had seen so many ruins and ancient sites over the last few weeks that I think I was either becoming blasé about them or suffering from some sort of history fatigue.
For our final night together Jeremy very kindly treated Joy and I to a meal out. We found a place close to the campsite which looked good even though they did not seem to have any customers. After an enjoyable meal it was time to return to the campsite.
On Thursday morning we packed the tent away for the very last time and headed for Naples. Parking was hard to find and so I dropped Joy and Jeremy off at the archaeological museum and agreed to collect them a few hours later. Once we met up again outside the museum it was time to head to the airport where we said our goodbyes to Jeremy. With a few hours of daylight still remaining Joy and I headed for Rome, our intended destination being an Area Attrazata opposite Tor Di Valle train station.