Thursday, December 1, 2011

2011 Amalfi Coast Adventures: My last live post from Italy . . . what a fabulous trip it was!

Tomorrow I leave my beautiful home away from home town of Praiano and head north to Rome where I will spend the night before my return flight home.  I have arranged a car service to pick me up in Praiano to take me to Salerno where I will catch a direct train to Rome.

For my final night in Italy, I’m lucky to be able to meet fellow Slow Traveler and blogging friend, Sandra, for dinner (and maybe some prosecco).  It will be her first full day in her new home of Rome and I am very excited to meet her and hear all about her plans and may even do a little travel talk. J

It will be a full day and evening tomorrow with an early morning flight out so sadly this will be my final live post from Italy.

I am very happy to say that my return trip to Italy after nearly 4 years being away was everything I had hoped it would be and more. 

The small town of Praiano was the “perfect” place to base my 3 week stay here on the Amalfi Coast.  It was in close proximity to Positano, Amalfi and Ravello and was well serviced by the local Sita Bus transportation system, which allowed me to get around fairly easily.

The town is really small and there is not much going on at night except for the casual stroll down its main road and gathering at the local bar.  There is a family owned grocery store which I used to buy all of my staples for my apartment living.  Some days I woke up early so I can catch an early bus for my day’s sightseeing but there were many days that I woke up early just so I could watch the sun rise in the morning. 

My apartment was big, very functional and had the most beautiful ocean view along with the town of Positano and the island of Capri in the far distance.  The sunsets that the website boasts about are 100% accurate.  There was a very colorful almost mesmerizing sunset at least 99% of the time during my stay and from my apartment terrace and windows I was able to witness the sun setting in all its glory.

The things I will miss about my home away from home here in Praiano:  the bells of San Gennaro, the passing horns of the Sita Bus, Vespas and cars.  Here on the Amalfi drivers have to toot their horns when rounding a blind curve to alert oncoming drivers of your approach which I think gives you the right of way.  I will also miss the locals here, especially the gatherings at the Bar del Sole and piazza.   I will even miss my neighbor who loved playing club music in the early evenings. J 

But most of all I will miss the way of life here.  People stroll down the road, stop to make conversation, passing motorists stop at Bar del Sole to feel the sun at its peak in the late afternoon.  Yes, the way of life here in Praiano is what I will miss the most (along with the beautiful sunsets and the people who live here). 

With the exception of maybe a couple of things, I was able to get to all of my “must sees and do’s” in, which I am very thankful for.  So what are the things that stood out for me on this trip:

- My return trip to the Isle of Capri (although not as magical as my first trip) was still wonderful.  The view at the top of Mt. Solaro, the beautiful tiles in the Church of St. Michelle and sitting in the piazza sipping on a glass of prosecco watching the sunset are all very memorable for me. 

- My day trip to Paestum was a definite highlight.  To see those well preserved Greek Temples and to wonder around the scavi site was amazing especially in the beautiful setting surrounding the site. 

- My day trip to Naples to see the beautiful Cloisters of Santa Chiara, the Naples National Archaeological museum and tasting an authentic Neapolitan pizza was also a trip highlight. 

- I also loved exploring around some of the other towns here such as the town of Amalfi, Maiori, Bomerano, Positano and Ravello. 

- I took in some interesting sites such as the boat ride to see the Emerald Grotto, the tour of the Paper Museum, seeing the beautiful gardens and views offered by Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo in Ravello.  And let’s not forget my adventurous hike on the Sentiero degli Dei (“Path of the Gods”) where I met a very special hiking buddy whom I will never forget.   

- All the wonderful Italians (and fellow travelers) I met during my stay here. The people at the grocery store and Bar del Sole, Chez Black, Gennaro, the tourist office lady, my neighbors, the people I met on the buses and trains and the Sita bus drivers (especially Dino) who skillfully drove the Amalfi roads without giving me motion sickness :).

- I visited so many wonderful churches on this trip, but the most special one of all is the one right here in Praiano.  The church of San Luca stands high up on the hills above the town.   It isn’t big and grand like some of the cathedrals I’ve visited but it has that “charm” quality like the churches I am fond of in Venice.  There are also several very beautiful paintings and a grand looking organ. It’s really the kind of church I would prefer to attend mass in. 

Here are some photos that I took:

Painting above the main altar (sorry it's a poor photo)

So today (my last full day in Amalfi) I treated myself to another wonderful lunch at my favorite restaurant, Chez Black.  I had another fabulous eggplant pizza, a glass of prosecco and a cup of gelato.  Then I took my last walk on the beach to bid Positano farewell (until hopefully next time).  From the bus stop at the top of the hill I took a photo of Praiano for also the last time.


My car service picks me up at 8:45 am tomorrow morning, so my apartment owners will come by to check me out around 8:00 am. 

One thing is certain, I have become so spoiled staying in one place for the entire 3 weeks and I have a feeling it won’t be the last time I will do this type of trip. 

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone for stopping by and reading my blog and for your wonderful comments.  I really appreciate reading them and am just sorry that I could not comment back as I would normally.  I do look forward to catching up with all of you when I return home. 

I want to thank Pauline Kenny, founder of Slow Travel, the Slow Travel Community and to all of my wonderful blogging friends for all of the inspiration and knowledge that I have learned to help make this trip the success that it was.  I also want to thank my wonderful sis and family, my good friends and my co-workers back home.

And as the sun sets here in Praiano, my 2011 Amalfi Coast Adventures also comes to a gracious end. Grazie Mille Italy for another fabulous time! I hope to see you again soon.

Ciao for now everyone . . .  I wonder where my dreams will take me to next. J


  1. Oh no = leaving so soon. I'm going to miss Positano, Amalfi and environs! Kidding aside, I'm so very glad you had a memorable trip. And what a great way to end it by seeing Sandra! Say hello for me and enjoy your time in Rome. Ciao!

  2. Hey girl, sounds like you had another trip of a lifetime!! :) I love that you stayed in Praiano for 3 weeks. Like you, I am hooked on that way of travel and have Slow Travel to thank for my conversion! I was drawn back to the Amalfi coast while reading your entry. I was only there for a couple nights a few years ago, but would love to return for a longer spell...really want to get down to Paestum area. My sister and family stayed in Agricento (or something like that...a place south of Salerno) last Feb and loved it.

    Jealous that you get to meet Sandra in Rome :), so cool that she has actually moved there.

    I am starting to think my blogging life is on permanent hiatus until I finish school. Makes sense that a Master's degree would be a ton of work, I realize, but am still finding my return to school more intense than I expected! Part of it is that am commuting with my husband, so have to get up at 6am...but on the flip side, my creative paper-writing juices don't flow until late in the day so am growing steadily more sleep deprived each day! Counting down to Christmas break!!

    But...had to pass along this article for you to check out when you have a chance:

    I wasn't at the concert myself, but evidently it was purplishous! :)

  3. Yup - sad that you are coming home - I'll miss the updates. What an adventure you've had this time out.

  4. Your trip just flew by! I'm going to miss reading about it; you had so many interesting experiences (and great photos.)

    Kathy, it was such a treat to meet you Friday; thank you again for dinner and such beautiful paper. I hope that we meet again (perhaps here in Italy! Or Vegas?!) I hope you had a comfortable journey home.

  5. Oh, Kathy, I know it is a bittersweet farewell you are paying to the Amalfi Coast. You have had such a wonderful trip, with many memorable adventures.

    Now to start planning the next trip . . .

  6. Hi Everyone, thanks so much for your comments ... I just arrived home and am doing the dreaded task of unpacking and laundry. :(

    It was such a wonderful trip and Italy was awesome as always. To all of you who have stopped by to read my blog and comment thank you so much I have really appreciated reading your comments and sharing Italy with you through my experiences and photos.

    Sandra, thank you again so much for taking me around to some of your favorite spots in Rome. It was great sharing a couple glasses of prosecco and great conversation with you on our walk and over dinner. Btw, great choice on the restaurant. Thank you again for leading me back to my hotel and I hope your long walk back home was very enjoyable. Yes, it would be great to see you again either here or in Vegas. :) Take care.

    Many thanks again to everyone.

  7. I've missed commenting back on my blog and I really wanted to comment back a lot.

    M, yes, I will miss Positano and the other towns too especially my home away from home of Praiano. Meeting Sandra was another great highlight to my trip. She is the first person on Slow Talk that I have actually met in person and she is such a sweet person and so knowledgeable. I loved seeing Rome through her eyes.

    Anne, so nice to hear from you. I can only imagine how busy you must be these days. But what meaningly busy it is studying for your Masters. I don't know where Agricento is but I thought Salerno was a nice town. I went there twice to catch my connecting trains to Paestum and Napoli and thought it looked like a nice place. Good luck on your papers. I was so lucky to be able to meet Sandra. She is such a sweet person and so smart. I loved hearing about her upcoming school, her plans for the upcoming months. She was so nice to take me around to some of her favorite places which I so appreciated. Enjoy your Christmas break.

    Jerry, thanks following my blog. Yes it was quite a nice adventure.

    Sandra, I forgot to mention in my previousl comments... you are very welcome. :) And don't forget, if you need more Claritin from Costco, I would be happy to mail you a few bottles. Thank you so much for taking me around, I really enjoyed the evening and company.

    Nancy, thanks so much. Yes, bitter sweet is right. I hope it won't be another 4 year before I return to Italy.

  8. Gosh, three weeks have just flown by. I've really enjoyed all your posts and photos; so glad you had such a fantastic return to magical Italy. Hope the long trip home goes smoothly!

  9. Hi Annie, thanks so much for your comments. I have really appreciated reading them a lot. So glad to be back home again though. The trip back home went surprisingly smooth with the exception of having to race through Schipol with only a 1 hour layover. It was stressful but on the good side, I didn't have to sit around for hours so racing through the airport was actually kind of worth it. And my luggage made it too. :)

    Thanks again so much for your comments and for liking my photos and posts.


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.