Amalfi Coast delights


Without a car, we decided to splurge on a driver to take us to our accommodation in Positano, via Pompeii, so that we could do some exploring and know our belongings were safe and we didn’t need to carry them to and fro and store them who knew where. After exploring many review sites, we contacted Taxi5 Positano and arranged to be picked up from our hotel in Naples. We were very pleased to be picked up by Umberto in his lovely air-conditioned Mercedes. He was very friendly and asked what our plans were, before driving to Pompeii where we were dropped right near the entrance to the ruins, with clear instructions about when and where we would find him after our explorations. We gave ourselves 2.5 hours to explore what we could of the crowded streets of Pompeii, but as it was a hot day and the crowds were quite intense, this was enough of a taster, but we’d love to return for a more leisurely look around. By the time we met Umberto again, it was wonderful to be able to sit in the cool of the car again. Because of fires on the coastal road, he suggested that we drive up over the top towards Ravello and then on to Positano. We were happy with this, as I wanted to visit Ravello, and Umberto phoned ahead to organise a lunch table for us as well, at the Garden Restaurant – we had no idea what we were in for, but sat back and relaxed. On our way up the mountain road, we pulled over to enjoy views back towards Pompeii and MT Vesuvius, and also to see the most enormous lemons! Umberto gave us plenty of information about the area and some history as well. He was informative without being like and over zealous tour guide. Dropping us off at the restaurant, he gave us another 2 hours to enjoy lunch plus explore a little of the beautiful town of Ravello. By calling ahead, we had secured the most amazing table overlooking the cliff side right down to the coastline. Lunch was beautifully done and we enjoyed the amazing views. We walked off our dinner wandering around the township and found and ATM to get some more cash in order to pay our driver for the extra stopping time. (!) Again, Umberto was waiting for us as pre arranged – we were sure he had a whole lot of freshly ironed shirts stored in his car, as every time he met us he looked fresh and unrumpled, despite the heat of the day. We drove on down the mountainside, stopping in Amalfi to enjoy a gelato and have a short wander around this town also. We finally made it to our destination by around 4pm, so it had been a very long and full day, and we were happy to pay the additional costs incurred over and above the originally agreed fare, (quote was for €100 for the day and then €35 per hour of waiting) as we felt that we’d been well looked after and had been able to spend time in places that we wanted to.

Our accommodation in Positano was at La Fenice a lovely B&B with a private beach and pool, overlooking the amazing coastline. We loved our stay here, and enjoyed just relaxing by the pool or wandering into the lovely town of Positano. We ventured down the hundreds of stairs to the private beach once, but decided that it wasn’t really worth the effort, especially as you had to climb all the way back up again!

The pool area was lovely to relax in, and we were served lunch there as well if we wanted to. Breakfasts were served across the road in the upper terrace and there was always a good selection. The owners work hard to provide a wonderful stay for their guests and make some great suggestions regarding sightseeing and dinner options. One night we were picked up and driven high above the town for an amazing dinner. The views down over the almost sheer cliff were worth the hair raising trip up. We wish we had stayed longer here in Positano but we were booked to head to Capri as this had been recommended to us as a must see destination… I guess everyone has different experiences, and we would rather have stayed on in Positano with its laid back vibe than our time in Capri, which was over-run with tourists and high end expensive boutiques.

Capri was definitely an experience, the most breathtaking was just getting from the port to Anacapri, where we were staying. The road is mind blowing – narrow and winding and so steep you wonder why you don’t hear of buses falling off into the sea! We had visions of staying in a B&B that had sea views down the cliff, but I got it wrong and we were in a little suburban area. It was lovely and quiet where we were, away from the bustle of the tourist areas, but not what I was expecting. Villa Ceselle was a lovely place and the room was large and airy, the grounds well kept and breakfasts well presented. It has a sister hotel, which we visited to enjoy the pool and sunset at dinner.

We managed to walk most places we needed to go and the local bus service took us to other places for a very reasonable cost. Because the weather was a bit rough, we had heard that the Blue Grotto was closed, so arranged to do an ‘around the island’ tour on a boat. This was a fantastic experience and definitely a highlight of our time on Capri. Our driver gave us a great tour with plenty of information about the different aspects of the island, and we got to see the island’s sheer cliffs from the sea which gave us a very good perspective. We nosed into a number of grottos around the island, and jumped into the sea to swim through an archway the boat couldn’t get through. We believe that we got a much better experience than if we had done the Blue Grotto, as we heard others saying how rushed and tight their time there was.

Our experience told us we’d love to return to this part of Italy again, to spend more time on the Amalfi Coast, exploring more of the little villages without rushing. We’d stay at La Fenice in Positano again, and maybe some of the other towns we didn’t get to see like Sorrento. The people, the food, the scenery, it was magical!

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