Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Amalfi Coast and Pompeii

The Coast is very mountainous with one narrow and windy road along it. While it isn’t very long it is very, very slow. The road wasn’t busy but corners needed to be taken with caution, whether from the local habit of wandering over the centre line on corners (or anywhere else for that matter) to the possibility of meeting a truck or bus. On some of the tighter corners queues formed while vehicles carefully maneuvered in turn. Though the scenery is spectacular there are few places where you can stop and enjoy it and many of those were packed with cars. Not sure where all the people were, though they may have been in the houses and hotels along the route. In the peak summer season this road would be impossible.

The water is beautiful and clear and we managed a swim at Maiori. Warm, deep, perfect. And a pastry and coffee to finish off with afterwards.

The busiest town along the coast is probably Positano. We did manage to drive down through the town but it was hard work with hundreds of tourists walking along the road, tourist shops and restaurants everywhere. A pretty town but too touristy for us. No doubt a nightmare in the high season.

The only way to recharge batteries ...

Vesuvius - the cause of the problems
Several people had recommended going to Herculaneum instead of Pompeii. Though much smaller, it would be quieter and more relaxing. In the end we decided to brave Pompeii so we could tick off the best site and it was closer to us too. As it turned out it was relatively quiet so we found a cheap car park in the town close by, fuelled up on a coffee and pastry on a back street with the locals, then proceeded to spend the next three hours wandering around the amazing ruins.  They are huge! I guess it is what we should have expected given it was a city.

In certain areas there is a lot of excavation going on including a lot of restoration. Many had new roofs to protect the wall paintings and mosaics. We both really enjoyed it and would have spent longer had our parking not been running out.

More money into the meter, more coffee and pastries and we concluded a successful day out, though we then decided to take the “scenic” route home avoiding the motorways. Bad choice. Continuous built up areas meant a very slow and unattractive crawl home.

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