Of course, at the first opportunity, I jumped on the crowded local bus to the Amalfi Coast to visit my favourite town – Amalfi. The trip from Sorrento on a Saturday morning took 1hr 40mins but the time passes so quickly as the views are breathtaking – literally. When the bus rounds a corner on that narrow road built into the cliff sometimes you have to remind yourself to breathe as you stare down at the 200m drop below.
I arrived mid-morning and headed straight to La Dolceria dell Antico Portico to visit some our italian friends whom we’ve (mum, dad and I) come to know over our many visits in the past. La Dolceria is a hole in the wall ‘dessert house’ and in my opinion it leaves any French patisserie for dead (I know, big call!). After a quick catch up in my broken Italian, I did a lap of the town (there is really only one main street), poked my head inside the Duomo (huge church) in the centre, bought a hat, then headed down to my favourite beach club, Marina Grande, to hire a sun bed, umbrella and towel and jump in the crystal clear water. It was another hot day and the water temperature was perfect.
After a hectic morning (yeah right!) I was ready for lunch upstairs at the restaurant at the beach club, and I was quickly recognised by the owner, Gianpaolo who proceeded to serve me and give me drinks on the house. After two glasses of white wine and the best Linguine alla Scolglio (pasta with clams, prawns, scampi and muscles) on the coast, I headed back down to the beach for an afternoon of italian study, swimming and relaxation.
Of course Gianpaolo was never too far away and brought some friends over to introduce to me. They “have a boat and like to make a party”… im sure they would. As it turns out, every second guy seems to have a boat and like to make a party over here. “Thanks but no thanks, i’m returning to Sorrento this afternoon” I say in Italian.
I arrived back in Sorrento at around 7pm Saturday night, had a quick shower then headed out to a wine and tapas bar id heard about in a small narrow street in the centre of town. Here I worked my way through 4 different wines of the region, each coupled with a plate of Italian tapas. Luigi, the owner is great and only speaks italian with me so I can practise.
On my way home, I grabbed a gelato and wandered back down Corso Italia to my home, weaving my way through the hundreds of people – tourists and locals, strolling through the streets. Daniele, the local night club owner whom I’d met the day before in a cafe, spotted me and dragged me down to his nightclub in the square so I could meet his girlfriend Melania, have a quick drink then go home, which I did. While I was there the local police came in to see Daniele, just to say hello (he says), and they said they recognised me. When I asked why, Daniele said that they see me in the morning going running. Two observations – 1) as mentioned before: you exercise, you’re an alien and easy to spot. And 2) I feel this town is deceptively small, Italians certainly like to gossip!!!
Ciao for now. The day has fined up after an early morning storm so im off for a long walk to Sant’ Agnello, the next along from Sorrento where I hear there is an amazingputeca,like a salumeria, but with more variety… again my afternoon revolves around food!