Monday, April 28, 2008

Aldo & Buster

I bet you really got your hopes up with this title that it would be about something other than Italy, right? Sorry to disappoint you, but truly I am soon coming to the end of our Italian Tales and then you will see more variety on here. Remember, this is my journal so I want to include a lot of stuff about the trip for those times when we cannot remember much in the years to come! That way it will be new all over again! And free too!

This is not an aerial view this is from the bus!

This post is about the Amalfi Coast. This trip was arranged for Jim and me by Robert and was a military tour group. Our guide was Aldo. A very vivacious and cute Italian who could really talk up a storm and told us so much about Naples, The Bay of Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento, Amalfi and the Isle of Capri. When he got done with that he told us about the customs and cultures of each of these places, and all about the topography, the vegetation, etc. etc. This guy could talk..let me tell you. He also had an uncle and a story for every hairpin turn of the jagged coastal mountain range we were attempting to "do" in a big tour bus. It was a pretty cool experience except for the fact that I was petrified most of the way. Several times when the turns were very sharp and steep Aldo would say, "It is so quiet in here, you are all praying aren't you?" How did he guess?

Across the aisle from us sat a gentleman and his family from Texas who took a particular liking to Jim. He also talked our ears off the entire time, in and out of the bus~ there was no escaping this guy. Meet Buster! This is a 70 year old guy, not a little boy and yes, that was his real name!!

We learned two things~maybe we really do prefer going on our own even though we would not have wanted to drive this coast line. More than 2,000 curves between Sorrento and Amalfi taking two painful hours pretty much settled that. We had gotten accustomed to driving with the kids' trusty Tom-Tom and we just preferred the quieter approach to touring. The tours can be fantastic but you just never know who will be sitting across the aisle from you. We were thankful the tour ended at 4:00 pm and not 10 days later.

Here are some of our pictures from the Amalfi Coast.

This is a little nativity scene that the people of Amalfi have constructed and it has a miniature of each building and home in the town. It is right along the very narrow road next to the cliff. What were they thinking? Who can dare to take their eyes off the road?

On the top of this crest is where we had to drive to go down the other side of this mountain. The roads are so narrow that tour buses can only go one way. They have areas where you sit on this cantilevered balcony waiting for your turn to go. All the tour buses that come here had beat up mirrors where they scrape other vehicles passing. City buses, delivery trucks, etc., are allowed in both directions. Baaaad idea! They have traffic people that radio ahead when it is safe to come up or down the hill. I am using the term "hill" very loosely.

Note the white castles up in the sky here. The natives say that when they die and go to heaven it will be just like another day in Amalfi's paradise. There are stairways from the top all the way down to the sea and people make the trek down and back up again everyday all their lives~even the very old ones! Impressive~but no desire to move here!

Can you say...scary? Think single wide trailer~that was us!

These places are built right into the cliff sidesSt. Andrea's Church in Amlafi
Oscar Wilde's Mrs. Windermere's Fan has been adapted into a movie starring
Scarlet Johansson, and Helen Hunt, A Good Woman, that was filmed here.
It came out in 2005 and is very good.

The Patron Saint of Amalfi is St. Andrew and he carries an X shaped cross
as his unique identity.

We made it safe and soundly back to the base and I was exhausted from stress. But it was one of those things that once it was over, it was awesome. I will liken it to jumping out of a plane, which incidently, I NEVER plan to do. So as far as I am concerned we have "done" Amalfi! It was great but ...I ain't goin' back!


Miss Jen said...

wow! This looks like a cool and fun place. Great photos. That ceiling in the church is too cool....(did you get the link about ceiling decorating I put on my blog?)

Bonnie said...

Yes, I got the link...very fun. I am already thinking about how you could do it in a cottage? You are right about running out of space to redesign..what to do? The ceiling~perfect solution.

Amalfi was great for all those more adventuresome than me. The views are so spectacular and the water so blue. Many of the houses have parking spaces on the roof where they keep their cars. Rent the movie A Good Woman, You'll like it!

Laura said...

I can't believe people live in homes right on a cliff---or so it seems! After reading your post, I realize I am not one for the group bus trip---I probably couldn't do this leg because of my carsickness. I would need a bag for all those turns! So, thanks for the pics. I don't think I will ever be able to get there!

The Christensons said...

gorgeous, but i think i'd be a nervous wreck if i had to live in one of those houses, wonder if any kids fall off of there! yikes! the pictures are amazing!