I don’t know how many times we said that today (yesterday…I promise to get caught up on blogging!). It was really just a bizarr-o day. The plan was to rent scooters and drive the Amalfi Coast. But first a stop at the post office to mail yet another package home. (I have four flights in the next 10 days, so I don’t have a lot of leeway about carrying extra things around with me like I did when I was on a train.) I get to the post office and it appears to be closed with a sign on the door. In Italian, obviously. Thankfully a couple was also standing there and I asked them, is it closed? Yes, they said. Until November 25. I’m sorry, what? Oh yes, the post office closed from November 12-25. Just because. It boggles my mind that the only post office in a city can just close for 13 days. Ah, Europe.
So I went to MailBoxes Etc. and learned that I cannot mail limoncello home because US customs doesn’t like it. But they will send it as long as I understand there is a risk that it won’t make it. I really hope it makes it, only because there are other gifts in there (including my shot glasses). So, fingers crossed. He said it’s only 2-3 a year that get destroyed, but with my luck…
We then made our way down to the scooter rental place and the guy was not super excited about renting scooters to us. He asked if we’ve ever driven one before. No. A motorbike? No. Do you have any experience driving something like this? No. Then I don’t recommend you rent one, for your own security. Apparently in their “area” it is not safe for newbies. I didn’t want to chicken out, but he was seriously giving me pause. Mallory had only driven 4-wheelers (and a jet ski, which is less serious as you fall into water if you crash). So we talked about whether she could drive with me on it and we decided that we would give it a try with the understanding that it might not work (and we’d be out 15 euro a piece (because they wouldn’t let us try without executing the agreement first). Mallory got on and test drove like a champ. Then I got on and we were pulling out into the street when we went careening toward another scooter (with a lady sitting on it). We tipped the scooter before striking her, but down we went. Thankfully a guy was right there and pulled the scooter off of us. No real damage and no real injuries. But we scrapped the scooter idea! And, of course, didn’t tell the rental guy we had tipped. (Mallory was convinced I could’ve driven one on my own, but with my luck, I didn’t want to chance it!)
So off we went to the bus station to get our tickets to Amalfi. We were about to buy them when the lady selling them remembered that the road was closed to Amalfi, so we should only buy tickets to Positano. Um, ok. Positano it is! We were kind of relieved to hear that, because we wouldn’t have known that if we were on scooters and all, so who knows what kind of trouble we would’ve found ourselves in!
Once we made it to Positano we were dropped off at the top. I knew the Amalfi coast was all on cliffs, but I guess I didn’t consider that we would have to hike way, way, way down to get to/through the town. And, in this case, what goes down must go up. I was dreading it even as we were going down! Plus, after Mt. Vesuvius the day before, my legs were mad at me just going down. Great. We got to the Mediterranean and took some photos before deciding to get lunch. We went to a quick casual place and each got sandwiches. I got a Caprese, because I figured I should have something caprese at least once while in Italy! It was good!
After lunch we had an hour to get up to catch the bus and it took us almost an hour to get down (with stopping for photos and all), so I was adamant that we needed to get going. I knew I was going to be sucking air going up and didn’t want to miss the bus. Not gonna lie. It was awful. And at some point we found that we were climbing stairs (about 12,000 of them) and were not on the same stairs that we had taken to go down. Whatever, keep going up! Eventually we got up high enough that I was sure we hadn’t passed on the way down. There were no stores open right by us and no people. But down the road I saw a man talking to people inside a pizzeria. So I asked them where the bus stop was and we were just around the corner. I didn’t remember it because we were on the part of the road where we had still been in the bus! It only took 30 minutes, so we sat and waited. And waited. The bus was supposed to come at 2:45, but that came and went. Eventually we saw it, so we got up to cross the road to get on, but the bus drove right past. We were yelling and waving our arms, but he kept going. So we ran. And ran. And I almost got smooshed between the bus and the corner of a building as it turned the corner. Mallory got up to the front and banged on the bus, so he stopped. Seriously, who does that? It was so ridiculous, but I swear that bus didn’t stop where it was supposed to. And we had no choice but to get on that bus in order to make our other trains. It made me feel a little better when there was another runner about 10 minutes later!
We got back to Sorrento and Mallory went back to the store to get candy and I went to our hotel to get our bags and arrange a taxi. The taxi dropped us at the station and we got our Circumvesuviana tickets to Naples. We were early, so we sat and waited. And waited. It was less than one minute before the train was to leave and I thought it wasn’t there when I realized it had been there the whole time. It was on a different platform than the day before. We ran. Again. But again, we made it! Seriously, we were just sitting there twiddling our thumbs and the train was Right. There. Sigh.
Once we got to Naples we busted out of the train station in search of Pizzeria da Pellone, supposedly one of the best pizzeria’s in Naples. Naples is the home of Neapoltan, or Margherita, pizza, so I wanted to eat it in the location of its invention. I was not disappointed. Mallory asked if the pizzas were solo pizzas or if we should share. He said solo. He lied. It was ENORMOUS. Seriously, twice as big as my head. Ok, maybe one and a half times. It was delicious. It gave the place in Florence a run for its money. But we each took about half a pizza to go!
We had an uneventful train ride to Rome (probably the last train ride of this trip, what with all the flights coming up). We then took another train to the airport, because our hotel was near the airport and we figured it would be cheaper to get a cab from their rather than central Rome. We were probably right, but we could not have anticipated the run around just to get a cab. As we exited the terminal, there were men saying, taxi, taxi? So we said yes, told one where we needed to go, and he gave us a driver. The driver took us to his nondescript van, which was most certainly not a white Roman taxi cab. We got in and we were both wanting to ask how much, so I asked if he had a meter. He said no, it was flat agreement. Funny, I don’t recall entering into an agreement. We asked how much and he said 30 euro. And then we got out. We saw white cabs further down the road, but he was nice enough to direct us to where the cabs were that we wanted, though he said the cost would be the same.
We didn’t know exactly where he had pointed for us to go. It was dark and raining. So we just walked down to the row of cabs that he said were for Rome only. He was right. So we crossed some barriers and some lanes of traffic, not knowing how to get to the area where the cabs were that we needed. We found them and we got in and realized he wasn’t running a meter either. But he said the cost would be 20 euro. Super ridiculous for what was a 3km drive (though it seemed longer than that, but that’s what the map said when I booked it), but we really had no choice. The driver was very surly. But we made it to the hotel.
The hotel. It was so nice! Not 5-star or anything, but compared to many places I have stayed it, was really nice. It was too bad were there for like 8 hours! Mallory left at 5am and I left at 8:30am. We were not sad for the day to be over, but I was sad to see Mallory go. We had a great time!! And she even fixed my bag for me. She told me how to properly make sure it’s fitted to me and it made a WORLD of difference. Now that I’m basically done trekking around with it! Better late than never! On to Greece!