Monday, 21 June 2010

The Amalfi Coast

Stunning view of Amalfi Coast
Agropoli dinner with EC in distance A Paestum Temple
Paestum Vase
Andrew at Revello, Amalfi
Terraced gardens near Positano
Limoncello products for sale
Hi from Clare, The Amalfi Coast Sunday 20th June 2010 IT'S A SMALL WORLD Last Sunday Colin, Andrew and I left Palinuro and had a very enjoyable sail up the west coast of Italy to Agropoli. We were lucky enough to get one of the four free spots on the town wharf along with White Rose and Balvenie and so we stayed in Agropoli for three days. We were no sooner settled on the wharf when we heard someone calling out 'Eye Candy'. It was a couple we met in Sydney last Christmas when they were planning to pick their yacht up in the Med. It's a small world! THE PEOPLE OF AGROPOLI On Sunday evening we had pizza and a beer in the central plaza along with many of the locals. The place had a wonderful family atmosphere with children playing happily while parents, grandparents and friends chatted. It seems that Sunday night is the accepted time for socializing, the place was fairly jumping. The following day we went up to the medieval village and castle (built 500 AD) at the top of the town. Colin and Andrew did a pretty good job of interpreting the very proud and enthusiastic Italian guide at the castle, who waved his arms around speaking passionate Italian and ushered us through every open doorway Good thing we weren't in a hurry. We then had dinner at a restaurant in the medieval village perched high on the hill in view of the harbour, Eye Candy, the sea beyond and a wonderful sunset.

FAREWELL TO COLIN Unfortunately Col had to leave us on Tuesday morning and head back to England. We all caught the train to Naples early morning Wednesday. Andrew and I got out at the first stop (6 minutes away from Agropoli) to visit the ancient Greek city of Paestum. It is said to be the first Greek architecture in Italy and dates back to 6th century BC. It was very impressive with three temples in good condition and a comprehensive museum. We heard from Col later that his train trip to Naples for 6.5 Euros was pretty good. However he then caught a cab to the suburbs, the cab driver got lost twice (heard that one before) and the fare ended up at 70 Euros. JUST SETTLE DOWN WILL YOU? On Wednesday we sailed 25 miles to Amalfi. It was such a smooth ride I spent most of the time below doing the washing. I got our clothes dry before we reached Amalfi. However the sheets and towels were done at anchor outside Amalfi. The ferry wake was horrendous and the boat was rolling violently. Andrew and I were lurching around the clothes line on the bow like a couple of drunks. This is when a laundry would come in handy, but I haven't seen one since Sicily on the 2nd June. Every new town we come to we look firstly for supermarket, gas and laundry. WHAT A VIEW The Amalfi coast is spectacular with very steep cliffs and towns that seem to just hang on the cliff face. The narrow roads zig zag up the mountains and a three point turn is necessary for the busses to negotiate some of the tight corners. The driver blows his horn at every corner and then swings out onto the wrong side of the road to get around. The best fun is when two busses meet at a corner. The drivers are remarkably quiet and patient (can't possible be Italians) and just back up to let one go first. All the land is terraced and each level is joined by numerous stairways. You virtually can't walk anywhere without climbing stairs. The amount of rock work that has been undertaken over the years to gain level ground for building and planting crops is staggering. We went with White Rose and Balvenie on a 7 mile bus trip into the hills above Amalfi to the Byzantine town of Revello. Around this area are many exclusive Italian Villas with lush gardens and spectacular views of the Amalfi Coast. The well kept town square has an elevated Catholic Cathedral and when coming out from the church the view just about takes your breath away. A VERY BUSY DAY We came down from Revello and caught the bus with the Balvenie crew to the next town of Postano for lunch. It was an interesting bus ride as we got a close up look at the terraced farming and thousands of lemon trees that have been pruned to run along horizontal poles. This is the home of "Limoncello" and the lemons are huge. Like Amalfi, Postano has endless stairways and terraced land so more stair climbing was required. We moved the boat to Postano for the night hoping to get away from the swell which is caused largely by the numerous motor vessels in the area. It was a little better but we still rolled all night. THE ISLE OF CAPRI AT LAST Friday morning we sailed 17 miles to Capri. This is the third time we have been to Capri and so I was determined that this time we would go ashore. It has always been reported that the marina is expensive. We heard recently on the HF radio that a 50 plus foot yacht was charged 800 euros for one night at Capri. So we anchored out in very choppy water and took our dinghy ashore dodging the many day tripper boats and ferries. Capri to my horror was all stairs, my poor legs were screaming for mercy. We climbed to the central plaza which is located at the top of the hill. The view was great but Capri was a disappointment. It was very crowded, expensive and run down. The busses were standing room only, the queues were long and people were packed in so tightly, I thought they looked positively unsafe. We had lunch there, just so we could say 'we had lunch at Capri' but the bill was nearly twice the advertised price due to a number of unadvertised fees and charges. But not to worry, we have done it now. THE SUNNY MEDITERRANEAN We sailed 15 miles to the Island of Procida which is off the northern headland of Naples. We have strong westerly winds for the next few days and so we are tucked up here safely with White Rose and Balvenie. The conditions are very rollly, we even had our bottle of Limoncello thrown off the bench in the middle of the night. Andrew awoke to the sound of the bottle and glasses rolling across the floor. My night cap must have been bigger than his because I didn't hear a thing. Yesterday Andrew and I washed the boat with soap and scrubbed the deck. Last night we had thunder, lightning and torrential rain. Fortunately the rain was clean and so now our deck is sparkling. The weather is overcast and quite cool. We have even resorted to jackets at times. It has been raining again today and it is certainly not swimming weather. Let's hope it improves soon. Love Candy ---------- radio email processed by SailMail for information see: