Italy Trip: Another Scrap With Friction

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Jul 31st, 2014, 12:56 PM
  #21
 
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I keep checking and you haven't continued your story! Please!!!
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Jul 31st, 2014, 02:01 PM
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Carfree, enjoyed the start of your TR! Please do continue...
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Jul 31st, 2014, 03:55 PM
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Please come back with more carfree! I ate all the Italian cookies but I can get more.
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Jul 31st, 2014, 04:25 PM
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I HATE it when this happens.
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Aug 1st, 2014, 12:33 AM
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"bigger wine glasses further south"

'tis true

"Correct glasses for the wine", my @@@@
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Aug 1st, 2014, 04:03 AM
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Hoping for more!
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Aug 1st, 2014, 06:47 AM
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carfree, please continue your trip report. I have some questions about Salerno and I would appreciate having your imput. Deborah
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Aug 1st, 2014, 09:59 AM
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Rats! This looks like fun--where are you, carfree??
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Aug 1st, 2014, 10:25 AM
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Carfree, you are among friends, unlike the variously named person who habitually ruins things around here. Just remember your own opening line, "...No battle plan survives contact with the enemy". You now have the advantage of knowing who that is here. The words will sound hollow, indeed, until you return.
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Aug 1st, 2014, 11:54 AM
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Aug 1st, 2014, 12:48 PM
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The contrarian has been quiet for a couple of days. I wonder if she's worn out another screen name...
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Aug 1st, 2014, 01:58 PM
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I'm surprised Debbie Downer has lasted this long with her current screen name.
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Aug 3rd, 2014, 06:10 AM
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Note: The title was supposed to be "Another Scrape With Friction" but lousy-typist-friction got me.

Amalfi

As I said, we were debating whether to stay in Amalfi or Positano. After doing a linear regression analysis and solving several sets of simultaneous differential equations, we chose Amalfi. Actually, it was simpler than that. We wanted to go to Amalfi, Positano and Ravello and Amalfi was in the middle and has the best transportation connections

It was fairly hot when we landed at Amalfi, and I felt a bit queasy in the stomach. Probably just an after effect of the bouncy ferry ride, I thought. We set off to find the hotel, the Floridiana. We had a map, one of the 800 or so that I had made off google so that there would be minimal finding-the-hotel friction. (Did I mention that I put slightly more planning into a two week vacation that Eisenhower put into D-Day?) Even with the address and map(s), we weren't able to find it. There strangely was no a street view of the place on google, so we didn't know what we were looking for. It took us quite a while to find because it was not visible from the main street. It was off a small, unpromising alleyway. Someone had erected scaffolding right at the alley, so the first four times we passed by we missed the small hotel sign pointing down the alley.

The Floridiana doesn't seem very encouraging as you walk down the small alley and up a lot of steps. But it turned out to be very nice hotel. The Floridiana has an excellent location (once you find it) just off the main piazza. The owners obviously take a lot of pride in the place and everything is just so. The was room was basic+ but nice and reasonable size. The bathroom was OK, but the shower unit was small with Lucite curved doors that you had to slide open to get out. After a shower, I always felt like Derek trying to get out of the giant pod in "Spinal Tap". They serve a nice breakfast in a beautifully newly painted and decorated room that made you feel like you were in a fancy palazzo. Most of all, the owner Agnesi was an extremely congenial and helpful host. It is the perfect model of a homey hotel with lots of local ambience. And we could have avoided the "can't-find-the-hotel friction" since they'll pick you up at the ferry and bring your luggage.

Our plan was to drop our bags immediately and to head off to Ravello for the afternoon and maybe walk back via Atrani. We crammed into a bus for the ride up. The operative word is "crammed", since you feel like a human sardine. We started off and learned the answer to one of life's mysteries. Why does the map show that the ride is only 8 km, yet the bus schedule says it takes 40 minutes? The general answer is traffic and the specific answer is that the road is too narrow to handle busses passing each other. Every time we met one, we had to stop and wait for it to go by or to slowly, gently ease through. On one occasion, the mirror on our bus passed within an inch of the opposite bus. Not a proverbial inch. An actual inch.

The moment you step off the bus in Ravello (actually just outside the town) you are at a railing with a magnificent view. Unlike the views from Amalfi and Positano where all you can really see is the water, the views from Ravello give you the whole coast line. The view disappears when you walk through the tunnel into town. There is a fairly nice sedate square, a church which is just barely worth visiting and a view of the hills behind Ravello on the other side. The town has a few little streets and shops to walk around, but Ravello is quite small. We started heading down the hill toward Villa Cimbone, but it was much more of a walk than we expected. Jet lag and heat were setting in and we gave up on Villa Cimbone and any thought of walking all the way down to Atrani.

We returned to the bus stop outside the tunnel. There were already 15 people lined up. With 20 minutes until next bus, we sat on a bench and looked out over the view. A few minutes later I looked back over my shoulder and saw that the queue now stretched a long way and it was uncertain whether we would be able to get a place on the bus, meaning that we would have to wait an hour and a half for the next. We hustled over to the line, which was now hopelessly long. Fortunately, a taxi driver came over and offered to take a group of 7 back to Amalfi for 70 euros. We volunteered immediately and within a few moments, he had his 7, and we were riding back in air conditioned comfort. Taxis are perhaps a traveler's best friction smoother. On the other hand, this trip cured us of bus travel, which would have unfortunate consequences the next day.

We returned and did a bit of Amalfi exploring. It's a pleasant town that is easy to walk with a couple of nice squares and a good harbor front strolling area. Although it was basically a tourist town, it felt like a real place. The shops had the usual tourist kitch with lemon motifs everywhere, but there were a few with decent stuff. In particular, there were some nice stores selling locally made paper products. The duomo is the only major sight, but there are some oddities to see. There are these bizarre miniature villages located at various places in town. Amalfi was once a major sea power, and there is a life-size mock up of one of older ships, but it is not out in plain sight. As you walk up the road toward Atrani, keep looking left it is in the courtyard of a building just before leaving the town. Overall, Amalfi gets thumbs up short stay.

After resting up and cooling off at the hotel, we trotted off to dinner at the well-known A Paranza in Atrani. I had read how to best walk to Atrani in several guidebooks, but our hotelier gave us a different route. We walked toward the end of Atrani where thee is a big whitewashed tunnel. You go through that until it empties out on to the road. You cross the road and walk through the patio seating area of a restaurant. This is the key - restaurant puts tables out there but they don't own it. Its public property. After walking through the patio you come to place where the walkway splits, one path going upward and the other downward. We went upward, but soon discovered that I should have Costanza-ed it and done the opposite of what I though best. The upward path takes you to the roadway and the down path to the town. From the roadway, we found another flight of steps down into Atrani, which by 8:00 was completely dead, not that there was much to die.

We easily found the restaurant, as it is on the main drag. The owner of Floridiana is a friend the A Paranza owner, and she suggested that we mention where we were staying and let him pick the first course for us. My wife enjoyed her dinner but I found it so-so at best. My main course was rather tasteless plain grilled fish. I chose the plain fish because my stomach had started to act up a bit more.

We strolled back the way we had come and walked around the town and harbor a bit before heading to the hotel. We were looking forward to visiting Positano the next day. So far so good. Friction had reared its ugly head but we had beaten it back and it was well under control. However, tomorrow was another day.
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Aug 3rd, 2014, 06:40 AM
  #34
 
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Following along...we head to the AC next year and am sure we will encounter a bit of friction. I sense we might hear about a bit more friction on your trip....hmmmm, I'll wait and see.
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Aug 3rd, 2014, 06:51 AM
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Glad I have caught up with this. Great trip report. I had an extremely friction-filled trip to the Amalfi coast several years ago so I am waiting for the gory details to see how they compare.
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Aug 3rd, 2014, 08:29 AM
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Join the bus ride club, carfree! Glad you were able to catch a cab. We gave our bus driver an ovation after a ride from Sorrento to Amalfi that took 1.5 hours!
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Aug 3rd, 2014, 08:35 AM
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carfree, so glad you came back. Waiting to hear more...
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Aug 3rd, 2014, 08:45 AM
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Just joining the fun on this trip report and looking forward to more.
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Aug 3rd, 2014, 10:25 AM
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I hope you got back to Ravello and Villa Cimbrone.
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Aug 3rd, 2014, 11:02 AM
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Such a good start. I'm along for the ride and anxious to hear about all the friction. The Amalfi coast is on out radar.
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