We did this trip all wrong!

Old Mar 17th, 2004, 03:11 PM
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We did this trip all wrong!

We did this trip all wrong!

But it was so much fun, in spite of our ignoring so much really good advice.

Some of the things we did "wrongquot;

--We were (still are) a group of 10 friends traveling together, a very dangerous thing according to the nightmare travel companion threads.

--We went to the Amalfi Coast in February, in spite of weather warnings.

--We also went to Rome in February. Okay, the weather in Rome wasn't perfect--it snowed!

--We did only the sketchiest of planning for daily activities. That method accommodated the shoppers, the sightseers, the sleepers-in, and those who changed their minds and styles every day.

Some highlights, which may or may not be of any interest or assistance to anyone:

Feb. 23, 9:15 a.m.: Arrived FCO, met by a pre-arranged mini-coach for direct transfer to Sorrento Hotel Bristol. We never quite understood our driver's name, but I think it must have been Mario Andretti. (Many hotels in Sorrento are closed in February, but we were delighted with the Bristol--magnificent views from our balconies.)

Feb. 24: took Circumvesuviana to Pompeii, as per Walter's (paradiselost) instructions, which I had printed and stashed in my camera case. Selected licensed guide at the entrance (Luigi) for excellent tour of ruins and Villa dei Misteri.

Back on CV to Herculaneun, hired a van for trip to top of Vesuvius, where the temperature must have been at least 25 degrees colder. We knew, of course, that the last part of the trip to the actual crater must be accomplished on foot.

Bravely, we all started our assault on the summit. Unfortunately, courage deserted us quickly as the trail became ever steeper, and seven of us waited ignominiously huddled around a pot-bellied stove in the little gift shop/restaurant.

The three show-offs who made the climb reported magnificent views of fog.

Back down the mountain to Ercolano for lunch (about 4 p.m.) and CV back to Sorrento, where Mardi Gras celebration was in full swing--band playing, many children dressed in costume, teenagers having fun with Silly String and shaving foam.

Light dinner at recommended Tasso restaurant.

Feb. 25: Took ferry (hydrofoil not running) to Capri in beautiful cloudless weather. On the way over, decided to join Mario's tour group, which had consisted of just two other couples. Good move--the ubiquitous mini-coach took us up to Anacapri then down for lunch and exploring the little town.

Back to explore beautiful Sorrento and have dinner again at Tasso.

Feb. 26: up early for breakfast before taking our coach to Positano and our first view of the famous Amalfi Drive. Coach arrived. Surprise--no mini-coach this time. They had sent a full-sized bus (think Greyhound) for the 10 of us.

We rode, if not in style, in comfort.

Since the bus was obviously too large to travel Positano's bus route, we were met at La Madonnina just outside town by a van from the Posa Posa Hotel.

The Posa Posa was just right--about midway down the steep hill that is Positano, and practically new (re-opened as a hotel in 2002, after having been closed for 12 years

Our rooms (we were upgraded to junior suites) were very nice and roomy, bathrooms with jacuzzi tubs, best of all, big balconies with views of both the sea and the town. Cameras were clicking before we put down the bags.

Down the hill to the beach, had very good lunch at La Cambusa. Explored Positano, trekked back, dinner at Il Fornillo, very near Posa Posa.

No other tourists there (or anywhere else in Positano). When a birthday cake was delivered to group at next table, we sang Happy Birthday, and were rewarded with laughter, "grazies", and pieces of cake.

Seated at the other table in the room were a family with several children and one small dog.

Feb. 27: Off in mini-coach arranged by Posa Posa to Amalfi and Ravello. Beautiful, busy, happy day. There is no way words or a camera can properly describe the views along that road.

Back in time to board van to La Tagliata (restaurant in Montepertuso, about a gazillion miles straight up above Positano). We chose this restaurant because Angelo at Posa Posa said "it's fun there."

Was it ever! Many pitchers of wine, much food served family style. When we raved about the pasta, the owner brought Mama out of the kitchen to take a bow.

Feb. 28: Breakfast at Posa Posa, then off by mini-coach to Roma!

A windy trip, with off and on rain and sunshine.

As we neared Rome, we began to notice some odd white fluff in the drizzle. And wonder why the hills have those funny-looking white areas. Hmmm?

Eventually even our Alabama eyes were convinced they were seeing snow. Later learned that Rome had snow for the first time in 18 years in December. The weather must be making up for last's summer's hear wave.


We were delivered to Hotel Nazionale a Montecitorio, a stone's throw from the Pantheon and Giolitti and right next door to the Italian parliament.

Threw bags in rooms and headed out--we're in Rome!

Three of the group were Rome first-timers, and the rest of us could hardly wait to show them the wonders of the Eternal City. The ever-changing weather kept us jumping, into the Pantheon, out into the little streets, into a restaurant at Piazza Navona when the rain/snow really came down--beer and pizza (but not the raw egg pizza, which was on the menu).

Then Via Condotti, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain--coins thrown, of course. (My husband John said that if we threw in a whole Euro coin instead of a lowly US dime, we'd come back first-class next time)

Also went to American Express for more money and McDonald's, because we knew where the restrooms were.

We got back to the hotel to change out of damp clothes and take taxis to Dino and Tony's, where we met our Roman friends. Lots of wine, talk, food, and noise. We think that is our last meal at Dino and Tony's.

We had second desserts at Giolitti, and two couples went back out to walk to the Vatican and back, and who knows where else.

Feb. 29: Sunday, and two couples went to mass at St. Peter's and stayed for the Pope's blessing from his balcony. The other six of us walked to Piazza Venezia and joined the Archeobus tour. "Joined" may not be the right word, since we made up the entire tour group--ah, the joys of winter travel..

We really enjoyed the ride out the Appian Way, lined with old tombs and monuments (there was a good bit of snow on the grassy areas in the shade), and the aquaducts were amazing. We got off the bus at the San Callisto catacombs and took the English language tour. Very interesting. We got back on the next Archeobus (they run every hour or so) for the trip back to Rome.

The bus let us off at Circus Maximus and we walked to the Colosseum.
One of the couples with us were in Rome for the first time, so we decided to join a tour group.

Of all the tour guides we had on this trip, this one, Roberto, was the only mistake. He was quite the comedian, and kept us standing outside the Colosseum too long while he told us all sorts of stuff that we either already knew or didn't want to know. To be honest, the fact that we had been there twice before probably colored our impression of Roberto.

Anyway, we stayed with the group just long enough to get inside without standing in line, and then slipped off and looked on our own. We later ran into "our" group over in the Forum.

Walked back to the hotel and gathered with all the group to compare notes, have drinks, and plan dinner. We decided on the nearby L'Angoletto, where we had another delicious dinner. Dessert , of course, at Giolitti.

March 1: Our last full day in Rome, and the group headed off in every direction. Several went to the Vatican Museum, others to shop and wander.

The off- and-on snow was beginning to lose it charm, but I persevered in my shopping, even after John went back to the hotel.

I have to tell this: As I was headed up the Via del Corso in what I hoped was the general direction of the Spanish Steps, I was stopped by a tourist and asked for directions! Poor soul, she must have been really lost if she thought I looked like a native. Unfortunately, the illusion was destroyed when I had no idea which bus went to Termini.

We had dinner at Girarrosto Toscano, in the Via Veneto area, highly recommended by somebody. So good, and a proper last meal in Roma


Back to hotel to pack, leave early for FCO, and home.

I'm glad I threw that coin.

Byrd






























-.


--

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Old Mar 17th, 2004, 03:16 PM
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Delightful reading, Byrd!
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Old Mar 17th, 2004, 03:28 PM
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Sometimes the best times are had when you do things "wrong". Sounds like this was one of those times.
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Old Mar 17th, 2004, 03:39 PM
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This was a great "report." It was fast moving and very interesting to me. In fact, I wish I had been there, too. Thanks for sharing. All wrong sounds as if it went all right.
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Old Mar 17th, 2004, 03:45 PM
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Ah Byrd!


This was just about the best trip report I've read in eons!


wish I could join your group!

I love Giarosta Toscana!
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Old Mar 17th, 2004, 03:49 PM
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Byrd, I am so happy that you had such a good time and did so many good wrong things
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Old Mar 17th, 2004, 03:58 PM
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Thank you all for your nice comments. We really did have fun!

Byrd
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Old Mar 17th, 2004, 04:15 PM
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great report! wonderful trip! So, what was so wrong????? At least you kept it to two locations (Amalfi Coast and Roma) Sounds like my kind of trip!
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Old Mar 17th, 2004, 04:35 PM
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Good for you'll !
It just proves the point that a trip to bella Italia is good anytime and in any format.
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Old Mar 17th, 2004, 06:13 PM
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Thanks for the great trip report! It was so much fun to read!
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Old Mar 17th, 2004, 06:46 PM
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Wonderful trip report! Catchy title, too.

Great to hear of a group of friends travelling together and having so much fun, like taking a house party on the road.

Thanks for sharing your adventure with those of us here at home, where empty suitcases call to us at night from the closet.
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Old Mar 17th, 2004, 06:53 PM
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Clearly you're a byrd of a different feather! Thanks for the delightful report. I'm glad you had such a terrific time!
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Old Mar 17th, 2004, 07:20 PM
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Welcome back Byrd..
Glad that you had a fantastic time in Italy...Fun report....
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Old Mar 17th, 2004, 07:43 PM
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Byrd, I really enjoyed your report. You had mentioned that it was probably your last meal at Dino and Tony's. Was it the fact that it wasn't very good or that you made so much noise? I'll be in Rome for Easter and that restaurant was on my "to go to" list. Is it located in the area of Vatican? Thanks, Mike
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Old Mar 17th, 2004, 07:57 PM
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Croque Madame! your suitcase does that too? I thought it was just ours~
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Old Mar 17th, 2004, 08:15 PM
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Fun fun fun! You had a good time because you have a good attitude!

Congratulations on a successful experience.
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Old Mar 18th, 2004, 02:04 AM
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I just had to top this after I read it again!
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Old Mar 18th, 2004, 02:11 AM
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Great report.

We were also in Rome for the snowy rain on March 1st... however the 2nd to the 6th were lovely and sunny and dry!!
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Old Mar 18th, 2004, 03:09 AM
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I glad you had a great time here on the Costiera Amalfitana,hope you enjoyed your time in Ravello.
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Old Mar 18th, 2004, 03:51 AM
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Great report and if for no other reason than because it sounds like a report from REAL people who are not hung up on 1) what to wear, 2)what will the temperature be, 3) will I look like a tourist?, 4) who makes the best pizza, 5) will I like Italy?, 6) do I need a converster?, and, of course, 7) am I staying in the "correct" (read that, I have money and you don't) hotel?
Sounds like you had a wonderful time without a lot of anal retentive worrys...have many MORE such journeys!
 

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