The Amalfi Coast

Thursday November, 16, 2017

Today’s objective was to drive the Amalfi coast and arrive in Naples for dinner. Jinhee was particularly interested in Positano (where they filmed Under The Tuscan Sun), and so we drove …

It is important to note that we are driving a very small Fiat Panda. Manual transmission, and no extras like cruise control or air conditioning or Bluetooth, or well any of the things you might find in a modern car. The drive through the Amalfi coast would be best suited for a convertible. The scenery is spectacular and despite rain, heavy traffic and winding roads it was a beautiful drive.

When we arrived in Positano, we couldn’t find a place to park and it was pouring rain but we visited the cathedral, a few shops and that is where we reach the highlight of my day . . . La Scuderia del Duca. Thirty years ago I received a very beautiful journal, with beautiful soft leather cover, hand sewn binding and hand made paper. I have never been able to find where it was made. This tiny store in Positano offered a wide range of journals with similar characteristics. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the same journal, but I was able to get two new ones that are also beautiful, hard bound and filled with hand made, hand stitched paper. On rereading that makes me sound a bit crazy, but my appreciation for nice journals can’t be overstated.

I am not sure that Jinhee was able to enjoy this day as much as I did (finding the paper store), and we didn’t get to see much of Positano due to lack of parking and the heavy rain. So we moved on toward Naples and it was very scenic.

Driving in Italy is exhilarating!!

That’s my euphemism for “these people are f’n crazy”. I think I will create a whole post on driving in Italy later, but suffice it to say that while Toronto traffic may be horrendous, the consistent and predictable behaviour of the drivers makes it an acceptable risk for the nervous and those with a pacemaker. Naples was a level of crazy I have never experienced before.

Along those lines, I think it is appropriate to mention that I am a very talented driver. I drive politely in Toronto because everyone else does. When I ride the bike, I am not averse to being 3″ away from a car, truck or bus going 20 or 60kph down the road. It’s all about focus and attention to details. In Naples there was little or no evidence that drivers were polite. Everyone is 12″ away from any and everyone and the only reason people don’t die is because the average speed is likely 30kph. The rules appear to be minor suggestions and the order of the day is mass chaos.

With that in mind we drove through the city and while looking for our hotel in the old city were driving through the pedestrian areas and made the (obvious, duh) mistake of giving pedestrians the right of way in these pedestrian walkways. Oh were the cars behind me pissed! Both of them were blaring their horns like madmen. People scattered so I guess that is the standard behaviour.

In any case we found our hotel and an underground parking lot and were happily ensconced in Naples where we enjoyed some pedestrian activity and annoyed the odd car driving through old town by not moving out of the way. :). The Christmas trinkets were out in full force as vendors brought the Modern Christmas theme to life in amazing ways.

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