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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Naples & the Amalfi Coast

Naples & the Amalfi Coast

When the moon hits your eye, that’s a big a pizza pie, that’s amore….

The Ruby Princess left Mykonos Island in Greece and sailed west from the Aegean Sea into the Mediterranean Sea, then north into the Ionian Sea, crossing the Straits of Messina between Sicily and Italy and on into the Tyrrhenian Sea. This was a day at sea and the next morning we docked at Naples, Italy on the west side of southern Italy.

Naples is where the ancient Roman city of Pompeii was discovered. Pompeii was destroyed by the Mt. Vesuvius volcano in 79 A.D. We did not go to Pompeii as both of us were tired of looking at ruins so we chose a tour of Sorrento and boat ride down the the Amalfi Coast with time in the small village of Amalfi. It was a great choice.

We were in Brown #1 and at 8:00 am we made our way off the ship and onto the bus. These buses are nice. Most are Mercedes-Benz brand and very comfortable. Our tour guide for the day was a young Italian woman by the name of Roberta. She spoke English with a heavy Italian accent but her vocabulary was great and we understood most of what she was saying. After about an hour riding on a narrow and steep mountain two-lane "highway we arrived at the coastal town of Sorrento.

In Sorrento we had an hour and a half to explore on our own (my perference too btw) and then meet up with the tour group at 11:00 am. MA and walked around this old city with winding narrow streets. I asked a lady at a fruit stand if I could take her picture and she said yes and then fluffed her hair and I took her photo. The lady then handed MA with a giant lemon as a gift. We said “Grazie” and continued our walk. Next I spotted a lady hanging out her laundry on a second story window sill and I asked her if I could take her photo. She stuck her head out the window and smiled. It took me under five seconds for the D3s to click that photo. We stopped and had coffee at the Coffee Shop Sorrento and continued our sojourn.

We met our group back at the square and were escorted to unch to at a nice Italian restaurant. Joining us was Ken, the ship's ports of call narrator. Ken is retired from teaching at a university in England and really knows world history. Our other lunch companion was Harley, retired FBI, from Seattle, WA. Lunch was typical Italian fare and very enjoyable.

The second part of our tour was a boat ride from Sorrento up the Amalfi coast to the town of Positano. Two busloads boarded the tour boat and we headed north along the Amalfi coastline which is dotted with watch towers. During medieval times the watch towera were used to warn people of invading Turk pirates. The coast is dotted with small villages perched on hilltops or in coves on beaches.

After an hour or so the boat docked at Positano, a medieval Italian village. Our guide took us to the town square dominated by a very old cathedral. We were on our own for two hours. We walked around and MA sat down below the steps of the huge cathedral to people watch and I went inside. Magnificent. It reminded me of St. Peter’s in Rome. The photo of the interior I will post in a gallery later. I found MA outside or should say she found me and we met our group back at the town square and walked back to the tour boat with dripping cones of gelato ice cream.

Amalfi Cathedral
On the ride back to Sorrento MA was trying to photograph a handsome Italian sailor. She said it was for her single friends. Yea, right. I was in the bow of the bow and watching all of this go down. The handsome Italian grabbed MA’s camera, sat down very close to her, gave the camera to someone and asked them to take a photo. I told MA I saw it all and reminded her that we were not taking any such Italians home as souvenirs. The day was really pleasant, temperatures in the 70’s no humidity, no wind.
Back aboard ship I got ready for the full moon rise at 6:46 pm. I positioned myself on the stern of the ship with my camera mounted on my travel tripod. The moon rose and reached a perfect height around 7:30 pm. As the old song says,” When the moon hits your eyes like a big pizza pie, that’s amore.” I call this photo Moon Rise Over Mt. Vesuvius.

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