Tuesday, November 3, 2015

of the double booking

Napoli  is a city of wonders.  Lots to see just on the ride in from the airport. Our first day, I booked a tour of the Amalfi Coast.  It is supposed to be one of the world's most beautiful coastlines.  Our driver arrived promptly at nine a.m. to pick us up.

Our other driver arrived promptly too.  Rut Ro.

I am not a big fan of tours and guides.  I love tromping off, as my daughter says, in no direction. But in this case, I am so happy I booked an Amalfi Tour.  In fact, I am so happy, I booked it twice.

So the day begins and I am all over getting people up to to get ready for the tour.  I get downstairs and two men are making phone debates about who is in charge.  They are arguing and then I get my party downstairs.

I think I am emailing the same person, but not true, I am emailing two and they both show and want to be paid.  We are really good sports or suckers, depending how one views it.  We  pay driver two to go away... and then half way through the tour, we're thinking the driver and think we should have had him go the whole way driving two of us since he insisted on the full fare! The only way out is to pay, so pay we did.  A very expensive tour and lesson, but worth it!  Oh and we picked the handsome guide since we had a choice.

our first view of the whole Napoli Bay

My two lovely adult children 

We stopped often to take photos on the winding narrow road of the coastline.  We could not have picked a better day for weather and clarity.  The sea is the bluest teal you will ever see.  It is deep and it is very clear.  We stop at edges just to look out and see the lovely skylines.  The photos above are taken with the phone, so they do not do any justice to the wonder.

The ride to the cities is in a new silver van and is very comfortable, even more so if you don't have to drive.  Salvetore drives efficiently and it is best not to look.  There are mirrors on all of the curves so you can see who is proceeding before you or at you.  The water takes your breath away and then you arrive at a little city like Amalfi or Positano.  The houses emerging from the hillside and every inch of soil planted with lemons or olives.  Tiny little patches house a few sheep or some milk cows.  The land is terraced and houses are tucked in every available space there is.

The beach is rocky, smooth rocks, but rocks nonetheless.  The water takes on the dark hue of the sand on the shoreline.  It is "fresh" says Salvatore.  He tells us this is the perfect time of year.  The tourists are gone, it is all Saints Day and many stores are closed, but the weather is perfect.  72 degrees.  I daresay we are blessed.

toes in the mediterranean

And of course it could not be a complete tour with out the tunnels and the art on the hillside overlooking the treasures that lie before us.  The day got immensely better when we went to the lunch where this adorable little Italian Lady who looks like every Italian grandmother you know has flowers in her hair, a smile on her face and she is ready to tell us what to eat.  Morgan has the pizza and does not finish it all.  The Lady picks up the plate, puts in in front of Corbett and tell him to eat it.  She was great.  And he obliges as if he had an option.

We finally head to the piazza and have a campari, which no one likes but me.  Beers for the others.  We take a final look at the town and know that our very expensive tour is coming to a close.  We get back to our lovely apartment and make dinner and have fun conversations about the abundance of selfie sticks and how every tour group is bombarded by selfie stick sellers.  Make for interesting entertainment watching how people learn to say no.  Oh yes, and one more.  The street vendors catch the cars at red lights and run around with kleenex on the mirror.  The kleenex is a six pack of little kleenex.  As the light heads for green, they run around and take them back if you do not purchase.  Our guide says this is effective in winter time.  Perhaps a future retirement job for me!