April 16, 2008 10:15 p.m. Amalfi, Italy
Not gone to sleep yet! Couldn't get a wink of sleep on plane even though Dopey & Sleepy in front of us were conked out the entire trip. Here is where I begin to tell the major obstacles and how we overcame them and lived to eat a delicious plate of fried eggplant with tomatoes in a cozy restaurant filled with laughing Italians singling songs and living la vita pazzesca. In 5 brief chapters.
Our first stop was Amalfi and the charming, inexpensive, completely fabulous Hotel Floridiana. Trip Advisor was right on the money about this place. It exceeded our expecatations!
Chapter 1: The Flight - Time was lost. I'm still confused.
Chapter 2: Locauto or Our Rental Car Cannot Be Found - Wild goose chase #1 Theme song: Trouble. Cell phone doesn't work. No, it works we just don't understand the rapid fire Italian directions. Janitor in airport tries to help. Gives up. Shakes his head hands us back the phone.
Finally met nice Mormon family who took us under their large wings and guided us to safety (or at least to the rental car place which is NOT in the airport). Got car. Got inside. Don't understand gearshift. Didn't we rent an automatic? Press here, move this up, keep foot on brake, hold down, GO. It's manual AND automatic. Who knew?
Chapter 3: The Road - soundtrack: Herb Alpert - Tijuana Taxi . Holy crap whose idea was this to drive in Rome after not sleeping for 24 hours. Must have been Sister's. She'll have to drive while I take pictures. Are there 2 lanes or 3? Hard to tell. Nerve wracking. I can touch the cars speeding past. Does this mean they're too close? Glad I'm not driving.
Original frescos in the breakfast room of our hotel which is in a restored villa.
Chapter 4: Finding Floridiana - The narrow entry into traffic-free permit only zone we don't have permits for is v.v. narrow. I jump out of car and get permission to enter from nice traffic cop who stops oncoming cars to let us squeeze through. Throngs of people all the way up to the 4 green garage doors. Sister collapsed upon arriving. Where is Gianluca? Where is the hotel? Do you think we have to carry the suitcases up those steep steps with 16 inch risers? Sister, I know you just drove us here, but do you think you could heave ho the cases up the stairs while I take pictures?
Chapter 5: La Perla - smoked mozzarella, tomato, rocket (greens) pizza and side of fried aubergines and bottle of Prosecco = spectacular! Restaurant with yellow walls is filled to the brim and lively! We found it hidden in walled alley of Amalfi. Coconut gelato after dinner shared with Sister on steps of Duomo.
There is so much to say and show! I decided to use my travel journal to tell the story. Seems easiest this way. The only parts not taken directly from my travel journal are in italics. I hope you're ready for the world's longest trip report over the next week or so because I am prepared to deliver it!