Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tivoli and Rome 3/28 - 3/31


Today we drove 2 ½ hours from Salerno to Tivoli.  It was an easy drive, no getting lost and no issues.  Tivoli is this beautiful little town - cobblestone streets, old buildings, very charming.  The apartment is great – 2 bedrooms, a large bathroom and a large dining/living room/kitchen area.  From the outside the building looks old and worn down, as do most of them.  But I don’t mean old and worn down in the crappy sense, more like historical/old.  The architecture is beautiful and unlike Salerno, there’s no garbage on the streets, which is what keeps the neighborhood looking charming instead of slummy.  The big surprise is how nice the actual apartment is – very unexpected in a building that looks the way this one does on the outside.  Tim says this is typical of Italy – old, old structures with gorgeous insides.

Once we put our stuff away, we took off on foot to the Villa d’ Este, which is breathtaking!  After that we found a good restaurant where I had my 5th pizza and 123rd glass of wine.  I’ve decided that I don’t like the pizza, so my 5th was my last.  Then we tried to get back to the apartment….this took us about an hour because we got lost.  The little streets are unmarked and all look the same in the dark.  We finally made it!  We were exhausted by then, and achey.  The Walk of the Gods and those 1500 stairs had all three of us literally limping Wednesday, yesterday, and still today.


Today we walked a mile or so to the train station, rode the train for 50 mins, then got off and hiked to the Colosseo (Coloseum).  We didn’t go inside (there was a huge line and long wait), but walked the perimeter for a while.  It’s impressive, but almost feels like it’s too surrounded by what felt a lot like just a regular metropolitan area.  The streets were packed with students and tourists – I guess it’s spring break time because it was hard to move with so many people.  This definitely detracted from the Rome experience (in my opinion).  It’s beautiful, but it was just too crowded.  It kind of reminded me of NYC at Christmas time.  But I think I like NYC better!  Another thing that detracted from the Rome experience was being extorted at every turn.  We went into a gelateria to have gelato # 312 and the next thing we knew, we had been charged 21 euros for 2 ice cream cones!!!!  Apparently lots of the ristorantes and bars, particularly the ones surrounding any touristy areas, have different prices for “stupid Americans.”  Lesson learned.  We limped around Rome some more, then went back home to Tivoli.  On the metro ride to the train station (yes, it was a metro ride AND a train ride), we were packed in like sardines.  Tim got a chance to flex his 6’4” muscle at some guy who was shoving him in the back…Gab and I suddenly heard Tim yell something in Italian and push this guy back.  Gab was laughing so hard – it was pretty funny.  After we got off the metro, a girl who had obviously witnessed the whole thing, overheard Gab and I wondering what the heck Tim had yelled at the guy, because he couldn’t even remember.  She told us that he had yelled, “stop!”  Just to be clear, it wasn’t like Tim was trying to pick a fight, nor would it have ever escalated, but it was very entertaining!  J


Today we went back to Rome to see the Vatican.  It was pretty cool, but also too crowded.  We called it an early day, or so we thought.  We got a little turned around in the train station and missed our train, so we wasted a good 2 hours trying to get home.  Then we made ourselves a nice dinner and drank an excellent 2 euro bottle of wine.  We walked to a restaurant that was supposed to have Internet service…as it turned out, then didn’t have Wifi in the traditional sense.  It took us almost an hour just to get online!  Then home to collapse, where we could use the bathroom without having either buy 2 capuccino’s or just pay to get in!!!


We’re currently sitting on a bench in front of the restaurant where we finally got Internet last night.  If we sit inside we’ll have to buy a bunch of stuff, so screw it, the bench is just fine!  Next we’re going back to where our car is parked to redistribute the weight in our luggage…as it turns out, we will get horribly clipped at the airport in Rome the way we’ve packed.  So, rather than pay 20 euros a kilo, which at the moment would cost us an extra $100+ us dollars, we’re just gonna wear a couple of pairs of pants and some extra jackets – lol!  Not really, but we do have to shuffle things around a bit.  We’ll get into Paris at about 9:00 tonight and should make it to our flat by about 11:00, assuming we don’t get lost….we’ll see.  Gab will have a chance to use her French and we’re counting on her to get us around.  Tim is finally off the hook – we truly couldn’t have done half of what we did in Italy without Tim’s knowledge of the country and the language; unless of course we had actually taken the time to plan our trip, like normal people.
We will post pictures once we get to Paris and we have tons.  At last count, Gabi had taken about 1800 of them, but don’t worry, we’ll only post one or two!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bobo and the Bluffs

Today was great. We walked the trail properly name the "Walk of the Gods." We got packed into a bus like a can of sardines on our way to Agerola from Amalfi and I never sat down because I so kindly let Tim sit down instead of me ;) When we first started, we metbour little tour guide, Bobo, that walked the entire way with us. When wr first met him, he nearly got hit by a car. He moved just in the knick of time, although I think it brushed him. He was the sweetest looking little dog with a curly tail that you could ever see. We thought his owner called him, but she could have been talking to another dog. Either way, Bobo, who had that name woven into his collar so it could have been a brand name, followed us.

We saw the most beautiful cliffs and contrasts of the mountains and water. At one point, we saw about thirty goats with a herder dog. Bobo was very interested. At that point, I was in front and I turned the corner to find all these goats with bells around their necks. It was awesome! There was a goat that ran the other direction and got separated from the pack. We heard them do what we thought was calling to find eachother. I felt bad for it, but it should have followed the rules ;)

It was so cool to be so high up. Now when I think back, I understan how the trail got its name. It truely was like you were a God looking through the heavens at the world below. It was about 5-6 miles of pure beauty. I loved it even though I got a farmer's burn.

There were these lizards all over and Bobo kept chasing them. It was so cute. We passed some other people and one couple even had a dog, that Bobo sniffed but it didn't seem to like him, that he could have gone with, but he stuck with us. Sometimes, he would walk away from the path and we would try to leave him stealthily so he would go back home. Just when we thought we had lost him, he popped into sight and took his position as the guide in the front. He marked his trail, probably so that he could go back home, if you know what I mean.

Tim decided that he wanted a certain picture so he went off the trail onto some rocks that mom told me not to go on. If he made one wrong move, it would bye bye Tim forever. Needless to say, mom wasn't very amused and refused to take a video of it.

When we came to the 1,500 stairs, that we thought were all the stairs on the entire trail combined, it was like it wouldn't end. I found it easier to go quickly because if the momentum. When I stopped, I could feel my legs shaking. Mom and I left Tim in the dust. Poor Tim! When we got to the bottom, I realized it was the end. I had thought it was only the halfway point! Boy was I wrong!

We waited for about an hour for the bus that seemed like it would never come. Bobo was still with us. While waiting, I took the cutest pictures of him. When the bus came, Bobo put a paw on the steps (I don't remember seeing it but mom told me) as if he wanted to come. Tim said that the driver made a joke saying that Bobo couldn't get on because he didn't have a ticket. When the doors closed, Bobo gave us a look saying "Why won't you take me?". I felt so bad!!! I wish we could have taken him, but I guess he has a mommy out their somewhere. And, he walked the trails like he ha done it before. Anytime we say Bobo or call our dogs that, which we do, I will think of our little tour guide and wonder if he got home safely.

Cappuccino number 67.

Beach in Maiori.

Skipping rocks on the Gulf of Napoli.



Mom and Gab in Maiori

Bobo, our little buddy - miss him already!

Gab and Tim on the Walk of the Gods

Walk of the Gods

View from the hike - Walk of the Gods

Bobo hiking

Bobo spotted the goats first!

Bobo, the goat-herder, and the goats

This one got away from the herd.

View from the hike.

View from the hike.

View from the hike.

Beginning of the hike.

Gab and Bobo ready to start!

Pooped already!

Add caption

The goats.

Stand off - Bobo vs. the goat-herder!

The lizard that got away!

Island viewed from the hike.

Only 1103 more stairs to go!!!

View of Positano from the bus stop at the end of the hike.

Bobo taking a siesta after the hike.



More Positano.

And more...

Sunset from Salerno.

Gab's farmer's burn.

Boats, Buses, and Bobo


Today was a great day!  We got up at a reasonable hour, showered, got dressed, and headed out for the Walk of the Gods.  We walked a mile to the inlet so we could take a boat to Amalfi, then a bus to Agerola, where the walk begins.  The boats weren't running, so we took an hour long bus ride to Amalfi. The bus experience was entirely different than the driving one.  The buses can't make all the sharp curves in the road, so they constantly blow their air horns to let drivers know they're lurking around the bend.  The bus drivers are talented, constantly coming within inches of other cars, buses, trucks, barrier walls, and the sides of the mountains.  It's a wonder there aren't more accidents.  Needless to say, I got carsick - again.  The bus from Amalfi to Agerola was about 40 minutes and there was standing room only.  We stood for almost the entire time, gripping the seat backs and overhead poles to keep from falling.  I was nauseous again.

When the bus finally stopped in Agerola, we got off with a young guy from New York who was also doing the Walk of the Gods and kind of just stood there, not sure what to do next.  We noticed a cute little dog that looked like a miniature long-haired German Shepherd.  We watched him almost get hit by a car.  We asked a nice man where to go and he pointed us in the right direction.  We started on what basically looked like any old sidewalk...followed by this little dog and the guy from New York.  The guy wasn't interested in having company, so he lagged behind pretty shortly after we set off.  The dog was very interested in company, and not that of who we thought was his owner who (we think) called after him and he ignored.  After walking for about the equivalent of 2 city blocks, we turned to the right and bye-bye concrete.  This was the most beautiful hike ever!  It was somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 or 6 miles and we walked on the edge of mountains (small ones, but very high up), up and down dirt and rock trails, with views of the Gulf of Naples and the towns below - gorgeous!

The dog walked with us.  He chased little lizards, which were everywhere and ran ahead or lagged behind, but he didn't let us out of his sight for long.  We passed only 2 other sets of hikers and he had no interest in them.  He was our little tour guide, even posing in pictures with us.  He had a collar on that had the name "Bobo" on it.  So, Bobo, our little buddy, hiked along with us.  About halfway along, we suddenly ran into a herd of goats!  There were about 30 goats with tags on their ears and bells around their neck, being herded by a large white dog - no person around, just the dog.  He had a little interest in Bobo, but he wouldn't be distracted from his job of keeping those goats in line.  It was so cool to see these goats out of nowhere!  Though they were pretty weary of us, we still got within a couple of feet of them.
Bobo wasn't too distracted by the goats.  He was just happy scampering around chasing bugs and lizards.

We were wondering where the 1500 stairs were...where?  Well, we found them!  At the very end of the hike when we were reaching our limits, there they were.  We had to walk down 1500 stairs.  They were different heights and widths, criss-crossing back and forth down the mountain.  Gab and I ran down most of them, with Bobo by our side.  Tim's toe was hurting, so he took his time.  When we got to the bottom of the stairs, that was it.  We had made it to Positano.  The hike ended rather abruptly, leaving us on one of those curvy mountain roads.  Thankfully the bus stop for the bus back to Amalfi was right in front of us.  Bobo waited with us for the bus - which took about a half hour to get there.  Then it arrived and we got on.  As we looked down the stairs to the bus, Bobo had put one of his paws on the bottom stair, wanting to board the bus with us.  The driver said, "Sensa bigliatto."  Jack Nicholson said, "No ticky, no laundry."  Same thing.  Bobo couldn't come with us.  So after following us for the better part of an afternoon, through mountains, around more bends than we could count, and down 1500 stairs, we had to just leave him there.  It broke our hearts.  We only hope that he's made that trek many times before and is home safely by now.  He was great, our little buddy.

Then we had to hike the mile back from the bus stop to our apartment - we're beat!!!  But, we did stop for gelato, of course.  We weren't THAT beat!  And tomorrow, off to Tivoli/Rome!!!

Monday, March 26, 2012


I am feeling very bad becaue I heard meowing and opened the door to find a kitty sitting there. Then, I had to shut the door in its face! Poor baby! :(

Jeans and Gelato in Salerno

We just went to get gelato and walked awhile before we found it. It turned out to be a block from the apartment. Then, mom and I didn't know how to get back, but Tim supposedly did. He claimed that he followed the train because there is a bridge where the train runs right by the apartment. Mom and I call it luck. While searching for gelato, Tim led us through dark parkin lots and streets where women shouldn't go at night. Good thing he's tall! Then when we got home, we cut Tim's jeans because he needed shorts for tomorrow's "Walk of the Gods" hike, hence the picture.


Yesterday I got extremely car sick while Tim drove up and down the mountains.  We are so glad we rented a car because I'm thinking the ride on a bus would have been so much worse.  Yesterday was a funny day - we took one wrong turn and had to pay a toll, turn around and pay it again.  Then Gab dropped and broke a jar of Nutella in a market near our apartment...two funny things I forgot to write about yesterday.

So, to avoid the car sickness today, I drove.  I will say, driving here is insane.  There are pretty much no rules and really, I know I've said the roads are windy, but that doesn't really begin to describe them - there are more twists and turns than I don't know, more than any roads I've ever seen!  But the good news is that I didn't get sick, I just squeezed the wheel while I drove and went from 2nd to 3rd gear over and over again.  I hadn't driven a stick shift in about 15+ years, so that made it even more exciting.  We checked out a couple of small towns - Maiori and another one we never figured out the name of.  Tim and Gabi just went to go find some wine to have with dinner and I'm supposed to be starting the pasta, but I can't figure out how to turn the stove on without burning down the apartment, so I'm blogging instead.  We stopped in a little bakery to get some bread and for 2.85 euros we bought 3 nice sized rolls and 3 calzones - lunch for can't buy a calzone for less than 5 bucks at home!

We were going to do the Walk of the Gods today, but Tim turned the alarm off this morning and rolled over and went back to sleep.  I never even heard it.  I think we're finally over the jet lag, but today is the first day I can say that.  Tomorrow is Walk of the Gods for sure - there's a spot that has 1500 stairs - 1500!!  I'm not sure if we will be heading up or down a mountain at that spot but either way, 1500 stairs is a lot of stairs!  The whole thing is 5 or 6 miles...should be fun!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

3/25 in Salerno - The Amalfi Coast Leg of the Trip


It's been quite an adventure so far.  It took us 12 hours (with multiple stops, one for a cell phone - that took forever) to drive from Aviano to the Amalfi Coast.  Tim and I shared the drive.  Driving here is pretty cool - I got to drive as fast as 90 and 100mph (almost legally!) and the drivers actually only use the left lane for passing!!!  Tim and Gab slept while I drove, but I was pretty entertained with the scenery - all mountains the entire way.  Now we're in Salerno, where we will be staying for the next 3 nights.  We spent last night on an olive farm in Sorrento, but decided it wasn't for us.  Getting there, we drove in circles and wound up making a wrong turn onto a road that wasn't really a was interesting trying to back up and turn around.  Unlike Rainman, Tim really IS an excellent driver.  We finally made it there.  Then, we almost didn't make it back after dinner because our gps kept taking us in circles.  The roads in Sorrrento are very windy, very narrow, and very packed with motorcycles, bicycles and crazy drivers.  It took us an hour to find our way back.  Then, the internet didn't work in our apartment and we just decided to stay elsewhere.  The neighborhood we're in now is a bit of a dump, but the apartment itself is lovely and part of this little group of apartments that are very pretty and well-maintained.  We're glad we made the change.

Getting here to Salerno, we took the 2 hour drive (30 miles in 2 hours) versus the 1 hour drive so that we could see the coast.  We drove from Sorrento to Salerno, which practically covers the entire Amalfi Coast.  It was the most gorgeous drive I have EVER taken in my life.  All mountains and water and lemons trees and greenery and breathtaking views wherever we looked.  We pulled over numerous times so Gab could take pictures.  The roads were so steep and windy, unlike any we'd ever driven, but amazing nonetheless.  The Amalfi Coast and Venice are a toss-up as to which place is more beautiful.  They are very different, each one with its own unique charm.  I am IN LOVE with Italy!!!!

We have had gelato every day and visited countless pastacheria's for pastries and cappuccinos to die for!  I'm happily packing on the pounds - I don't even want to think about the diet I'll have to be on when we get back!  Grrrr!

Tomorrow we may do The Walk of the Gods which is a 5+ mile hike...we'll see.  So far, this has been a wonderful trip with Tim and Gab!  :)