We arrived into Naples airport during the early evening of Maundy Thursday to a chilly Italy. Once we had picked up the hire car and gone to the local Auchan supermarket in Pompeii, it was already past 9pm. We arrived at the boat to find that the boatyard still hadn’t reattached the backstays (these are the two metal wires that help hold up the mast). Luckily, we weren’t planning on sailing this weekend as we have been accompanied by Liz’s parents, Ruth and John. A phone call the next day meant that it was sorted (after a fashion) by the time we got back in the evening. They hadn’t bothered putting in split pins and I doubt they have tensioned them properly but at least they are now attached so we can fine tune them!
As we all slept in a bit, we decided that we would do a car tour of the Amalfi Coast rather than going over to Capri. The Italian driving hadn’t got any better since our last trip here so it meant being vigilant for a while and then you sort of get into the swing of it and drive like they do! First stop was Ravello, just north of Amalfi, and we were very lucky to find a parking space very close to the pedestrianised centre. It is a delightful place with a beautiful Duomo with ornate pulpits going back to the 13th century. We wandered down the side streets to look at the tourist shops selling all sorts of tacky ware but all in all a lovely place. We had lunch in a cafe with spectacular views across the Bay of Salerno next to the Gardens of the Villa Ruffulo.
We had intended to visit the gardens but we ran out of time and wanted to see more of the coast. Next stop was Amalfi itself and again we were fortunate to find a parking space by the harbour and near to the cathedral. Treating ourselves to an ice cream, John and Ruth really got a taste of Italy.
After milling around there for a while, we decided to make our way to Positano – made famous in a number of films. It is set up high in the rocks either side of a ravine. It seemed to be very spread out with no real centre so we decided to drive through to save Ruth from walking too far. It did have a lovely feel to the place with nice shops and lovely restaurants overlooking the sea. By this time it was 7pm and we were keen to watch one of the many processions that occur on Good Friday in this area. The most spectacular is supposed to be in Sorrento so we made our way along a delightful coastal road to the town.
Sorrento is much bigger than we had thought from our last visit there by sea in October. Again, we were very lucky to find a spot to park quite close to where the procession started. It was quite a macabre sight as hundreds of adults and children were all dressed in black with pointy hats and looking quite menacing. There was singing and bands to accompany a very solemn, candlelit walk through town.
It then took an age to get out of the town as the roads were gridlocked both in Sorrento and every other village we went through. Finely got back to the marina around 9.30pm and went directly to eat at the Yacht Club where Liz and Jo had some delicious tuna whilst Ruth and John had steak. All washed down with a very nice bottle of very local wine – made less than two kilometres away! Back to the boat for a wee snifter and some simnel cake. A fabulous if chilly day when out of the sun.