Friday, May 13, 2011

Hanging on the Cliffs of the Amalfi coast

Diana went to the store this morning about 7:00 a.m. to shop for essentials. This is long before I awoke. She had her cappucino and got her shopping done and managed to come home with eggs and pizza. The kind and generous lady at the store gave them to her no charge. They are so sweet.

After breakfast, we drove into ValleGrande for (you guessed it, cappucino and caffe) and discussed the days outing with our new local friend.

Around 10:00 we headed for Salerno about two hours away. This area is so totally different from what we are used to. The urban sprawl and poverty is incredible. It reminds us of Tijuana. In fact, at the ticket gate for the A1 Autostrade there were two guys selling whatever at the ticket gate. Peggy, we would have cried laughing. It was just like TJ when we came back from Encinada.

We arrived in Salerno around noonish and were not impressed. My Dad used to come here in the maritime and he was not impressed in the 50’s. I am not impressed in the 2011’s. Bologna and Florence's overcrowding is pale by comparison.

Diana, trooper that she is, drove down the coast to Amalfi. (I was opting for going back to the casa).

Oh my god! Bond. James Bond. This is simply straight out of a James Bond movie!

We stopped for lunch at a ristorante, Torne Normanna, that is built from a castle in the sea off the Amalfi Coast.(yes, to the left is a picture of the restaurant) The view is breathtaking. We are off the Amalfi coast and it is easy to see why the jet setters come here. Allora. The view is stunning. While we only had secondi and wine, lunch was 89 Euro. But, the service, food and view was well worth it. If you come to Italy and miss the Amalfi coast,then you miss it all.

The food was outstanding. The service was completely perfect. The waiters are dressed in silk coats and very attentive. The view is …well, breathtaking. The Amalfi coast is what one would expect of Italy, You have to come here! Where is Auric Goldfinger?

This is incredible. We stopped for the night at a local hotel (Grand Hotel Tritone) and I am writing from a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean in a hotel hewn from the rock cliffs. The sea is so blue it defies description. We are overlooking the town cliffs of the Amalfi and all we can hear is birds, waves and a few cars passing on the cliffs.

The hotel seems an outgrowth of the rock cliffs. We had to descend to the hotel lobby via elevator about 100 feet and then descend two more floors through the rock and traverse hallways that seem to be caves in the walls of the mountain to our room. All the while the church bells chime in the distance about two miles across the sea. This is really hard to believe.

We had a few glasses of wine on the terrace while Diana shot two cards of photos of the incredibly pink and grey clouds over the Med. It just got better and better. Oh my Lord. If this is Italy, I’ll take it. (Brian. Still no cannollis). But, the food, atmosphere and sounds are beautiful. I am so happy to be able to spend time on such a beautiful seascape with my best friend, Diana. This place will make you fall in love all over again.

Below us (about 1,000 feet) is a 3 masted schooner and a cruise ship. One can feel the myths rise from the sea. I can understand (Harold and Joanie) how the sea grabbed your life. This is beyond description. We are on the terrace watching the clouds disappear in the night as the sun drops discussing Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon and the great men of history. We are wondering how and what made them do it. We are also wondering what separated the benevolent dictators of history from the sociopaths that have plaqued history.

We are about a thousand feet above the Med’ just north of the little town of Praiano. I do not have any idea how these people built these homes on this desolate rock. But, we can gear the sounds of a church bell sounding time and the music of a disco. Now imagine the chimes of the church bells from the duomo 2 miles across the Med’ and KC and the Sunshine Band. What a mix. There isn’t a parking place to be had; a lot to build on; a silent place to move, but they live here on these rocks and thrive.

As we gaze out on the Med’ all I can think of is that no one can take this from us. No one can steal this memory. No one can steal this from our hearts and this is a life changing experience. I have been so fortunate to have my sweetheart Diana to share all of this with and I cannot ever tell how much this journey has meant to me.

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