August 23, 2013

Amalfi Revisited, but not as Happily (a Pattern on this Cruise)

On Friday, August 16, after we anchored off of Amalfi in southern Italy, I took the land tour to Ravello. It's a lovely town with loads of architectural treasures -- and awesome views -- high above the Amalfi Coast.

I spent a week in the area over ten years ago, and saw then -- at a relaxed pace, too -- most of the tour attractions available to us this time. For example, Regent offered a tour of Capri's Emerald Grotto (different from the famous Blue Grotto), which several in our family group took . . . and liked. Here's a video taken in June by someone on a Regent cruise:

When I visited the grotto years ago, it was just part of a wonderful, full day on Capri . . . not the singular highlight. I had also made the Capri trip from Sorrento -- an easier, faster crossing than the one my family took this time from Amalfi.

I chose the Ravello tour option. The hill town is right above Amalfi, where our ship lay at anchor. From my last visit, I recalled beautiful gardens, gorgeous views . . . and a good lunch at a Ravello restaurant.

Since we were anchored offshore (not docked in port, which was -- thankfully -- usually the case on this cruise), we had to queue up to take a smaller boat to shore. Then our Ravello group had to find our tour bus, on which we spent over an hour as it slowly . . . slowly . . . crawled up the twisting road to Ravello in heavy traffic.

No question, the vistas up top are grand. Here's what you see from the belvedere at the historic Villa Cimbrone:

Happily on my own, I walked through some lovely gardens:

Then, at the appointed hour, I rejoined my group for the long and winding trip down the hill. Back in Amalfi, I found a nice little cafe on an uncrowded (well, less crowded than the main drag, anyway) side street, where I enjoyed a leisurely lunch of anchovies, octopus, and swordfish.

Fortified by my tasty lunch, I decided to climb the stairs -- all of them! -- up to the Amalfi duomo:

On the short boat ride back to our Regent ship in the harbor, I was aware of feeling lousier -- mentally and physically -- than I had at any other time during our four weeks of travel so far. I think I knew why.

If you're not careful, these one-port-a-day cruises can wear you out -- even if you're NOT 84 years old. I've found that the six hours of "touring" typically consist of three hours of intense logistics -- queueing up, getting off the ship, onto the little boats to shore, into the buses, off the buses, back on to the buses, back to the little boats and back to the ship. Then, at the dinner table, -- and back home, eventually -- everyone talks about what a great experience they had.


John James said...

Exccellent. .....

John James said...

R u here in washington DC? I salute your passion n energy.
Thanks. ....

gleeson1929 said...

Hi John -- Yes. I'm here in DC and loving the great early fall weather we are having. -- John