I left my hotel at 7am, curved and twisted down a narrow mountain road high up above the Tyrrhenian Sea, visited three villages with gorgeous beaches, quaint stepped streets and stunning gardens and was back in Sorrento in time for dinner. What a day!
At 7am on my second day in Sorrento – well, I was actually staying in Sant’Agnello – I walked out of my hotel and up to the nearby SITA bus stop, ready for a day on the road. I’d heard about the narrow, windy mountain roads on the Amalfi Coast and was quite honestly excited about it. I’d never been afraid of heights, never gotten motion sickness, and thought everyone was probably just making a big deal out of nothing.
I had bought a 24-hour SITA ticket (for the Amalfi Coast towns only!) for 7,20 euro from the front desk at my hotel which I validated as I got on the bus. I had been worried about finding a seat since the Sant’Agnello stop is AFTER Sorrento on the route to Positano, but luckily only a few people seemed to be venturing out this early. I snagged a seat on the right side by a window so I’d be on the side with the view of the water, pulled out my camera and tucked in for the ride.
As we left Sorrento for Positano, a city so many people had told me is their favorite in all of Italy, we approached the coast and went further into the mountains. Perhaps they’re actually “hills”, but to someone who grew up in flatter-than-flat Florida, they’re mountains.
I think I got some pretty great pictures, considering I took them out of a moving bus! The water in the Tyrrhenian Sea, down far below the narrow mountain road, is bluer than any water I’ve ever seen. It blends into the sky at the horizon, interrupted in places by an island just off the coast.
It takes about 50 minutes to get from Sorrento to Positano, and the further we went the narrower and windier the road became.
Around every turn the bus would slow down, almost coming to a stop, and the driver would honk the horn to alert anyone coming in the other direction of our approach. It makes for a slow – and quite nerve-wracking! – trip. You couldn’t PAY me to drive on this road!
After a while, and as quite a shock to me, I started to get a little queasy from the constant winding, slowing and starting. The only other times that happens to me is in a NYC cab. I had to look down for a while and close my eyes, blocking out the view.
Then there was a loud(er) murmur that made me look up. We were approaching Positano!
There are two stops in Positano and I had read that its better to get off at the second one, so I did.
After a couple hours I headed back up the steep roads to the bus stop, chatted for a while with a man from Scotland whose wife was in a cooking class that day, and boarded the bus toward Amalfi.
More twisty, narrow lanes, more stopping and starting and slowing again. More queasiness and deep breaths.
I managed to steal myself enough to take a few photos of the cliffs.
Amalfi is very much a port town, and I only walked around for a little bit before eating lunch on the coastline and deciding to take the extra bus up to Ravello.
The guy at the front desk of my hotel who I had bought the bus ticket from told me that Ravello was the most beautiful city on the Amalfi Coast. ”You have to change buses in Amalfi in order to get there”, he said, “but its definitely worth it.”
Well, ok, Mr. Front Desk Man, I’ll suffer through some more twists and turns to follow your advice!
I was intrigued by the way local farmers had cut into the mountain, forming terraces on which to farm. Citrus trees and olive trees dominated, but all types of crops (which I certainly can’t identify) were bursting through the soil. I hadn’t seen Terrace Farming before, and regardless of its practical purposes loved the way it looked covering the mountainside.
Ravello was every bit as gorgeous as Front Desk Man said it would be. Afterwards, though, I was a bit exhausted, and relieved that even though the combined time from Sorrento to Positano to Amalfi to Ravello was almost 2.5 hours, it took considerably less time to return. Not sure why exactly that is, and was too tired to figure it out.
I met some lovely women on the bus that day, two Americans who were best friends in high school and just reconnected through Facebook in their 40′s and decided to take this trip together. We had dinner later that night in Sorrento and they gave me a limoncello recipe they had found during their stay.
I left Sant’Agnello at 7am, visited three other villages and was back in Sorrento by 7pm (we took the LAST bus from Ravello!). I can’t speak for my queasy stomach, but the views from the bus alone are enough to recommend this day trip to anyone in the area. Simply lovely, and like nothing else I’ve encountered. Buon viaggio!