Today was going to be a long day. I already had the traveller’s blues thinking about leaving this magical place and ending such a wonderful trip. I have met some incredible people, seen both the untouched beauty of Cilento and the stunning colours of the Amalfi by bike and I have laughed, eaten, drank and sang until my heart’s content. I know home is where the heart is but there’s something quite special about travelling, especially by bike and I am not quite ready to go home. But we still had a few hours until I had to face that reality…the thought did cross my mind to stowaway in Alessandro’s bags and sneak my way into the next bike tour but then I remembered they would be doing 100km and 2000m elevation per day. Canada it is.
This morning we decided to see the Amalfi Coast by boat. There were a few reasons for this. Our legs were desperate for a rest day and we needed to beat the heat. We rented a boat for the five of us, Dom and Beckie included, and were on a mission to find some quiet swimming spots and see our bike route from the water.
It’s pretty easy to find a boat to rent. Not a bad spot to spend a few of our last hours. I have made it this entire trip without a sunburn…finger’s crossed my luck continues. Off we went.
Dom and Beckie at our first stop.
Is that a bat cave?
It was incredible to see what we had conquered by bike, from the water.
Our one goal on the boat was a stop at Furore. It was surprising to find that it had the coldest water we had swam in yet but t was pretty neat to be swimming in the spot we had spotted from above just two days ago.
We did swing by Positano to see the chaos from the sea but didn’t wander ashore.
Such a different perspective from the bike versus the sea.
Our boat ride complete, now it was time to leave. There was no delaying the inevitable.
Ferry – Train – Train -Train – Taxi – hotel nap – plane – plane. That’s what we had to look forward to.
It was difficult to avoid the sun on the ferry without looking like a pilgrim.
It was also hard to not just disembark and decide to call Italy home when this man is who greets the ferries and helps them dock. Alessandro has told me he does this winter and summer…it may be a fib but I love the idea of this gem greeting boats year round like this.
Ferry and one train and we were in Naples for a few hours before we made our way to Rome. Our goal was to get Naples pizza…because why not?
Oh right. Because Naples is a giant, dirty city and it would prove to be a massively unwelcome culture shock from Cilento and amalfi. We just wanted Fierenzo (hopefully I got the spelling right this time) and his cute roadside restaurant serving us chilled red wine and anchovies.
We were not gonna find that here. But maybe we could check out Da Michele? The pizza spot we’ve heard about since Rome?
The best pizza in Naples…over an hour wait just to place an order and you’d have to fight your way through the massive crowd at the door to get there first. No thanks.
We set out for a good glass of wine to rethink our pizza plan. We ordered Bianco and Rosso. We were used to not having to pick the wine because every spot we have eaten (courtesy of Alessandro) has served incredible house wine. It should be the same in Naples right? Wrong. So very wrong. Our wine arrived in suspicious bottles and we were to use the Dixie cups to choke it down. Pam said it reminded her of communion wine. I couldn’t do it.
Everything else In Naples seemed to be closed until 7 pm. People eat dinner so late here! We finally found a spot with a good looking pizza oven…even though there was a very large man in a lawn chair in the middle of the restaurant, watching TV with only 70% of his stomach being covered by last year’s shirt…we were staying here. When more customers started coming in, he finally got out of his chair and an employee came out to mop where he’d been sitting. Ew. More importantly, the pizza. It was amazing.
Even if we didn’t have the incredible scenery or company that we’ve had the last few days…it was darn good. Bellies full of pizza and probably too much wine we boarded a train to Rome where we met a group of Italian girls who would soon become my train karaoke partners.
We got to Rome where we would sleep for 6 hours then fly all day Sunday. The blues were real.
We arrived in Gatwick and I cautiously offered a macchiato. Would they do italy justice ?
No. No they would not.
And with that, my blog for this trip is complete. I look forward to one day looking back at all these posts to hopefully be reminded of the small moments when I would think to myself “this is incredible”. I find those can be so easily forgotten. The picking fruit from the trees while wandering through small towns, of cooling down on a descent after earning my turns climbing along the coast, and of meeting and laughing with new friends over the small things. It’s these times I hope this blog will help me remember from my time on this trip. From Canada to Finland To Russia to Italy and back. It’s hard to pick the highlights but reflecting back I am so thankful for:
Swimming in the Baltic Sea after my first Finnish sauna
Suomenlinna island with the family that eventually led to this ridiculousness
Watching my old man and the Holm boys play hockey
Visiting the summer palace of Peterhof
The feeling of conquering our first big climb
Delicious macchiatos that cost 1euro, everywhere I turned in Italy
Trying to catch Alessandro on the quiet roads of CilentoTrying to keep an eye on both the stunning scenery and the chaos of the cars, in AmalfiBike touring with these amazing ladies Making new friends with people who share a love for exploring the world on two wheels and not taking life too seriously
Eating a modified Mediterranean diet All the belly laughs Learning the Italian ways
Simultaneously swimming in the sea while washing my helmet. Even if I wasn’t even supposed to be swimming.
The scenery and having a guide to teach us about the history of the scenery. Context is everything.
Last but not least, family and health. I feel quite lucky that I was able to do this trip with my family and that I have the health to do so.