Waking to picture perfect weather for a private tour of the Amalfi Coast makes this cruiser bounce out of bed regardless of the lack of sleep from a very late night!
The ship docked in Salerno, which was within easy commute to what I consider some of the most beautiful areas of Italy, Amalfi, Ravello and Positano.
We boarded a mini van for a coffee at our first stop, Amalfi, where we not only enjoyed some delectable Italian desserts, but we met our spirited tour guide for the day, the aptly named Michelangelo.
Michelangelo took us on a journey through history as he led us along the coastline and through alleyways to one of the most striking churches I have ever had the honour of seeing, Saint Andrew’s Cathedral, located in the Piazza del Duomo.
The Cathedral reportedly houses the remains of Saint Andrew that were turned over to the church in 1208 following their delivery to Amalfi in 1206 by Cardinal Peter of Capua.
The patron Saint of Amalfi is dear to the hearts of the town’s people, due to the belief that he protected them from a rogue attack in the 1500s.
During the night of the 26th June 1544, the Saracen (Arabian) fleet commandeered by Kadir-ad-Din, approached the Amalfi Coast.
The Amalfi people invoked the protection of Saint Andrew and Saint Mattew (the patron saint of Salerno) before an unforeseen storm descended upon the ships, destroying them and all who sailed on them.
Since then, a parade is held in Saint Andrew’s honour every 26th June to honour the saint who is called upon in all types of trouble and who is believed to have saved the town on more than
Among the crowds of people who have gathered in Amalfi Tuesday, we see a funeral procession weave their way through the tight corridors of the town.
Mourners follow the coffin that must be carried up a narrow staircase to the cemetery that is located high up on a hill behind Saint Andrew’s Cathedral.
My heart goes out to them that not only are they mourning the loss of a loved one, but they also have to endure the sweltering heat whilst carrying a heavy coffin up what was a very steep staircase.
Boarding the coach once more, we head to Ravello for a lunch that one can only describe as truly divine.
Alberco Ristorante Bar is positioned on a narrow stretch of road in Ravello, a small town 5 kilometres from Amalfi, up on the mountain overlooking the coast from Maiori to Amalfi.
The family-run restaurant presents breathtaking views down the mountain to the coastline and my stomach rumbles in readiness for the mouthwatering meal we’re about to have.
Our appetisers are a host of antipasto including melt-in-your-mouth buffalo mozzarella and juicy olives before we are served our mains, salami and ricotta filled gnocchi larger than any gnocchi I have ever seen and a seafood linguini that would satisfy even the most discerning pasta critic.
Why is it that I can’t find pasta like this in Australia?
The ingredients are just so fresh, the pasta is just so light and almost fluffy, making it from scratch with premium ingredients truly does make a difference!
Veering away from the ice cold limoncello offered as a palate cleanser, I stick to the Italian
wine that was going down a treat in itself.
Tummies full, a few of us catch a quick kip on the mini bus before we arrive in Positano, almost a 45-minute drive from our lunch stop.
Positano reminded me of Mykonos in Greece, or even Bodrum in Turkey, with it’s white washed buildings and stunning views down to turquoise blue waters.
One way it didn’t remind me of those two places I had fallen in love with earlier on the trip was in regards to shopping.
Whilst I could have walked away with a myriad of items, Positano was positively expensive!
Instead, we chose to wander the streets and indulge in a gelato to cool down before the long drive back to the ship.
Managing to squeeze in another nap before arriving at the ship, I was woken by my fellow group members stressing that we would miss the ship. As it turns out, we had less than 10 minutes before “all aboard” and our driver was unable to find the entrance to the port.
He comes through like a charm though and we make it aboard with minutes to spare…we couldn’t possibly be the people that Senior Cruise Director would announce as missing pre-Sailaway!
With a sunset like the one we were experiencing along the Italian coastline, what better place to enjoy dinner than by the Tides Pool located on Lido deck aft?
We pile up our plates with a myriad of dishes from the Lido marketplace but my favourite is by far the sushi.
Not normally a fan of sushi presented at buffets, this is fresh and tasty and the perfect ‘lighter’ alternative after my day of pasta, cheese and breads!
Spending some time at the Red Frog Pub with my fellow Amalfi Coast tourists, we decide to check out the Punchliner Comedy Club before heading to ‘the local’ (aka Liquid Nightclub).
Tom Pepper and Austin Knight were performing, two comedians from the U.K. who seemed to think that ‘adults only’ comedy meant swearing as much as you can with no actual purpose to using the swear words.
I walked out of each show after trying to give them a chance to make me laugh but it seemed not many people were ‘getting’ their humour!
Liquid Nightclub called for a nightcap before what I was certain would be an early night. Surely I needed sleep after my late night and big day…
That wasn’t to happen on the night that Miami HEAT was playing their finals though.
With the time difference, the game was scheduled for 3:30am ship time and the Winner’s Casino was going to stay open late to show the game for the many devotees aboard.
Having never watched a basketball game before and being someone always keen for a new experience, I join my friends in the casino to shout, clap and scream for a team that everyone seemed so passionate about.
My knowledge of Dwayne Wade and Lebron James extended to their brief mentions by Jay-Z in “Empire State of Mind”, so this was going to be a learning curve.
The game is explained to me by Miami HEAT aficionado DJ Alx and a nail biting finish thankfully sees the HEAT win…it was too early in the morning to see grown men cry!
We head to watch the spectacular sunrise before indulging in some pizza since breakfast starts later on a sea day…
There’s nothing better to make you feel young than having pizza at 6am watching the sunrise with new friends after staying up all night watching a basketball game.
Perhaps I had found the secret of eternal youth…