December 2014

Sigh! Yes, that’s more than a year ago, clearly Pomodoro is not working out for me. My friends joke that all the photos in my camera get sucked into a black hole. Not too far from the truth, I guess 😛

Winter sunsets in Italy are awfully early. (Boo!) It was 4:30 pm and we drove to Amalfi, (the entire coast is named after this town) from Minori just when the sun was setting the sky ablaze. The sight of the coast at dusk, with the twinkling lights shining from the colorful houses stacked so neatly on top of the other, the Christmas trees, the rocky landscape and the glistening water was simply.. magical.

As luck would have it, our hotel was in the heart of the town. NOT. We drove into the city, through the city and kept driving past it. After about ten minutes, we discovered it was on our left and checked in. After some confusion (the first room was lovely but really far off from the main hotel and getting to it meant plastering ourselves on the walls like lizards to avoid getting squashed by the local buses). So we traded that for a simple, piccolo (TINYYY) room with a gorgeous view, on the same floor as the breakfast bar.  Even though it was a downgrade from the previous room, the view was totally worth it. The hotel owners were convinced we were lunatico, I mean who in the right frame of mind, would voluntarily opt for a downgrade?

Once we set our bags down, we drove into town and parked our car in the town centre. Amalfi was delightful and festive, decked up in its cheeky Christmas glory and bustling with activity, unlike the other smaller coastal towns we had just come from. It was wonderful walking around to the sounds of loud laughter and ever so chatty Italians.

We strolled along the main promenade and the main piazza where the Duomo was located. Every village and town in Italy has a patron saint, someone who was chosen as a special protector or a guardian. The beautiful Duomo dates back to the 10th century and was dedicated to Amalfi’s patron saint, Saint Andrew, who was the protector of seamen. (The following photos are a bit grainy, but I promise you the Duomo is a lot more impressive than it looks here lol).

There was even a beautiful fountain dedicated to him in the centre of the pizza.

The fountain of Saint Andrew up close. Do you notice anything weird about this fountain? *wink*

In Italy, lactating fountains are a thing. Yep, you read that right! If you look closely at the photo, there is a lactating mermaid at the foot of the fountain. I can’t seem to find any conclusive information about them, but I think these fountains were sculpted in the Middle Ages to celebrate women’s fertility.

After filling our water bottle with water from her *spouts* (Lol I kid, but you can get drinking water there if you’d like), we swung by Locanda del Marinaio for dinner.

I was super excited to recognize a Pulcinella poster on the wall. I don’t remember exactly what we ate, but only that it was delicious. Highly recommend this restaurant.

The one thing I like about winters is that sunrises are late, around 7-7:30 am. The next morning, we didn’t have to wake up at an insanely early hour, heck, we didn’t even have to get up from our beds to witness the sun going up; all we had to do was open our eyes. Also, in the dark, we hadn’t realized that the room was perched on the edge of a cliff. Woo, downgrade WIN!

After we freshened up, we walked straight down the hall for breakfast which consisted of cup(s) of silky cappuccino (which I inhaled, hence no photos), juicy tangerines, warm, fresh and flaky cornettos, creamy yogurt and grapefruit juice.

I forget to mention.. and NUTELLA.

Aaaaand this killer view. Does breakfast get any better? (Channeling my inner Chandler)

It was still quite early in the morning, around 7:30 am. We decided to walk to Amalfi this time, clinging to the very edge of the roads and taking our chances with the local buses, with the hope that bus drivers would see us and contemplate not running us over.

The scenery was breathtaking, villas adorned with bougainvillea on one side and pirate watchtowers and the sea and the steadily rising sun on the other side and Vespas and Fiats sprinkled all over the place. Mamma mia!

And would you look at the red Fiat?

And this yellow Vespa and that blue Fiat. Amalfi is so ridiculously postcard-perfect without even trying. I don’t look too shabby either, haha!

We walked to the town centre and started climbing the hill towards Museo Della Carta. In the Middle Ages, merchants from North Africa sailed through the Mediterranean to reach the thriving Republic of Amalfi, which surpassed even Venice and Genoa (the mighty town where pesto hails from) as a sea power. They traded salt and silks and also passed on the craft of paper-making to the Amalfitanas. Today, you can go to the Museo Della Carta to learn about Amalfi’s ancient paper-making tradition.

While we couldn’t check out the museum (I think it was closed that day), we trekked the Vallei de Mullini to see the ruins of old paper mills.

Ah, there is nothing quite like the cool and fresh mountain air. This eagle’s view of Amalfi from the top didn’t hurt either. 😉 

Amalfi is an intricate maze of tiny streets, hidden piazzas and tucked away staircases. We spent the rest of the day, exploring this adorable town with gleeful abandon. We paused every now and then to take countless pictures of colorful Vespas and Fiats..

… and drink one too many cups of macchiatos..
(I mean how could you not)

We also sampled local produce and shopped for regional specialities, which mostly involved various citrusy goodies like limoncello, lemon infused olive oil, lemon soaps, lemon candles, etc. You name it, they had it.

I could have drunk an entire bottle of citrus olive oil and truffle oil, I kid you not, they were so tasty.

The shopkeeper asked me to not to take photos of these limoncello bottles, but I snuck one nonetheless. *Thug life* 😛

Italian windows with flowerpots and pink cherubs.

We lazed by the promenade hours, soaking up the winter sun.

Le sigh. The beauty.

In the evening, we walked to the sleepy and picture-perfect town of Atrani, which was only ten minutes away.

When we returned, we had dinner at a little gem of a restaurant. Sadly, don’t remember where it was what it was called. Another reason why I need to pen down my travel thoughts immediately. All I remember is devouring an insanely delicious pasta drizzled with olive oil and lemon zest, drinking one too many glasses of red wine and limoncello and laughing until my sides hurt.

It’s true what they say, when life gives you lemons, go to Amalfi and make and drink or just drink limoncello. (Lol signing off with a cliché) That’s exactly what we did and we had the best time of our lives. Arriverderci Amalfi!

Have you been to the Amalfi Coast? What was your favorite town? If you have not been and are planning to go, you can use my nifty guide to help you plan. Ciao!