HOTEL SANTA CAGTERINA AMALFI

HOTEL SANTA CAGTERINA AMALFI

Lorenzo picked us up at noon and we loaded our luggage. We wove through the Rome traffic to the autostrada and headed for the Amalfi coast. Traffic wasn’t heavy and we were at Naples in a couple of hours. Once we exited the highway for the local roads they because narrow two lane roads. At each small town we would find cars parked bumper to bumper against the stone walls on the side of the road which reduced the width of the already narrow road considerably.

We would have to yield to trucks and buses as these roads went through twists and turns. We reached Amalfi drive which was blasted out of the side of the rocks high above the ocean. This famous road Amalfi follows the contour of the rocky cliffs with tunnels blasted out of rock from time to time. There is no shoulder on either side. Rock wall on one side and a low stone wall on the ocean side. The drop is straight down to the rocks and ocean far below. There is one blind corner after another. The obstacles involve buses too big to make the curve without crossing over the line so they blow their horn and proceed without slowing down. Big trucks come around the corner and we have to swerve to avoid contact. Cars pass inches from one another going in the opposite direction. Cars are parked against the stone wall at every town and where ever there are houses above the road or below the road which can be reached only by steep stairs.

At one point, in one of the small village’s built along the cliff the cars in our lane had to stop and back up to let a large tour bus make it past the parked cars and curve of the road. However, the conditions don’t cause anyone to slow down. They just keep driving at near highway speeds until a curve or are forced to temporarily reduce speed.

The view is spectacular and you find small village’s. Some are along the road. Some are down at a beach level and some tiny ones are located in narrow canyons in the cliffs that bridges cross from one side to the other. You see homes built out over the rocks and homes that seem to hang off the sheer rock cliffs below the road. You come to very small towns the road goes through where you could reach out and touch the front of the shops they are so close to the road.

Just driving this road is an experience all by itself. I have not seen anything like it and we have been on some very narrow roads in Europe. It is in large part because of the incredible view that you have from the road.

We arrived at our hotel, Santa Caterina just outside of the town of Amalfi about 2:30 or so yesterday, Friday. This hotel, like the next one we are going to, sits on top of a high rock cliff right above the ocean. It partly hangs out over the edge. An elevator takes you straight down some 250 feet to another level where there is an outdoor lunch area and then a long series of steps go another fifty feet to the ocean. At the bottom of the stairs, a small rock platform area includes a swimming pool blasted out of the rock and an area to lay in the sun.

Our room is located at the level of the lower lunch area. It is a two level  you reach down a walk way through a long lemon grove with trees loaded with huge lemons almost the size of grapefruit. The perfume from the lemons is wonderful. Our room, on the upper level, is about 100 feet above the water. A small balcony extends out hanging over the water below. The lower level has a small swimming pool outside and a place to lay in the sun.The two rooms are small but adequate.

The weather on arrival was sunny and warm. We unpacked and looked around. We had a good dinner and adequate wine in the large dinning room. It has vines growing inside on the ceiling with flowers. It is a lovely place.

Today, Saturday, we woke up to rain, wind and white caps on the water. It is strange weather as the wind blows clouds around. Sun for a short time, rain, and then calm for awhile. We went to the town of Amalfi which we have been to several times before. Little has changed. Lots of tour buses and mostly tourist junk for sale. It’s a small unique village on the water whose narrow, only main street rises up to a much higher upper level. An hour and a half was more then enough.

We came back and had a very good lunch on the lower level, but we needed a heat lamp and it rained hard from time to time. Right now it doesn’t look good outside at all and its 5:00 pm

Tomorrow we move a short distance down the road to the wonderful San Pietro Hotel near Positano.

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