When I think back on our Europe trip, I can't help but to give a big happy sigh when I think of the truly amazing time we had down on the Southern coast of Italy.
After our afternoon in Pompeii, our driver drove us further down south to Sorrento. I'd read that Sorrento is a perfect jump-off spot for anyone wanting to explore the Amalfi Coast area -- it's easy to get to and easy to use as a base for travel to all of the fun spots. After being there, I couldn't agree more with this advice.
I was a little in shock when we pulled up at our hotel for the next three nights ... it was absolutely perfect! Palazzo Marziale was highly rated on Trip Advisor and our stay there showed us exactly why it had received such top-notch reviews.
We had such a beautiful bedroom and a huge marble bathroom. We booked the junior suite and it was just a little more expensive than the regular room but completely worth it.
The windows above opened up to a little terrace that looked right over the street and a church where we saw a wedding going on.
That first evening, we enjoyed a complimentary cocktail at the hotel's bar (they had the most adorable bistro tables outside for sipping and people-watching) and then we walked down to the beach that was across from our hotel. The beach area was teeny and just so ... Italian. I was in love!
That evening before dinner we wandered through Sorrento's center and wound up at a small shop where you could book excurions and tours. Ian had a wild idea brewing and we were about to take on a really fun adventure. We gathered our courage and booked a moped for the next day. If you have ever been to Italy and seen how they drive mopeds around, you can appreciate how much guts this took!
It was our first time on a moped, ever. We got a quick run-through from the rental company, and then they tossed us our helmets and we were on our way. Driving on the Italian roads is not for the faint of heart, but Ian did an incredible job.
I sat on the back and held on tight, occasionally pulling the map out to point right or left to my fearless driver. We first traveled to Positano first, and it was one of the more beautiful places I've seen. Lemons, lemons everywhere, darling little hilly cobblestone streets, and more lemons.
One of the best parts of the day was taking lots of stops to just stretch our legs, take some photos, and then hop back on the bike. We stopped for a lunch in an adorable little town ... not one of the larger ones on the Amalfi Coast, and I forget the name, but Ian locked up the moped and we shared an antipasto plate at the restaurant you see on the right of the picture below -- the light blue building.
After our lunch they brought us chilled limoncello on the house. I think our American restaurants need to get around this idea!
From there, we made our way to Amalfi. I always knew when we were arriving at one of the bigger areas because traffic would slow down and the cruise ships became visible. Amalfi was a very pretty area, much more touristy than Positano though.
Um, check out this moped. We parked beside it, and I was so nervous that we'd tip our moped over on it. Not quite sure it's authentic LV leather but there was no way I was taking my chances!
After leaving Amalfi, we biked up to Ravello where the crowds died down and the air got chillier. It was such a pretty little area. We then started our trek home which was about two or two and a half hours at that point. Ian was really getting a handle on the Italian traffic and was weaving through traffic at that point like a champ, even passing busses! He had to ask me a few times to unclench my hands from his waist :)
Below is a great map that shows the basic route we took. Just imagine this with drop-off cliffs along the way!
We returned the mopeds that evening, and after a great experience with that booking company, we used them to schedule a semi-private boat tour of Capri for the next morning. Guys -- if you find yourself in the area, I couldn't recommend more to bypass the large ferry that goes from Sorrento to Capri and opt for a little boat instead.
We were picked up at our hotel the next morning for our Capri tour by a beautiful black Mercedes, which took us to the dock. There were only four other couples on our boat, so a total of ten people plus a captain, and he took us completely around the island and pointed out the various grottos and immaculate homes. Plus, he had mozzarella, basil and tomato paninis for everyone along with wine, beer, and water.
We befriended another couple on the boat that was the sweetest pair from Ireland. We just instantly clicked with them and it was a blast getting to know them and discussing cultural differences and what they loved about American television! The guy in the couple played professional Rugby in Ireland and Ian loved chatting with him about that.
When we got to the Emerald Grotto, he asked if anyone wanted to jump in and swim through it, and he would pick us up on the other side. Ian and I immediately volunteered as did our rugby player friend.
Here we are on the other side of the grotto before we got picked up. What an experience that was!
Once we landed in Capri, our new friends asked if we wanted to explore the island with them. We thought they were just the most fun couple, so of course we were up for that! We all took the funicular to the top of the island and walked around, looking at the shops and stopping for an afternoon cocktail together.
After a few perfect hours, our boat picked us up and we started the journey back to Sorrento.
That was our last evening, so we decided to go out with a bang. We'd booked the best table at Terrazza Marziale, the restaurant in our hotel. This is no ordinary hotel restaurant, folks. It was the nicest restaurant we went to during our entire European trip!
Dinner was just amazing and they brought us more limoncello at the end of our meal.
The hotel owner, who was dining at the restaurant with her family that night, actually left her meal to personally assist us with an early check-out after dinner (we were getting picked up at 4am the next morning) and she even took a few photos of us in the lobby. It was such a sweet gesture, and I still can't believe how accomodating and generous Paola was.
By that time, it was time for us to head up the room, finish packing, and set our alarms for 3:30am. The craziness of that hit us, as did the limoncello, all resulting in a very silly photoshoot while en route back up to the hotel room.
What can I say ... I think that montage perfectly wraps our Sorrento adventure. That alarm sure came early the next morning!
To wrap it up, when you visit the Amalfi Coast (which I truly hope you will), here are the musts:
* Palazzo Marziale ...such an amazing hotel
* Limoncello, and lots of it
* Rent a moped if you are up for a thrilling adventure
* Semi-private boat tour of Capri (around $75/person)
* Explore the markets in the city center of Sorrento
* Souvenir shopping in Positano
Ciao, bellas! Thanks for letting me share our 2nd anniversary trip recaps with you!
For more Italy recaps, click here.