We were wet from rain and shivering when we stepped out onto the Amalfi Coast from the ferry. The views from the ferry wharf were gorgeous, with the tops of the seaside hills covered in a thick sheet of fog. The sea was a dark blue and grey and, even in this kind of weather, the pastel shops and cafes sprinkled amongst the hills looked character-filled and worthy of many an Instagram snap.
Google Maps was impractical at this point and better off being used to give general direction rather than literal since many of the houses here were so layered and relied on local pathways and secret passages instead of the average front-door, road-side simplicity of Australian addresses. After a while, we were able to find the weathered-down stone stairs that led us to the back of our apartment. Our sixth-floor hotel room (or at least it was six flights of stairs anyway — in reality it was probably just the third floor) was sparkling clean with a simple blue and white theme to highlight the ocean views outside our window. My favourite part of the apartment was the shower I finally got to take after almost two days of flights and travelling. My second favourite was the window seat I got to take many pretty pictures from.
Everything in Amalfi smells old and perfumed with woody and fresh-ocean air notes. If it’s not the rich scent of a shop’s perfume, it’s the smell of coffee beans or even a light layer of lemon. It turns out that the Amalfi Coast is well known for its fresh lemon produce.
Amalfi Coast in just one word is “food”. Good, rich, stereotypical-but-still-awesome, Italian food. First, we experienced the wonder of Amalfi Coast eateries while at a café that specialised in pasta and fish. I had clam spaghetti and a ton of table bread with olive oil – strangely, the best part of our meal was the bread, despite the clam spaghetti being very tasty and fresh.
After lunch we had gelato. I got a variety of lemon flavours and then, later coupled this with a fried seafood cone a few minutes afterwards and then followed by a pricy (but delicious) orange juice. For dinner we went to a somewhat pretentious restaurant with a mild obsession with donkey art. The cost of me pretending not to be a sweatpants-loving bogan and then paying like $100 AUS for my tiny fish in lemon sauce (admittedly, nicely complimented by butter) and sparkling water really didn’t add up to be worth the experience. And the donkey figurines were overpriced.
Amalfi was the perfect place to start my trip to Italy as an extremely inexperienced overseas traveller. It was so touristy there and full of colourful personalities, that it was a worthy and memorable experience to start with. Everyone who worked in customer service knew very good English and inserted just enough Italian phrases for me to know some customs when speaking the language (like don’t say “buongiorno” after 3PM).
The only warning I might give for travelling to Amalfi is that the drivers here drive with a different sense of rage compared to Australians. I would not recommend driving to Amalfi as what’s considered “normal” driving in Australia would be considered slow and dangerously un-alert in Italy. Take the ferry.
I wish we’d booked to stay here longer as the main Amalfi Coast only offers a small part of what the overall area has to offer — like Positano or Minori. Hiking through the hills and along the old buildings would’ve been well worth the aesthetic.
Yujun discovered panorama on his new phone and decided he was our group’s designated photographer. As can be gathered from the photos above, I stubbornly refused the leadership.
My big honker of a nose (the whole of what the 1% Italian in my genes manifested into) was normal here. Big noses everywhere.
The seafood was delicious! It’s no wonder so many cats hung out along the coast.