Monday May 30
At breakfast I discovered that I am the only guest staying here except one other Italian woman who is from Rome. The Padre and the woman who works here speak only Italian, as does this other guest, so I am getting more practice in speaking the language. They seem pleased that I understand them and can converse in Italian with them.
I had no agenda for the day, and it just happened that the proprietor of the historic Castle of San Nicola was here this morning. I was offered a ride at 11am by the friendly woman who works here, so I certainly said I would like to go. Then I can walk back for some exercise. (My brother Rick will enjoy reading this, although he definitely would have declined the ride and opted to walk there and back.
It is warm here and sunny and I can’t believe I am staying along the Amalfi Coast with a view of the sea and can hear the waves of the ocean at night. This alone would have been an ideal vacation. Everyone here is very friendly, greeting each other with a “Buon giorno” or “Buona sera.”
There are a lot of little shops here that look interesting and I will definitely have to check them out later. One is a sandal-maker and he and his wife are actually sewing the sandals right in the shop.
As I’m writing this, I am sitting in a beautiful courtyard with a pergola shading me from above, covered in lemons hanging from the trees. Hanging hand-made ceramic lights also adorn this peaceful setting, where birds are chirping. Of course there is also a shrine to St Francis. I find this place a very tranquil spot, and am glad I will be spending five days here. After the busy agenda in Rome, it is a welcome repose.
The ride to the castle ended up being a personalized tour by Crescenzo, the 73 year-old proprietor, and it was a wonderful experience.
Had I known that once we drove as far as we could, there would be over 300 steps to climb, I’m not so sure I would have been so eager to go. (Rick is undoubtedly smiling if he is reading this!)
After Cinque Terre though, this wasn’t too bad, and Crescenzo does it every day.
He also takes care of repairing things at the castle, and has lemon trees and grape vines which he tends.
The view from the top of the mountain was magnificent, not only of Maiori, but Crescenzo pointed out Ravello, with its Villa Rufalo and Villa Cimbrone, on the next mountain high above Amalfi.
I left there with a freshly picked lemon and another memory of a kiss from an Italian man over 70! I guess I am getting used to it. He was very nice.
Afterwards I walked down the hill, stopped at a mini-market and bought some local provolone, salami and pane. I went back to my room and changed clothes and walked across the street to the beach and had my home-made panini with aqua naturale.
The water temperature was refreshing and the beach was relaxing. The two previous times I have been to the Amalfi Coast were in October, so the weather was much different. I am thoroughly enjoying this!