I arrived in Sorrento by ferry from Capri to begin my independent tour of the Amalfi coast. The tour begins on the Sorrentine Peninsula in Sorrento and ends in the town of Amalfi, one of 14 towns on the Amalfi coast. The main part of Sorrento is perched on the cliffs that overlook the coast. There are beaches below the cliffs. I found it interesting that the beaches are privately owned and the owners charge the public to use them. It made me feel grateful for all of the free public beaches in the U. S.
My hotel was not in town, so I had trouble finding it. I finally ended up taking a taxi for about four miles out of town. It was worth it. The hotel, Il Nido, on Nastra Verde, the name of the road that traverses the 25 miles of the Amalfi Coast. It is situated on one of the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean. The view was stunning, and the hotel had a lovely restaurant that overlooked the sea. It sounds expensive, but it wasn’t. I paid $55 euro (less than $70) a night, and the restaurant prices were quite reasonable. As I sat on the terrace, sipping a glass of wine and gazing at the view of the Mediterranean, I was happy that I chose a hotel out of town, away from the hordes of tourists. Il Nido is a perfect place to stay for baby boomers of all ages!
The next day, I took the public bus down the Amalfi Coast to Amalfi, including a short stop in Positano, which is the most interesting town on the coast. As I had heard, the Coast is stunningly beautiful, at least as beautiful as the coast of Northern California, with which I am familiar, but the tall cliffs of Amalfi make it different, more spectacular in a way. As with Capri, I would recommend visiting the Amalfi Coast in the spring or fall. The weather is nice, and there are not as many tourists. I would either stay at the Il Nido or at a hotel in Positano.
I spent some time in the town of Amalfi before I took the bus back, but there isn’t much to see or do there. Positano has better restaurants, cafes and views.
My short stay made me think that traveling around Europe, staying in a dozen or more cities a few days each, is not the best way to travel. I yearn to go back to the Il Nido hotel and spend a month soaking up the culture and the food while I write.
My three months in Europe also made me think about the alternative types of travel: independent, small tour groups, medium tour groups and large tour groups. I wouldn’t go with a large tour group, but the other alternatives each have their advantages, and different people prefer different types of travel. I had always preferred independent travel, except in Third World countries, but now I am wondering if a medium-sized to group might be the way to go (small groups being more expensive than I can afford).