In Paris for the weekend

The service and food were significantly better on the Air France flight (biz class) yesterday.

Staying in the Marais in the 4th arrondissement. Walked to dinner at a patio table on a cute little square, followed by a long walk through the 4th and back along the Seine.

Through Place des Vosges, and past, or views of, Pompidou, Les Balled, Eiffel Tower (lit up) and Notre Dame.

Also got to see the outside of the building where Susan used to live.

And some of the tour boats on the river have floodlights (to illuminate buildings) that would put stadiums to shame.

IT: Capri quick update

This morning we grabbed a taxi to the port (€12 booked through our hotel) and then a 35 minute jet boat ferry to Capri (€16 each, + €2 for large luggage).

Our hotel on Marina Grande, right by the port, is a very nice 4* hotel, probably the nicest of the 4 hotels. With a great view of the harbour, the Bay of Naples and even Mt Vesuvius in the distance.

Right outside our door we have the ferries, a bus stand, a taxi stand, the funicular station and a scooter rental place. So many options!

We did the Blue Grotto tour by boat (photo below; more details later) which was brief (in the grotto) but memorable.

Capri Town is up on the hill – a pedestrian centre with mostly expensive shops and restaurants.

IT: Sorrento and around (on scooter) – quick update

For the 3rd time we rented a scooter, this time in Sorrento (only €37) and drove west to the end of the peninsula and into the hill towns just east of Sorrento (for a total of about 100km).

After some sketchy looking dark clouds this morning, it turned out to be quite a nice day starting from 10:30.

Some great scenery and good food and views (inc. of Capri).
Followed by dinner and some shopping in Sorrento.

Tomorrow we plan on seeing Pompeii and Naples, and we changed our plans such that we will be spending our last 2 nights in Italy on Capri.

IT: Amalfi Coast: Praiano (on scooter)

Praiano is just east of Positano, and Marina di Praiano is just to the east of town.

Not too exciting a town, though we didn’t actually walk around it – but it was a nice scooter ride up to the homes up top (the church is below the main road), with views east and west.

IT: Amalfi Coast: Atrani/Amalfi to Positano

We set an alarm (gasp!) in order to go for a scooter ride this morning before returning it before 11am and checking out. It was sunny and we had missed out on a few hours of riding yesterday due to the rain.

We drove west past the Emerald Grotto (Grotto della Smerelda) carpark to a little gas station (€1.85 per litre, for a total of €6 for our 45km touring), after a little detour up into the small town of Conca dei Marini.

FYI, we did shoot a few videos while driving on the scooter; however, I won’t be able to post them until after returning home.

For moving on to Positano, we had decided to take a taxi from our Atrani hotel to the bus and ferry terminals in Amalfi (1km – €15!) due to our luggage, but once we were in the taxi we asked him how much to take us to Positano (16km). The hotel had told us €80, the driver quoted €50 and we talked him down to €45 and saved a lot of time and hassle (the ferry would have been €11 each but then we’d need a porter service for €8/bag in Positano as our hotel is up high on the hill). Our driver was nice and he stopped twice for photo ops.

IT: Amalfi Coast: moving to Sorrento today

Today we change towns again, moving on to Sorrento on the northern side of the peninsula. It will be a good base for seeing Capri, Pompeii and Naples.

The weather is still great, with a high of 30C/86F predicted today.

Update: bargained with taxi driver for a €65 fare (down from €80 initial offer) from Positano to Sorrento (he ran the meter anyway, which would have cost more). It’s about 20km plus a little more to our hotel, about 45 minutes, depending on traffic.

Sorrento view from our rooftop pool (similar view from room); the hotel is on Via Capo on the west edge of town

IT: Amalfi Coast: another lovely day in Positano

After breakfast we went for another scooter ride (same 24 hour rental that started the previous afternoon), this time west towards Sorrento. In fact could see Sorrento (and back towards Praiano) from the ridge on the peninsula at the start of the Amalfi Coast.

We also rode up to Montepertuso (hole in the mountain) and tiny Nocelle in the hills above Positano for some killer views and a light lunch.

Gas is expensive at €1.85 per litre ($2.45/L or $9.35/gallon!!); good thing the scooter only need €10 of gas for our 95km of hilly rides.

In the afternoon we rented a little wooden motor boat (max speed only 3 knots) for 2 hours (€35 per hour). We looked at the second beach in Positano then headed east to the headland around which we could see Amalfi Town. A nice relaxing way to see the scenic coast from the sea.

Last night we had an excellent romantic dinner at Scirocco resto up in Montepertuso.

IT: Amalfi Coast: Positano quick update

Yesterday after a morning scooter ride, we packed up and took a taxi to pretty (and expensive) Positano for our next 3 nights. There seem to be way more American and British tourists here than in Amalfi/Atrani.

Today we had a leisurely breakfast (great buffet at our hotel), sat by the rooftop pool with great views, then rented a 125cc scooter again from Positano Rent a Scooter which is in a shoe shop :-)

We rode to Marina de Praiano (just east of the town of Praiano) where we enjoyed a nice fresh fish lunch at a waterside resto, then rode around Praiano and back through Positano and to the lookout just west of town.
So essentially we scootered the full distance (16km) between Amalfi Town and Positano, just in separate pieces on different days.

Tonight we ate a great dinner at Donna Rosa up in Montepertuso, a little residential area uphill from Positano. We recommend this resto.

IT: Amalfi Coast: Maiori details and photos

Some more photos of Maiori, which is 3 coastal towns east of Amalfi Town.

Our impression of the town was a lower-rent Italian vacation destination, which seemed accurate: the architecture is boring, no obvious foreign tourists, and prices are much lower here. It does have a large beach, no less unappealing than other ones on the coast (in other words, pebbly, and sorry, this ain’t the Caribbean :-)

We stopped for a coffee here before returning to Atrani.
In fact we had 2 caffe macchiatos and 2 little pastries for a total of 4.10 euros, where a macchiato or cappuccino had been costing us 2.5-3 euro each in other towns!

Here in Maiori the river is partially covered and partially uncovered, a good 1.5 half stories under the main road/pedestrian mall. We had noticed that there was a river under the main road in Amalfi and Atrani, which also had fountains with natural spring water (but seemingly neither of these features are in Positano).

Tip: you can drink (and fill your water bottle) from these spring-fed fountains in Amalfi Town and Atrani.

Summary: I wouldn’t spend my vacation here, but worth a quick stop if you are driving a car or scooter on the coast.