Saturday, September 27, 2014

Day 18 flying home, 9-26-14

Repacked to get down to the 50-lb limit on my carry on. Took shuttle to the terminal-luckily we got off at the right stop-a minor miracle-it's a huge airport-got checked in. The problem why I couldn't print early boarding passes is because my passport will expire within 6 months. We hung around the airport for ages before taking off a little late, but arrived on time. It's a long flight-8 1/4 hrs. We have had a very long vacation and it went remarkably smoothly. I don't want to jinx it before I land, but we have also had considerable good luck. We zipped through customs, Carols daughter, Tess, was waiting to pick us up and home we went. I phoned George when I got into my car and he sounded good and the cat is so happy there she won't want to come home. I stopped at the sub shop for a sub but they had made me a pizza instead, funny, ate some, watched some TV for an hour or so and went to bed around 2 a.m. Rome time. Now to acclimate to the time change-anyway I'll drive up to get George tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 27th 2014). 
Airport lunch of white wine, green beans with tomato

Airport sink, really nice, soap up hands on right, move left to water, move to dry. 

Nice design on sink at Rome airport hotel, big sink for small area.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Day 17 Positano and Amalphi, 9-25-14

Checking out today from this gorgeous 4-star hotel Capodamonti and being picked up at 9 for our excursion to Positano and Amalphi, 6 others have joined us to share the ride. Bernardo picked us up at 9 for our 6-hour tour. Off we went to discover more of this area, riding up and over the mountains to the other side (to another sea) to see the 30-mile Amalphi coast, first stopping for an hour in Positano, a few went swimming, and then another hour in Amalphi-we ate and walked up a shopping street. I took another few hundred photos, and we got back in time to get our bus to Pompeii and transferring there to Rome.  Arrived in Rome at 9 and took a taxi to the Hilton at the airport.  Had the same problem AGAIN not printing boarding passes with Alitalia. Hope we don't lose our seats AGAIN, had a quick burger (first one in weeks) and am looking forward to a good nights sleep. I loved the bathroom.

2 girls from NY swimming

Amalphi where Jacqueline Onassis' yacht would be.  Sophia Loren lives here.

Lots of traffic as you approach Amalphi.

Hilton Garden Airport Hotel

Day 16 Capri, 9-24-14

Got up early--nice leisurely shower, beautiful wall to wall marble and a big deep tub, totally deluxe.  I couldn't get my iPad to connect to the internet at this hotel, but eventually someone at the hotel got me on. Breakfast was like being on a cruise ship and it looks like a beautiful day. While waiting to be picked up for our hydrofoil boat it began to thunder and pour.  As we were boarding it stopped. The sun came out and it was very warm and breezy all day. Our guide took us by boat to see the entrance to the Blue Grotto which was not operating. The entrance area has a very low overhead and Capri has practically no tides but today it was higher than usual so the tiny hole in the wall was very tiny. We went to the top of Capri by bus and had an hour or so to walk around then got another bus to Annacapri along a scary drive on the way. Beside this part of the road the ancient people used to climb 1,102 steps which are still visible. We ate (I had fish and ice cream) then were free for 2 hours to look or walk around. We went to the palatial estate of the last century built by Axel Munthe called Villa San Michele. He was a scholar and writer from Scandanavia who willed it to his country and part of it is now a consulate.  Villa San Michelle
Before returning to our hotel we had the bus let us off in town (Sorrento) and we walked back, had dinner and took another short walk--along the very narrow sidewalk that is along the very edge of the road on top of the cliffs and looking down is like walking on the wing of an airplane! Tomorrow we are sharing a driver and going to Positano and Amalphi.
Early photo (1800s) of Villa San Michelle

Lunch spot on Anacapri

View of Capri from Villa garden area

Entrance of Blue Grotto, if you click this to make it bigger, you can see how totally blue the water is.

Shore at port of Capri

Carol near Funicular entrance on Capri

View of Capri from Villa near that lion statue

When my husband and I came here 41 years ago, we walked up because we were on Frommer's $15 a day!

and this is the spot where George and I had lunch way back then.

Me near funicular entrance.

Carol and I on the way to the Blue Grotto.

Shoreline at Port of Capri

more boats

See the roadway along the edge, this is the only way to Anacapri (see the Villa silhouetted on the skyline) and look very closely to the right of it to see a path which is over one thousand steps, the original way (before roads) to get there.

My lunch on Anacapri.  Three meals a day were included on the Capri trip.

View from where we took the hydrofoil to Capri from Sorrento.

Hydrofoil dock area, Vesuvius in distance.

Tile in the bathroom of our room, knob is a door stop.

Patio at our hotel.

View at breakfast.

View from our room at Hotel Capodamonte

Axel Munthe's Villa

path from house to garden

further along walk towards gardens

inside home of Axel Munthe's villa

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Day 15 heading to Sorrento, 9-23-14

Our driver was expecting to take us to the airport but luckily we discussed it right off and we headed off to central Rome to join our bus tour through Carrani tours. It is a rather complicated arrangement that they have but in any case we went first to Naples. A nice guide talked about the cities and places along that ride until we reached Naples where another guide took over.  We had a one-hour walking tour with her in Naples where everything was under construction. In Naples they want to build a new system of rail transportation with new additional stops but found many historic relics, etc., including three whole intact boats as well as walls from previous buildings that are causing some big delays. After that we are moving on to Pompeii and lunch. The process of serving a very good lunch to hundreds of people was very efficient.  The hall of a top hotel was nicely furnished and very pretty. Several bus loads of people filed into the room and the primi course was quickly brought out by waiters on large platters and we had a choice of soup, salad or lasagna. The waiters served each person according to their preferences. They served big portions and asked us if we wanted seconds. I had the lasagna and it was maybe the best I ever had-very thin pasta, nice sauce, cheese, and layered also with mortadella and mild ham. The second course was fish or meat.  We chose fish. It was a cod with tomato sauce and roasted potato and cauliflower. The meat was roasted pork in light cream gravy. The dessert was chocolate chip ice cream-not gelato.  We had wine at 4 euro each and espresso at 1 euro each and I had walnut liquor to add to it.  The food was and is all included in the price of the tour, beverages are extra. After our excellent meal we started the Pompeii tour. Pompeii has expanded exponentially since I was here 41 years ago and our guide was great.  After two hours of tramping around all the  important spots we were back to the bus. This is the crazy part.  Everyone had to unload their luggage because the trip was divided into about four different destinations. Eventually after some confusion, different languages, etc. we drove to Sorrento where still more divisions were made to four different hotels who housed various travelers. We are at the Capodimonte which was the third stop. When I was here years ago, we were located in a small town with one street along the shore-this time it's a metropolis of busy shops and spread along miles of Shoreline. When we arrived  in our room it was one big bed and we were scheduled for two beds so maids came and separated and remade the beds.  It is a very beautiful four-star hotel. Dinner was a very nice atmosphere on the fifth floor open al fresca dining, nice linen tablecloths, silver covers on the dishes coming to the table. My food was great, shrimp resotto with spinach, hunters chicken with mushrooms and baked apple. Carol had caprice salad, fish, banana cake w chocolate frosting. Tomorrow is a full day at Capri.  
These trees mark the Appian Way.

Does he look like a grump to you?  One in every crowd.

They discovered a huge moat around this building.

This is the moat.

Pompeii was a very large (maybe 50K) population previously occupied by Greeks, then the Romans made them their slaves.

See Mt. Vesuvius in the distance-it's still active.

Dining at our Hotel Capadamonte

See the quarter?  These are the Lemonchello Lemons.