Monday, November 14, 2011

Lost on the Amalfi Coast

I'm not sure how we ended up lost on the Amalfi Coast. It's pretty much only one road down the coastline, but I think we've proven that if it's possible to get lost, we will. I had planned to take Ma to see Positano, the popular, Amalfi town that was so popular with both of her daughters on their Italian sojourns earlier this year. Ma and I set off on a sunny, warm day two weeks ago now, driving through terrible traffic, past Pompeii and Ercolano, through a tunnel cutting out several small towns and their corresponding, small streets, bypassed Sorrento, and came to a screeching halt just a few kilometers before the coast road actually becomes the coast road. Perplexed, I sat there staring at a big, road closure sign. Sadly, the sign had no details - as in, closed for only a few kilometers, closed for a few hours, closed for construction, closed due to accident, and most importantly, no "closed and here's your detour arrow." Knowing through painful experience just how useless my GPS would be in actually providing an alternate route, I used my incredible powers of navigation to drive us onto the tip of the Sorrentine Peninsula looking for the long way 'round...and promptly got us stuck onto a serpentine, donkey path no wider than the car (we were thankfully in the car with side mirrors that fold in!), at which point I reached full panic mode in thinking I was going to have to back the car out of this predicament. This is Nathan's forte, NOT mine. I remember muttering over and over, "This is a nightmare." There may have been some hyperventilation involved. The sheer relief when we exited into a parking lot the width of two of my cars - well, I really just can't describe it.

Once we managed to get on a road that gave us at least five inches of wiggle room, I determined that I was done searching for an alternate route. The town of Sorrento won by default. Of course, this was after I spotted a road sign pointing the way to Positano and excitedly followed it for five or ten minutes before realizing the route was taking us right back to the road closure sign. Yet another U-turn and we really were on our way to Sorrento. I like Sorrento okay, but I haven't been in love with it like many Americans here. I don't crave a visit to Sorrento. But this trip, for the first time, I really, really liked it. The sky was so blue, and I took a good, enjoying look at the colorful buildings that were oh-so-Italy. Corals and yellows and ochers, pretty balconies, palm trees waving, the sea sparkled at the end of the town's dividing gorge. Naturally, we'd arrived at riposo. A few shops were open, and there were just enough open to enjoy the pedestrian zone, but not so many as to be overwhelming. And glory be, we found gelato! Bad morning salvaged.

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