The train to Salerno was an event in itself. The cheaper train ticket, which of course we bought, was for an unreserved seat on an overcrowded train. This ended up meaning Kayley and I sitting on our bags in a mini luggage car where the toilets were located. We were squeezed in this tiny area with at least 15 other people for 3 hours and only granola bar and half a water to ration between us. Squished in next to us were two Italian soldiers that were our age. For the first couple hours we weren’t sure why they hadn’t tried to make conversation with us, till we finally realized they didn’t speak but two words of English. We tried to break the ice by using broken English, google translate, and hand signals to teach them how to play a simple game of sudoku. It was not a success and they could not figure out how the game worked, but it was hilarious nonetheless and helped to pass the time. They even tried to give us their number when they left- like conversation then would be any better haha. It was then I decided I would define this train ride as “inches away, miles apart”.
After those long 3 hours we decided to hop off in Naples for the afternoon for some much anticipated pizza! A local man we had met on the train told us about a famous place that we should go to and gave us directions. Little did we know he ended up guiding us to the same pizza shop Julia Roberts ate at in Eat, Pray, Love! Just a little added bonus to go along with the delicious soupy centered Napoleon style pizza! It was devoured in minutes by us 4 hungry gals who tore through it like it was our last meal. But unfortunately, other than the pizza, the city itself was a let down. The city streets were Dutty and sketchy looking and looked a lot like the rougher parts of downtown Los Angeles. Totally not what we had expected.
So off we went, and hopped back on the train for the rest of the trek down to Salerno. By the time we got into town, waited an hour for the local bus, walked down a giant hill, and asked about 6 different sets of people for directions, we made it to our destination of Vietre Sul Mare– A tiny town along the sea at the southern end of the Amalfi Coast. It was now around 9:30pm and the last contact we had with the airbnb lady we were renting from was around 3pm! Luckily two local waiters, Antonio and Enzo, working at the restaurant below the apartment saw us in our fluster and offered to help. They were friends with our host, Elena, and were able to contact her and let her know we had arrived. Thank God for kind and helpful people! We may have had to sleep on the beach that night if it wasn’t for them. That night, and for the next four nights actually we slept, a lot. Our bodies were finally able to relax feeling comfortable having a giant loft all to ourselves. The ease in knowing you could do laundry, lounge, and have the beach just a walk across the street. This sleepy little town was like a little hidden gem of the Amalfi coast. Not filled with tourists, but rather just a few vacation rentals mixed in with peoples homes.
One of the days while we were here we decided to take a bus trip up the Amalfi Coast to see all the little towns to the north. The bus fare was only around 8 euros and could take you all the way up to Sorrento. The windy road along the cliff side, only really wide enough for one car somehow managed to fit the giant tour bus we were in. However with every blind turn you couldn’t help but cringe because the bus driver would merely just honk and hope that the on coming traffic would yield. A little uneasy when you can see straight off the side of the cliff into the water. Fortunately after a few hours we made it to beautiful Positano. The colored houses stacked along the hillside reminded me a lot of Riomaggiore but on a bigger scale, and even more postcard picturesque. Unfortunately because we had started our day so late we were only able to stay in the town for an hour before we had to catch the last bus back home. If we missed the bus at 8pm we would also miss the last connection bus at 9:30pm and would be in for at least a 100 euro cab ride. Wouldn’t be us if we weren’t cutting it close though right? Haha lucky we literally made the last bus by a matter of minutes and made it home late that night. It was a long day, but I totally recommended taking the literally breathtaking drive!
Throughout the week in Vietri, poor Brookie was still trying to get better and Jenny, Kayley and I were trying to plan our next move. We knew we had to be in Munich by October 1st for our Oktoberfest Contiki reservation and weren’t sure if we were going to be able to make it to Croacia before like we had hoped. It would be a long 7 hour train ride stacked on top of a 10 hour overnight boat ride and we would only get to spend 3 days there. So we started throwing some ideas around about alternate routes and by the time I hopped out of the shower it was decided… Welp, I guess were going to Prague! That afternoon we sat and booked our train and flight for the next day. And Jess, Kayley and I in all the excitement decided to book our flights to Thailand as well! It was only then I realized the second leg of the trip, SE Asia, was becoming more than just an idea.. It was really going to happen! To celebrate that night we ended our time in Italy with our last Italian meal, wine, and of course gelato. I was excited to be heading somewhere new and to give my stomach a little break from all the carbs and gelato… Only to be replaced by goulash and beer haha. See you in Prague!