This morning we needed to have our bags out at 7:00am. We also had to make sure our carry-on bags were taken to the coach by 8:00am, and then we climbed into two mini buses for our trip along the Amalfi Coast to Positano. Marco and our luggage would meet us at the drop-off point on our return.
One of our mini buses was driven by Luca and our bus driver was Michaelo – not sure about the spelling there. We had a couple of stops along the way for photo opportunities, shopping and a taste of freshly squeezed orange juice.
I picked up a lovely pair of ear-rings with amber stones and filigree leaf work, and a gorgeous bracelet with green stones. There is only one road into and out of Positano. Large coaches, large buses and trucks (with drivers who have local knowledge) never attempt it.
Giuseppe told us of one occasion where a truck got nine kilometres along the road before it became jammed and bought traffic to a halt. They brought in a local driver with great skill and knowledge of the road itself who reversed the semi-trailer back to the main road.
We actually saw a semi with trailer whose driver was having great difficulty negotiating the curves, and ended up needing a police escort to stop traffic while he made several attempts to get around the bend.
There was also a couple of hairy moments for us as passengers, but I don’t believe our driver even blinked on those occasions.
The Amalfi coast is really spectacular, and Positano is lovely. I would hate to live there and probably wouldn’t even face driving my little Honda along the roads. We enjoyed a stroll when we got there (read walked down numerous steps and what we would call alleys but the Italians call streets) and ended up down at the beach. We took photos pf the houses clinging to the cliff face.
Russ and I enjoyed a cuppa and finished with our daily gelato. The drink I wanted wasn’t available yet as the weather is not hot enough, so I just asked for a latte instead and thought nothing more about it.
The waiter, however, thought differently. He must be used to patrons throwing wobblies when they can’t get what they want. Anyway, when we paid out bill he presented me with a print of the view from the terrace and thanked me.
We headed back up the stairs and the journey going up didn’t deem to take as much time or effort as coming down had done. We had plenty of time to arrive at the meeting point so we window shopped along the way.
I have champagne taste and a beer barrel budget so I didn’t buy anything. There was a beautiful matching cami and blouse (and very colourful, of course) but I wasn’t shelling out 180 Euro dollars for it.
Some of the other ladies don’t have my budgetary constraints and several of them returned to the mini buses carrying shopping bags.
We finally were on our way back to Marco and it didn’t take long to reach him at the drop-off point. The coach, as usual, was immaculately clean inside and out. We really appreciated Marco’s effort each day.
We set off for Rome, and most of the trip today is along the autostrada. It is too good an opportunity not to open the computer and finish going through 100’s of photos to choose some for the website. I am a couple of days behind schedule as it is. Hopefully we will be able to upload the photos once we get to the hotel.
We had a late stop for the restroom break and lunch at the autogrille. Russ and I had a bite of chocolate with a green tea for me and a coke for Russ. Yes, going back to healthy eating will be such a burden!
I had a lovely chat with Edmond and Rima (not sure of the spelling and never got a chance to see how it was written on her name tag) while sitting in the sunshine. We had to stand up after a short while as we had ants climbing on us. Russ had returned to the shade and was chatting with some of the others until it was time to return to the coach.
We are all starting to get a little sad at the thought of the end of our time together, and saying goodbye to such a great bunch of people. Giuseppe passed around a list of names and anyone who wanted to do so could add their email addresses to it. He will later type it up and email it out to those who have responded.
Barbara (0ne of three) knows of a site where she will create a group for us and send out a link to those who provided email addresses. I think it is called Shutterbug. We can upload photos and exchange them with each other on the site.
I finally got to download a photo of the Trevi Fountain that Steve emailed me (several times with different formats) earlier in the trip, and after many failed attempts. Thanks Steve. The photo was taken during the evening tour of Rome that Russ and I missed as he needed downtime before we actually commenced our very hectic touring schedule.
Russ has discussed the blog with others on many occasions and has given out the details about how to access the website to read the blog and see the photos. There has been lots of feedback from the crew, and I always emphasize that I write it for my benefit for later use with the photobooks. I am more than happy to share it, and am very glad if other people on the trip can enjoy it.
We stay in the Sheraton Hotel outside of Rome tonight as it is very close to the airport for transfers out tomorrow morning. We boarded the coach at 6:15pm to go to our Farewell Dinner. Most of the ladies got dolled up for the event, but I didn’t, and spent the time putting captions on the photos that had been uploaded to the website. Besides, it was too cold to put on less clothes than I already did.
When we arrived at our restaurant we were greeted with an aperitif and fried dough (much better than it sounds). We also congregated on the lawn area for our last photo together. Just as you thought we were all finished another camera appeared, so we were there or awhile. Thanks to the waiters who took the time to shoot all the pictures.
The meal was quite good (no photos) and we had an appetiser of small crepes with eggplant I think. And yes, I ate vegetables! The entrée was a pasta dish followed by a meat and potato dish which was very nice. We finished the meal with a tiramisu – the best one he has ever tasted, says Russ.
Then the tissues came out and everyone mingled and many a tear was shed along with the hugs and wishes for safe travel.
Once more on the bus – the last one with everyone – and we returned to our hotel. We had a few attempts to start a sing-a-long (including the Wheels on the Bus) and much laughter was shared by all. It has been a terrific fifteen days and the mob will be missed.
It is too much to expect that the next tour will come up to scratch after this one, but we will enter into it with a Spirit of Ad venture and a positive mind-set. Hopefully there will be some likeminded people with us.
However, I failed! It is not often I admit this so make the most of it. I was supposed to email the work crew back home and remind them about casual Friday. By the time I got internet access today the work day was finished. I face booked those I could. There are only a few of them who use Viber on their phones, so I texted them while I could.
Rinesh was still up and replied to let me know that casual dress had been discussed in my absence. Thanks, Nesh. Hopefully those who may have been missing from that discussion will forgive me.
We got back to the hotel about 9:00pm and set the alarm for 5:30am. Our flight to Madrid does not leave until 11:55am but the Transfer Coach only goes twice in the morning and the second one may be too late for our peace of mind so we are leaving on the first transfer which leaves the hotel at 6:50am.