My friend Gail came to visit me for a two week much needed break and one of the things she said she wanted to do was to go to Amalfi. Upon researching for this trip I must disclose that Amalfi is both a town and a stretch of the south/south western Italian coastline. We stayed in a little town called Atrani, a 10 minute walk from the town of Amalfi. It was beautiful and the perfect place to stay. Just two tips if you decide to go yourself – 1. Do not pack a suitcase, the epic number of stairs and narrow stone corridors between the white-washed houses are not designed for wheely bags. Pack light! 2. Bring comfy walking shoes…for the same reason.
Amalfi is crowded with tourists and the paraphernalia and aggressions that come with them on mass in the Italian heat but our daytrip to Capri, involving an accidental hike up a mountain and around the island, was worth its weight in our sweat for the views. We then spent two easy nights on Ischia Island where relaxation and beaching it is the order of the day.
Getting from Milan to the Amalfi and returning from Amalfi to Milan deserves a few words…having been out with the Nordic Mafia and some tearful, cocktail-fuelled goodbyes, Gail and I didn’t quite have the chance to sleep before catching our 7am flight to Naples. During the madness of packing up my apartment, storing various suitcases at friends (transported on various forms of public transport) and couriering a goodly portion of my wardrobe back to Milan, Gail managed to pack her passport into a bag that was left at my Italian friend Elena’s apartment. This we realised at 4am on the day of our flight to Naples.
We decided to wing it (probably since our taxi to the station to get the bus to get the plane arrived 15 minutes after the discovery of the fact that the passport had relocated itself). We were a jumble of nerves and sleep deprivation when we got the airport and were jubilant beyond words when the guy checking us in dismissed the lack of passport with a friendly wave telling us that any form of ID was fine since we were flying within Italy itself. We boarded the plane and had our Amalfi adventure!
The way back was not so easy. A woman checking us in at the gate decided it was not our day and denied Gail the right to board without a passport. We had one of those moments, somewhat like the Italian version of the South African Metro Police, where you just know that the person you are trying to reason with has already made up their mind to make your life difficult and it is now no longer an administrative situation to resolve but a matter of personal pride. That woman, with badly applied eyeliner (#justsaying), was just not going to let Gail board.
At this point as I was tempted to accuse her of xenophobia and insist that the police be called, Gail calmly told me to stop arguing and board the plane. I had to leave her behind to get on a four hour train ride to Milan at double the cost in time to make our flight to London that night…which ended up being delayed by two hours. Gail and I watched Outlander on my ipad in an empty airport having spent the day trying to get back to Milan on all manner of transport without becoming violent.
Gail however is a rock. She is an outstanding travel companion, easy to please and my family’s new favourite. You are the bestest gal Poocs!