Monthly Archives: November 2018

Awesome Amalfi Coast

We left Rome and anchored up in Anzio just 25 miles up the coast.  Ian, unusually, was up with the larks the following morning as there was quite a swell in the bay so, off we went at 7am to Gaeta.  The year was rapidly disappearing and the weather can be more unpredictable plus we wanted to stop for a time in Salerno so we could visit the Amalfi coast and take in Pompeii so we had to get a move on.  As a result it was just an overnight stop at Gaeta, then off to another anchorage on the west side of the Bay of Naples and then finally along the Amalfi coast to Salerno.  The coastline is stunning and photos never do it justice.

There is no marina as such in Salerno, just pontoons that are owned by various people, we initially tied up alongside by the ferry terminal, which gave us time to wander around the pontoons to see if we could negotiate a price with any of them.  We found one that would take us but even though it was mid October and had no showers they still wanted €85 a night and no amount of persuasion was he going to budge on the price.  We promptly left and anchored in the bay, fortunately the weather forecast was good with no wind.  The pontoons on the otherside of Salerno didn’t accept catamarans but they very kindly let us tie our dinghy to their pontoon, even helping us tie up.  It can often be a problem to find somewhere you can leave the dinghy.

Ian’s Dad had raved about the bus ride along the coast road to Amalfi, because of the beautiful coastline.  So, on his recommendation we did just that and it was stunning.  Amalfi is a lovely town set in the mouth of a deep ravine at the foot of Monte Cerreto (1,315 metres, 4,314 feet).  In the 1920s and 1930s, Amalfi was a popular holiday destination for the British upper classes and aristocracy and you can see why.

We visited the cathedral at Amalfi which is dedicated to the Apostle Saint Andrew whose relics are kept here.

Pompeii

We took the train to Pompeii.  I‘d heard a lot about Pompeii but wasn’t expecting to be blown away quite as much as I was.  It is incredible how intact so much of it is considering how old it is.  It was buried under 4 to 6 metres of volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on 24th August AD79.  The city was largely preserved because of lack of air and moisture.  When you looked down the streets you could imagine the Romans going about their daily lives.  The shops still had the counter tops all intact.

The Amphitheatre of Pompeii is the oldest surviving Roman amphitheatre.  Pink Floyd held a concert here in 1972 and Dave Gilmour returned for a solo gig in 2016

Human remains were found during excavation and they noticed that the skeletons were surrounded by voids in the compacted ash. By pouring plaster of Paris into the spaces, they were able to preserve the bodies in the exact position they were in when they died.  They learnt a lot about how the Romans lived from these remains too.

 

Also on one of the walls in the House of Venus is a fresco of Venus.

Getting knocked Up

Whilst in Salerno “knock knock” one morning on the side of the boat several times, we didn’t get much time to react. When we came up on deck it was a local fisherman who had a fishing net reel on the back minus the net.  We couldn’t work out, owing to the fact our Italian is non existent and his English was as good as our Italian whether he had dropped his net that morning or the day before (in which case it wasn’t marked) but he’d got his net wrapped around and around our anchor.  There was no way the fisherman was cutting the net so after about half an hour we managed to untangle it.  He then proceeded to drop it on the other side of the bay.

October 2018

ROME

Saturday 6th October at 8.45am we threw off the lines and left Sardinia for the Italian mainland.  The winds were very light, we managed an hour without the engine from midday but before soon had to put it back on again or we wouldn’t be going anywhere, or at least it would take a very long time.  We had massive thunderstorms during the trip.  Some of the thunder was so loud overhead and the bolts of lightening were quite frightening as you could see the forks so close, keeping our fingers crossed we didn’t get hit by one, which did the trick as we didn’t.  The lightening went on for hours around us.   It did at least help to see where we were as it was very very dark on the crossing.

A1. Cuffysark at Fiumicino 13.10.18.

We were booked into the boatyard at Constellation Nautica on the Fiuminco Canal which was about 20km from the centre of Rome which meant going under two bridges.  The bridges only open twice a day but not on Tuesday or Wednesday.  We arrived too early so we slowed the engine down.  We arrived at the boatyard and were met by Errico and friends to help us with our lines to tie up alongside on the quay.

Fiuminco is a small town alongside the airport.  Most of the planes flew out to sea but one or two flew right over head and they were loud.  Everything you need is close by, supermarkets (which were much more reasonably priced after being on Sardinia).  Us yachties get quite excited when we find a decent supermarket and not too far away, sad I know.  But I’ve said before being on a boat makes you appreciate the basic things you take for granted on land, like jumping in the car to go the supermarket or turning on the tap and letting it run as you know that there is always a supply and it’s hot.  There are lots of bars and restaurants and the buses to Rome were a two minute walk away.  Ian had his first pint of Guinness here in over five months.

G1. Ian in Fuiminco 13.10.18.Monday morning we hopped on the bus which took just over an hour.  We decided to do some walking around to get our bearings.  First stop off the bus we went for a coffee (as you know Ian a tea man and has to have it in over regular intervals , but they don’t do much of that here so coffee it was).  We got chatting to a Canadian couple who’d been on the hop on hop off bus tour.  We went on our way and the next minute the Canadians were behind us waving a ticket.  It was for the bus tour it still had time left on it so if we wanted to make use of it then feel free.  Well not one to look a gift horse in the mouth off we toddled off to the bus stop and there just happened to be a bus already waiting so we hopped on.  This saved us €55 and gave us a good idea of how far everything was apart, not that that stopped Ian walking me miles later that day.

We thought we’d better have some lunch before our trek.  Ian loves Spaghetti Bolognese, but we’ve discovered that it isn’t an Italian dish, hence why we hadn’t found it so far but we did for our first lunch in Rome, it was listed as “Spaghetti with meat sauce”.  It’s not quite the same recipe as we have at home but nice just the same.

B4. Ian with his Spag Bol 8.10.18.

Ian anticipating his bolognese

We visited the Trevi Fountain.  I couldn’t believe how many people were there.  We had naively thought Rome would be quieter in October, how WRONG were we.  It was rammed everywhere.  And of course, there was a church opposite so we went in.  There was an operatic concert being held so we stayed and listened.

The following day we walked even further seeing “Largo di Torre Argentina” where Julius Caesar was killed and the “Pantheon” a former Roman temple but is now a church.  The dome of the Pantheon is the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world.

After two days of walking around we decided to have a day on the boat.  We were invited to join Errico and some of the people who were working on boats at the yard for lunch.  Frankie rustled us up a pasta with salad.  We were made to feel so welcome here.

G2. Lunch in Fiuminco - Oct 2018

Back to the sightseeing on Thursday at the Vatican City.  We had seen the length of the queue so opted for a guided tour.  Everywhere was packed it was shoulder to shoulder in the Vatican museums.  The Sistine Chapel was amazing, unfortunately photos are not allowed, so the only photos we were able to take were of the screen in the reception.  I hadn’t appreciated that Michelangelo’s preference was sculpting and refused numerous times to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel but the Pope put so much pressure on him that eventually he had no option but to agree.

It is believed on the “School of Athens” painting by Raphael he included Michelangelo and himself (the one looking towards you with the black hat).

On Friday we visited the Colosseum, again this was very busy and quite a sight.  It is the largest amphitheatre ever built and construction began in AD72 and was completed in AD 80.

From here we visited the Roman Forum which is a plaza surrounded by the ruins of government buildings and was the centre of day to day life in Rome for processions, elections public speeches, criminal trials and gladiatorial matches.

After a week our stay in Rome, which we thought was fabulous, we headed to the Amalfi Coast for more spectacular sights.

October 2018