271 Kms from Messina
We went back to the hotel after a short visit in Valletta, where we didn’t find what we were looking for. And it was time for some relaxation after hours of driving and walking around in the heat. We ended the day with an hour on deck chair by the hotel pool before we took a few drinks before dinner at Batubulan Sunset Grill, a good restaurant by the sea, where we got a great view over the beautiful sunset.
284 Kms from Messina
Day 9: I was super excited as we were going to Positano - a quaint little town on the Amalfi Coast. This was a place which was “Love at First Sight” for me when I saw pictures online. It is a task getting there from Rome (2 trains with about an hour's journey in each + an hour's journey by bus + walking) but definitely worth it. It took us about 5 hours from Rome to our hotel in Positano. We took the 8:48AM train to Naples which arrived at Naples around 10:15AM. We then took the 10:41AM local Circumvesuviana train from Naples to Sorrento which reached around 12noon. It was pouring on the way but luckily got sunny later on. We missed a SITA bus due to the long queues and then had to wait for about half an hour for the next bus. We got a bus at 1PM and were lucky to get a window seat on the right side of the bus to get to view the amazing Amalfi coast. On reaching Positano, the bus stops on the main road and you have to walk down to your hotel, we had to walk quite a bit with our bags. We checked in at Hotel Royal Prisco at about 2:30PM. Had lunch and then headed down to the beach. We then walked through the lanes of Positano, bought some pizza, wine & limoncello to enjoy an amazing dinner on the balcony of our room under the stars.
287 Kms from Messina
Sorrento is a beach town located just south of Naples and just on the other side of the Amalfi coast. It is located on the cliffs above the Tyrrhenian Sea and it makes a great jumping off point to see the highlights of Campania, including Pompeii, Naples and Positano, all of which are just a short but sweaty train ride away (if you are going in summer that is since there is no air conditioning). Sorrento is framed with looming Mt. Vesuvius in the east and Capri in the sea out to the west. You couldn’t ask for a more idyllic location, the only problem is that the beach is super tiny. But the Italians solved this problem by creating places to tan and swim by building large piers equipped with lounge chairs and umbrellas. Sorrento is an amazing town and well worth staying there if just for the sunsets and the water, but the town also has amazing food. If you are heading to Campania I highly recommend staying in Sorrento and even if you are on a budget there are a lot of cheap camping sites where you don’t even have to worry about bringing a tent.
297 Kms from Messina
"And the walls kept tumbling down on the city that we love Grey clouds roll over the hills bringing darkness from above But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing changed at all?" -Pompeii, Bastille These words by the British band 'Bastille' accurately describe what must have gone through the minds of those dying while buried under several layers of lapilli as Mount Vesuvius erupted on the 24th of August, AD 79, leaving a ghost town of what once used to be a thriving settlement. The ruins of the city, replete with its temples, forums, public baths, markets, theatres and even brothels for that matter are captivating. Taking a guided tour from the station itself is a great idea because the audio guides that are available at the ticketing counter for around 7 Euros aren't of much help owing to the fact that the numbers on the map do not correspond with the numbers on the ruins. Avoiding this ambiguity is imperative because there is a lot of walking involved anyway. Keep yourself hydrated. Getting there: Pompeii and Vesuvius share the same train station with Pompeii being right across. Circumvesuviana trains run from the Naples Central Station to Pompei Scavi-Villa Dei Misteri and the ride is around 40 minutes. You might not get a seat in the train so beware of pickpockets. You have to shell out around 6 Euros for a two way journey and it is a good idea to start a little early in the afternoon. Tickets for Pompeii are available at the entrance 'Porta Marina' which is next to the station and come for 11 Euros for an adult. If you are visiting during the summer, the closing time is 7:30pm and 5:00pm for winters. It is advisable to see Vesuvius and Pompeii together by spending the first half of the day exploring Vesuvius and devoting the second half to Pompeii.
282 Kms from Messina
Day 10: Purchased tickets from the tabacchi and took a SITA bus towards Amalfi. We got off on the way at Furore Bridge, which is very picturesque with a small little beach down. Unfortunately, the path to the beach was broken or shut and hence none of the tourists could visit the beach. We clicked a few pictures and took the next SITA bus to Amalfi town. Walked through the streets of Amalfi, saw the cathedral there but did not go inside. We bought limoncello from there which is really nice and strong. We took a 4:20PM ferry back from Amalfi as we wanted to witness the entire coast from the sea and get a view of how Positano looked from the sea and it was indeed spectacular. We then headed to see the other quieter beach in Positano. We went back to the hotel, freshened up and went for our last dinner in Positano.
88 Kms from Messina
Sicily’s second largest city is Catania, and is where a majority of European flights land in to. It lies on the Eastern side of the island along the Ionian coast, sitting in the shadows beneath Mount Etna. In 1669 Catania was covered in lava from Mount Etna and then, just 24 years later in 1693 an earthquake shook the town down to its foundations. Most of the old town was rebuilt, and as ever resourceful was rebuilt using lava, therefore Catania is describe as being a rather dull and grey city. There are a couple of nice piazzas and the Duomo is worth a visit. The atmosphere is what really brings you to the city, the bustling fish markets, the people and the smells. There is a place in the city that is also renowned for horse meat if that’s your thing! Or if not give it a try..although the signature dish of Catania is Pasta alla Norma, that consists of fried chunks of aubergine, a rich tomato sauce and salty ricotta cheese….. Buon appetito!