Sunday 07/04/19 to Saturday 13/04/19
Civitavecchia – Amalfi – Messina – Cefalu – Agrigento
Sunday 07/04/19 – Ride Day: Civitavecchia to Amalfi
Our first day of riding on this journey.
First thing after a typical B&B breakfast was a quick walk along the waterfront of Civitavecchia. We’d not had a chance to see anything last night as we’d got in 5 hours late then got lost after the army blocked our Tom Tom route. There wasn’t a lot to see see but the view from the front of our B&B was rather pleasant.
We then kitted up and rode an easy 20klm south to Castello Santa Marinella – https://maps.app.goo.gl/Qsptj where we met up with Evan and the lovely Danila who we’d met last trip on the ferry from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Bari, Italy.
One must always make exceptions when it comes to choosing ones friends, and the fact that Evan rides BMW’s biggest and baddest GS, and that he delights in bagging all things Moto Guzzi (he is Italian after all), in no way detracts from the fact that he is a wonderful man, though just how Danila puts up with him I have no idea.
So after a pleasant hour we hit the Autostrada for 300klm going south to the Amalfi Coast, all very easy – pay the toll and dodge the cars that meander across the centerline as they drive at 130k/hr. We left the Autostrada and entered the world of twists, turns, honks and cutoffs, the ups downs and narrow streets of what TomTom deemed was the best road to Amalfi. Turns out it was right but it was a hilarious experience with magnificent views of the famous Mt Vasuvius back over our shoulders as we climbed up and up, and then went down down to the coast. Pity there was no place to stop to take pictures.
We found our hotel for the next 3 nights and then it was time for me to follow Luigi the Crazy on his little scooter as he raced 1klm up the hill to where the Guzzi would be securely parked. I didn’t even try to keep up, but the thought did occur to me that I wouldn’t be walking back down. Watching these guys defy death as they ride flat out through traffic, overtaking on corners and just generally owning the road is one thing, sitting on the back while they’re doing it is an entirely different thing all together. It’s flipping crazy. Norma still hasn’t stopped laughing.
Monday 08/04/19 – Lay Day: Tourists In Amalfi
That’s it, that’s what we did. We wandered every laneway we could find as we found our way to the top of town.
Amalfi is essentially a town that is crammed into a narrow valley with vertical walls on either side, and like all of these old European towns it is a labyrinth of alleyways and lanes and dwellings stacked on top of each other in no particular order at all.
We stopped for coffee, and just a little cake, and did a call with the Adelaide Blackmores who were on their way to Parent / Teacher interviews. We then continued our wanderings.
Then the sun came out.
We went out and blew €60 to celebrate the fact that we were here. The meal wasn’t worth it, but the company I kept certainly was.
Tuesday 09/04/19 – Lay Day: Sorrento and Positano
We caught the early bus for Sorrento via Positano. Now the trip’s a mere 50klms but it took 2 hours, and not because we were in a large bus, but because the roads are really narrow and really twisty and everyone has right of way. I’d defy anyone to do it any quicker, except Crazy Luigi and probably my old mate Hans on his Ninja 🤣
Once again we wandered.
We had a rest over coffee and a little cake, then we wandered some more through the old town with its leather and shoe shops everywhere, only outnumbered by the restaurants.
That’s Vesuvius way out there. We caught a fast boat to Positano
where we celebrated with coffee and 2 pieces of cake in a beach front cafe. It had been Norma’s desire to visit Positano and everyone has seen the wonderful pictures. Well it’s nothing like the pics you see without the morning sun shining on it and then enhanced to the nth degree. Note the GI contrast.
Norma was a little disappointed but we both agreed it was well worth the effort to eat cake and drink coffee in Positano.
We wandered a little and caught a not so fast boat back to Amalfi. We are of the humble opinion that Amalfi is the more likeable place. We cooked fresh pasta with corn and prosciutto in a lovely creamy mushroom sauce on our balcony as it got dark on our final night of what had been a much anticipated milestone of the journey of 2019.
Wednesday 10/04/19 – Ride & Ferry: Amalfi to Salerno to Messina
Hardly a day to write home about. We got drenched on the 25klm 1hr ride to Salerno where we discovered the world’s filthiest toilets, made even harder to accept by the fact the staff had the key to the other toilets. Ain’t going back there, bye bye!
We arrived in Messina around 11pm and found our way to our lovely B&B – highlight of the day.
Thursday 11/04/19 – Ride Day: Messina to Cefalu via Mt Etna
After the usual B&B breakfast we were on our way. We’d donned our wets today, just in case. We rode south on the freeway then hung a right at Fiumefreddo and a left at Mt Etna who looked gorgeous in her fresh white snow.
Did a U turn and hung a left at the bottom then followed the SS120 to Cesaro where we took the SS289 over the mountains to the coast. Both truly delightful rides with perfect road conditions and endless twistys with the odd hairpin thrown in. It was a good thing we’d worn wets, not because it rained, but because the temperature dropped to 6c going over the tops where there were lots of wild boar rooting around for truffles I dare say.
And so down to the coast where we took a left at Acquedolci and hugged the coast all the way to Cefalu. It started to rain when we were 10klms out 🤤. We booked into our lovely hotel and rested after a great day’s ride.
Friday 12/04/19 – Lay Day: Cefalu
Considered to be one of Italy’s top places of interest, Cefalu is another town with its old town. Wandered with the rest.
There’s something about these places that I love. There are hidden alleys, paths and laneways everywhere, and all need to be explored and absorbed even if, as the voice behind me cautions “They might be private” But they’re not, they’re intriguing.
Another delightful day ducking showers, enjoying the occasional sunshine and thanking God for the opportunity and a cautious wife who’ll take a chance.
Saturday 13/04/19 – Ride Day: Cefalu to Agrigento via Palermo
Today threatened varying amounts of dampness, which it followed through with but never in real earnest.
Started our day with the usual B&B breakfast then, once on the road heading west, a tussle with a fuel pump wanted my card but didn’t want to give me fuel in return – I won in the end.
At the suggestion of friends Dave and Zoe, we dropped by Palermo’s Cattedrale di Monreale, https://maps.app.goo.gl/Wyuq9 – it was closed 😁 but well worth the views. Took a couple of pics and pinched one from GI.
It was drizzling as we headed for the south coast and seeing as Corleone was pretty much on the route so we took the opportunity to ride through it; well you would wouldn’t you. Well I wouldn’t again. The roads around there are pretty bad with a number of dirt sections and many rough sections where the ground has moved. We also got lost up a dead end street where we half expected the boys to emerge – nothing personal you understand, just business.
We continued south. The countryside was very green but there was no livestock anywhere. We stopped for coffee in an olive grove beside the road with much agriculture happening behind and the village way up on the ridge line, as were many we passed.
The southern coast came into view and we detoured through a couple of seaside towns before arriving at our digs in Agrigento which were on the 12th and top floor of an apartment block with magnificent views out over the ocean and the Greek temple ruins that Agrigento is famous for and we’d passed on our way into town. Looking back from our balcony was the old town from a totally different angle than we normally see old towns from.
We had a rest after a decent days travelling of 240klms.
We then had a little wander, as you do, and had really good hamburgers for dinner.
So that’s the first real week of our journey, and we’re still in love 😀