Italy Vacation 2003
Day 8, Sunday, Oct. 12th

Day 8 was the longest day of driving on the entire tour. We started very early in the morning (7:30 I think it was) and headed up to Messina to catch a ferry to the mainland. The crossing took about 20 minutes. We then drove, with a few breaks, until almost 4:00 in the afternoon and arrived in Sorrento. After that there was another optional tour. More about this later. Here's the map for today's journey from Taormina to Sorrento.

The first group of pictures is of the ferry crossing from Messina to Villa San Giovanni. The ferry departed Messina at approximately 8:45 and the crossing took approximately 20 minutes.

Messina shoreline from the ferry.
A ferry similar to the one we are on.
The Strait of Messina. There are a whole bunch of myths about beasts and the like that live in the very deep waters of the strait. Under certain circumstances, these beasts came up and ate people crossing the strait. There are very strong currents that can very suddenly reverse direction causing great problems for people crossing. It's most likely that these currents caused the myths but the myths are much more fun.

Here are some pictures taken through the bus window as we drove the route shown on the map above. This route took us through the province of Calabria and into Campania. Some of these pictures have a few reflections and/or marks from the windows but it is minimal. The pictures are concentrated mainly in the northern part of the drive and were taken in a period from roughly 1:15 P.M. to about 2:30. Most of them are probably concentrated in the area near, and to the south of, Salerno.

As we approached Sorrento we started seeing that landmark of a few days ago, Mt. Vesuvius.

When we did finally arrive at Sorrento, we found the city almost completely closed down and traffic blocked due to an important Italian Football (Soccer) League game. We persuaded the police to let us into the town to get to our hotel. Once there we dropped off a few people who didn't want to go on the next optional tour. This one was called Positano and the Amalfi Coast. Then off we went.

The Amalfi coast consists of an area that starts in Naples and goes south to roughly Salerno. The drive "is so beautiful that nothing more beautiful can be seen on this earth" remarked one driver from the recent past. You can see where we went on the map below. This trip is the gold coloured line in the lower right corner of the map. You'll see this map again tomorrow when we do Capri (the red coloured line).

The road is narrow, winding and hugs the coast. Here's a few pictures of the trip along the Amelia coast to Positano.

The Amalfi Coast. You can see the road hugging the cliffs, centre left.
A bit further up the coast.
I believe these are the islands of Sirenuse. These are the famous siren islands from Homer's Odyssey.
An example of the road. We were on a 50 seat bus negotiating this road.

You can only drive a 50 seat bus so far along this road so as we approached Positano we had to change to mini-busses to go down to the town. Positano started out as a sleepy fishing village. After the second world war it became a popular spot for many celebrities. Here are some pictures.

This is Positano. We had to go down this hill in mini-busses to get down there. The two large images below were taken from the beach to the far right centre. Tour director Alison hamming it up in front of the tourist centre in Positano.
The walkway to the beach.

These two photo merged images show a sweep from roughly the middle of the beach shown in the first small picture of Postman above. The one above looks to the left and the one below to the right. The top image consists of two pictures and the bottom consists of three. Both pictures have perspective problems so the ground looks like it goes upwards to each side. Of course it doesn't really, but to get this panoramic view I had to accept it.

Sometime around 6:00 P.M. we headed back to the hotel where we had dinner around 8:00 and then a quiet evening. Even though we really didn't do too much this day, these mostly 'on the road' days seem to be the most tiring of all.

Tomorrow we spend in Sorrento and then the rest of the day on the Isle of Capri.

On to Day 9.

Originally Created: January 21st, 2004.
Final Edit: February 19, 2004 7:42 PM