After the dangers of cycling in Naples, today I led my family over the mountains to safety. If anyone can be bothered to look they will see that from Pompeii the coast does a bloody great loop out west to Sorrento. It was either spend 50 miles doing this or sneak over the mountains to Amalfi.
Since we are fearless kings (ok Alan is more of a queen) of the mountains we headed uphill. 9 miles and 2500 feet later we snuck through the last bit of mountain in a 1km tunnel. It was hot and the climb was tough but I thoroughly enjoyed it. We were even entertained by fireworks as part of some sort of village festival. The trick to fireworks at 10am is to go exclusively for ones that go bang.
The run down into Amalfi must be one of the most stunning in the world. About 7 miles of hairpins which actually only carry you forward about 1 mile. As you drop you can see 4 or 5 loops below you with picture postcard houses clinging to the hill on either side. Far below is Amalfi with cruise liners in the harbour and the wakes of powerboats. It was fantastic.
We had a quick gelato in Amalfi then realised it was 11:30 and we still had 55 to do. So we did them. Actually rather well!
We are in Santa Maria Di Castellabate, a pretty little town, staying in a small hotel we found on the interweb. We were having trouble finding the place so stopped to ask an elderly wop who was watching the world go by. Despite our bi-linguality there was a bit of confusion so he hobbled on his crutches to his car and led us the 1km to the hotel door. The fact that this was 100 yards down the pedestrianised high street didn't seem to phase him in the least.
We like the wops. They are friendly but not in the American in-your-face way and happy to work with us on the whole language issue. Few speak much English but they willingly use what they know and don't play the stupid French game. No shoulder shrugging here. Occasionally we meet someone who speaks 'leeetle bit eeenglaise' and they are always keen to chat. If I was considering leaving England for better weather I would certainly favour Italy.
We are the only guests in the hotel and in, the morning, the owner is away so we must let ourselves out and get brekkie in the bar across the street. Hopefully he will not bugger off without releasing our bikes from the room he stored them in.
Tomorrow we leave the shin and start working our way along the top of the foot. Hope the Easterly wind continues!
To bring you up to date on my physical and mental well being (I KNOW you don't care but I do):
My left eye was nicely swollen but is improving. I have abandoned Elephant Man as movie de jour.
My post-traumatic stress is also improving. You probably think I exaggerated Naples but 'you don't know man because you weren't there!'
Alan is fit as a flea, not that his well-being matters in the slightest.