aside Gronda And Friend’s May 2016 Travel From Catania, Sicily To Naples/ Amalfi Coast

After our overnight stay in Catania and after having enjoyed a substantial breakfast, we were taken by taxi from our hotel to the Catania train station.

Stazione Catania Centrale
Stazione Catania Centrale

Here is the rest of the narrative…Once upon a time and days prior to our trek to Ortigia/Siracusa and Catania, we arranged for transportation in Taormina, from Catania to the Naples train station where we could then be driven to the Amalfi Coast.

italy train schedule time get-toWhile we were in Taormino, we  were successful in locating the services of an English speaking travel agent. Originally, we were asking for the cost of an air flights to  Naples from Catania but after some research, the agent kindly pointed out that without much advance notice, traveling by train for only 6 hours during daylight hours from the east coast of Sicily would save us more than 50%. It turns out this ride would take less time than our initial one because we were beginning this trek from the east instead of the west coast and we were returning to the more southern city of Naples instead of Rome. We decided that this plan wouldn’t be so bad and so the travel agent printed out our tickets. What could go wrong?

italy intercity trainFerrytrain-to-Sicily-600x501On the day of travel, a taxi to took us from our hotel to the Catania train station with time to spare. We arrived at the train station before 8:30 am for a 9:16 am boarding time. Because the train track number had not been published, I sought out someone who looked like a train station official to find out if the train’s platform would be up or downstairs. The gentleman looked at my ticket to advise me of the gate number with directions  that I needed to go down the steps.

But within a few minutes, the official and a good Samaritan were running up to meet me as I was attempting to drag my luggage down the steps where I fell with the gifts in my tote bag spilling out around me. After they helped me gather my belongings, they carried my luggage while yelling something that sounded like “rapidamente!!!” I followed while they assisted me with climbing unto the train. My friend was already there. I asked why we were being rushed when we had arrived so early. The train representative showed me that our ticket indicated a routing from Taormina versus Catania to Naples. He was being generous by allowing us to get on the train with a departure point that was further north which translates into my having a less expensive ticket. Thank goodness we ended up being early for our train trip. However, in the rush, I was in tears because I had lost my beloved blue hat that I had purchased at Alla Sarta Ana Boutique, Via Lani, Panarea, an Aeloian Island.

italy train conductor P1070191

This is one reason as to why I love Italy. When the ticket conductor came by to check our tickets, he quickly realized that everything was not kosher, but as a response, he just continued on his way while acting as if all was well. However, we were on the train for an unexpected couple of extra hours. When we exited the train in Naples, we were relieved to see our, hotel ordered Benvenuto driver who escorted us to his car while he handled our luggage. After a long train ride, we were on our way to paradise, the Hotel Onda Verde, Praiano on the Amalfi coast.

Driving on the Amalfi Coast

amalfi6 dangerous roads 90The blog, “Dangerous Roads” describes the Amalfi Coast drive in a way that explains why we like to be picked up by a competent driver who is familiar with this route. “The road along the Amalfi Coast is famous for its hairpin bends, zigzags, the views over the sea, and the narrowness in some parts. The road winds along the cliffs, and it was built at a very steep angle, so zigzags backwards and forwards. The Amalfi Coast drive is arguably the world’s most beautiful and thrilling sightseeing road.”

Amalfi Coast traffic
Amalfi Coast traffic

“It stretches 50 km (30 miles) between Sorrento city and Amalfi village. It has only occasional railings to keep your car from potentially plunging into craggy, breaker-washed sea boulders far below. You can drive north and south on this road. The fainthearted (but never the brave) prefer the northbound direction because the southbound lane precariously hugs the sea cliff edge.”

I have witnessed some close calls. After all, there are the tour buses, local buses, trucks, vehicles, bicyclists, and motorcycles using this same narrow road. As you  might suspect, there are a lot of gestures and honking of horns. 

While we were residing in Praiana, we did use the local buses to go to Positano, Amalfi, Sorrento and Ravello.

Some of the younger local bus drivers acted like they were grand prix drivers, You literally felt like you were hanging on for your life, especially if you were standing up. Even sitting down, I found myself holding unto the handle on the back of the seat in front of me. For me, this was fun but my friend was not as thrilled.

We had to remember to push a button, when we wanted to exit.

Praiana
Praiana beach

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