It was only a short drive from Naples to Sorrento, but it felt a world apart. Sure, there were crazy scooters buzzing around, and the same general attitude towards driving, but the towns felt so completely different.
There was a thick haze on the horizon, and a heat in the air that sucked our energy as we sat in our non-air conditioned car. Driving in town itself was a nightmare in a motorhome, with many roads suddenly restricting access, forcing you to take unwanted detours. We eventually gave up trying to visit the central area, and agreed to enjoy the drive around the coast instead.
The hills here weren’t enormous, but the gradients on the roads were short and sharp, and it was giving our little underpowered van a hard time, forcing us back into 1st gear on occasions. The biggest problem was our TomTom trying to take us on impossible back roads to save a few fractions of a minute. Once we were back on the main coastal road, SS163, things were a lot smoother – and prettier.
We immediately understood why people rave about the driving along the Amalfi coast. The deep blue ocean, the perilous drops, and the rugged coast made for some very distracting scenery.
But, to my absolute frustration, it was quite difficult to find areas to safely pull over to take photographs of this beauty. We were lucky enough to find a few places, with the majority of the space being consumed by small fruit juice stands. We thought we’d support the locals and buy a frozen lemonade (granite), but when we were quoted €3 for something we’d been paying €1 for, we balked, and kept driving – wishing for some of that amazing refreshing drink to cool us down. We eventually gave in when we found a stand selling for the bargain price of €2.
We got our first glimpse of Positano with our frozen lemonade. It was a beautiful town, no doubt about it, but to us, it just doesn’t compare to the towns in Cinque Terre. It felt so modern and commercial, like a mix between Monaco and Cinque Terre.
And, this is where the fun times end. As we entered the outskirts of Positano, a kind policeman waved us aside, informing us that motorhomes are not able to drive along this road between the hours of 06:30 and midnight. We had to turn around and return to Sorrento… There were signs on the road in Sorrento, however, I couldn’t make sense of them. I just assumed it was advising motorhomes that it wasn’t possible to spend the night in their vans on the side of the road – not that we weren’t allowed to use the road.
Had I known about this earlier, I would have stayed another night in Naples, caught the train to Sorrento and hired a scooter for the day to enjoy the coastline. But, it was too late now. We’d had a tiny glimpse of Amalfi, and it was going to have to do, as we weren’t going to try again tomorrow on a scooter from Naples.
Onwards to Italy’s Foot!