Travel Means New Experiences And New Relationships
Part of the adventure and fun of traveling is meeting new people and there are many reasons to stay OPEN and inviting to strangers that may become friends. A few days ago while walking in the street I heard a couple speaking English, not that common here in Tivoli. We had a brief conversation and decided to meet for coffee the following morning, which was followed by a few other meals.
Chad and Eileen Rider were similar in age and mindset and we just clicked. On Saturday morning we met for coffee again to bid our goodbyes as they were moving on. They said they were driving down to the Amalfi Coast, a place that Kathleen and I wanted to go. I jokingly said, “You have a four-seater don’t you?,” and after an excited, “Yes, please join us!,” reply, we hurriedly packed a bag and were off on a road trip in less than an hour.
Road Tripping In Italy With New Travel Friends
We had a great ride through the central part of Italy and then through the amazing Amalfi Coast. Not sure of where to stay, we checked out AirBNB and one of my fallback sites, called HotelTonight, which locates last minute hotel deals- and was just purchased by AirBNB for almost half a billion dollars.
We found an amazing hotel, Hotel Bellavista, in the lovely city of Praiano along the coast and since we’re just under high season, it was priced affordably. Right on the water, with a great view and the sound of the surf just in front, along with a visage of lemon trees throughout. We arouse to the sound of roosters crowing. This part of the coast is tourist, but did not appear “touristy” if you can understand the distinction.
The next morning after breakfast we headed north and spent the afternoon in the amazing Positano, which is spectacular beyond belief- or words. Cliffs several hundred feet high just about dropping into the sea with just a road and a city in between. Here it was the week before Easter, Palm Sunday as a matter of fact, and the crowds were reasonable but we were warned in summer it is bumper to bumper traffic. The best way in? Via boat, they suggested. Noted.
By the end of the afternoon we ventured forth and decided to spend night number II in Sorrento, which has a great reputation as well. Though not as over the top majestic as Positano, Sorrento felt like a “real city” with real people and real commerce, and not just a tourist trap. Again, great cliffs, but not as much BEHIND the city, but in front of the city, on the coast.
A particular highlight was Mount Vesuvius, right before us in all it’s glory, even after having half of the mountain destroyed in AD 79 and leveling the city of Pompei. We did not get to Pompeii this time, but I visited very briefly on my one and only prior Italy trip in 1996. I promise to go back, though.
Back To Tivoli
Next step: how to get back home to Tivoli. The beauty of Europe and most of the world, is that mass/public transportation really works. We decided to spring for a ferry across the Gulf of Naples, which only took about 30 minutes on a turbo jet airfoil. It was magic, the sun was out, skies clear, and Vesuvius even more prominent in our camera lens. A high speed train to Rome from Naples, about 90 minutes long, and then a quick regional to Tivoli and after not even 6 hours, we were back at home base.
The Beauty Of New Experiences And New Relationships
But none of this would have happened if we were not open enough to a) invite conversation, and b) accept graciousness from those that wish to offer and c) our willingness to accept and go with the flow. Four strangers in a car for four hours just days after meeting turned out to be an Adventure with a capital “A” and I believe the beginning of a lifelong friendship. They will vacation again and we will meet them again. Who knows when and who knows where, but that is the beauty and the magic of Traveling Younger.