Morena (/pō mārie),
The salty sailors are now standing on solid ground and there’s a lot of updating to be done. Read on for more, and wishing you are well wherever your screen is lighting up.
We joined the Deriya Deniz in Castellamare, making a disheveled and drenched first impression, thunderstorms drenching us en route. Conversely, we were instantaneous fans of the mahogany gulet and her team. Home sweet home for the week, this elegant sailboat cruised us around the Amalfi coast and Gulf of Naples. Our journey was one extending from sea to land, with the DD shedding bicycles at each port for our learned and luminous guide, Alex, to lead us in actively experiencing the culture and natural wonders of Southern Italy.
Storms of the initial days required that we cut down our first planned cycle to 4km, a laughable warm up until you add in Napoli traffic and flooded roads. At destination Pompeii (eheu eh-o eheu eh-o) we marveled at humongous ruins, permissibility to touch original frescoes, and whopper Mt Vesuvius in the background (now half its original size but still hugely imposing). In the afternoon we trained to end of line Sorrento, a gorgeous town on the cliff’s edge, famous for mythical sirens, limoncello, cream of limoncello, meloncello…(which led to contraband being brought onboard and having to bribe strict Russian stew Olga with a 50/50 split).
Weather on the improve, day two saw us mount bikes at Piano de Sorrento and pant our way through a five switchback morning introduction, envying the e-cycles as they took off like ET ahead. We soon lost our breaths again because we had reached the Amalfi coast’s single road, described as hugging the cliff like a lover (Alex, 2015). Stunned ‘wow’s were the best we could do with eyes bulging to take in the sheer drops, snaking headlands, and wide blue sea. Twisting our way round this impressive stretch of pavement, we rested our legs amongst Positano’s warm shades of vertically stacked houses, stopped to overlook the fishing village of Praiano, and peered at the unbelievably beautiful pirate-sheltering fjord of Furore from above. Ultimate road trip dreams surpassed, we coasted in to Amalfi town for pizza in the piazza and fell fast asleep with the sea’s gentle rocking.
On yer bike again, we squished in a hard and fast uphill to Ravello, an otherworldly town sitting high with the angels and lost our stomachs as we leant on the balustrades of Villa Cimbrone’s gardens. Back onboard, el capitan and crew sailed us around the jet set’s glamorous and secluded Capri before sheltering in an Ischian port.
The next morning was our hardest cycle, involving a full rotation of Ischia and a 9km hill climb. My snotty nose was streaming, and I was sure I had no vagina left on completion of the ascent. Ange was a trooper and managed to get it done sans vomit despite a big tummy bug. Fortunately Alex surprised us all with Ischian wine, encouraging us to the end like rabbits to a greyhound. Meanwhile, Sole had to rest the final cycle days out onboard, thanks to his problematic rugby caused slipped disk. In time out, he managed to score himself the title of crew favorite, king like feeds, injections from the captain, and nickname ‘Mario’.
Our last full day was spent in great relaxation, strolling up Procida’s pastel painted fishing town (perhaps the prettiest town in the south) and sailing to Naples for Meg Ryan-esque pizza (if you’re wanting to know what she’s having, it’s the margerita pizza). We returned to home port by sunset and had a fab time joining the crew in a few celebratory bevvys for the last night.
Yesterday, we cried waving bye to Ange at Naples airport (thanks so much Mum and Ange, it was amazing to spend such good times making memories with you) and flew to Paris.
Oh Paris, why has it taken so long for me to visit? Jump right to first place on the podium as city apple of my eye. I’ve never seen anything like Paris. Tonight is an evening cycle in a the city of lights, and we’re here for four more days then chunnel with Mum to London to meet up with Karly and watch the ABs in the semi.
Photos be below.
Lots of love and All Black everything,