Amalfi Mermaids

Saying goodbye to Sorrento, we took the winding road to Amalfi. Our hotel was an old convent and was full of character.

Amalfi is much smaller and quieter than Sorrento except on the days when the cruise ships are in port.  The town is a lot more crowded and the tiny roads have more big buses on them.

We avoided all that by staying in our tower.

Across the street from the Hotel Luna Convento was an old tower that housed a restaurant, Torre Saracena as well as the hotel's pool.

I figured the climb up and down from the water canceled out all the pasta and wine.

The only way to beat the heat and humidity most days was to play like a mermaid; float in the sea with short periods of sunning on the rocks.

The Mediterranean is just the right temperature and calm enough to get a good swim in.

The rocks are perfect for jumping.

I discovered very quickly that on the Amalfi Coast, you want to be in or on the water most of the time.

Amalfi is steep and sidewalks and roads go under and through buildings.

You think you are at a dead end and there is a small doorway and a set of stairs that leads to somewhere that eventually gets you to where you are going.

Our first night into town, we followed someone that looked like they knew where they were going and we ended up in the main square.

Most of our evenings were spent here people watching and having dinner and drinks.

People were always crowded around the fountain so we didn't get a good look at it until one of our last nights there.

Most of the restaurants in the square close to the church are good but dining in Amalfi is much more hit and miss and much more expensive than in Sorrento.  Even if a restaurant has good reviews, it could still be bad.  My suggestion is to look at who has written the worst reviews (i.e. if they are Italian or English speakers). Be wary of the ones that don't get good reviews from their own countrymen.

Here are a few of our favorites.

Our favorite place for drinks and lunch was Bistro F.lli Pansa. It's a great location for people watching. The drinks are more expensive than other places, but they give you enough free nibbles that you could make a light meal out of them and the drinks are great quality.

We visited here at least three times.

The restaurant we frequented the most, though, was the one in the tower, Torre Saracena. Mainly because we were too lazy to walk very far from the water, but really because it was the best.

The view was fabulous.

The breeze felt great! Even though we ate there so much, I got very few pictures of the food. Maybe because I was spent after climbing up from the water.

Trust me, it was fabulous!

The best seafood we had was down in the marina at Ristorante Lo Smeraldino.

We sat sipping wine while all the boat owners were swabbing their decks.

We got our fill of all kinds of seafood.

Everything was great but I couldn't touch the squid head.

It was too "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea".

Like all good meals, we ended with lemoncello.

The most "upscale" meal we had was at Locanda del Marinaio

Another version on the mixed seafood appetizer.

We even made room for dessert.

Amalfi felt more "Italian" than Sorrento but the people also seemed more snobbish. At our hotel they weren't very forthcoming with information. We had to ask for the simplest things, like how to get drinks at the pool. We only found out that they (and wifi) were available on our last day there. When they answered, it was with a look and attitude of "Duh, don't you already know that?"

Be that as it may, if I return to Amalfi, I would stay at the same hotel if only for the pool and access to the water. I've already been through their hazing ritual so I already know how things work.

Amalfi overall is very charming even when you factor in the hotel staff. It's worth a few days to spend here just to relax, but maybe not a whole week.