After Rome we took the high speed train to Salerno. It only takes 1.5 hrs versus regular train 3 hours or driving 3-5 hours depending on traffic. It is nonstop and definitely worth it. We had planned an early morning train departing between 8-9 am so that in case of strike it likely would be one of the few trains still going Fortunately, there were no rail strikes while we were in Italy. It was raining for the most of our first day there which we had scheduled for a relaxation/meandering day. We checked into our AirBNB early as had been in communication with our host and no one had stayed the night prior so they were open to early checkin. Again, we were very lucky with apartments. We chose to stay in old town Salerno which has narrow alleyways that cars are not able to fit down. Only one block over you could drive so our cab was able to let us off and although he didn't speak much English through gesturing told us where to go. Fortunately just as we began to wander down the alley our host showed up and asked if were were his guests. The only part about this apartment that I didn't realize is that it was almost on the 3rd floor of a winding stone very very steep staircase. Other than getting the luggage up initially we didn't have any issues with that. It clearly states no elevators in the listing but could be a little clearer on that staircase lol. Either way we loved this apartment too - and so much cheaper than staying anywhere near Sorrento, Amalfi or Positano which make up the Amalfi Coast. Salerno is a port city. It has excellent rail service and really good ferry service to the Amalfi Coast which is primarily why we stayed there. An added bonus was a total lack of tourists, yes we saw a couple but mostly just Italians going about their day to day business. Port cities can be dirty, and Salerno has some areas that attract a darker element as in all cities but overall we really enjoyed our stay and felt completely safe at all times. It is also very walkable and has lovely pedestrian only shopping and restaurant areas. Our apartment was a 15 minute walk to the train station to get to Pompeii and also just in front of that train station were the ferries.
|Monument near train station|
|Pedestrian shopping street in Salerno|
The next day we woke up to heavy rain - it was the day we were supposed to make our way by train to Pompeii for a guided tour. We walked to the train station and waited...and waited. Our local commuter train which regularly makes the run between Salerno and Naples with lots of stops in between was at first late then nothing...fortunately when you buy a ticket on those type of trains you can take any one to that destination so we ended up catching the next one and barely made it to our tour on time. Note to self - always make sure there are at least 2 trains before your tour starts in case one never comes.
I booked a tour with Sharedtours.com. This was the best tour - also one of the cheapest! I simply had to reserve online holding spots with my credit card but paid cash when we arrived - the tours are not guaranteed until they have at least 6 people and because we were four our tour was almost instantly confirmed once another couple signed up. You can hire your own guide for around 150 Euro but why do that when you can join a small group like this. There ended up being 11 of us - versus other tour groups trying to bring 25 people around for far more money. Our 30 year old archeologist guide was excellent. Due to the rain the crowds were light at Pompeii - and as soon as the tour started it quit raining! We were so fortunate. We loved the tour, so informative. The only downside was that we couldn't see the top of Mount Vesuvious due to clouds.
|Chariot street in Pompeii - there are actual grooves from the wheels|
|Painting in a brothel, a menu item for your choosing|
|Phallic symbol marking the way to the nearest brothel on the street (for real!)|
|Plaster cast of dog as it was found|
|A Pompeii citizen realizing his fate|
|Another adult struck down|
|Rich man's courtyard - looks almost exactly as it would have|
|Mt Vesuvius covered in cloud - we never got to see the top of it!|
Our final day in Salerno we were thinking of cancelling our plans as had wanted to take the ferry to Amalfi which was a half an hour ride away. The forecast was not good - but morning came and it was much nicer than predicted. In fact it didn't rain at all on us that day.
The company that runs ferry service between Salerno, Amalfi, Positano and a couple smaller towns is called Travelmar. For 8 Euro per person each way we had a very pleasant ride along the coast. The scenery is wonderful, I highly recommend doing this on your own over taking a tour. Advance tickets are only required at the peak of summertime or on long weekends. Otherwise, you walk up, get your ticket and climb onboard. We chose to ride on the very top for best views.
|Our Ferry getting ready to dock and unload the prior passengers|
|view of Amalfi arriving by ferry|
|Cathedral at Amalfi|
|Another unique Italian fountain|
|Hubby and I at cocktail hour!|
My next post will be about our journey onward to Paris and our three nights there. I have a zillion more pictures though - I will make sure to sprinkle even more Italy pictures in future posts.
Happy weekend everyone!