SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
We enjoyed another perfect breakfast prepared by Giuseppina on the sunny terrace at the Lemon House b&b Sorrento. Our wonderful hostess went the extra mile for us again and offered to drive us down to the bus stop so we could explore the beautiful Amalfi Coast before heading back to Rome. She even offered to meet us back at the train station with our bags so we would not have to lug them around with us all morning! Such a sweet woman, she really felt like family!
One of the world’s great bus rides: the Amalfi Coast
For a very affordable price we purchased our round trip bus tickets on local transit to view the famous Amalfi Coast. Important to point out … there’s no train service along the Amalfi Coast. We were not prepared for what we saw next. If we thought the narrow trails of Cinque Terre were intimidating, driving on the twisting roads of the Amalfi Coast was as thrilling as it was breathtaking! Coming head on with other buses and cars at hairpin turns, with a sheer 500-foot drop below to the water didn’t seem to phase the drivers at all. The video will surely make you dizzy! The trip is not for the faint of heart, if you’re afraid of heights, make sure you pick a seat on the inside of the bus!
Stretching about 50km along the southern side of the Sorrentine Peninsula, most famous for the town of Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast (Costiera Amalfitana) is one of Europe’s most breathtaking. Cliffs terraced with scented lemon groves sheer down into sparkling seas; whitewashed villas cling precariously to unforgiving slopes while sea and sky merge in one vast blue horizon.
Town of Amalfi
We stopped in the town of Amalfi only for a short break before boarding another bus and returning back to Sorrento. We were on a tight schedule to catch our afternoon train to Rome but the glimpse of the famous Amalfi Coast was well worth it. We could have easily slept in and had a relaxing morning on our terrace in Sorrento, but we made sure we took advantage of every opportunity to explore on our vacation. It’s easy to see why the Amalfi Coast is considered Italy’s most scenic stretch of coastline and deemed by UNESCO “an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape, with exceptional cultural and natural scenic values”.
Returning to Sorrento
Time to hit the road again…
ROME-PARIS, THELLO SLEEPER TRAIN
We made it back to Sorrento to pick up our bags and travel to Rome by train. Since we spent our morning along the Amalfi Coast we did not have much time in Rome before having to catch our train back to Paris. We had booked the long journey from Rome to Paris on an overnight sleeper train called a 4 person Couchette. What a perfect way to end a busy day of commuting. An evening picnic complete with wine, shared with 2 other travelers in our private overnight couchette room on the train, sleeping in bunk beds, and waking up in Paris!
A popular, economical and practical choice on the Thello train is often the couchette. A couchette is an accommodation that converts from seats to beds for nighttime travel, and back to seats for daytime travel. Fully air-conditioned, the couchette cars are in 4- or 6-bed configurations. Beds can be booked individually or in groups. Each bed has a pillow, sheets and blankets with restrooms located at the end of the car.
We met our roommates for the journey, an older gentlemen who only spoke french from Paris and a tourist from Argentina who spoke very little English and a little French. So with the common language of french, we all introduced ourselves and made choppy small talk. Of course, in true European style, we all bonded over a couple glasses of wine 🙂 The evening went by fast and we changed our room from the daytime / sitting arrangement, into the fold out bunk beds for the night. The room was surprisingly comfortable, minus the stuffy air. All the bedding was provided which was an added bonus! By morning, the sun was shining and in a short time we arrived back into the heart of Paris!
THELLO COUCHETTE, SLEEPER TRAIN, ROME to PARIS