We spent our last morning of Rome enjoying yet another delicious breakfast of fresh bread, proschuitto and cheese. Since it was our first time catching a train in Europe, we wanted to be prepared. We took a brisk 7 minute walk to Termini station to validate our ticket and to check the platform details. We then returned back to the hotel to pack our belongings and check out.
Termini station is the main station for domestic and international travel. We were hungry so I ordered a freshly squeezed orange juice, coffee and a brioche with nutella. Romans seem to love their Nutella. They sell nutella crepes, nutella icecream, and nutella in a variety of baked goods.
We located our terminal and sat there for 40 minutes until I started noticing that people around us were leaving with their luggage. This did not seem right so I asked Rick to check the terminal display. The terminal for our train had indeed changed and we were now departing from Terminal 9 instead of 11. An important note for next time is to pay attention to the signs, they do not announce platform changes in English.
When the train arrived exactly on the minute, we were ready with our luggage to board our carriage. The boarding times are limited and we only had a few minutes to hoist our 40kg of luggage through a small carriage door. The ticket prices between first and second class were not significant, and we were glad to have our own window seats with a table. Since we were traveling in Easter, the carriages were full. We had booked our ticket times in advance, so we didn’t have to stress about finding a seat. The journey to Naples was scenic with a view of the countryside. I enjoyed the view while Rick slept.
When we arrived in Naples, we were greeted by our very friendly and relieved driver who was dressed smartly in a black suit and tie. I was confused as to why he seemed so relieved. The train had arrived on time, to the minute. He promptly introduced himself and asked if we needed to go to the toilet before beginning our journey to Positano. He seemed extremely relieved when we shook our head and kept asking us if we were okay. As we proceeded to walk, I realised why our driver was so relieved. As we exited the station, we were suddenly in the heart of Naples.
The 2 minute walk from Napoli Centrale to the car seemed much longer. Our driver kept turning around to confirm that I was still standing behind him. When Rick paused for a second to catch his breath, he sharply told Rick to keep hold of the bags. Naples is not like any other place that I have been to. There seemed to be mountains of garbage. People were squatting in the streets eyeing your luggage, spitting, smoking and peeing in the streets. I understand that train stations usually attract a unique crowd, but I was completely shell shocked by this experience. Our driver, a local from Amalfi, seemed frightened to be there for longer than he had to. He promptly threw our luggage in the boot, helped us into the car and locked the doors. He tried to tell us stories about Southern Italy to reduce our anxiety as we drove through the city. And when we had left Napoli, he once again breathed a sigh of relieve and said “Napoli, it’s at war, we have left now.”
The drive from Napoli Centrale to Positano was beautiful. Our driver told us stories about the cities that are scattered across Amalfi. As I looked out the window, I saw brightly coloured houses built into the cliffside that overlooks the ocean. It is as if this part of Italy was frozen in time. The journey was 1 hour and a half, and paying extra for a transfer is definitely worth it’s weight in gold. Rick and I had originally planned to hire a car in Naples in order to drive to Positano. There are so many hidden, windy roads, that it would have been impossible to determine whether you were going up or down the cliffside.
Our hotel is beautiful and gives you a view of the cliffside. We were given a map of Positano, which includes roads and stairwells. The roads are one way so many people opt to walk. There is also a little red bus that takes you up or down the Cliff for 1.1 Euros so if you’re tired of walking up and down stairs then this is definitely a saviour.
Our hotel concierge recommended a nice Italian restaurant, named La Tagliata, located on top of the cliffside. It is a family owned restaurant where they serve you a degustation of 5 courses, including cheese, fresh vegetables, grilled meats, cakes and wine. Rick and I took the free transfer up the mountain to this little restaurant that gave you a beautiful view of the Amalfi coastline. The food was plentiful and delicious. It is everything that I could have ever expected of a home cooked Southern Italian meal. The meats were tender, the vegetables were fresh and the pastas were cooked to pefection. With full bellies, Rick and I took the free transfer back down to the hotel and thanked the concierge for his suggestion. We slept well that night!