Onwards to the Amalfi Coast

We left Rome after a rest day, when we washed the bike with Head&Shoulders (better on metal than hair). We headed towards Naples and immediately got very lost, stopping in a farmers field to cook rice for lunch and confuse passers-by. Everyone started beeping at us now we were a little further away, and the whole country changed just north of Naples. North Italy went, South Italy shoved itself in our faces and pleased me no end. The roads went rubbish and we bounced through potholes with billions of Vespa-riding, non-helmet wearing kids. They were all behaving very erratically frankly, and Adam switched into Indian-driving mode, which instantly meant he was the most erratic, and ‘creative’ driver on the road. We spent 2 hours lost between the same two towns, and every shop was either a Mozzarella shop or a Salami shop. Except for the ones that sold both. All the bars had a plethora of rough old men outside, gesticulating. It was siesta-time, and every car had at least 3 other passengers in it, all sleep. We stopped at a garage and got espresso shots, Italian style, with water to neck them with. From then on we were flying, and were into Naples in record time, still buzzing high!

After Naples we got lost again. This time we were trying to locate the Amalfi coast. We zigzagged through countless tiny towns, traffic-ridden and horrendous, all rickety and foreign-looking. The driving was crazy and the potholes were vast, mud-filled chasms you could lose yourself in. Adam was impressive though as a crazed Italian swerver, and we weaved our way along merrily.

The route to Sorrento apparently led over an enormous mountainous hill, with windy India roads and everyone beeping to show they were on the bends. It was all forest, with little hill-top towns and amazing views as the afternoon crept onwards and it all got a bit chilly on the mountains. We stopped at a tiny supermarket for provisions (pesto and wine, what more do you need?) and rode down towards the cliff-edge coastline.

The coastal cliff towns were really clawing back space from the edges, perched tiny and cramped on top of each other. If you looked below you as you circled downwards you could see the road below curling round against the rocks, and there was nowhere to go but down. There were gorges with little bridges across and you could see the whole coastline with more of Italy across enormous bays.

We were getting cold and looking for a place to wild-camp again, but there was only rock-face and cliff-edge, so we just kept going further and further down towards the sea. There were upright cemeteries with marble-faced coffins like high-rise flats, but with flowers and photos. Then we hit Amalfi Coast proper with stupendously rich little villages where there were yachts moored out on the coast, and at one point an articulated truck wound its way past us down the tiny road with a 60ft yacht teetering on the back of it, being transported from the showroom to some flunkies mansion somewhere. There were boutiques and 5star restaurants and people we couldn’t even afford to look at in case they charged us…

It was getting dark and we couldn’t afford the hotels, and we asked for a campsite at a garage and the guy just sniggered at us in our dirty gear. We got sent an hour back up the hill eventually, in the dark on the edge of cliffs, and finally, finally made it to a campsite in Sorento-di-Piano at about 9pm, after a days manic riding. We were so pleased to arrive, I very nearly kissed the somewhat odd little campsite manager. Got the tent up in record time in the dark, and ate pesto-spaghetti, and drank red wine, and were very pleased with the way the world works itself out. The roads just weren’t meant for 420kgs of bike and passengers, especially in the dark, and it was the first test of ‘Adam & The Bike’. He passed.

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Say hello. It makes us happy. Ta, Nicky. x

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