Heat exhaustion aside, my feelings about the Amalfi Coast are mixed at best. Again, it’s ridiculously beautiful, but the unpleasantness, meaning the crowds, the english, the overwhelming number of tourists leave me cold. I would be ok if I never went back to the Amalfi Coast in favor of equally lovely, but much more hospitable Italian locales. BUT if I did go back, these are the choices I would make:
Amalfi vs. Positano?
Though Amalfi’s duomo is super cool, the answer is Positano. While they were equally crowded, Positano’s layout makes it MUCH easier to get away from the people. However, as I mentioned in the last post, if you’re going to hike il Sentiero degli Dei, staying in Amalfi makes your life better. In all honesty though, I would rather not stay in either. In Positano I witnessed ugliness that makes me not particularly want to return: two American women approached a stall to ask questions about boat rides to Capri. The women were a bit demanding in their questions and clearly annoyed when they didn’t get the answers they wanted: the boat ride takes much longer than they had thought and all rides to Capri from that vendor had already left for the day. While their questions could have been more polite/informed, that does not excuse the vendor from muttering “stronze” when they turned away. Obviously those two women didn’t realize that the vendor was calling them bitches, but I did. I imagine he didn’t think I could understand him either. But how’s that for the famously friendly Italians?
Train vs. Ferry?
This one is obvious and easy: ferry. Always ferry. If you’re arriving from somewhere else in Italy, the standard advice is to take a train to Naples, the Circumvesuviana, then the bus from Sorrento to the Amalfi coast. This advice is bad and over-complicated. The infinitely better option is take a train to Salerno, which is a much smaller, easier to deal with train station, and then a ferry to one of the many towns on the Amalfi coast. Why, oh WHY would you deal with three modes of public transit in Italy when you could only use TWO and have views like this?:
So, in sum, if anybody asks me if they should go to the Amalfi coast, my answer would be: why would you go there, when you could go somewhere else?? But if you do go, start from Salerno.