As promised, I’m going to let you guys know a little something about my traveling. Many of you have asked how I do all the traveling I do, where I stay, how I get from place to place, so I’m going to give you all some secrets and tips to seeing the world. My first tip is save your money. Traveling doesn’t have to be super expensive, but let’s face it, it’s not cheap either. Depending where you want to go and how you’d like to get there, it can more or less expensive. Put aside money regularly for travel. I hear so many people lamenting they’d like to travel, but can’t seem to find the means to do it. That was me, too. But if you REALLY want to travel, just like all things we’d like to do, where there’s a will there’s a way. So cutting out frivolous spending is one way to get to travel. If traveling the world is a real goal, minimize expenses at home. Live in a more affordable place, drive a less expensive car, don’t buy everything you see, give up going out and your daily Starbuck’s. All these are ways to maximize your budget for traveling. Of course, I understand why traveling isn’t everyone’s bag. I do get that. But for me, and scores of others, traveling can open you up to so much. They say that travel is the only way you can spend your money and become richer. And I believe that. I’ve experienced it. There’s a big world out there, and it would be a shame not to see at least some of it.
This summer I embarked on my longest travel time: 21 days. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but living out of a suitcase for 3 weeks gets old. Same old clothes, washing out your undies in the sink, looking like you’ve slept in your clothes…yeah. But oh my goodness, the rewards of travel outweigh my need to look “cute.”
My travels this summer began with an old favorite: Italy. I love, love, love Italy. The place, the people, the food (of course) and all the sights. So my friend, Shelley, and I decided that we’d add Italy to our itinerary and we headed straight for the Amalfi Coast. But before we got there, we just HAD to stop in Naples for pizza. Pizza Napoli is like nothing you’ve ever had. And you MUST have it at the “world’s greatest pizzeria.” This is L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele. And that is exactly what we did. We clomped all around the city–this place was HARD to find, but we persevered and enjoyed the BEST pizza!! They have 2 kinds, so be ready to order. There’s no messing around here. And the beer is ice cold as is the water which is heaven on sweltering summer afternoons.
Naples is an interesting city. It’s smallish, dirty, and the people in general aren’t super tolerant of tourists invading their space. However, our Air BnB hosts were nice, and helpful and despite having bath towels the size of hand towels, we had a good night’s rest and were off to our next destination: Sorrento.
Ok, a little about traveling here. We used the website Rome 2 Rio to help figure out our travel. This is a great site that will tell you how to get around from place to place. Whether you travel by land, sea or air, they’ve got great suggestions on their site. We booked our train travel here and I booked my ferry trip in Greece here, too. I highly recommend it. Also, if you haven’t used Air BnB this is a great way to minimize expenses for your stay. You can sometimes rent an entire home for less than a tiny hotel room. However, make sure to read the fine print, read the reviews, and book with people who have reputable information on their rentals. I’ve had great experiences with Air BnB and not great ones. So, just be aware. If it’s summer time, be sure to check that the places have AC, especially if you’re traveling abroad. Also make sure the host can either pick you up, or provide a service to get you where you need to be. Once on the site, you’ll be able to email your hosts. I like to email them before I book, to see how quickly they respond. Research, research, research. And BE SURE to write a review. I’ve written some not so glowing reviews because I want people who are traveling to know. Another great app that I really like is Booking.com. When you’re a member, you get a chance to book really nice hotels at a reduced price. Again, research, and read a lot of reviews. You can also book without paying until your arrive. So that’s another benefit.
So we had booked an Air BnB in Meta, a tiny little town right outside of Sorrento. Just a quick/cheap 10 minute train ride to Sorrento. Our apartment was lovely, but also at the top of 5 flights of stairs! It had amazing views, we each had our own rooms, and there was a washer! This is a big plus when you are traveling for long time. It’s nice to wash your clothes. We enjoyed our stay despite the AWFUL tasting well-water and spotty wi-fi. It was a nice place to come “home” to. Sorrento is busy in the summer time. But it’s a beautiful little city with lots of beautiful alleyways, so despite the hustle bustle of the crowds and people from cruises, we still had a great time. Drink lots of icy lemonade and add the lemoncello! Trust me. Buy stuff made with the famous Amalfi lemons, and be sure to check out the handmade sandals. You can find these everywhere. They aren’t super cheap, but they are affordable and a really great souvenir.
Next we went up to the picturesque Positano. From Sorrento, you can take a tour bus to Positano. Get there early in the summer because the bus fills up quickly and they cram the bus full–I’m talking standing room only. And it’s an hour ride on winding roads, so if you aren’t keen to stand for an hour, get there early. The bus ride is cheap, and they run buses all day long. You can also take a ferry back from Positano which we did, and it was amazing!! It got us around all the traffic, and we had amazing views from the water. I think it was 9 Euro per person to ride the ferry. While in Positano take in all the beautiful views. We walked on the road from the top of the cliff where the bus dropped us off into the city proper. We got some amazing photos. Once in the town, head down the multitude of stairs to the coastline. Eat lunch at Ristorante La Cambusa. Delicious seafood choices or amazing salads. Have the lemoncello spritzer. And enjoy the AMAZING views. I had the Caprese Salad, OH MY GOODNESS! Delish and not super expensive. You can linger as long as you want and watch the view. The Italians are never in a hurry. So slow down and enjoy it all.
Finally we made our way up the Coast to Amalfi and my favorite, Ravello. While in Amalfi, visit the Duomo and check out the beautiful cloisters that surround it. Wander along in the alleyways and sit have a lunch or snack on the square which is excellent for people watching. These places are very touristy, but you can have light fare here and enjoy. I had the prosciutto and melon with an ice cold Peroni and enjoyed every bite!
Next we took a cab further on up to Ravello. There is so MUCH to love about Ravello! For one, there are fewer crowds here. It’s not near the water, so there are fewer tourists, even in the summer crowding the streets and shops. It’s a jewel of a town. You can see the duomo there, which is impressive, but the best thing about Ravello is the handmade pottery. You’ll see pottery everywhere in Italy, but none as fine as what you’ll see in Ravello. And the BEST place for you to find beautiful, locally, hand-painted pottery is at Ceramiche d’Art my friend, Pascal’s shop. It is AMAZING!! It is all hand painted by local artisans using Pascal’s designs. And Pascal is delightful. He also has two villas for rent now, too. You can also see these on the website. And he’s got a Facebook page where you can also see some of his goodies. And if you go to his shop and you love a piece but it’s not quite right, they will custom make you an original piece at no extra cost. Free shipping, too! Go see Pascal. You will not regret it.
So that’s Italy–Naples and the Amalfi Coast. Next up: Istanbul, Turkey! PS. For more pictures, be sure to follow me on Instagram @afaithfulwanderer