Italy has always been among my favorite travel destinations in Europe and this where I feel I have found heaven on earth. No matter if it will be the incredible feeling of walking on the streets of ancient Rome, staring at the marvelous Tuscan landscapes or enjoying an aromatic coffee while catching up with a dear friend on a small fairytale-like street. Italy has so much to offer that I can never get enough of it.
Our plan for September was to check the heel of the Italian boot. This region – Puglia – has attracted me in particular with a place called Alberobello and its trulli buildings which I wanted to see with my eyes.
And so the decision was made – I booked tickets from Sofia to Bari and from Napoli to Sofia. At that time Ivo was in Italy just for a workshop so we met in Bari. We had a short walk in the centre, which I barely remember since I hadn’t slept much the previous night, and then took a train to Lecce.
There we spent one day exploring the small Lecce which didn’t impress me that much. There were almost no people and it felt a bit like an abandoned town. However, our plan was only to sleep there and to explore the region during the day.
So the next day we went to the train station to catch a train to Alberobello. This turned into such an adventure. We were told on which platform to wait for the train but there were neither any signs, nor information table. Trains were coming and leaving from this and the next platform and we had to ask the train driver which direction he is going. So we waited and waited until, 40-50 minutes after the scheduled time, we finally got onto the one which was going to take us to Alberobello. After about 2 or 3 hours (I don’t remember how long exactly it took) we were there, walking around these incredible igloo-like houses, which were like dwarf houses – so tiny and fairy. It takes not more than 2 hours to have a thorough walk and go back to the train station.
On our way back we decided to also check Martina Franca which takes just about 30 minutes to reach with the train from Alberobello. It has an impressive old town with small piazzas which we had almost only for ourselves as there were just a few people in the old town. After spending another two hours there we caught the train to Lecce.
Our plan for the next day was to go to Otranto and from there to the nearest beach. In one hour the train took us there and we could have a pleasant walk within the fortress located on the coast. Then we found a taxi company where we booked a rickshaw and went to Baia Dei Turchi beach. We walked along the coast until we reached a beach restaurant – the only one in the area and enjoyed a great lunch with seafood at decent prices.
On the next day we took the train to Naples. There was no direct train so we had to travel to Taranto and then catch a connection train in one hour. So for one hour we managed to cross the bridge to the central part and have a short walk through the narrow streets. It looked like a place worth visiting for at least one day, so maybe next time..We then caught the train and arrived in Naples around noon. We had to meet the guy renting the place we have booked through airbnb. We had to climb a lot of stairs to reach it. It was located in a very old building with huge 4m ceilings. It was a one room apartment with a tiny balcony facing the inner courtyard. Once done with checking in we headed to the center which was pretty close to our apartment. We had the rest of the day to explore the city and didn’t focus on any museums, we were just walking and it felt a bit like India with the narrow streets, packed with people and the cars desperately trying to make their way through the crowd.
On the next day we made our way to the ferry port and bought our one-way ticket to Sorrento, a town on the Amalfi coast which was the furthest point to which we could get with the ferry. It was incredible – once the engines started, Naples was becoming smaller and smaller while Pompei on the other side of the ferry was getting closer and bigger. The view was quite impressive and is really worth taking the ferry on your way to the Amalfi coast, especially when reaching Sorrento with its colorful hotels and houses perched like birds on the hill. From there we took a free bus to the centre and looked for the busses to Positano and Amalfi. The bus stop was located close to the train station and there was a huge line of people waiting to get on the next bus. We managed to get in as well, but there were no seats left for us so we had to travel standing which was one hell of adventure. The road offers an amazing view over the coast and the aquamarine water, and it was actually good we were standing as we could see everything from both sides of the bus. The only problem was how to keep balance while the bus was taking these sharp turns every minute. We managed to survive but if you, like me, suffer from motion sickness – take a lot of pills before getting on the bus or the ride might turn into a nightmare.
We didn’t have time to stop both in Positano and Amalfi so we decided to enjoy the view over Positano from the bus and then spend some more time in Amalfi. I am not sure if we took the right decision as Positano looked very cute and not as touristic as Amalfi but we will never know until we go there again 🙂 On our way back we took the ferry to Sorrento which allowed us to see the coast from a different point of view. This was actually the best part of the trip so I highly recommend it. Once in Sorrento we spent some time eating Italian gelato and pastry and then took a train to Naples.
We were totally exhausted and felt asleep almost immediately after getting to the apartment. Early in the morning on the next day we had to catch our flight back to Bulgaria.