And thence to lunch at Amalfi. Michelangelo, our guide, had dropped his ‘spiel’ by now, and was an engaging companion, Amafitan to the core, born there, and still in love with it. And in love, especially, with its extraordinary history, which has left chunks of itself appearing through the stucco prettiness of a largely Edwardian resort.
But we were after lunch. The seafront was virtually empty. The first restaurant turned out to be closed for the season. The second, built on a broad jetty, looked perfect. N perused the wine list with unfeigned interest, selected something nice, then the pizza arrived.
Then part of that day’s catch from the harbour (N’s look is of approval), then something delicious and involving lemons and cream.
Michelangelo took us off into the old part of the town, Arabic at base, narrow alleys, gardens only visible where their lemon trees overhung high walls, inviting exploration. Perhaps, another time. Then a stop at a cafe that had just been written up in a Chinese travel magazine, largely for its particular cake involving lemon and cream. A chill breeze swept down from the cliffs, channeled by the narrow streets. But the cafe was abuzz: rather chilled, and certainly mystified Chinese tourists, all eating lemon pastries. Oh, the Amalfi grocers sell a lemoncello made from unripe lemons, giving it an alluring greenish tinge. Somehow, my euros stuck to my wallet. Another time.
Then the spectacular coast drive back to Salerno, the driver kindly stopping in very risky bits of the corniche when we clamoured to photograph. Every ledge of the cliff, however seemingly inaccessible, seemed to have a pergola of vines or wisteria, the last rags of summer flowers, and fatally attractive views. Amazing. We were all a bit sick with envy, and not at all looking forward to our return to the orange hotel and Eboli.
But a truly splendid surprise was in store…