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From Lemons — Limoncello

Limoncello Shop Amalfi, Italy Copyright 2013  Andy Richards

Limoncello Shop
Amalfi, Italy
Copyright 2013 Andy Richards

There is an old saying about making lemonade when you have lemons. The Amalfi Coast of Italy is known for growing lemons and making, perhaps the best ever “lemonade”:  Limoncello, a sweet, lemony, liquour distilled from lemons. Used in some mixed cocktails, my preferred approach is straight up, very cold. We saw plenty of evidence of Limoncello during our day on the Amalfi Coast.

Gulf of Napoli Amalfi Coast Copyright  2013  Andy Richards

Gulf of Napoli
Amalfi Coast
Copyright 2013 Andy Richards

Sadly, our beautiful, warm, sunny and relaxing day in Mykonos, was to signal the premature end of our Mediterranean Cruise. We were due to sail out of Mykonos for Naples, Italy around 6:00 that evening, with a planned “day at sea,” on the way. When we did not move at 6:00, we began to sense a problem. The captain announced that they were having mechanical problems with the anchor winch mechanism, which ultimately resulted in a complete re-build of the winch motor. We did not sail until much later in the evening, but the captain assured us that we had plenty of time to make our scheduled docking in Naples.

Driving the Amalfi Coast Copyright 2013  Andy Richards

Driving the Amalfi Coast
Copyright 2013 Andy Richards

Naples, while itself perhaps unremarkable, marked the point of the cruise which I had most been anticipating. While many cruisers planned to visit the site of ancient Pompei, I had had my fill of ruins. From others who had been there, I had heard much about the Amalfi Coast, and we had a planned, private tour of the coast, with visits to Sorrento, Amalfi, Positano, and other villages along that coast line. On our “at sea” morning, we had a leisurely morning and were just contemplating our choices for lunch, when everything on the ship came to a complete stop, creating a deafening silence. After some fits and starts, the ship power came back on and all services were restored. However, there was a fatal problem with the ship’s propulsion system, allowing it only to make very slow progress toward the port of Naples, where we would eventually terminate the cruise and leave the ship. The cruise itinerary was originally scheduled for stops at Naples, Rome, Florence and the Provence, France region, before terminating in Barcelona. As I noted in the original blog on this topic, I give great credit to the Princess Cruise Lines for getting out in front of this significant problem, including refunding the full cost of the cruise, reimbursing us for our out-of-pocket costs to get home, and offering a substantial discount on a future cruise package. They obviously understand the value of customer service. Thank you, Princess, for making a bad experience (clearly for the line and its passengers) as good as they could.

Getting more than 2,000 passengers to a major airport (Rome was 3 hours from Naples by road) and onto planes home is a pretty major undertaking and it actually took an extra day to get us a flight out of Rome. The cruise line kept the ship operating in port and we were free to continue to use our stateroom and the services on board – which continued to operate nearly normally, including the dining facility. Since we didn’t make it into the Port of Naples until a day after our scheduled arrival, our private tour was cancelled. However, we were able to hire a taxi to drive us up the coast for the day, and visit Sorrento, and Amalfi.

Positano, Italy Amalfi Coast Copyright 2013  Andy Richards

Positano, Italy
Amalfi Coast
Copyright 2013 Andy Richards

Shortly after we left Naples and headed up the coast, we were able to see what the “draw” to this dramatically photogenic coastal region is. Driving up the coastal road, we stopped at a scenic point to look back over the Gulf of Napoli, back toward the Port of Naples. The road itself, is dramatic, with views around virtually every curve.

Local Shops Sorrento, Italy Copyright 2013  Andy Richards

Local Shops
Sorrento, Italy
Copyright 2013 Andy Richards

We stopped first, in Sorrento, which credits itself as the origin of genuine Limoncello liquour. Sorrento is perhaps a quintessential seaside tourist city, with a mix of quaint, local shops and big name designer stores. We walked around Sorrento and window-shopped for a few minutes, before continuing our journey up the coastal road, toward our destination, Amalfi.

Plaza in Center of Town Amalfi, Italy Copyright  2013  Andy Richards

Plaza in Center of Town
Amalfi, Italy
Copyright 2013 Andy Richards

Like so many of the places we visited in Italy, the church and the plaza or square which the church anchors, seems to be the central focal point. Amalfi was no exception, and the church in the middle of town was magnificent. But Amalfi is also a beach resort on the Mediterranean and the resort on the beach near town was equally impressive. Amalfi, it turns out, was the penultimate (yeah, I just wanted to use that word J ) stop in our 2013 visit to Europe. The next day we would leave for Rome and spend a whirlwind afternoon in City Center, Rome.

Beach Resort Amalfi, Italy Copyright  2013  Andy Richards

Beach Resort
Amalfi, Italy
Copyright 2013 Andy Richards

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