Friday, 27 June 2014

Travel Blog No7 - Salerno

Trust me - Vietra where we are staying looks like this bog pic from Google Images. The church dome can be seen from the dining room of the hotel. The WIFI at our hotel is slower than slow, so I can't upload our pics, but seriously, it looks just like this.

We are staying at the Raito Hotel. G certainly left the best til last. Its exactly where you dream of staying on Amalfi Coast. Aside from a few silly little hiccups, it's a lovely place to stay, tho if I'm being totally honest as a travel blogger, I'm not really sure I'd recommend staying here.

Raito Hotel is perched high on a hill, near the village of Vietra. We caught a taxi from the train station (7kms) in Salerno. but were caught by total surprise when the taxi fare went from €10 to €20 in a few seconds. Apparently, because the taxis' work 'in area's' the Salerno driver isn't allowed to pick up fares in Vietra area and so goes back to Salerno empty. This, is our responsibility so we (aka tourists) have to pay double the fare shown on the metre.

Check in was easy, tho an American guest at reception told us this place ain't it's all cracked up to be - WIFI hardly works, and they've had no electricity for one and a half days and no one speaks English. WT????????????

We were escorted to our room which was HUGE and tastefully decorated. There was the BIGGEST bed we've ever seen there, with a bed made up for MissM. However, we did book a 'partial ocean view room' and while we had a partial view it was more debatable how partial it was, as we had to look over a concrete roof of a neighbouring building.

I asked if there was another room available as this wasn't to our expectation. We were shown two small rooms, with slightly better views and opted to take the larger room as really, how often will we be in it?

We unpacked into the wardrobes. I'm so over lugging the suitcase every time we need something. Got into our swimmers and hit the pool, which we had all to ourselves.

Dinner was in the hotel restaurant - and WOW. Not only was it delicious, it was expensive. There's something to be said for 'full board' style hotels/resorts, especially if you have a fussy or small eater in the family.

We get back to our room, shower to cool off as the air conditioning isn't working (we assumed they are still having issues with power) and get ready for to watch the World Cup Soccer when the phone rings.

'You're air conditioning isn't working. There is a room upstairs where it is - do you want to move now?'

NOW - it's 9.30pm.

G went to see the two rooms on offer to us and suggested we'd sleep in one of them and move in the morning - which was understood to mean we didn't want to move. So to avoid any confusion we took the room that night. We packed the suitcases and dear sweet Olga the cleaning lady schlepped the bags up the back fire stairs, flatly refusing G's offer of help.

The 'new' room is slightly smaller, but has a better layout, with two small balconies and a better view.

There's a pillar for some reason in one corner, and MissM's bed is behind that, giving her some 'space'.

We woke and had a great breakfast and a friendly chat with the American lady and her husband. then came back to the room for an hour or so while we worked out when we'll go to Pompeii (that's a bit like saying 'we're going to Paris for me - super exciting and unreal); if we'll go to Vietre (just down the road) for lunch, and what we'll do for dinner.

Pompeii will wait ...........

The village of Vietra is gorgeous ... just as you'd imagine. Old old buildings, cobble stones, and so many ceramic shops.  While I appreciate the artistry in this type of ceramic, I'm not a fan, so it was easy to walk, look and not buy. Plus, truth be known, we don't need anything! We've so many stunning pieces from Japan.

MissM watched a lady paint up a small piece of pottery her husband had made earlier. She bought a small bowl with a lid for her memory table, and we had lunch.

We popped into a deli and bought some cold meats and bread for an afternoon nosh. Thank goodness the room has a decent mini bar fridge. We also put a few bottles of water there too. MissM's having an economics lesson - €1 for water down the road, €4.50 for the same water from the minibar in the room.

Tomorrow we are joining an existing tour to Pompeii. The coach will collect us at 8.40am and we'll return at 5pm. My head is saying WT??????????? but my heart is full with anticipation to experience this place that I've dreamed of since a child. MissM knows quite a bit about it thanks again to Horrible Histories.

The tour is €42 pp, and €30 for MissM plus entry tickets to Pompeii - an English speaking guide.

The alternative was a private car/drive/English speaking guide for 2 hours at Pompeii doing highlights for €365. After the tours we had in Rome, and what we paid, we feel again, like this is a bit too much taking the tourist as a fool.

Please don't think I'm complaining, I'm not. It's beautiful here. We are very relaxed and having a lovely time. It's just that there's a few things we'd have benefited knowing before getting here so we were better prepared and as I'm in travel blogger mode, I feel it's a duty to keep you, my readers informed of the good, and not-so-good as we go.

If i've any energy left after touring Pompeii, I'll chat tomorrow,

With friendship

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