One of the gems of our seven week trip will always be our unplanned visit to Palinuro, which is two hours by road South of the World famous resorts on the Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy. Palinuro is totally different to the sophisticated and highly commercialized resorts of Amalfi, Positano and Ravello, however, equally as beautiful in its own right. It does not have the expensive small shops, nor does it have the five-star hotels, instead it does have lots of shops selling affordable merchandise and some excellent four star hotels. The restaurants are catering for Italians and the menu in most of them is not translated, so if you don’t speak the language that’s tough but a lot of fun. English is not widely spoken here and it is so nice to spend time away from the hoards of Germans, Americans, Brits and in fact, tourists from all over the world.
To bring you up to date, we received news that our cargo-cruise to Cyprus, taking both ourselves and our car, would be delayed ten days because of schedule changes. After a moment’s irritation, we decided that we must accept the fact that this is Italy and time keeping is not their forte in life, and after all, where could there be a nicer place to get stranded than in Italy, so we took this as an opportunity to explore the Southern Amalfi Coast further.
By chance, we landed in Palinuro, on a stunning bay overlooking the sea, and spent a wonderful week in one of the most beautiful and relaxing parts of Italy. Palinuro is a simple resort, full of friendly, helpful people and critically is in the Cliento and Vallo di Diano National Park which became a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1997. The national park is one of the most sparsely populated parts of Italy. Palinuro is a popular resort for people of the Italian region of Campania, including Naples and Salerno. It also gets some visitors from Rome but it remains largely off the international tourist map even though you do get the occasional American or German.
We found a wonderful, inexpensive and friendly boutique hotel, with a room facing the sea where at night we listened to the sea breaking on the rocks twenty feet below. In the days, we explored the national park, swam in the almost transparent deep blue sea and sampled the local fresh fish caught that day, washing it down with excellent local wine, of course.
Yesterday we took a boat trip around the cape to explore the World famous grottos:
- The Blue grotto owes its name to the extraordinary effect produced by the sunlight which filters inside from an underground passage at a depth of about eighteen metres, providing a spectacular play of light and colours
- The Blood grotto is characterized by striking blood-red markings winding up the walls, reflecting onto the sea and giving an amazing reddish colouring
- The Monks grotto is rich in stalagmite formations which resemble friars in monks habit
Palinuro has been a lovely find and we should definitely like to return soon. For now though, we are focussed on the next and final stage of our journey by ship from Italy to Cyprus which is due to sail on the 12th. and, fingers crossed, this time to schedule! Hopefully, on our six-day boat trip to Cyprus, we shall have some time to edit our hundreds of photos and post them on the web soon, so watch this space!