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Michael’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 07 Nov 2007

Mapfter our disappointment with Naples we took ourselves off to the Amalfi Coast for the day on the local bus. The coast road was very narrow and has been hung off the cliffs. There were numerous occassions where tricky passing manoeuvres were required especially when two buses met!.

The town of Amalfi was small and really did not have a lot going for it. The main industry was originally paper manufacture but this has been surpassed by tourism. The beaches were stoney and small but there were numerous hotels suggesting large populations during the summer.

The cathedral was well worth visiting, the artefacts anhistory were well presented.

On the Tuesday we were off again, this time to Florence. We were a bit apprehensive at first but in the end it was easy, train from Sorrento, pick up Eurorial at Naples and straight through to Florence in three hours. Our hotel is in the middle of the old ditsrict of Florence and was easily found.

Today we have spent roaming around, marvelling at the architecture and the art. It is hard to believe that the masters spent their whole lives producing all this art for the church. Two of the museums we went into were full of statues and paintings from the 12th to the 15th centuries and most have been rescued from churches where they have been stored when styles changed. Where the paintings have been restored, the colours are magnificent. We have covered the northern part of the town and will do the rest another day. We may have to book to see a couple of museums as the queues were very long today.

At dinner we were discussing which countries we had enjoyed most and Italy did not feature! after Rome a few years ago and the couple of turn offs earlier on this trip we nearly got done again today. We sat down to have a coffee and there was no one around so Jean went into the cafe to order, I happened to see a menu and coffee was 5 euro a cup, but in the cafe it was 1.40 euro! and tonight we stopped for a cup and the published rate was 1.4 euro but the menu was 4 euro because we had sat down. Every restaurant has a cover charge which ranges from 1 to 2 euros per person, they then add 10% for service and then expect a tip! we do not understand the mentallity, we all have to eat, we are happy to pay the price so why have all these add ons. We are wondering what the Greeks will have in store.

Tomorrow we are taking the train to Pisa.