It all began with a reminder of my youngest daughter Tessa in May this year, that I promised a holiday trip this summer. Trying to be a good father I had to stick to my promise and started searching for nice destinations to spend some great time with my two beloved daughters. The final candidates for holiday destinations where Croatia and Italy. Scared from the high prizes and flood of tourists in the north of Italy, I started looking into the south of Italy (in fact I was searching of budget holidays in Italy :-) ) and found the spectacular photos of Tropea.
Reading several articles about Tropea and the surrounding area, it seemed to be the perfect destination. People where telling that costs for accommodation and food are reasonable and locals very friendly. Destination one checked.
But since staying the whole week at one place might get boring, I decided to include two more locations. After several days in Tropea, I planned a stay in Salerno to visit the beautiful coast of Amalfi and finally traveling further to Rome as the final destination from where we would fly back to Germany. I booked all flights and hotels already at the beginning of June since my first journey would bring me to China.
On the 24th of June I arrived in Frankfurt after a nonstop flight from Chengdu with Air China. In the evening after exchanging the suitcase with a backpack, I headed with my daughters to the railway station to get the train to Düsseldorf. Our flight took off as scheduled, early morning on the 25th. We reached Lamezia Terme and took the train to Tropea. Aside from waiting 1.5 hours for the train, everything went very well as planned. Finally, around noon time we arrived at our hotel and could find some sleep.
The Hotel Giardino Marchese D'Altavilla was great. Simple but clean rooms, located a bit outside of the city with a great view over the sea and the volcano at Stromboli in the back. Tropea is a small but amazingly beautiful city, located on the edge of rocks facing the sea. I would say the city reflects exactly what you would expect from a south Italian city. Old buildings, narrow roads with plenty of restaurants and shops. But by far the best of south Italy are the people.
Hotel Giardino Marchese D'Altavilla
"...they are so cute.."Talina
It's not a cliche, the people are incredible friendly and nice. It's much more than the typical superficial smile what you get when visiting any restaurant or a hotel. Wherever we required any help or information, we faced friendly and nice Italian people. Even my daughters mentioned uncountable times how friendly the people are... or to say it with my daughters language... "oh my good - they are so cute...".
Due to the windy weather, we couldn't to the planned boat trip to the volcano. During our stay in Tropea, we visited the beach which is located underneath the city, enjoyed Italian food and ice cream, took photos and my daughters did a horse ride on a local farm while I was watching the football world champion chip where Germany ones more lost a game The costs for food, beach and activities were very reasonable compared to other touristic spots in Italy.
From Tropea to Salerno
On the 29th of June, we left Tropea by train back to Lamezia Terme and further to Salerno Mentioning before the amazing friendly Italian people, it was in Salerno, where we met the most incredible Italian ever - our host. Not only that he picked us up from the train station, he also gave us a short sightseeing tour through Salerno while explaining us the way to the most important locations. Arrived at the flat, we found sweets and juice in the fridge as well as a lot of information material and we received further advice regarding activities from our host. Thanks to him, we attended a typical Italian catholic procession in the nearby village of Cetara where I could shoot some incredible photos. During our stay he was always reachable via Whatsapp or mobile and again, incredible helpful. There was it again, the special Italian friendliness. Since I doubt that there is any comparable host or accommodation in Salerno, I have to mention the flat here and highly recommend to consider it if you want to visit the Amalfi coast: Casa Vacanze del Carmine
The same day at evening, we took a boat to Cetara where the annual St. Pietro procession took place. Although it was very crowded and a bit chaotic (especially on the way back), it was a fantastic experience with a great firework.
Lost at the countryside
While it became more and more dark outside and google maps was showing me that we were heading into the fully wrong direction to the countryside, we decided to get out at the next bigger village to start searching for an accommodation for the night. It took us a while to find a hotel since google was guiding us several times to wrong locations where wasn't a hotel anymore. Finally we arrived at a hotel and thanks to the helpful hotel staff, we could check in even without a passport which was still in our main accommodation in Salerno. I told our host in Salerno about our misadventure and he immediately did offer to pick us up and bring us back. I denied thankfully since it was really far away and we already had our accommodation for the night.
Avoid the bus
The next morning while having breakfast the hotel staff informed us that we had to buy a bus ticket from the local shop. We left the hotel to purchase our bus tickets and got shocked when we found out that there was only one ticket remaining.With only one ticket in our pocket we tried our best and waited for the bus with a huge group of people at the bus stop The bus arrived already fully crowded and we've been among the last who could enter the bus. Without further stops at other bus stops where more people have been waiting, we headed back to Amalfi. By the way, as far as we know, it was the only bus on this Sunday. ....lucky us.
Due to our bad bus experience, we preferred to take the boat back to Salerno. Arrived in our flat in Salerno we met once more our host who gave me a chili key chain as a gift for good luck. (For some reason he was of the opinion that I need this :-) )
Bye Bye Salerno - Hello Rome
We packed our stuff and walked to the train station where we got informed that all fast trains to Rome were fully booked. We ended up in a commuter train and reached Rome after a 5 hours journey which wasn't too bad. Our accommodation in Rome was again simple but clean with a friendly host who recommended us a fantastic restaurant in the neighborhood for having dinner. (Roma Tourist House)
Our next to last day in Italy was a hot midsummer day. After a guided tour through the Colosseum we decided to walk around in Rome by our own to visit only some of the hot spots like the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain.
It was a great time discovering Italy together with my daughters and as far as I know, they enjoyed it as much as I did. As already mentioned several times, we've been overwhelmed by the incredible friendly Italian people with the extraordinary hospitality. Tropea as well as Salerno with the adjacent Amalfi coast are highly recommended and should be truly considered in your next plans for holidays.
Cameras used: Leica Q and Voigtländer Bessaflex with Zeiss Jena Flektogon and Sonnar.