We are back in the Netherlands! “Normal” life has resumed, albeit I don’t have a job anymore at this stage. You would assume that I now have tons of time on my hand, and you are probably right! However, the to-do list is longer than ever, go figure 🙂 On top of that to-do list is also writing down all the fun things we did on the road trip. Today I hope you enjoy this “9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2” as much as I did writing it.
9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2
As noted in the previous post, a 62 day road trip is a bit much to pack into one post. I planned to split the post into 15-16 day segments, followed by two posts about trip finances and Airbnb experiences. Below is a short summary of day 16-31. We start in southern France and moved to southern Italy during this time.
Day 16 – Trip to Cannes
We arrived in Cannes the day before the whole movie thing was about to start. It was kind of cool to see all the movie related stands, stages and displays. We walked around the boulevard before travelling to the Monaco area later that day.
When driving through Monaco, the GPS had a rough time and we sort of got lost. The fun thing though is that we ended up driving on parts of the F1 grand prix circuit! Made my day 🙂
Day 17 – Trip to Beach & Monaco Run
Monaco is obviously an expensive place, so we arranged accommodation just outside of Monaco. Fortunately not that far away. We used this day to give Miss CF some time to play at the beach, while Mrs CF could do some work. Yes, unfortunately she actually needed to work a few days during our trip (part of the time-off deal).
Once Mrs CF was done work and Miss CF fell asleep, I got the opportunity to hike around and decided to speed walk to Monaco for a preview for the next day.
Day 18 – Trip to Monaco
We took public transport to get to Monaco to limit the parking costs & troubles. We decided to just hike around town to see all the famous sites like the Casino and the harbour. Fortunately for us, the preparations for the historical grand prix where underway, so we could do some car spotting and walk on the actual F1 grand prix circuit.
Day 19 – Trip to Menton & Travel to Italy
We closed our time in France by visiting a small amusement park in Menton. Once Miss CF has spent all here coins, we drove onwards to Italy. We arranged an accommodation about halfway to the town of Pisa. it was still pretty near the coast, so we did another boulevard walk (and ice-cream) that afternoon.
Day 20 – Travel to Pisa
While in France we avoided all toll road, we quickly discovered that’s not a good idea in Italy. The toll roads are in pretty good shape, but the highways and secondary roads are mostly rubbish! For the sake of our kidneys and our car, we stuck to toll roads as much as possible. I though Belgium was bad, but Italy actually has far worse roads.
Today we drove to the town of Pisa (yes, the one with the tower). As we were scheduled to arrive late, we would not have time to visit the city (+ the little one was tired). So we decided to just park at the Port of Pisa and enjoy the scenery and the peace & quiet.
Day 21 – Trip to Pisa
We started the day relatively early and took the bus to downtown. As we started our day outside the main centre, it was still pretty quiet. Once we got into the city centre we were surprised how laidback it was. However, once we turned the street to where the leaning tower and cathedral stand, we noticed how incredibly touristic the place actually is! Wow, it’s busy in this place.
Once we returned to the city center later that day, we noticed that the whole town was swamped with tourists. So, if you want to do your sightseeing in relative quiet (and limit your time in waiting lines), start way before 10:00! Cheesy top tip here 😉
Day 22 – Travel to Monte Argentario & Aquarium
After leaving the town of Pisa, we decided to look for more tranquility along the coast line. We found this at the peninsula of Monte Argentario. This “island” is connected to the main land via three “legs”, which have loads of campsites.
We first visited the town of Porto Santo Stefano, which has a small aquarium and ferry service to local islands. It’s quite a nice coastal town with nice blue waters and some beach access and restaurants.
Day 23 – Trip around Monte Argentario
On the second day at the peninsula of Monte Argentario we drove around. We also did a bit of hiking to get to the waterfront (most roads are up the slopes of the peninsula). It’s a very nice area and definitely worth a visit.
Day 24 – Travel towards Rome
As you probably noticed, we like to visit cities, but don’t like to stay there for very long. Too busy and noisy for our liking. Driving (and parking) in major cities is not much fun either. Especially not in Italy! So when we were planning our trip to Rome, we decided to find accommodation outside the city and use public transport to get downtown.
Today we drove away from Monte Argentario and took it easy. The drive got us to a town just outside Rome. Oh, and the roads got even worse! Never seen so many potholes in my life.
We also did have some time to relax at an outlet centre outside Rome (something with playground areas…….)
Day 25 – Rome in a Day
The trains in Italy are extremely cheap, surprisingly comfortable and even travelled on time! We were pleasantly surprised to be honest. The train ride got us to Roma Termini from which we arranged the hop-on-hop-off bus (the cheaper green line) and started out on our first tour around town. We actually ended up doing two loops.
Rome really is too big to see in one day, but the tourist busses work really well. Be very careful when going out to restaurants (or get a cab, etc.), as you get screwed everywhere in this town. Don’t expect too much friendliness either. It’s also not the cleanest place I’ve ever been. Albeit very pretty and full of history, Rome was not our favorite place to visit.
Vienna on the other hand, which is a kind modern and clean version of Rome, is so much more fun to visit (more on that in a later post)
Day 26 – Trip to Lake Albano
After the busy day in Rome, we picked Lake Albano to chill for a few hours. We had to drive to Naples that day, and this lake was definitely worth the small detour. We rented a paddle boat and had fun with the little one on the local beaches.
Day 27 – Trip to Naples
Cheesy top tip, don’t drive into Naples during rush hour. Probably one of the scariest rides we’ve ever done in our lifetime. Still surprised that the car (and us) came out in one peace! We have driven a lot and certainly are not scared to drive, but this was a bit too exciting for our liking. Italians don’t do road rules.
You probably are familiar with the problems in Naples (garbage issues, mafia, poverty, etc.). Some are still very clearly visible in the city. The Archeological museum on the other hand was really nice. Also the old inner city very pretty to walk through. Not as “nice” as Rome, it was still worth the visit.
Day 28 – Trip to Pompeii
Who thinks of Naples also thinks of the volcano Vesuvius and Pompeii. We would have loved to hike up the volcano, but with the little one that was not going to happen. So we visited the next best thing related to that volcano: Pompeii.
Fortunately, we had visited the archeological museum in Naples first. Otherwise Pompeii might have been slightly disappointing as most art work and statues are located in the museum. Pompeii was a very interesting visit, but it does start to look alike once you walk around there for a few hours. Glad we visited though! One less item on the bucket-list 🙂
After leaving Pompeii, we moved on toward the Sorrento area for some relaxation again.
Day 29 – Trip around Sorrento
It was time again to for Miss CF to play and relax. So we spent some time on the beach at Sorrento and enjoyed the surrounding areas (including some fresh made lemonade). Sorrento and surrounding area is famous for its Limoncello (we bought some too). The place is packed with lemon orchards, which look very pretty when you walk through them.
Day 30 – Travel to Amalfi
The next area to explore was on the other side of the peninsula. Today was our trip to the Amalfi coast. Unfortunately, It didn’t go as smooth as we hoped though. We arrived around mid-day in the Positano area, which is stunning but there were NO parking spots anywhere. People already parked alongside the road more than a km before the town. With our big Prius wagon we were simply out of luck 🙁
The roads are super small, has concrete barriers/rock cliffs and there are tons of busses and trucks that drive around. Needless to say that it was not a very comfortable ride. It actually was a near 2 hour traffic jam to get from Positano to Amalfi. We had virtually no opportunities to park, turn around or look around.
To continue the nightmare, our accommodation didn’t plot correctly on the GPS, we overshot by a good half hour! Needless to say we all were pretty grumpy by the end of the day. But we had gotten to the Amalfi area! We did make a plan to make the next day go smoother.
Cheesy top tip for the Positano/Amalfi area, don’t drive but take a bus/boat! Alternatively, go really early so you can park (and get a small rental car while you are at it). Or, if you have a lot of money to spend, arranged a place with private parking.
Day 31 – Hike to Amalfi
We parked our car up the hill in Pontone (still had to pay €1.5/hour, cash only!) and walked down into Amalfi. It was such a better way to get around Amalfi and actual have time to enjoy the area and the coast line. The hike up and down were really good too, stunning views. It’s such a pretty coastline. Really worth the visit!
Ok, time to wrap it up for today. Planning to do another recap next week.
How about you, did you visit any of these places? Similar experiences, or totally different? Let us know!