On our second full day, and the last day of August, we decided to take a drive up the coast and check out a couple of beach towns – Acciaroli and Santa Maria di Castellabate. George and I both love the beach, but we also love exploring, so our love for the unknown trumped our desire for another lazy day at the beach.
As we headed out for the day, we passed one of our favorite little towns, Pioppi. A tiny hamlet by the sea, Pioppi boasts views of the curved protected bay at Marina di Casalvelino that compete with the best. Think Bay of Naples – on a smaller scale, but just as spectacular and even more so to me without all of the buildings and population nearby.
As we leave Pioppi, we are on “new turf”. George and I always make a spoken note of this, wherever we are. Maybe it’s the gypsy in both of us. How do people get like this, I wonder? Here we are, two people who have found each other here on this earth, who both treasure, in fact, crave new experiences. Crazy? Or pazzo? One person’s craziness, is another person’s fun and entertainment. Sometimes we talk about how we got that way. For the most part, we are each the explorers of our individual nuclear families and we both also happen to be first-borns. Each of us moved to California, forcing a trip to visit on parents who likely never would have made the journey, had we not moved. Both of us have lived many places across the U.S. while our parents and all siblings have remained living in the same areas they were born and grew up. We’re not sure why . . . it just IS us!
After Pioppi, we do a few zigs and zags on the SRexSS267 (big name, small road) up over a large “hill”, we’ll call it due to the huge mountains within view, and the road brings us down to near sea level when we catch sight of Acciaroli. We take a slight left, and park down by the marina and take a stroll through town by the beach.
The beach is still buzzing with activity. After all, it is still August. We enjoy watching people swimming and sunbathing and jumping off of rocks.
We linger for awhile and then reluctantly return to our car to continue on to Santa Maria di Castellabate. This is the sister (beach) town of Castellabate.
SM di Castellabate is a classy beach town with great shopping, hotels and restaurants. We see the stately Hotel Villa Sirio along the beach and enter to explore. Inside we find a very friendly owner, who graciously gives us a tour of various rooms, all beautiful. As we are leaving, we comment on the beautiful portrait in the lobby and he proudly tells us this is his family.
We meander around town enjoying the buildings, shops and a the occasional adorable kitty.
As is always the case, we decide it is time for a rest at the local bar and we find the main piazza and a bar by a beautiful umbrella cypress tree. I just love these trees and stare at them along the way from Rome to Casalvelino.
As we refresh ourselves, we have a lively discussion with with the Nonna of the bar owner, who shows us a beautiful hibiscus plant that bears two different colors of blossoms. We don’t speak much Italian and she speaks no English, but that didn’t stop any of us from having any enjoyable conversation.
We decide to take one more pass by the beach before we leave. Although it’s still light out, George is quite interested in driving home in full day light and I’m sure it’s because of the narrow, cliff-hugging road with lots of sharp switch-backs and I agree! I sometimes close my eyes while we’re driving on roads like that, especially when someone near us decides to pass on a blind curve. . . let’s face it – any crash they would cause at those speeds, and we’d all be off the cliff!! George, doesn’t have the luxury of driving with his eyes closed.
We sigh as we absorb the sight of this beautiful beach and hate to leave, but we know we will return again soon.