Ready for the Regata!

Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche marinare Amalfi 2012 Banner

The Amalfi Coast woke up this morning to a sunny June day, picture perfect for the 57th Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche Marinare! Flags are flying all over town and it promises to be a fun day. We’re all ready for the regata! To share the festive spirit, here are some photos I took on Friday in Amalfi. I’ll share more photos of the historic parade and the boat race later this week. For the moment … FORZA AMALFI!!!!

Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche marinare Amalfi 2012 Flags

The flags for the four sea republics - Amalfi, Genoa, Pisa, Venice

Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche marinare Amalfi Cross of Malta Flag

Forza Amalfi! The main street of Amalfi decked out in flags.

Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche marinare Duomo of Amalfi

A little flag in Piazza Duomo in Amalfi

Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche marinare Piazza Duomo 2012

A very festive house in Piazza Duomo

Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche marinare Marina Grande 2012 flags

A festive bunch of flags at Marina Grande. Do you remember them all?

Ready for the Beach

Amalfi Coast Marina Grande Beach Ready for Summer

Yesterday afternoon I looked down and saw that the Marina Grande beach in Amalfi had been prepared for the summer with its pebbles neatly raked back into place and a freshly painted blue walkway leading down to the sea. It was fun catching the geometric pattern of the rocks, because it certainly won’t last long with the weather warming up. I caught a bit of late afternoon sun on the beach, but the swimming will have to wait a little longer as the water is still too chilly for me. But I did enjoy walking along the shore and then warming up my toes in the sunshine!

At the Beach in Amalfi Italy

It was beautiful watching the evening light, a group of young boys playing in the water and a vibrant red boat with a young crew team out practicing. Oh, yes, and a white sailboat. Perfection!

Evening on the Beach in Amalfi

A Magical Evening on the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast Travel Blog Ravello in Clouds

Yesterday evening I looked out the window and gasped, and then promptly ran to grab my camera. Something was happening outside that only rarely happens on the Amalfi Coast. Thick white clouds were billowing in off the sea and snaking their way up the mountains. This only happens when the temperature is just so and the humidity very high and the winds blowing in the right direction – a combination that seems most likely in these balmy May days with cooler evenings. Or, at least the only other time I’ve seen it was back in May 2007 on my second visit to the Amalfi Coast.

Amalfi Coast Travel Blog Magical Ravello

The Amalfi Coast is a place of magic for me every day of the year. Yet, there are certain days when nature pulls out all the stops and the only thing left to do is gasp. And run for the camera, of course. Looking across to Ravello, the buildings along the top of the town were shrouded in a mist on both sides. Clouds swept over the Villa Cimbrone at the tip of Ravello, which is where I was lucky enough to be standing in May 2007 when the low clouds rolled in. Maybe that’s when the magic of the Amalfi Coast really got under my skin.

Amalfi Coast Travel Blog Villa Cimbrone Ravello

The last light of sunset lit up the face of the old man of the mountain beyond Ravello, the clouds surrounded him as if he were laying in a luxurious bubble bath.

Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello

Looking down toward Pontone I could just make out the ruins of the medieval church of Sant’Eustachio. I watched as the mist floated around and through the holes of the church ruins shrouding them in mist against the rosy glow of sunset. There’s magic in these mountains, I know it.

Amalfi Coast Travel Blog Scala Pontone

The clouds got as far as Scala before the mountains said stop. A cool wind came up from the mountains unexpectedly and began to push the clouds back out to sea.

Amalfi Coast Travel Blog Ravello Scala

By the time it was dark it was clear again and I could see the lights twinkling in Ravello. How strange this battle between mountains and sea, and how beautiful.

PlanetSolar Visits Amalfi

What is it ... a bird? a plane? a spaceship? It's PlanetSolar - the world's largest solar powered boat!

As my eyes scanned the familiar view across Amalfi’s harbor, they stopped at something with a large, flat top docked on the opposite side. “What is that?” I asked my husband as we stood there squinting into the sunshine. “It looks like a spaceship landed in Amalfi,” I said. And with that there was nothing else to do except to take a stroll along the harbor to check out just what had landed in Amalfi. As we got a closer, it was the oddest looking boat we’d ever seen.

PlanetSolar docked in the Amalfi harbor

We could see that it was a catamaran style boat, but that’s about all we could figure out. We weren’t the only ones standing around in Amalfi staring either. It’s not every day a boat like this sails into the harbor.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Solar Powered Boat

A closer look at PlanetSolar in Amalfi

It wasn’t until we climbed the stairs to the upper level of the large pier that defines the port of Amalfi that we could really get a good idea of what we were looking at. A solar powered boat!

A good look at PlanetSolar's solar panels that power the boat

When we got home I looked up the name PlanetSolar and realized we had just seen the world’s biggest solar powered boat. Those solar panels on the top of the boat measure 537 m2 and create enough energy to power everything on the boat. If that isn’t cool enough, PlanetSolar is on the very last leg of a tour around the world. Amalfi is one of the last stops before it returns to Monte Carlo. Here are the details of the world tour from the PlanetSolar website:

“PlanetSolar is accomplishing a journey around the world calling several times along the Equator where the available sunshine period is maximal. The four sailors of PlanetSolar will cross the Atlantic ocean, the Panama Canal, the Pacific ocean, the Indian ocean, and finally the Suez Canal in order to reach the Mediterranean.

The stops (Miami, Cancun, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, etc.) will allow the project to increase its impact and visibility and will serve as a promotion platform for renewable energy and solar energy in particular.”

Arm power and solar power in Amalfi

What luck that PlanetSolar arrived in Amalfi on the only day of sunshine last week! I’m not sure how long the crew intended to stay, but they arrived just in time to weather some tough spring storms coming down the coast of Italy. The sun has been peeking out between the clouds and rain today, so I hope they’ve been able to absorb enough energy to fully recharge the batteries. Despite the bad weather, the crew seems to be enjoying the Amalfi Coast.

“This place is really beautiful, it looks like the village is hanging from the cliff with its feet in the water…”

-Excerpt from Log Book – Day 569 – 04.18.2012

Wishing the crew of PlanetSolar fair sailing and abundant sunshine as they make their way to Monte Carlo to finish the first around the world trip with solar energy!

Let the busy days begin!

Amalfi Coast Tourist Buses

The parking lot in Amalfi is filling up each morning with buses

If it hasn’t started to get rolling yet, the long weekend for Easter is the official start of the tourist season along the Amalfi Coast. In the days leading up to Easter last week, the mornings were already buzzing in Amalfi. Tourist buses have started to arrive nearly every day from Sorrento, Naples and other destinations. The parking lot in the center of Amalfi reserved for the blue and green SITA public buses and the tourist buses is filling up each morning. And after a quiet winter, the harbor is filled again with ferries to Positano, Salerno and Capri and smaller boats ready to go to the Emerald Grotto or set off for private boat tours.

Ferries and boats in the Amalfi Harbor

Where to? Positano, Salerno, the Emerald Grotto or Capri?

While the warm beach days are still a month or so away, when the sun comes out you’ll now spot a few sunbathers here and there. And, of course, those brave few who don’t seem to mind the cold water!

Swimming Amalfi Coast April

The first sunbathers of the summer season have arrived!

While some people might grumble and groan at these first signs of the tourist season, I like watching the city change throughout the year. We hold our breath for a moment and make a wish that this season will be a good one, for us and for all the families that in some small way take part in sharing, promoting and protecting this beautiful coastline in so many ways.