I arrived in Amalfi sometime around 5pm. I got off the bus, actually considered kissing the ground, and then began to frantically take pictures. Don't get me wrong, I was exhausted. I had fully planned on checking into the hotel, getting a quick nap, and then heading out to see the town. But there was no way I could pass up the current photo opportunities. There had been very light rain, only for a few minutes, on the way into Amalfi. Despite the low amount of rain the sky was filled with ominous rain clouds which made the coast and the town look even more amazing. I've posted some of these pictures on flickr, and more will be posted someday when I've had some time to play around with them on the computer for a bit. They don't really many changes but there are a few I need to lighten up or play with the contrast a bit.
Anyway, the bus stop is right at the coast. After getting off the bus I immediately headed to the end of one of the two piers that frame the bus stop (There's also a third pier a bit farther down the coast) so that I could get pictures of the town itself. I even managed to get a photo of myself which I'm pretty happy with. It's not the best, but I didn't feel great about leaving my camera sitting on the ground and then walking 20 feet away from it while the timer ticked down. There weren't many people on the pier, so I wasn't worried about theft. My concern was more that the waves were a bit rough because of the weather (they would be very calm for the rest of the weekend) and I didn't want my camera to get wet. I'm pretty sure I got a spot on my lens while taking these pictures which I never noticed until I returned to London. That's why it's taking me so long to post these pictures. I have to go in and remove all the spots. Ugh.
After taking pictures I headed up the main street toward the hotel. Check in was very easy and soon enough I was in my room, fast asleep. I woke back up around 7pm because my guide book said that most shops begin to close between 7:30 and 8pm and I wanted to check out the shops before dinner. Shops tended to stay open much later in Amalfi, I suspect this is at least partially because of the high number of tourists. The town isn't overwhelmed with tourists, but there are a decent number of visitors. I bought a bottle of the local limoncello which I had heard was a must-have. As I would later realize, I couldn't bring it back to London because I was traveling with carry-on baggage only. The housekeeping staff seemed appreciative when I have them a 6 euro bottle of limoncello Sunday morning.
After looking at the shops I headed back out toward the coast to find dinner. I had picked out a somewhat fancy restaurant in the guidebook, deciding to treat myself to a high-end italian meal. Well, I never found that place (I did eventually find it... On Saturday) so I instead spent about an hour wandering from restaurant to restaurant reading menus.
I eventually settled on Ristorante Marina Grande, which was fantastic. I went all out and did the full 3-course italian meal. The restaurant was right on the beach, so I had a great view of the sea. Since it was literally on the beach they served mostly seafood dishes, something I generally avoid. I decided to be risky and have the seafood, consciously avoiding the chicken and steak meals. I wasn't daring enough to actually order a fish but I'm still pretty proud of myself. My crowning achievement for this meal would have to be my completion of the entire secondi piatti (second course) which consisted of 37 (Yes, I counted them) mussels. They were delicious, and I was stuffed afterward. I managed to make room for a great desert though, and when they brought me the check the waiter gave me a free shot of limoncello which was really good.
After dinner I wandered through Amalfi, just getting a feel for the place. It's an amazing city. It's basically a labyrinth. You can turn off onto any of the side alley-ways and eventually come across yet another small piazza with a trattoria or pizzeria. I could have wandered that town for hours. I got back to the hotel around midnight and quickly got ready for bed and fell asleep. I had a lot planned for Saturday, and knew I'd need my sleep.
I've posted many of my pictures from Friday here.