Greetings from Sorrento, Italy!
It's been a generally delightful few days preparing for our program here, taking in this iconic coastline - truly one of the most impressive I feel I've seen - and enjoying 'one last gelato' five or six times.
However, while it's good that tourism has returned to a region where so many livelihoods depend on it, I've been absolutely gobsmacked by the number of tourists here.
Hotels are already at 97% capacity, and nearly all the restaurants I was recommended were filled to the brim with a line outside come dinner time, and the locals keep telling me 'this is only June, you should see what it's like in August'...
Curious to know how some of these travellers feel about the place, I struck up conversation with some travellers who were part of a group tour while in line for my last gelato, thrice removed.
Unsurprisingly, they were doing the standard way most travellers on a group trip do the Amalfi Coast - off the bus for just a few hours, before getting back on the bus to rush off to see the next destination as part of a 13 hour day of touring. Yikes.
They were staying in x, here for approximately y hours, then on a z hour bus to a1 and a2. The travel company responsible for such an appalling itinerary was actually a very well-known American group tour operator, who shall remain otherwise unnamed.
Perhaps my criticism is not entirely fair, as ~80% of travellers coming here probably follow a similar itinerary, and it's a classic symptom of trips put together by people in offices trying to imagine what people want when they travel, vs by people who actually travel.
In theory one wants to 'see it all', but if all you remember is the blur and you can't say anything about the places you visited...did you really even go? Life moves fast and is tiring enough without replicating that energy while you're travelling.
All of this is exactly why we'll be coming in March, and not the summer, and why we'll spend a relaxing two weeks and enjoy lots of time to ramble around and really explore the place.
The Amalfi Coast fully deserves the reputation it has, and in spite of the hordes of tourists here at this time of year, I still found it wasn't all that difficult to escape them and find all sorts of curiosities and delights - all one needs is a little more time to explore the side streets and the hills away from the main thoroughfares.
Anyhow, we'll be releasing the itinerary next week with our webinar next Thursday, so do join us for that should you be so inclined.
In other news and as I mentioned in previous newsletters, it's time to kickoff our bi-annual Trip Inspiration Questionnaire! Everyone who participates will be entered to win a grand prize of a $1,000 trip credit, good for any of our trips. We'll ease into things with just four more general questions this week, and get into the more detailed destination / trip style questionnaires in the weeks to come. (Click here if the embedded form is awkward on mobile)
I'm on my way now to Dublin to meet up with our next Wheel & Anchor group as we set off to explore the magical Emerald Isle. Thanks in advance for your feedback, and of course don't hesitate to get in touch should you have any questions.