I leave the Amalfi coast with a heavy heart. This is my longest stop of the entire ride so far. People have started to acknowledge me in the street, and in a small town like Atrani you rapidly become part of the community. Even the dogs recognise me!
I have watched dolphins hunting for young tuna, blue rock thrushes flying out of impossibly steep cliff faces with their unusual call, observed praying mantis at close quarters ( what strange beasts! ) and spent whole days watching my fellow human beings ( even stranger beasts ). Lizards are my favourite creatures; they are very inquisitive animals and enjoy staring you out.
Capri was a surprise. Once away from the port area and its mass tourism, you realise why it was so popular with the film stars and wealthy few. A short climb and descent brings you to the other side of the island, and the crowds dissolve to leave you having lunch beside the clear waters of the Mediterranean. Your legs can rapidly take you somewhere very special.
My favourite haunt in Atrani was right on the beach, a cave formally used by fishermen. Bar Nettuno is run by Andrea and his wife, and their hospitality was remarkable even by Italian standards. Town Hall permitting he hopes to convert the upstairs area into a small restaurant, but bureaucracy works slowly here. I wish him every success. Should you ever find yourself in this town, wander the few yards from the square and take a seat. You will have no regrets.
On my last evening in Atrani a male choir was singing in the church just two doors down from my room. The unaccompanied voices rose beautifully through the stone stairs and passageways, a most uplifting sound; there could not have been a more fitting finale to my stay here.
Tomorrow I am reunited with the bike, and hopefully the muscles will deliver the necessary power once more after an extended break. Sicilly is in my sights and a certain beach is calling for my attention.