Many years ago I was travelling on a motor coach that hit a patch of ice, spun 360 degrees, plowed over a mailbox and landed in a snowy ditch. Fortunately no one was hurt, a tow truck pulled us out and we carried on our way. But ever since this incident I’ve been a little nervous about buses. And while touring the rugged Campania region of Italy I came face to face with the roadbuilder’s solution to precipitous terrain: the treacherous hairpin curve.
|Hairpin Curve, Sorrento|
Campania is where you’ll find the scenic Amalfi Coast, famous for steep cliffs plummeting into the sea while the highway clings to the vertical rock face. I haven’t travelled as far south as Amalfi but I’ve been to neighbouring Sorrento where the terrain is very similar. There’s a deep ravine slicing through the centre of town and if you peer over the edge you’ll find a classic hairpin curve.
|Bottom of the Ravine in Sorrento|
A short distance off the coast lies a rocky outcrop, the lovely island of Capri. The road linking the island’s two towns is narrow and winding. It snakes up the mountain in a series of hairpin curves with sharp drops to the valleys below. The local buses are small and they pass each other with scant inches in between. I heard a saying that the bus drivers in Capri are either very good or dead. Let’s just say I was a little apprehensive about making such a journey. On a BUS!
|Approaching a Bus on the Island of Capri|
|Don't Look Down!|
But you know what? The scenery was spectacular. I got so caught up in the unfolding panorama that I forgot all about being nervous. I joined my fellow passengers as they ooh’d and ah’d at our driver’s skillful maneuvers around the hairpin curves. And I was glad I hadn’t passed up a memorable experience on the island of Capri.
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