Beautiful Companions

Limoncello Ice Cream

One delightful exception to our preconceived objections to cruising was the wonderful couple we met on the first night. We selected the late night seating for dinner at 9:30 pm so that we didn`t have to rush back for the early dinner. On the first night, there awaiting us, were two marvelous people named Ray and Audrey with so much life and fantastic stories to share that we looked forward to our dinners every night just to discover where they had explored that day.Like most people, when Ray and Audrey told us they were from Malta, I realized that what little I knew about the country I learned from Humphrey Bogart in the Maltese Falcon.

Amalfie Coast

New Friends, Ray and Audrey

Ray, the gentle giant, was a former cop in Malta and now happily retired as a security guard in an upscale location and Audrey works for Air Malta. Of course, Ray and I had much to share about the life of a police officer but there was so much more we wanted to learn from him. Ray is a walking encyclopedia of Maltese history and the Knights of St. John. Skip Dan Browne. This is the real thing. David’s history gene was triggered and he peppered Ray with questions about the tiny island.

Audrey is as gracious as she is as beautiful. I appreciated her quiet intelligence and grew to love her decisiveness. We could all learn from the fine Maltese style and manner.

On our last day, Audrey suggested that we go into Naples, rent a taxi for the day, and drive down the Amalfi Coast. Just as we wanted to do but now, ever so much sweeter with our new friends.

We met early and disembarked the ship to a string of taxis each with their drivers shouting, “Special Price.” Ray had mentioned to us earlier that we should leave the negotiations up to Audrey, who speaks fluent Italian and drives a hard bargain.

David and I wandered ahead to give Audrey the space she needed to make the deal. We could hear cries of, “No, no…” and what we assumed was “far too much” in Italian. We watched as she shook her head and start to walk away with Ray at her side. The taxi driver called her back and the negotiation resumed. This process was repeated several times before she was satisfied that we had a good deal. Clearly, I could learn much from Audrey.

Audrey introduced us to Giuseppe would spoke little English but would take us to Amalfi, Positano, and Sorrento for the day for only 60€. Deal. In minutes, we are barreling down the Amalfi Coast – literally. The narrow road twisted and turned uphill and down while Giuseppe talked with his hands in the quick staccato rhythm of southern Italian speech. Evidently, Ray knew enough Italian as I heard him crack a few jokes and egg Giuseppe on as he gave the other drivers Hell for driving too slowly. In a rare moment of fear, I saw David hold on to the door handle as we wound around a cliff, all the while Giuseppe was laughing and gesturing with the fingers of his right hand clutched together as he waved it up and down to prove a point. Ray and Audrey burst into laughter.

Amalfie Coast

Amalfie Coast


It truly is a marvel to me to listen to people converse in multiple languages. Audrey and Ray laughed with Giuseppe in Italian, chatted to one another in Maltese, and translated their conversations in to English for our benefit.


The Amalfi Coast is known for its extraordinary scenery and its iconic medieval cliff side Mediterranean fishing villages, but nothing prepares you for its breath-taking beauty. It is as God painted on the sky before you. 


Lemons from Almalfi Coast

Huge Lemons from the Almalfi Coast



In Amalfi, Audrey knew the area well and directed us to the place that sold the local speciality, Limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in Southern Italy, especially in the region around the Gulf of Naples, the Sorrentine Peninsula and the coast of Amalfi.


It is made from lemons literally the size of grapefruit – literally. It is traditionally served cold as and after dinner aperitif. Along the Amalfi Coast, it is usually served in small ceramic glasses themselves often chilled, the Amalfi coast being a center of both ceramics and limoncello production.






Ceramics from Positano


I found a wonderful ceramic jar, just like the blue jar I ordered from Italy many years ago with big lemons painted on its side and filled with Limoncello. Well, I also had to buy the matching tiny cups to match and these salad tongs.




Then, Audrey took us to the best Limoncello ice cream shop in the land. Ray and I bounced up and ordered a scoop each for breakfast. Ice cream for breakfast. What could be more heavenly? 

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