We are staying somewhere between Positano and Amalfi, where exactly doesn’t really matter since one area melds into the other and every spot along the way is equally beautiful. The daily view from our villa is of houses and highways impossibly built into rocky cliff-sides, set against the blue blue Mediterranean sky. We are living well in our rented villa, high above the sea. Sylvia, I have read your FB notes on this area (“I love the Amalfi coast!”) many times and now I understand!
The place we are staying was advertised as being above a small beach 150 steps below. Slight amendment: it’s 450 steps below! I am the only one in the group who doesn’t mind. It’s a good work-out up and down and a great spot for swimming. If we wanted to, we could rent a deck chair for the day and spend it sun-tanning, but those days are done for UV ray-fearing individuals such as ourselves. So we go down for a nice swim then climb back up.
There are two good restaurants below as well. (Ed. note: Well, actually only one since the other has closed for the season. Although they are technically reachable by land, really they are just serviced by water and when the majority of the tourist season is over, they close up.) We have been to the better one, named after my brother, Dave Adolf. The food and wine were fantastic—no meat, only great seafood and pasta. Beautiful! We were going to take their boat to Positano but it entailed an hour wait and we sized up the crowd of about 15 who had come over for lunch on it and wisely decided we probably wouldn’t get on. So, what to do? Call a water taxi of course!
One day, we took a semi-private tour to and around the island of Capri.
We shared a gorgeous 33’ boat with 8 other tourists and a lovely driver who plied us with champagne and olives on the way out, and more champagne, beer and limoncello on the return voyage. We visited green and white grottos (although not “the” blue grotto—too touristy and expensive, said our guide) and navigated through a rock passage where it was important to make a wish. Mine was for you, Dave.
Mary, Capri is no longer a dump! The lower road along the harbor is the most average, with a string of souvenir and gelato shops, restaurants and scooter rentals. Once above via the funiculare or uphill walkway, you arrive in an enclave of the wealthy. Only high-end designer shops of everything from men’s ties (180 euros), unisex linens and jewelry line the streets. The alleys allow discreet glimpses into private gardens, villas and hotels.
We spotted pictures of Jackie and Ari at one of the local bars and had lunch at an outdoor spot, great for people watching. We learned later from a couple on our boat about a chair lift that runs on the Ana-Capri side of the island. Would have been fun but we didn’t get there. Instead spent a slow, relaxing day wondering around the eastern part of the island.
A day trip to Amalfi was fun. We had a look at the church and got ripped off at a restaurant where we stopped for lunch but are starting to accept this is part of the package. (Ed. note: Definition of a rip off: Order a hamburger; wait until everyone has their lunch almost finished until your arrives; take two bites of yours and after a ten minute wait for a server to show up, tell them that it is cold (so cold it had to have been pre-cooked and then taken from the fridge to the bun); get the bill and see that they want to charge you for the replacement burger and 1/2 the cost of the original as well since “You take 2 bites”; Pay them only 1 of the 4 euros they demanded.)
The next little town past Amalfi is Ravello where we wandered briefly after lunch and bought better-priced pottery to take home.
Another day, we drove to Paestum, famous sort of like Jiaxing is famous — no one has ever heard of it (Ed. note. It is very uncool to bad mouth our famous home, Terry!) In the 2500 years since 3 Parthenon-like temples were built by the ancient Greeks, the area has been dominated by different groups, each of which left the temples standing. The Romans created a town within the city walls and brought with them their standards: a forum, an amphitheater, neatly aligned homes built in rows centered around an atrium. You can still see mosaic floors and the foundation walls of the entire village. Even the Allies used the site as a command post during WW ll, with paratroopers setting up in the Temple of Neptune, considered the most well-preserved temple of it’s kind (Doric columns) in the world. Quite marvelous to contemplate, these structures lasting for thousands of years. Meanwhile, we knock buildings down after a few generations. Wood and plaster don’t last nearly as long as solid rock, I guess. Perhaps if there actually were an endless resource of wood here and in Greece, the ancients might have built from it, but no, it was rock that was plentiful. We visited the local museum as well and had a good look at many of the relics of the Roman period recovered from local digs.
Karen suggested early on that we make Pompeii our destination after we finish our week here so we wouldn’t have to drive there and back. After our visit to Paestum, I’m glad we made that call, since the road is really curvy and small distances take time. On our way back from Paestum, we stopped in Sorrento to check out an outdoor market. Knock-off purses, cheap clothing, make-up, candy and fruit– nothing very special but interesting to people watch.
And now our title.
We eat and drink very well at home in our villa. Geoff has been scouting out excellent reds for very little money, compared to what we would have to spend in BC. So while we play cards in the evening, he is quaffing Amarone and the rest of us are gleefully entertained by the goings-on of our three little gecko friends, Fat Daddy, Gordie and Little Gary. We have a big window by the dining table where the light attracts the moths, and the geckos follow. They climb on to the screen and wait like spiders for the moths to fly near then BAM! The small ones provide a single bite while the bigger monsters take a big of chewing. Little Gary lives on the inside somewhere and doesn’t partake of this meal but we are confident he is keeping the fly and mosquito numbers down.
Today is a rest day in Positano—how bad could it be?—then off to Pompeii for one day before Rome.
Shoe Lookalike Blog
Can you imagine – Italy – and not a shoe worth photographing. Okay, maybe I am intimidated by the Italian women…
Anyway, for those of you who have been wondering, Roberto Luongo was NOT traded to Florida. He was traded for a lifetime of meals at Ristorante Da Adolfo in Italy.
(Ed. note: Next time – Vesuvius, Pompeii, Herculaneum and The “Eternal” City.)