Italy · Uncategorized

Italy Continues – Amalfi Coast and Positano

We were up early to catch our 10am train to Naples.  Fortunately, there is a taxi stand right next to the Campo de Fiori which made it super easy to get a ride to the train station but I was surprised how long it took due to traffic. Give yourself plenty of time! Still, we made it with time to spare and caught our train to Naples, which was running about 15 minutes late (Italian trains are not as reliable as German trains). The ride to Naples is about one hour and goes through some pretty countryside so I stared out the window the entire time while Steve did his usual thing – napped.

View of Positano from our hotel

I had pre-arranged for a private driver from Positano Drivers to meet us at the train station in Naples and take us down the Amalfi Coast to Positano where we were staying for the next two nights.  He was at the end of the train tracks waiting for us when we arrived and we were on our way in a nice Mercedes minivan with A/C.  He was very friendly and pointed out the different towns (Sorrento, Amalfi, etc…) and Mt. Vesuvius and explained some of the highlights.  I was actually thinking how easy the drive was until we turned off at Sorrento onto the much smaller, narrower road to Positano and then I was so glad we didn’t rent a car and drive ourselves.  Yes, the drive is doable if you really want to but it will not be relaxing.  The road to Positano is extremely narrow, hugs the cliff and is often one lane only and there are HUGE tour buses on it so you often have to pull to the side of the cliff and put your mirrors in while a bus squeezes past you with only an inch or two to spare.  If you want to relax and enjoy the scenery – hire a private taxi and sit back.  The ride from Naples to our hotel in Positano was 120 euros, took about 90 minutes and we were glad we did that instead.

View of the ocean and coastline from our room’s terrace

We stayed at Hotel Eden Roc which is near the top of Positano, which means great views but a bit of a hike to get to the beach area where the shops and restaurants are located.  I thought the hotel was just okay.   The service was very friendly and they do have a lovely commons area and pool deck but the rooms were quite dated in my opinion.  However, the room was very clean and everything worked as it should.  The best part of our room was the huge shaded terrace with dining table and chairs and chaise loungers with an amazing view of the sea and coastline.  We also had a very nice (and spotlessly clean) hot tub on our balcony that we enjoyed each afternoon or evening but the biggest drawback was it was right above the road so the sound of scooters and buses was annoying.  We checked out some other hotels and if I was doing this trip again, I would stay at Palazzo Murat or Hotel Sirenuse next time.  They are a bit more pricey (especially Sirenuse) but I think are worth the extra money for better and quieter locations, they are closer to the beach and shops and because they are a notch above in terms of luxury and amenities.  Our first item of business after checking in was to walk down to the beach area for lunch.

Walking down the narrow, shop-lined avenues of Positano to the beach


View of Positano’s church from the walk

The walk itself is a bit steep and there are many steps but I found it to be very easy on the way up and down thanks to multiple switchbacks and you walk in the shade the entire way.  You get the most amazing view of Positano from the beach, which is actually a charcoal grey, volcanic, pebbly sand.  You stand at the bottom and look up at the town which cascades down into the sea via a series of cliffs and terraces.  It really is one of the world’s most beautiful places.  After Rome’s pizzas and pastas, we were ready for fresh grilled seafood and we ate at Chez Black which is a cute, beachfront restaurant where the waiters dress in sailor captain’s uniforms and the restaurant looks like the inside of a wooden ship.  You have an amazing view of the beach and the promenade in front of it means excellent people watching.  Positano gets a lot of daytime visitors but it is very quiet at night so definitely come to the beach for lunch.  We feasted on octopus carpaccio dressed with olive oil, vinegar and herbs, grilled prawns and grilled sea bass for lunch with a nice bottle of crisp white.

Positano from the beach
Enjoying a seafood lunch at Chez Black – the pictures on the wall are of all the celebrities that have dined there

Afterwards we walked around the town and popped into shops, slowly snaking our way back up the hill to our hotel where we took an afternoon nap on the terrace (you’ll notice a theme here of afternoon naps – we are old and like to chill out on vacation too), used the hot tub and enjoyed the ocean view.  That evening we popped into the hotel lobby for a wine tasting and some complimentary appetizers which were delicious before walking back down to the beach for dinner.

Sunset view of Positano on our way to dinner
View of Positano from our dinner table
This lovely tile was embedded on a stone bench right at the ocean’s edge.  Makes me think about what loving husband put it there.

We picked a random seafood restaurant called the Covo dei Saraceni with an ocean view and dined on more fresh seafood, including sauteed octopus, seafood risotto and more prawns.  The food was good but didn’t knock my socks off but I think the sea view at sunset more than made up for it and the service was excellent.

Our sauteed Octopus appetizer
Enjoying our dinner in Positano – sorry for the bad lighting
I gave Steve grief about always scowling in my pictures so he then fakes being overly happy
Seafood Risotto

Now, I will admit that by this time, I was so giddy at being in one of my bucket list places that I had drunk a little too much wine.    After dinner we walked back up the hill and I was a bit wobbly.  I also stupidly wore my new high wedge shoes which were not a good choice on the uneven cobblestone streets and were a god awful choice with the wine added in.  You can probably guess what happened – my ankle twisted on a cobblestone and I fell.  Hard.  I also tried to catch myself by putting my left hand out and I pretty much fell with all my weight on my left wrist.  Fortunately, it wasn’t broken and was just really bruised and swelled up and turned a dark purple after a few days.  My left hand was pretty much useless for the next 3 days, I mean I couldn’t grip or pick up anything with it, so it’s a good thing I am right handed and Steve had to help with my luggage.  Mostly, it was just embarrassing because the street was full of people who got a great view of my tumble.  The good news is that I was in a foreign country and will never see any of those people again.  After that, I went back to the hotel red faced with shame and in pain and went straight to bed to sleep it off.

Hey, idiot – put down the wine glass and walk away.


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