“It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone” – John Steibeck
At the start of this blog, I wrote briefly about the photo of St Peters Cathedral in Rome on our first trip to Italy. There were many other sights on that trip which left indelible memories on me and today I remember Positano. Situated on the Amalfi Coast, Positano with its colourful stucco buildings perched along the rock face is an amazingly picturesque sight. From a poor fishing village, it quickly became a tourist destination after being written up by John Steinbeck in the 50s. Hey, even the Rolling Stones wrote a song here whilst on vacation! So, it is definitely a place not to be missed.
We arrived here by ferry from Sorrento and despite the seemingly short distance on the map, it took us a full hour. And that was an hour in choppy waters! The captain, probably, noticing that some of his passengers were taking on a chameleon like ability to match the green decor of the boat, mentioned over the speaker that the ride back will be on a bigger boat which I took to mean quicker! In the same breath, in what must be a moment of poor judgement, he also spruiked a restaurant in Positano offering discounts for all ferry passengers.
But amidst the see sawing of the boat, the spray of sea water through the side door and constant drone of the engine, thoughts were probably on the barf bag rather than getting food. In fact, the challenge was actually holding the food down. So when we turned along the coast line onto Positano after an hour, we breathed a collective sigh of relief. That however was quickly superseded by cameras clicking away. How can you not when greeted by such a pretty sight along the coastline.
Other than a few main roads, Positano is primarily dominated by narrow pedestrian lanes. So, it is almost completely free of cars. Occasionally we come across the Positano porter buzzing up and down the streets in their vespas or mosquito cars ferrying luggage back and forth. As you can tell, it is very hilly in Positano. So even if you are a mountain goat and can cross rugged mountain terrain, check-in luggage is not as mobile and no one wants to sport an injury at the start of their holidays! So, these guys have plenty of business and are more than happy to help. Filled with colourful galleries and boutiques, its no wonder that this place bustles with activity in summer when it overflows with visitors like us. Word has it that Positano is the first town to import bikinis from France. So there you have it, not only does it have the looks, it has the goods as well. It is the Milan of fishing villages. As such, prices here are on the higher end of the scale.
The last ferry leaves at 3:55pm so after walking around town a bit and doing some shopping, we stopped for lunch at Ristorante Bruno which is a roadside restaurant offering spectacular ocean views. The seafood linguine was excellent!
Then we headed down to the main “beach” which from afar looked discoloured. But this is because the whole shoreline is made up of greyish black pebbles. Yes it is a pebble beach. As such, they are not the most comfortable to lie on unless you are into shiatsu like massages. So, there are plenty of beach chairs and beds. Almost too soon it seems, it was time to head back to Sorrento. As the Captain promised, the return ferry was bigger. Yes much bigger! But sadly, much slower as well. It was a painstakingly slow boat. It took us almost 30 minutes longer to get back. Thankfully, the sea was more forgiving and as we chugged along like a tug boat back, we all caught up on our sleep. . .