La Scogliera, The Cliffs

1:30 in the morning, knock at the door.  I barely stir.  I know Danita has been in and out or the room communicating with the luggage handler.  By the tone of her voice, the suitcase has finally arrived…and with a “RUSH” tag no less.  image

Last night, we scheduled our breakfast to be delivered at 9:00…and right on time, we are served on the terrazzo.

imageimageimage

“I  wish someone would  cut fruit up like this for me every day of my life.” Danita Jarreau

image

There really are no words that can add to the photos.  Breakfast was quite an experience!

Nothing today can top this right?…

Luckily with the arrival of the suitcase, Danita will not be wearing sequins and bangles to the beach.  We grab our sunscreen, kindles and hats and head out.

Right when we step out to the via, we hear some musica…

In case you didn’t like that song or you just want to hear a bit more…follow me.  SInce we are both going down, we meet ancora.

As you can tell by the video, we did a quick scoot to get in front of the band.  Although they were stopping for a break, you never know when they could get the urge again and we’ve got a beach with our names on it.

image

Danita recently planted a Bougainvillea at home, she wonders if it could ever look like this.

image

When we arrive yesterday, this lovely, vine topped path was wall to wall people.

image

We stroll down, down, down.  We’ve got our bearings now.  When we first arrived I thought I would never know where I had been or be able to figure out how to get back to the room…I have a totally different take on Positano now.  As I have always advised,one day at a spot is never enough to judge it accurately…I say three is the minimum.

Normally I would have been a bit nervous (Danita points out that I am “nervous” a lot…I need of think of a better word; anxious, expectant, apprehensive…I’ll work on that… oath the word and the emotion) regarding whether we would be in time to get a great spot at la spiaggia…but since we reserved our spots yesterday, all is good.

Benvenuto a la Scogliera…Antonio will show us to our spot.

Non male huh!?  Again, the little reserved sign with “Page” on it…too heavy for the suitcase.

When Antonio started pouring the water, hand behind the back and all…it cracked me up.   But, when at la Scogliera, we decide to enjoy all they have to offer.

image

Danita was very excited about her first dip in the Mediterranean.


We both found handfuls of beautifully hued Sea Glass.


Later in the day, the cocktails did not disappoint.


The snack Antonio brought for aperitivo was the best “Beach Bite” I’ve ever had.


I got a Spritz Shot that rivals all others.


The sound of the sea rolling and crashing,  the vistas…

“Best day ever,” -Danita Jarreau

If you have plans to visit Positano, Insuggest starting a la Scogliera fund now. It is worth the extra euro, at least for one day. Just make it a day where you have nothing else planned.

As most good things, all too soon, it was time to go. We had our spot until the evening, but as Danita’s plans have changed, she needed to get back to Villa Yiara to pack. Her car was to pick her up at 19:00 to whisk her to Roma, catching an early morning flight tomorrow.

One last dinner together. Another great rec of Imara’s. 

Like these due bicchiere di vino, Danita and I have different qualities and notes to us, but are perfect table companions.

Our last meal in Italia introduced us to two new specialties.

The zuppa, pasta e fagioli con guanciale will fatto nelle nostre case.

As we said our Arrivederci, and Danita drove away, Il mio cuore era triste, but the memories we will share per sempre.

Arrivano Positano

Today we head further south to Positano, a highlight of the Amalfi Coast.  We are to board our ferry at 10:30, so getting packed and ready is not a rush.  We even return to Puro enjoying a fabulous croissant and cappuccino.

image

Arriving at the port, we are ushered up to a little cafe and told to wait until our boat is called.  When we approached our table, I commented on the cute, little Peroni napkin holder.  Without skipping a beat, the waiter said, “I make-a you-a good price-a.”

image

Each time he passed, he would tell me how easily I could slip it into my suitcase and take it home.  So tempting if the darn thing didn’t weigh so much.

While we sat…or let me say Danita sat and I kinda hovered, both wondered if we were indeed going to get called for our ferry.  One large group had already gotten up and left for their ferry, but our waiter said again as he passed, “Not-a you-a”.  Hhhhmmmm…I’m not so sure about-a that-a.  “Il conto per favore”.  WOW-a!  3euro bottle of water.  This was our first time we felt scammed.  We head down to the docks.  As we leave the cafe, we are told we are to meet our ferry at gate 3.  1/2 way down the docks, we are told to meet our ferry at gate 6.  A bit further down…gate 2.  At this point, we just follow the crowd waiting to get on the only boat…not really a ferry.

image

We are about 6 or so people from boarding and the line stops moving.  A long phone conversation is had between a crew member and whoever is on the other end of the line.  It is obvious our boat is exceeding capacity…but hey, trains, buses, why not boats.   We are finally invited on board, squeezing past all the people who got up from the cafe before us.

With no other choice, I reluctantly leave my suitcase by the entrance of the boat and squeeze my way up top.  There is no way I can endure this ride crushed in the small, enclosed cabin area below.  I’m going to need some fresh air.

Up top, the early birds are sprawled out and comfortable.  I get it…they were here first, but slowly a few people start moving their legs off the ends of their lounge chairs allowing others to perch.  I decide to stay standing allowing a better vantage point for photos.  But after 30 minutes or so, I ask the 4 people on a 5-6 person cushioned bench, if they could possibly just allow me to sit on the very edge of their bench.  They simply stare.  A lady across says, “She’s small…she won’t take up much room.” And the two closest to me scoot…just a tad.  The other two…do not budge…not an inch.  The two who are taking up the most room on the whole boat, refuse to give an inch.

image

Grumpy there was slathered in sunscreen, so I practiced this phrase.

image

Danita wanted to translate, “Your face is going to freeze like that”, but she figured that bit of wisdom would have come too late.

The entire ride people around us were complaining the boat is over crowded and this isn’t even the correct ferry.  According to our tickets, we were to be on a bigger, faster ferry.  Again…a delayed arrival in Positano.  Buonvenuto Italai!

Once I got my perch, I was not concerned.  I just sat back (kinda) and took in the view.

 

I have been to Positano once, that is if you count a couple of hours during a bus excursion down the Amalfi Coast.  I was clueless how we were to negotiate this vertical city…with luggage.

image

If you ever come to Positano, please learn from our experience.  When the Porters come by on their tiny “trucks” and ask if you want your luggage brought to your hotel, the correct answer is “Si.  Grazie Mille.”  If I knew now what I didn’t know then, I wouldn’t have lugged my suitcase up, up, up the first 70 or so stairs to the Chiesa.  Although Danita did not have her suitcase, she did have several overstuffed bags traveling like, in her words, “a little lady in Mexico”.

By the time we made it to the level at the Chiesa, we were hot, confused and speaking for myself…a little disheartened.  I thought perhaps I had made a mistake in adding Positano to the itinerary, Giada gushes aside.

We each have a brief phone conversation with our hotel, which was useless.  While Danita stands with our bags, I do a quick info gathering trek…I came back with no answers, but I show her a picture of a shirt I saw.

image

Her response?  “You went shopping without me?!”

With no cars/taxis in sight…we continue to head up, up, up, dragging my suitcase through the throngs of tourist in these narrow, narrow passageways.

I am just about to give up, when we spot a taxi…Danita approaches the driver and she tells us she’s reserved but another will be here in 2 minutes.  Sure enough, minutes later, we are winding our way through Positano.

Months ago as we planned this trip, Danita took over securing our accommodations in Sorrento, Positano and Roma.  So she gets ALL the credit for Villa Yiara.

imageimageimageimage

imageimageimage

Not only is Villa Yiara lovely, but Imara, the owner, is such a wonderful hostess.  She assisted us with numerous issues and gave perfect restaurant recommendations every time.  The Positano experience would not have been the same without her. Listening to her secure car transfers for us was like having our own Italian assistant while in Positano. Grazie Mille Imara!

image

Now for some cibo and a little exploration.

image

These are the FIRST set of steps (67 of them…I counted) we must go down each time we explore down from our room.  And of course, what goes down…must come up. Throughout our stay, we wonder how older people or those not in shape can visit Positano.

Imara’s first recommendation of Caffe Positano is a perfect one.  We have not eaten since our croissant and I vowed to go hearty.  Risotto con gameretti, pomodori e limon is my choice.  Danita chooses Fiori di Zucca Ripieni and a insalata

And like buoni amici, we share.

image

The view breathtaking, the food wonderful and nourishing…we are revived.

image

Luggage Update- Still not here…word is…it’s gone to Capri…most likely…

Our plan for Danita’s last day tomorrow is to spend it at la spiaggia.  But without a suit, Danita shops for one…and I am ever so helpful.

“Are you opposed to purple sequins?”…

“Yes.”

image

“What about beads and sparkles?”…

“Not really…”

image

The hunt continues.

Down near la spiaggia, I see this little girl dragging her bucket benind her…who needs a puppy when you’ve got a bucket…so cute.

imageimage

At la spiaggia, we scope out where we would like to spend our day tomorrow.

imageimage

Originally we would have probably spent at least two days at the beach, but since our plans have changed a bit…we decide to splurge on just the one.   Big reveal tomorrow.

On our way back up to Villa Yiarra, we stop choosing a bottiglie regionali di vino and plan to enjoy our terrazzo for the evening.

imageimage

But as la Luna rose, we toyed with the idea of going out to get a bite to eat.

image

“Do you want to go eat?”

“No, let’s just stay in.”

Seconds pass…

OK…let’s go eat…

image

Ci vediamo domani!

Questo e Quello

First, a correction. I had mentioned yesterday that I would be leaving Sorrento on Sunday…I know my mom has read that and said, “Oh no, there is a problem. I thought Paige spent 3 nights in Sorrento.” So, rest easy…yes I do.
My late afternoon espresso kicked in about the time I laid my head down to go to sleep…that wasn’t happening, but that is when it hit me, I do not leave Sunday, I leave Monday….that gives me another day to enjoy the Amalfi Coast.
As I said, I did not sleep well. Mostly because I was struggling with having to get up and be out the door (down the 85 steps) and to the station by 6:00. On one hand, I wanted to see Amalfi and Positano. Securing a seat on the bus would be most certain at 6:30. On the other hand….I did not want to get up. So when I woke at 5:30 to the sound of thunder, I hopped on the bed and took a look out my skylight.

20130629-220609.jpg

20130629-220633.jpg Problem solved! I left the window open until the pitter patter of rain began to fall. Loving the sound of the (Italian) thunder and allowing myself another hour of rest.

20130629-220840.jpg When I started to see blue behind the clouds, I knew it was time to go.

20130629-220941.jpg
Bottle of water, crema pastry from Rita’s and a window seat. Andiamo!
The early morning light mixed with the cloud cover and the grimy bus windows did not allow for the best of photos, but suffice it to say, anything you have read or seen about the Amalfi Coast is that and then some.
Driving out of town, you notice garden after garden. Some are haphazard, recognizable only to the planter (much like Franco’s). Some are beautifully organized and tended. Perfectly spaced out, straw or nets galore.

20130629-221340.jpg
I know this photo is not quality, but the wooden poles created levels or stories in the trees. Each would have nets that could be unrolled. I am assuming this made harvesting/gathering easier. At one point there was a fig tree, a lemon tree, an orange tree and olive trees, and that was in a small plot in the middle of the road. These farmers know how to utilize their space. Like Sandy said regarding Antonito’s pulley system, necessity is the Mamma of invenzione.

20130629-221852.jpg Meet my seat mate. When she sat down she said, “Sit by you?” Sure….just don’t sit ON me. On turns she would be in my lap!

20130629-222008.jpg

20130629-222022.jpg

20130629-222037.jpg

20130629-222051.jpg

20130629-222107.jpg

20130629-222121.jpg
I feel like visiting these beautiful towns in a day is disrespectful. Much like those who say they have been to Capri, if only to hop in hop out. However, a major purpose of this trip was for me to discover places that I would want to return to. A place or two that I would want to spend more than a few weeks. Although the Amalfi Coast is stunning, I feel like movement around this area is difficult.
There are some amazing spots though. Check out the Il San Pietro Hotel in Positano (on google). Romantic or what!! Just be sure your guy likes to lay around, walk a bit (up hill) eat, lay around and eat some more.
Here are some sights of Amalfi.

20130629-222803.jpg
The Cathedral of Amalfi
Amalfi was one of the four powerful Maritime Republics in the Middle Ages (839-1135 AD). This monumental complex is a testimony to Amalfi’s glorious past. It includes;

20130629-223130.jpg The “Cloister of Paradise”.
This is the ancient cemetery for the noblemen of Amalfi, built between 1266 and 1268.

20130629-223352.jpg

20130629-223413.jpg The bell tower (1180-1276) is decorated in the Moorish style with polychrome majolica tiles.
There are also several frescos in small chapels off the Cloister.

20130629-223733.jpg

20130629-223746.jpg

20130629-223804.jpg
Then you enter The Basilica of the Crucifix.

20130629-223908.jpg
The starkness of this space, the shadow cast by the wooden, suspended crucifix, creates a power focus in this diffused light.

20130629-224334.jpg Images of The Holy Spirit are very moving to me.

20130629-224443.jpg Other pieces in this space (which dates back to 596 AD) include this exquisite fresco,

20130629-224542.jpg Relief of Madonna and Child

20130629-224702.jpg This Mitre created in 1297 for Ludovico, son of King Charles II and Bishop of Toulouse. It has a background of over 20,000 pearls!

20130629-224951.jpg 13th Century Chalice

20130629-225033.jpg And these small reliquaries. If you look closely, you see areas in the center that hold physical remains of these holy people.

20130629-225357.jpg

20130629-225445.jpg

20130629-225527.jpg

20130629-225544.jpg

20130629-225554.jpg
The Crypt is the heart of Amalfi because here are preserved “the head and the other bones” of Saint Andrew, Jesus’ first disciple. The bones reached Amalfi on the 8th of May, 1208.
The large bronze statue is by Florentie artist Michelangelo Naccherino (1604). Naccherino was a student of Michelangelo.
In the Cathedral…

20130629-230049.jpg You guessed it, there was a wedding going on. Do you think I am going to hear an organ playing “Here Comes the Bride” and NOT check it out?

20130629-230202.jpg

20130629-230217.jpg
Everywhere you look there are beautiful dedications to Saint Andrew.

20130629-230254.jpg

20130629-230304.jpg

20130629-230319.jpg The Get-Away Car

20130629-230401.jpg Not exactly sure what this is, but I thought if I do not take a photo of it, I’ll see it somewhere down the line and wish I had. I am sure it has been there for years!

20130629-230520.jpg Time for a pick me up…it is still early enough.

20130629-230605.jpg

20130629-230616.jpg

20130629-230625.jpg And of course, the spiaggias!

20130629-230713.jpg ELVIS is in Italy!!

20130629-230742.jpg
Time to board a bus again and start back.

20130629-230831.jpg At one stop, a warm welcome!

20130629-230949.jpg I wonder if the band knows?

20130629-231019.jpg

20130629-231032.jpg

20130629-231208.jpg
When we get back to Sorrento, I am starving. I know Emilia’s will be closing shortly so I must look for a pizzeria Rick Steve’s suggests.
I ask a shopkeeper, “Corso Italia e qui?” Si he tells me, I am on the correct street. I am looking for 265. I tell myself I will go a block or two more. And then I see it.

20130629-231528.jpg Looks like a happening place. Rick says it is a favorite of locals. I have not really had a pizza yet. I have had a couple of street slices but that’s all. Inside it is quite crowded…Rick Steve’s has quite the following.
I look at the menu and decide on the

20130629-231832.jpg Sausage for Dalton and Peppers for Avery.
The pizza arrives

20130629-231951.jpg I take my first bite.

20130629-232017.jpg
I cannot tell you how happy I was at that moment. It was amazing!! With every bite I am so excited. I am determined to eat the entire thing…should I inhale, should I take small bites? What method will maximize my intake capacity?
I noticed in the kitchen, there was a tile painted with a saint on it. I ask the wild eyed cook, “che è il santo in cucina?” He is hard to understand but I am pretty sure he tells me Santo Antonio. I wonder if he is the saint of fire? I later learn he is the patron saint of Sorrento. Well, kudos to Santo Antonio and his cooks in la cucina.
I notice a family of four is just receiving their pizzas. I watch them expecting to see the ecstasy after their first bites…but no, they don’t even discuss it. They just sit and simply…eat. If my family were here, we would be going on and on….what is wrong with these people. Talk about undeserving.

20130629-232954.jpg One piece left…

20130629-233218.jpg Perhaps if I put more pepper flakes on it…I hear that burns calories….

20130629-233304.jpg Finito!

20130629-233354.jpg Tavolo cinque, I will remember you fondly!
Before you judge me too harshly, at least I did not order AND eat

20130629-233522.jpg The giant Nutella pizza being made as I left…but I still have one more day!

20130629-233609.jpg Poor photo quality, but I had to give it up for Santo Antonio!

20130629-233646.jpg Perfetto!
Now to walk it off a bit. By the way, I do have 85 steps each time I come to my room…that’s got to help a little don’t ya think?

20130629-235224.jpg That’s my place at the top!
Although I won’t be eating this evening, I think the lighting at Marina Grande should be nice, so I head that way.

20130629-235337.jpg

20130629-235348.jpg

20130629-235356.jpg This seemed to be some sort of test. The wads and wads of fishing net, the young ones with their needles, attempting to mend and the elders just seated and laughing.

20130629-235502.jpg

20130629-235510.jpg These two were enjoying their evening chat. One from a Vespa, the other from the window.

20130629-235559.jpg

20130629-235609.jpg

20130629-235617.jpg

20130629-235624.jpg I decide a limoncello and a few minutes people watching in Piazza Tasso can’t hurt. I made some notes on “Holiday Wardrobes” . We’ll cover that on a “slow news day”.
Later I went up to the rooftop, Piazza Tasso below now.

20130630-000044.jpg
And when it got nice and dark, one more surprise to this day,

20130630-000133.jpg
Again, this photo does not do the experience justice, but those little lights are the red “Wish Lanterns” being set off from the park where I stood earlier. It was beautiful. I attached my wishes to theirs and watched them vanish into the night sky.
Buonanotte.