Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fascinating Day in Picturesque Positano

Monday, May 23, 2011:

We slept like corpses last night after the busy day in Capri and then capping off the evening with our dance fest with the French tourists. The breakfast buffet at the hotel greeted us this morning and consisted of scrambled eggs, some type of sausages that looked like miniature hot dogs (the girls said, "Think Charlie's Hot Dogs"), cereals, peaches, pineapple, freshly squeezed orange juice, a variety of coffee cakes, and croissants that were stored in a device which keeps them warm, tomatoes, salami, cheese, rolls and yogurt--something for everyone.

As we were told that the SITA bus stops directly across the street from our hotel, we waited and waited for it so we could go to Positano and perhaps on to Amalfi and/or Ravello. We chatted with a couple from Ontario, Canada, who were also awaiting the bus. We discussed packing tips, and these were the suggestions that they, as frequent world travelers, offered:

1) Buy the largest Ziploc bags you can find, fold and pack items in the bags, remove the air, and seal
2) Pack shoes around the perimeter of your suitcase, alternate waistbands and legs/shirts on either side, toiletries in center, and fold the clothing like an envelope over the toiletries
3) Buy used clothing for the trip and dispose of the items along the way. Your luggage load lightens each day and you make room for all of the treasures you will buy.

We thought these ideas were certainly interesting, with #3 being an unusual perspective.

One bus passed right by us, and every seat was full. People were also standing in the aisles, so we waited for the next bus--not that we had a choice since this bus didn't even stop. The Canadian couple chose to resort to Plan B and engage in an alternate activity for the day. We waited for quite some time, hoping that the next bus would contain fewer passengers. When it arrived, it stopped, but it was very crowded. A nice man motioned for us to enter a side door in the center of the bus. There were no seats available and very little standing room in the aisles, but if we hoped to see Positano some time today, we knew we should give this bus a shot. Sharon and Marianne ended up standing in the area on the steps where we entered the side of the bus. They were hanging on, but because they were at a lower level than everyone else, they had no air to breathe. I stood in the aisle, trying not to fall over as I braced myself by holding onto the seats next to me. There were two couples traveling together who seemed very nice. They said they were also going to Positano.

The curves in the road ranged from treacherous to actually frightening. The cliffs were a straight drop down, and the path was so narrow that when two buses met, it was a tight squeeze. It was difficult to keep our balance, but we didn't want to put our armpits in the faces of the people who were seated. At the very first stop in Positano, we quickly exited. We couldn't wait to get off of the bus, as we were all feeling rather queasy.

Positano is a vertical village with an approximate population of 4,000 residing on the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast. In 1343, the small fishing village was destroyed by a tsunami and the town has a history of being attacked by pirates during the 15th century. At first glance, it looks as though the pastel colored residences have been airbrushed onto the face of this enormous precipice.

We looked through a few shops on the upper level of the cliffs and then wound our way down, down, down to the village. We stumbled upon a charming restaurant, Max, and enjoyed a substantial lunch. We were seated in a small courtyard area, and there were two young American girls from NYC seated next to us. We witnessed and overheard the entitlement theory at its finest. Our delicious lunch was served on white plates, which were accompanied by brightly colored charger plates.

In many stores, we saw an interesting collection of stretchy rings placed on scarves and also some of the ring-decorated scarves attached to handbags. We bought some unusual striped wrap garments for 10 Euro that you can style different ways on your body. It should be interesting to see what we can do with those! I saw several people who have paired navy blue with green, and it looks very fresh and classy. It is giving me ideas for a nicely tailored navy blue sheath dress with a green scarf.

I also saw cute, delicate ribbons or tiny flowers attached to stacked bracelets. The Italians really know how to accessorize. Laura was wearing a similar bracelet one day that belonged to Marianne. It had an adorable ribbon tied to several bracelets, and it beautifully accented her outfit.

We saw one beach where people can actually stretch out on lounges for sunbathing, but it is very different from the beaches to which we are accustomed. The sand appears to be a dark gray mixture, but I guess it would be preferable to sitting on a jagged rock.

When we were exhausted from all of the walking and the hot sun, we waited on the appropriate corner in Positano for the return bus. It finally arrived, but to our disappointment, it wasn't the one we needed. There was a taxi driver with a van who was more than willing to take us back down the hills for a very hefty price, and as tempting as that was, we resisted the urge because he refused to negotiate. When our bus finally appeared, we were so relieved! The only problem was that it didn't take us to our hotel. It went directly to Sorrento. During the bus ride, there were two young girls and two young boys from California who were seated in close proximity to us. They were beyond obnoxious--very loud, just seeking attention. Laura finally asked them to lower the volume because they were disturbing everyone, and amazingly, they listened and complied.

We exited the bus in Sorrento and walked to the town square, where we enjoyed dinner at Fauno Bar. As we sat there eating and discussing the events of the day, we noticed the two couples who were on the bus to Positano with us. Seated at the table next to us, they asked how our day had been, as they remembered us as well. We visited with Peter, Sandy, Julie, and Scott from Australia for a while and discussed going to a place for karaoke tomorrow night.

Laura and Sharon wanted a photo of an attractive Italian young man for their daughters to drool over, so we were all trying to capture a photo of this striking guy on a bicycle. I got up and walked over, pretending to take a photo of a large pot of flowers, but managed to feature him in the shot. They used their zoom lenses to capture their photos, something I hadn't even thought about doing!

We caught the 9:30 p.m. shuttle back to the hotel and called it a day. I ran downstairs to the guest computer to catch up on some emails before bed.

One thing we all agreed upon was that we couldn't have spent another minute in that bus to Positano, and there was no way we were going to go even further on that road to Amalfi and then possibly Ravello. Perhaps if we had started earlier in the morning before the buses were so crowded, it might have been easier to deal with the curvy road from a seated position. I kept remembering that my friend, Gail, actually drove these roads when she toured Italy! I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that this is one scary path--I shouldn't even call it a road. A boat to Amalfi might have been a more viable option!

Something that surprised us was seeing cactus growing on Positano. We expect this in New Mexico or Arizona, but were definitely amazed to see it in Italy.

At the end of this day, we were all dragging. There would be no dancing tonight, as we left all of our energy on the cliffs of Positano! The photo below is the doorway of a private home that we passed on our walk from the upper level of Positano to the village below. I can't imagine living on the side of a cliff and waking each day to the spectacular view that these property owners enjoy!

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