Thursday, April 5, 2012

How to Achieve Buns of Steel (Our Trip to Positano)

Today we made it to Positano which is on the Amalfi Coast.  Technically Sorrento, which we are staying just outside of, isn’t actually on the Amalfi Coast.  It’s like saying Wareham is on the Cape…it’s just not.  Josh wasn’t aware of this as he thought we were staying on the Amalfi Coast, so I thought I’d share with everyone else.

The road to Positano was no different than the roads we’ve been taking from Naples or to Sorrento – very narrow, very windy with turns that are measured in degrees – a 1st degree turn is a complete 180 degree switchback.  Then we’ve seen ones that are listed as 2nd or 3rd degree.  Regardless, every 50 feet there is another turn and so unless you are a local, you aren’t really going more than 30mph.  Five kilometers took us a good 20 minutes on these roads believe it or not.  And once again, I ring the praise of Josh who took it all in stride and got us to Positano (and everywhere else this trip) safely.

To say that the views as we approached Positano were breathtaking would be an understatement.  The last 1/3 of the trip to Positano was along a coastal highway that had pretty much no barrier between us and the Mediterranean very far down below.  I’ll admit, I’ve had some reservations about this trip just based on what I’d read before about these roads…but after doing similar roads in Ireland and in other parts of Italy, these really were no worse.  But the books and websites definitely made them out to be worse than they are…

But I digress, the views as we approached Positano were like nothing I’ve seen before.  The cliffs looming out into the sea and the water as turquoise as I’ve ever seen and just perfectly calm on a beautiful day (which was supposed to be rainy).  We knew the challenge here would be parking.  The town is a pedestrian town and so I knew parking would be limited – and when I saw cars parked significant distance from the town, I had some concern because there was no way the kids were doing a multiple mile trek just to get into town.  So we kept driving.  And when we got into town we eventually found roadside parking by a meter.  Whew!!!  Turns out if you go even a little further down there were 2 or 3 parking lots.  I cannot even imagine what it’s like here in the summer time when it’s peak season since it was hard enough to find a spot in the off season.  

View as we drive along the coastal highway

View behind us...not bad since I literally just pointed the camera out the window backwards...

Not much protecting us from the sea below... notice the little farmstand on the corner

Close up of farmstand

Getting closer!!

Mountains in front of us...and cool bridge on the right

Our first glimpse of the town...


View from where we parked

Soooo excited!  Only he doesn't know how far he's going to have to walk yet

I hate it when he sits on the edge of something that has a long fall behind it... soooo nervewracking!

We immediately found a set of stairs and figured we’d walk down them and get off the one main road that goes down thru town (and then back up again in order for you to leave).  Slowly the water inched closer to us and while we had absolutely no idea where we were going, we figured we’d get to the base and go from there.  But as a nice surprise, we ended up right by the beach and shopping area at the base of Positano. 

Our first set of stairs, at least these are going down...

Lots of stairs heading down (means at some point we will have to go back up!!!)

Getting closer to the bottom

Aidan loved walking alongthe small pedestrian streets/stairs

Famous church in Positano (we didn't go in)

Town nestled into the mountainside

Another angle

Soooo close!

Ah finally the beach and amazing views!!!

Can we go to the beach, please?????  (and of course I left their bathing suits at the villa)

Me and my boys :)

I loved how this one was literally built into the side of the mountain - check out the lower levels!

The kids were thrilled to have a beach though of course we left their bathing suits in the villa, (a) not expecting a beach and (b) not expecting the weather to be nearly warm enough today to need them.  Ah well, they enjoyed playing in the sand and collecting sea glass along the way.  Ever since Greece last summer, they are on a total sea glass kick.  Then we took our time looking for a place to eat for lunch.

Playing in the sand

I'm soooo happy Mommy!!!!

Flowers everywhere and they smelled soooo good!

Just so you know, our car was parked almost at the top...

Aidan with Positano behind him

Some of our sea glass finds along with some cool smooth tiles

Aidan collecting sea glass

Beautiful tables... wish we could get one!!!

The pergola went on forever above us... not all of it was in bloom but I bet it's gorgeous when it is (and shady too!)

Tough guy

Liam wanted to pose with these flowers

Close up

And he wanted me to take his picture here too...

We had lunch at a touristy little Italian restaurant.  Again, I’m getting carbed out – never thought I’d say that.  I think when I get home on Friday, I’ll have a nice piece of chicken.  Of course, it’s Good Friday when we get home which means everything will be closed – I can only hope stuff will be open on Sat since Sun and Mon are holidays too (no the grocery stores do not open on holidays like they do in the States).  And then I’ll have a good run to work it all off!!

Yum Prosciutto and mozzarella for lunch!!

Aidan has been on a mussels kick all week... also yummy!!!

We wandered around town for a little bit and sat on the beach while the kids collected more sea glass and tried to skip stones.  The sun felt soooo great and it’s a teaser knowing that summer will be here before we know it.  The beach wasn’t crowded at all and it was just mellow and peaceful. 

More sea glass!

Skipping stones

Only Liam could be comfy laying on the rocks

Eventually we knew we’d have to do the hike back up the mountain to the car.  Our car was literally up NINE large flights of stairs and by large flights I mean HUGE FLIGHTS OF STAIRS THAT GO ON FOREVER!!!  I think there were thousands of stairs... in reality it was probably a few hundred, but it felt like thousands.  And I can't imagine doing this trek in the dead of summer - with temps in the early 70s, it was certainly warm enough going up and up and up forever!!
Many of the stairs going back up....

And more... they are neverending!!

We finally made it back to the car and I have to give kudos to little Liam and his 4 year old legs who made it all the way back up without complaint and even raced me the last 2 flights up!  Go Liam!!  We made our way thru the rest of the town in the car assuming (since it was a one way street) that eventually there would be a sign that would lead us back to the main highway and we were right – so easy peasy.  And it was such a beautiful town that I wish we could have explored more (without the kids) and maybe someday we’ll get back and do the other towns on the Amalfi Coast.

Sleepy baby...who then puked...

The drive back was little more than 30 minutes, again incredibly windy, twisty roads.  Unfortunately Liam fell asleep and was thrown constantly from side to side as we wound around the roads.  He’s been so great on this trip so far given his past history.  But not to buck tradition, he made it all the way back to within 100 yards of our villa before he had that tell tale sign of imminent puking.  And I got him out of the car just in time for him to vomit all over the street.  Ah well, it’s not a road trip unless someone pukes…



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