Dream destination on the Amalfi Coast…
The entire horizon is covered end-to-end by the Amalfi Coast. The tiny image of a colourful little town carved into the stony hills of the Sorrentine peninsula grows larger and clearer as our ferry draws close. I scan the scene eagerly to identify the famous yellow-tiled dome of the cathedral. This is it…Positano!
Sudden downpour as we de-board the ferry. A tedious trudge along the cobbled roads through the main town, trailing heavy luggage, gripping flyaway umbrellas, clinging to 3-euro disposable raincoats. More trudging…uphill. How far now? Are we at the bus stop yet??? I make it without collapsing. Take cover in the alcove of a small church. Eternity. No buses. We grab the lone cab in view.
Wet seats. Squeaking shoes. Dripping hair. Shrugs. Smiles. The rain abates to a soft drizzle. We’re cruising along the hairpin bends of a short stretch of the Amalfi coast. Headed to Hotel Villa Gabrisa, about 3 kilometres away is on the loveliest street in all of Positano. They have alfresco dining outside, facing the sea! Life is good. The luggage is wet, and so are all its contents. Our bedroom is the worse possible rendition of a clothes dryer…wet clothes everywhere…bed rail, chair back, table top, door knobs, floor, balcony, not a square inch of potential space untouched. Luckily, we find the least damp of all our clothes, before some serious tummy pampering at the hotel restaurant. Puttanesca codfish and grilled sea bass. Life in Amalfi? Oh, its good!
Heavenly walk down the quaint step-street of Via Maria Netti. A delightful trailer of the blissful everyday one encounters along the Sorrentine coastline. Fuschia bougainvillea-laden, red-roofed homes. Oversized terracotta urns. Peek-a-boos of the bright blue Tyrrhenian sea. Idyllic villas with balconies that make you want to give up your home.
A curving road past a cheerful, yellow church. Street cafes with views to kill for. Or at least, pay more for. Constantly captivating views of the town to delight your greedy lens. (Do you find peeling paint charming, too?) Scintillating previews of that breathtaking cathedral dome. Hogging all the limelight of an colorful Italian town rising up the hill around a cove harbour.
You can’t get lost in that single pedestrian street, loaded with ceramic stores, linen goodies, macrame garments, art galleries and inviting restaurants, but it does make you linger. Not a shopaholic? Make an exception for the local tradition of handcrafted leather sandals…customised while you wait. 10 minutes and you walk out in a pair with straps and diamantes of your choice. Craving coffee, sandwiches and tiramisu with the most picturesque views? Spend an hour at Cafe La Zagara…its the place you’re looking for.
At finally…up, close and personal with Church of Santa Maria Assunta, flaunting its Romanesque to Baroque makeover. The flat front facade faces a small square, making it impossible for you to see the huge yellow, green and blue majolica glazed-tiled dome. Inside, admire the 18th-century statues dressed in folk costumes and the 13th-century Black Madonna icon-like painting above the altar, which supposedly instructed the pirates carrying her, ‘Posa, posa’ (‘Lay me down’), converting them to Christianity. Posa, posa…Positano. See the connection?
A stone’s throw to the stony Spaggia Beach. Some sand here, mostly black, rocky pebbles, but that doesn’t dilute its charm. Plop onto one of the vibrant beach chairs, and think about the shipyards along this beach that morphed into fishermen homes and touristy eating joints of today. Grab a gelato. Scan the unharmonious medley of houses with the weather-proof white dome-roofs filled with sand. Follow the changing colours of the sky and wait for the twinkling lights to light up the prettiest hilltown of Amalfi Coast, before you call it a day.
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