When planning this trip to Italy, I had another place besides Naples in my mind that I wanted to try to visit. I first saw the pretty town of Positano in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun – making a brief appearance featuring sheer sunlight, lapping water and limoncello – and it looked gorgeous. So it was in the back of my head, and then as I was making a pizza from a new cookbook (goat cheese, caramelized onions, tomatoes and chicken) I happened to glance at the notes to read that it was inspired by a pizza that the author had eaten in Positano. Fate? I also looked through my friend Al’s photos from her honeymoon in Italy last year again, doing a little research, and noticed a comment that I had made back in November – on an image form Positano – saying I wanted to go there. Can’t ignore the signs, and so it was decided!
To travel to Positano from Sorrento, there are a few options, and the bus or ferry are the most popular. The boat that we looked at only ran twice a day, and after packing, checking out and having another indulgent breakfast of cappuccino and chocolate croissants at the Syrenuse restaurant, it was only 10am and I just felt like getting on with the day and making it to our next stop without hanging around and waiting till 1:30pm. So on we headed to the SITA bus stop – in front of the train station – and we saw there were already about 2 bus loads of people lined up. One bus stopped and people got on it, and we went in to buy our tickets. The lady advised us to wait for the next bus, and after a quick adventure to find the washroom (I had to dash through a turnstile after someone, cause the bathroom was along the train tracks and I didn’t have a train ticket!) we headed over to join the queue of hundreds of others. On the way, a cab driver stopped us and told us that if we could get 6 people together, it’d be 10 euros each for a drive there.
We brushed him off almost automatically but as soon as we got to the line we agreed it would be a way better alternative to standing in line for an hour, then fighting for standing room on the bus for another hour. By the time Tyler got back to the cabbie to see if it was an option, 5 others were happy to join in and we piled into the van, plopped our luggage in the truck, and sped off towards Positano. We sat in the back with an 81 year old lady from Argentina who spoke a mix of Italian and French, and she entertained us greatly, asking questions, gesturing wildly, and trying to tell us about her favourite restaurant. It was like charades, with a few random words we were all trying to guess, thrown in. She also asked us if we were on our honeymoon (she kept saying Luna! Luna! Luna miel? and gesturing grandly skyward, before I eventually pointed at my wedding ring) – the third person to ask us this so far! So, we decided officially that we are on our second honeymoon now.
Our driver stopped a few times to let us take scenic photos, and even dropped Tyler and I off right at our hotel (since the other passengers were there just for a day trip). We gave him a nice tip, and were happy to learn that our room was already ready for us even though we were hours before the check in time. It felt like the stars were aligning for us – and then we got to our room and checked out the view:
Stunning. Just stunning.
Have you ever seen anything like it in your life? The houses, shops, and hotels that make up this little village are stacked precariously and built right into the edge of a cliff. They look like pretty little toy houses in hues of peach, salmon, and yellow and the ocean is the most vivid aqua blue I have ever seen anywhere. We had to just sit and admire it for at least twenty minutes before we were able to get up and take a walk through the town to get better acquainted. It is full of ramps and stone steps that lead steeply up, or down hill and you can walk pretty far up (towards shops and cafes) or down (to the beach).
I kept noticing flowers everywhere: spilling from window ledges, bursting out of terra cotta pots, piled high on ledges, intertwining themselves into trellises overhead, climbing along the edges of stone. There are orange flowers, marigold-like and tinged with buttery yellow and maroon; wildflowers popping up alongside cactus plants, prickly and purple, red begonias blooming onward and upwards, trailing along arched doorways and creeping towards tiled roofs. Every store has flower pots out front, every fence and ledge is lush with them.
I could hear the cheerful clanging of bells intermittently, bird song ringing through the air, and happy chatter and footfalls from fellow tourists amazed at the spectacular landscape and water. This is really one of the most beautiful places on earth. The streets are lined with shops, mostly selling clothes and shoes, but also ceramics, cookware, and things to eat in cute cafes and restaurants. We made our way down to the beach and had a late lunch at Tre Sorelle, which is practically right in the sand. Our waiter was very friendly and whisked out plates of homemade pasta for us – thick and chewy, drenched in a brandy cream sauce, roasted tomatoes, and shrimp, and topped with enough arugula to cut into the flavour and make it interesting. My sister Ali would have loved that meal!
After meandering around the steep stone steps and pathways a bit longer, we grabbed a bottle of prosecco, fitting for any second honeymoon, to take back to our glorious balcony view and drank a toast: to being alive and in love, happy in good health, and in this beautiful part of Italy!