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Naples and Positano

Pauline

Forums Admin
We have arrived! It is sunny and warm.

The usual ugly day of travel yesterday. This was our first time driving to Gatwick from Dorset. A 3 hour drive made longer because I missed an exit. Traffic was good. M27 closed so we had a nice drive through Hampshire villages.

British Airways flight packed. Heavily scented people sitting behind us. I got Club World seats on sale, but you don't get much extra room, just an empty middle seat in a row of three.

As expected the taxi driver tried to over charge us. The fixed rate from the airport to our hotel in Chaia is 23 Euro. He agreed to this before we got in. Then, on the drive, he told us there are extra airport charges and the total is 37 Euro. He was very insistent. When we got out I was writing down the taxi number and he decided 23 Euro was ok. The hotel told us this happens all the time.

Walked out to Pizzeria Mattozzi for pizza last night. Very nice!

View from the breakfast room.

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Pauline

Forums Admin
Today we walked and walked and walked. Along the waterfront. Up Via Toledo, parts are now pedestrian. On the smaller streets. Had some excellent espresso! Spent two hours in the Archaeological Museum. We were there before, 12 years ago, but it was well worth seeing again. Frescoes and mosaics from Pompeii. That interesting room with the sex paintings and penis statues. The ancient Roman statues that were copies of Greek statues. Fabulous.

In the museum, the Painted Garden fresco from the House of the Golden Bracelet in Pompeii.

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Pauline

Forums Admin
Villa Eunice from Summer in Italy is lovely! Beautiful views, huge balcony, spacious, high ceilings, good kitchen. Friends of ours from Canada are here for the first week with us.

The villa is at the top of the town, a block below the coast road, where the road into Positano starts. We walked to the lower town before dinner and then back up - yikes. It is way more vertical than I remembered. We will make use of the bus that goes around town.

The garage door is a good two inches wider than the Toyota Aueris that we ended up with. It will take the four of us to navigate it out.

Our checkin person, Stefania, was lovely and runs a restaurant in Praiano.

We hadn't seen our friends in 3 years so it was lovely to start catching up. Warm and sunny today.

The unbelievable view from our balcony!

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Pauline

Forums Admin
Our taxi driver from the hotel in Naples to the airport was charming and did not argue about the fixed rate, so that washed away the memory of the argument with the taxi driver on arrival.

The drive from the airport to Positano was not bad. Traffic thickened on the way towards Sorrento then eased up after the Sorrento turnoff. We arrived early in Positano so put the car in a car park and then found out we could checkin early so took the car out after 5 mins and they only charged us 1 euro which was nice.

It is a long weekend here so there are a lot of people around.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Heavy rain last night and all morning. And it is cold. I was regretting my last minute decision to add a fleece sweater for each of us, but today am happy that I did. We spent the day in the villa. Our friends have been traveling for two months (three cruises!) and needed a rest day. I was feeling tired too.

View of the rain and fog.

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Pauline

Forums Admin
Tonight we turned on the heat in the villa. It was sunny and nice this morning but turned colder and cloudy this afternoon. We walked into central Positano this morning and then took the bus back to our villa in the upper part of town. Lots of people in lower Positano.

In the later afternoon we took the car out of the very narrow garage and drove all they way through town to get to the coast road, then headed to the next town, Praiano. While we were commenting on how insane the motorcycle riders were, a car passed us, then tried to pass a school bus (a school bus!!!) and as he pulled out ahead of us he hit a woman on a motorcycle who was driving along passing all of us. Two insane drivers meet. The bike fell on her ankle and some behind us realised she was in trouble before we did so ran to help her.

Traffic came to a standstill and we were in the front row. Eventually the ambulance came and we got to Praiano. It was cold and cloudy. Had a coffee, bought some wild asparagus, drove back "home". I DROVE on the way back. V exciting.

Steve backed the car into the garage so tomorrow's exit should be easier.

Tonight I played my first games of poker and won (beginner's luck).

Lots of people in the centre of Positano today. It made me happy being a bit away from it all. Plus using the bus to go back instead of climbing the staircase made it all manageable.

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Many pretty details here.

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Pauline

Forums Admin
We went to Pompeii today. The weather was better. Several sections were closed off at Pompeii. Still it was wonderful to see it again.

We love our neighbourhood bar (Bar Internazionale) and grocery shop. I don't like that we have to drive through Positano to get to the main road, even though we are only 100 feet from it (because of the one way system). But I am starting to like Positano. We walked up the hillside and out of the town this evening to see what the trails are like and they seem good.

The forum in Pompeii.

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Carvings in one of the houses.

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Pauline

Forums Admin
My friend Bev who is with us this week is a major shopper and she already dresses Positano style - linen and cotton, long flowing things - so today was shopping. I bought a linen scarf and a hiking hat. Bev bought a fabulous summer hat and some long flowing things. We hit most of the shops in the centre of Positano.

The weather has perked up now. Lots of sunshine. Warmer. We all love the view from our huge terrace. Today we had breakfast and lunch out there.

Late afternoon we drove to Amalfi. It is very different from Positano. Still very touristy but a very different look and feel.

Some excitement on the drive there. That coast road is crazy. Steve passed a stopped bus and the bus pulled out and drove into us. A long scrape on the passenger side of the car. Door caved in a bit. Mirror dangling. We all stopped and the bus driver said to meet in Amalfi. We exchanged info there. He even admired the damage, apologised and shook Steve's hand. No one was hurt. It was just a bump but the car is in bad shape. We bought duct tape and attached the mirror. I called Thrifty and we can get a replacement car in Sorrento. If the car was not drivable they would have sent a truck to get it. I also called AutoEurope to be reassured by a friendly voice.

After our Amalfi visit I drove us back home. We all thought we would damage the car getting in and out of the narrow garage, but it was a SITA bus that had our number!

Walking in Amalfi. That is Bev wearing her new things.

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Pauline

Forums Admin
Today we drove above Positano to Nocelle where the Path of the Gods trail starts/ends. The road up is narrow and steep, but okay to drive. You go through one other village on the way up - Montepertuso. Maybe a 15 minute drive. One parking lot at the end with only 10 spaces for non-residents. We got the last spot and it wasn't easy to get into.

The four of us started out on the trail but it was a bit too rough for Bev so she and Doug walked out for 20 mins, then went back to wait in a funky cafe at the start of the trail. We walked out for an hour, then back. We got to a point where you see Positano and I found our house with binoculars.

There was a steady stream of people coming towards us because most people start in Bomarano and walk 2 hours to Nocelle where they take the bus, or walk, to Positano. We didn't start until noon and they were all finishing.

The trail is well marked but is rocky in places. A lot of large rocks and also smaller ones that make you slip a bit. We did not walk thru terrace gardens which I was hoping to do.

The views were amazing. You are way up above Positano. People like to pose for photos at the edge of the trail beside the drop off! There was a hungry abandoned looking dog on the trail. The day was sunny and warm. In hotter weather it might feel too hot on the mostly exposed trail.

Next week we will try other trails and see how they compare.

We had good fresh lemon drinks at the cafe where our friends were waiting.

We are driving our banged up car. Tomorrow we go to Sorrento to exchange it. Our friends were not interested in going to Capri for the day (maybe because they just finished a Greece and Turkey cruise) so we had nothing planned for Friday. This is a good excuse to see Sorrento.

View of Positano from the Path of the Gods.

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Lisa in Ottawa

500+ Posts
Enjoying your trip.I loved Positano and as I've said did some fab hikes using Sunflower Guide.

I can't believe the rod accidents you've described! We used the buses and were so impressed with their ability to maneuver those challenging roads.

You and Steve are very brave indeed to drive and park.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
You and Steve are very brave indeed to drive and park.

Perhaps "brave" is not the right word. We got a new car today. Smaller.

Next week we plan to have a few hiking days. The trails look great and we did enjoy the one we did. I think we will go to Capri for the day too.

Our friends who were with us this week are not hikers, and this week was all about spending time together and doing some touring, which has been fun.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
We have been cooking all our meals this week in Positano but today had lunch in Sorrento. I used the Summer in Italy recommendations and we had a very good lunch, just a few steps from the Sorrento tourist madness.

Tomorrow our Canadian friends leave and two other friends arrive for a few days. Who could they be?

Sorrento. Our old ST friend Nancy lived in the yellow building in this photo (she is no longer with us).

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The coast road madness at the road to Positano. We are one block down from this. We love the grocery store, fruit and vegetable shop and Bar Internazionale at this intersection. Officials direct traffic on the road.

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Pauline

Forums Admin
Bev and Doug left today, but @Valerie and Bryan arrived! We all had lunch together on the terrace before B & D left. Then we walked into the centre. Very crowded on this sunny weekend. It was fun people watching and looking up the hill to find our house.

Tonight a very good dinner beside the beach at Le Tre Sorelle (Three Sisters). Riding the bus back to the top of the town was fun because the lack of traffic let it do a faster pace. We were swinging along that coast road.

It takes 15 mins to walk down the steps from our house to the beach area. We have been walking down and riding the bus back (after our first time of walking back). Positano is very crowded but Sorrento and Amalfi seemed more crowded. The traffic is insane on the coast road around the Positano turnoff. Because of the one way system we have to drive through all of Positano when leaving the house to get to the coast road. Sometimes it takes 15 mins to do the circuit and end up a block from where we started.

We all love this house. It is very spacious with two living rooms and very separate bedrooms, each with their own bathroom. The house could sleep 10 with the extra sofa beds they have. But it is the terrace and the view that make this place. It must be one of the best in Positano. I like being away from the centre. Even with all the people it feels peaceful here.

From the beach we can see our house on the top of the hill.

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Valerie and Bryan. We had lemon sorbetto in a lemon!

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Pauline

Forums Admin
Today the four of us packed a lunch and took the 10:30 bus to Montepertuso. Then we did a walk from the Cicerone guide that took us from Montepertuso up through beautiful woods around the top of Positano. We saw only a few other people on the trail. We passed a group of rock climbers at one point.

The trail was lined with wildflowers, there were a lot of birds, and we had great views down to Positano. We could see our house. There was a bit of climbing, but not much. We spent nearly 3 hours but that included lunch and much photo taking time. The last 40 minutes was downhill on a good trail, with stairs at the very end.

We ended where we had started by boarding the bus at Bar Internazionale. This was a very nice hike!

After a rest at home we walked down into Positano for lemon sorbet again!! Then we walked along the waterfront from the main beach to Fornillo Beach. More walking up to Le Sirenuse hotel and that area for nice views of the beach. Took a very crowded bus back. Takeout pizza from the place beside Bar Internazionale for dinner. A fabulous day!

View of Positano from the hike.

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Valerie, Bryan and Steve at the highest point on the trail.

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Flowers on the trail. Marta from ST says it is a wild native gladiolus. "There are several species that are very similar. But I think since the upper set of petals are more rounded it is Gladiolus communis although it could also be Gladiolus byzantinus which is really a subspecies of communis. In other areas of Italy and growing in fields, it is probably Gladiolus italicus."

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Pauline

Forums Admin
I have three hiking guides for the Amalfi Coast - Sunflower, Cicerone and a local book. Plus a Kompass map (1:50,000) and a local map (1:35,000). The best book is the Cicerone. They pick the good hikes and have good descriptions. Sunflower give more hikes but I find it hard to choose from the book.

Yesterday's hike was Walk 17, Montepertuso - Fornillo Circuit. We cut off part of the hike by taking the bus to Montepertuso instead of walking to there from Positano. This made it an easier hike, gaining 200 meters and descending 390 meters. We took 3 hours at a leisurely pace.

Valerie and Bryan left to drive back to Basilicata just before noon, and we started our hike as the bells were chiming 12 o'clock.

We did a similar hike to yesterday's but went higher, and in the reverse direction. We started at Chiesa Nuova, the coast road, and climbed up 510 meters (recommended time 1hr 30min, we took 2hr 15 min). The first part of the walk we were ascending where we descended yesterday (ascending took 1hr 10min, descending yesterday took 40 mins). It was not a bad climb. We took it slow and were 45 mins slower than the recommended time. At 2:30 we were at the cafe beside Ristorante Zi'Peppe drinking Crodino and eating our peanut butter sandwiches.

Up the hill was footpath, mule track and stairs. We saw only a few other hikers. At the top we were on roads in a small rural village. You get to these roads from the Sorrento side. We were as far above Positano as you can get and we could see Naples and Iscia. At some points we could see the Bay of Naples on one side and the Amalfi Coast on the other.

The next part was to walk across the top of the Valle del Pozzo. The book says it is level but there was a lot of up and down and some steep drop offs. After an hour across we started going down. Lovely at first as we were above the Montepertuso "hole" - large rocky outcropping with a big hole in it - then very steep coming down, ending up on the road between Nocelle and Montepertuso. We were in time for the 5 o'clock bus back.

My legs hurt, I got a lot of sun even wearing my hiking hat and I am tired, but what a fabulous day! The trails were lined with wildflowers, things were blooming and smelled lovely, the views were amazing. Some views made me feel dizzy because we were so high up a very steep valley.

After the 2 hour climb when we reached the top and looked back to Positano.

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The trail at the top.

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Another view down.

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Chris

500+ Posts
That path looks fit for a mountain goat! I get a little dizzy just looking at these photos.
 

PokeyMindy

100+ Posts
Loving your trip blogs! I fell in love with Positano when I went with Gail and Sandi (Gailsgreatescapes.com). Planning a return visit in Oct. 2017.
Tre Sorrelle ristorante...we had the most fun waiter, Gaetano...small world, he worked for a while at a place near where I live in No. Quincy, MA and also in the "North End" of Boston.

glad you got a smaller car. I agree, brave isn't the word to describe you driving in and around Amalfi, Positano, more like out of your effing minds, LOL.

Bacione!
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Today we drove to Ravello, parked, did a 3 hour walk, walked around Ravello, drove home. We were not hit by a bus (okay, nearly hit and I am still shaking), we did not get a parking ticket (because we almost ran uphill for 40 minutes and made it 1 minute before our parking expired - would have bought more time but didn't have the change), the drive was intense but beautiful (Steve drove both ways - usually we do half each). Got the car backed into the impossibly narrow garage (with only me to heave the heavy post out of the driveway and direct). Success! And if I get my say, the car stays there until we leave on Saturday.

Driving around Positano is insane (as all of you told me) but driving around Amalfi is super-insane. Roads are more narrow, drivers more aggressive, more pedestrians.

Here's an idea Mr Amalfi Coast. How about not letting anyone park on the coast highway? Then cars and buses would have one lane in each direction. Imagine a whole lane?

Ravello is beautiful. We did Walk 26 Ravello and Santa Caterina Loop from the Cicerone guide. The recommended time is 2hr 30min but it took us 3hr. 350 meter ascent and descent. Most of the walk is on stone or paved walkways between villages. We walked from Ravello to Santa Caterina to Campiodoglio to Minuta to Pontone to Ravello. There was a long descent from Campiodoglio to Pontone then almost to the valley bottom before you get the climb back to Ravello.

The walk was pretty easy with lovely views. It was sunny and hot today (mid 70s) - a bit too hot for me. We went through a lot of water. Each village had a fountain where we could wash our faces in cold water and fill our bottles.

The drive out was lovely. We arrived at 1pm. But the drive back, leaving Ravello at 5pm was a bit more intense. I swear that bus was less than an inch from the front of the car as he came around the corner. We were cowered against a rock face.

Looking across the valley to the villages we walked through.

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On the drive we passed donkeys carrying building supplies up a narrow lane. On our walk we saw this guy riding sidesaddle and talking on his mobile coming up a lane from a building site.

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