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17 amazing days in Tuscany, Positano and Rome – June 2014!

17 amazing days in Tuscany, Positano and Rome – June 2014!

Old Sep 21st, 2014, 09:10 AM
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Positano – 4 days

Positano (Day 10)

Up early and finished packing quicker than expected. Had another good breakfast at the restaurant around the corner. Back to the B&B, checked out by throwing our room keys on the bed and started walking toward the train station with our luggage in tow. There was a threat of rain but we made it to the station quickly and more importantly – dry. Easy to find the Italo waiting area which was supposedly air conditioned but was still quite hot. Finally our track number showed up on the board and our train left at about 11 AM which was about 30 minutes late.

We passed through Rome at 12:15 and arrived in Naples at 1:30. You gotta love the train system in Europe – only 2 and a half hours from Florence to Naples – fast and comfortable and not too expensive even for first class. As soon as we walked to the end of the platform we saw Bernardo holding up a sign with our name on it. Quick and easy to his limo/van in the parking lot and we were off to Positano. Of course this is Naples and 30 seconds after we started out, Bernardo had a small altercation with another driver standing in the parking lot blocking the way. Totally the other drivers fault for being where he should not have been but he still walked over and smacked Bernardo’s door with his hand. Welcome to Naples!

We had a nice drive to Positano and Bernardo would give us a heads up for photo ops along the way. We wanted to get to our hotel so we did not make any long stops but he did pull over a couple of times when the view was just too gorgeous to not stop. BTW the ladies were quite impressed with Bernardo – classic dark Italian good looks in his tight jeans and tight white t-shirt. The bonus though was that he was super nice and helpful. Even though it was mid-June, the traffic was not bad on the road between Sorrento and Positano – meaning no horn honking busses or clueless tourist drivers (like myself) stuck on any of the hairpin curves. The last time I was here I was driving – much nicer in the passenger seat. We arrived at our hotel and said goodbye to Bernardo after he turned us over to the bus boy who took care of our luggage while we checked in. http://www.edenroc.it/en/

It turns out the room we were given was not what I expected so they immediately moved my wife and I to another one. The fabulous Tony from the kitchen brought us a welcome Prosecco to enjoy while we unpacked just a little. We decided to go to the hotel bar for a drink and to enjoy the incredible view. We then went for a walk through Positano down to the ferry dock area and then around to Fornillo Beach. We enjoyed the walk and it only took a small bit of fiction to catch a free ride on the little boat from Fornillo back to the ferry dock. We walked around some more and found a little bar (Wine – Dark House) that we liked so much we went there for a drink every day. The owner was funny and the waiter was great and the local wines they recommended were good.

We then went back to the hotel to finish unpacking and decided to have dinner on the terrace at the restaurant in the hotel. The view of Positano at night, our waiter, food and wine were all good. We decided not to get up early the next day because the weather forecast was not good. We were fairly tired so we went to bed early. An excellent first day in Positano!
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Old Sep 21st, 2014, 10:01 AM
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hi John,

glad you made it to Positano in one piece, despite your driver's altercations with other drivers. Reminds me of the trip we made from Naples airport to Sorrento last February with our language class. for some reason our driver fell out with the driver of the other car, and they were shouting at each other over their mobiles all the way there. Eventually we had to stop and the other driver got out and came over to talk to our driver and they had a "are you looking at me?" type conversation, which only ended when the other one backed down and went back to his car. One more minute, and we thought that they were going to come to blows!
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Old Sep 21st, 2014, 10:17 AM
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your pictures are lovely and the hotel looks great.

BTW, wHat was it about the first room that you didn't like?
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Old Sep 21st, 2014, 03:01 PM
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annhig - thankfully our driver's altercation was very minor - actually it was kind of funny. Naples is always interesting. During our first trip in 2001 I was lost driving in Naples a couple of times but luckily never had any of these types of things happen to me.

A little background. A long time ago a travel writer had an article in the Atlanta newspaper describing his trip to the Amalfi coast where he stayed at the Eden Roc hotel. There was a picture in the paper of the view of Positano from the balcony of his room. That story and that picture spurred our first trip to Europe. We stayed at the Eden Roc and had a fantastic time and a great view from our balcony where we spent a lot of time just enjoying that view. When we reserved our room for this trip in 2014, I was assured we would have as good or better view than we did in 2001. Unfortunately the first room did not have a good view.

I just added one more pic (the last one - image 1159). On the right side it shows a concrete wall with a cable running down it. The balcony for our first room was right next to that wall - it completely blocked any view of Positano. Fortunately we were moved to a room with a perfect view and it turned out fine. For us, Positano is all about the view – that’s why we stay higher up. And for what the room cost, a view of a concrete wall was not acceptable.
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Old Sep 21st, 2014, 03:13 PM
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Pictures from Day 10.

https://john183italy2014.shutterfly.com/pictures/305

annhig - I've added descriptions since you looked at them.
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Old Sep 21st, 2014, 03:55 PM
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annhig - I forgot to say that at some point we met the couple who were given our first room that had the view of the concrete wall. They were on their honeymoon and they seemed very happy so my guess is they were not spending much time on the balcony - LOL!!!
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 02:42 AM
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well, John, perhaps that is an explanation - though I didn't think that honeymoons were really like that nowadays.

but i agree that if you go to Positano, the view is the thing.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2014, 08:31 AM
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bookmarking
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Old Oct 3rd, 2014, 01:44 PM
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What fun! Loved that hotel. Maybe if we ever get back to the Amalfi Coast we'll go for the splurge. It is worth it for the view alone (assuming we don't meet the owners of that sweet pink two-story villa in your pics, and have them invite us to housesit for them.)
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Old Oct 3rd, 2014, 05:49 PM
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uhoh_busted - Positano is so beautiful - everywhere you look it is so pretty. If you can wrangle a house-sitting job there let us know, we'll help. LOL!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2014, 05:53 PM
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Positano (Day 11)

Up a little late - went to breakfast and saw the fabulous Tony again. The ladies had his famous cappuccino. Tony is an indescribable piece of work – almost unbelievable but he is super nice. We eventually walked down to the beach and bought ferry tickets to Amalfi. We stood in line for a short time and caught the 12 o’clock ferry. We sat outside up top and it was a very pleasant ride. In Amalfi, we immediately bought bus tickets to Ravello and took the wild bus ride up the mountain. What a ride! Some of the turns were so sharp the driver had to back up to get a better angle. I say again, what a ride!

We walked around a little and headed up the hill towards Villa Cimbrone. We stopped for a nice lunch at Ristorante Villa Maria. It was a very nice outdoor setting with good views on one side. We had passed a limoncello factory on the way and decided to go back to it for a taste. We ended up buying a couple of bottles and we enjoyed a limoncello nightcap each evening on our hotel terrace just before heading to bed. We bought tickets to Villa Rufolo and even though it was very pretty with incredible views, there was so much construction going on it really detracted from the beauty. Since we got started so late, we did not have time to go to Villa Cimbrone which was a real shame. My wife and I had been there in 2001 and liked it more than Villa Rufolo. Oh well.

We had a quick drink on the main square of Ravello before catching the bus back to Amalfi. Another wild ride! We spent a little time exploring Amalfi before catching the ferry back to Positano. On the ferry ride back we saw a very cool looking water spout that went really high in the air. In Positano we went back to our favorite little bar (Wine – Dark House) for a drink. We sat outside on the terrace and a few members of the local band walked by. We persuaded them to play a little ditty for us. They were really good sports and one of them played the French horn – which is what our granddaughter plays so of course we had to take his pic to show our granddaughter.

At one point Kathy was talking about something and as she was making some point she held her pointer finger in the air and made some small circles. A few minutes later all of a sudden our server surprised us with more drinks. It turns out our server saw Kathy give the universal signal for another round even though she was talking about something completely different. Hey when the wine gods send you more wine, you don’t question how or why – you just enjoy it. LOL!!

We decided to eat at a restaurant on the beach and finally chose La Pergola. We had a really fun time at dinner and the food was good. Two of our group ordered fish that had to be fileted and our servers were very entertaining while they did it. At home I never get a chance to eat sardines like they have here so I ordered a plate. They were great. After dinner we had a gelato before walking up the hill to our hotel. We had the guy at the front desk get us a bucket of ice and we sat on the balcony drinking some of the limoncello we had bought in Ravello. It was nice – there were even some fireworks over the sea directly in front of us.

The weather was supposed to be very iffy in the morning so we decided that Karl and I would meet in the lobby early the next morning and try to figure out our day. In other words, we decided that Karl and I would be the deciders. Too funny because the two of us rarely get that opportunity (just joking ladies!!). We then went to bed totally exhausted, an excellent second day in Positano!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2014, 05:55 PM
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Pictures from Day 11.

https://john183italy2014.shutterfly.com/pictures/357
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Old Oct 5th, 2014, 12:15 PM
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John, I just returned from Italy yesterday and am so pleased to see you made it to the Positano portion of your report! I am enjoying it immensely!!
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Old Oct 5th, 2014, 04:21 PM
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ekc - thanks. Where all did you go? Will we be seeing a trip report from you?
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Old Oct 5th, 2014, 04:35 PM
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Positano (Day 12)

The “Deciders” met in the lobby at 7:30 and even though the weather was not predicted to be the best, we decided to take a chance on going to Capri for the day. Had another good breakfast with the faaaaaabulous Tony – today he insisted that he needed to warm up some of his famous quiche for us to go along with his famous cappuccino. Tony hovers right on the line of being too goofy but he manages to pull it off very well. We walked down to the beach and bought round trip fast ferry tickets to Capri.

We sat outside on top like we did yesterday but today the ride was chilly, bouncy, a little wet and it took longer than we thought it would – I think because they had to slow down a little for the choppy water. But we made it to Marina Grande and took the funicular up to Capri town. We started immediately on the walk toward Arco Naturale – our plan being to continue on around to have lunch at Da Luigi ai Faraglioni and then explore Capri and Anacapri after lunch. Flygirl had me really pumped up to have lunch at Da Luigi. The walk to Arco Naturale was very nice – not difficult at all and both the walk and Arco Naturale were very beautiful. The view of boats in the blue water with mountains in the distance was just incredible. After leaving Arco Naturale is where my plan fell apart.

I said I made a lot of mistakes on this trip and this was one of them. I somehow did not grab my directions to do this walk and there was absolutely no one on the path to ask. We walked on what we thought was the path around to Da Luigi but it dead-ended at a very high vantage point overlooking Casa Malaparte. I think we were supposed to take some stairs down closer to the sea to do what I wanted but I missed them.

Oh well, we turned around and stopped for a nice lunch somewhere near the Arco Naturale. Since we were in the caprese motherland and we all love caprese salads, I think we each ordered something caprese. Is it possible to have a caprese appetizer, a caprese entrée and a caprese dessert? If we could have only figured out how to order a caprese drink! LOL!! Anyway we had a LOT of caprese and it was all quite good. We then headed back to the main town of Capri. I guess I will just have to look at flygirl’s pics again and dream about lunch at Da Luigi.

Just as we arrived at the main piazza, a very strong wind storm popped up. It blew umbrellas around and started to rain pretty hard. Shop and restaurant owners were scrambling to cover anything that was outside. We ducked in to one of the expensive shops to wait it out. It quickly blew through and we found the bus to Anacapri.

Wow – another fun bus ride. The bus was full so we stood near the door where we could see straight down over the edge of the cliffs as we climbed the hill – and let me tell you that bus was very close to the edge. At one point we came so close to the edge and the bus tilted just enough that Kathy let out a little scream as she grabbed for the little kid standing next to us. Not sure how that was going to help save our lives if we went over but it must have helped because somehow we made it to the top. Maybe it was because we were standing and could look out the glass door directly over the cliff that was sometimes less than a foot away from the wheel but even though it was not long, this was the scariest bus ride I’ve ever been on.

Because of the weather, Anacapri was a ghost town. It started to rain hard again as we walked around to a few of the shops and visited the Church of San Michele to see the incredible floor. We saw the chair lift in the distance but the nasty weather made it an easy decision not to try to go up – which was probably just as well because the ladies did not want to go up anyway even if the weather would have been nice. Incredibly, the chair lift was running in this crazy weather. After a while we walked back to the bus stop and waited in the rain for a few minutes. It did not take much persuading for us to quickly decide to hop in one of the taxis parked near the bus stop to go back to Marina Grande. Kathy negotiated with the driver for a good price and it was a much easier ride going down than it was going up.

It took us a little while to figure out where to go for the ferry but finally did and we headed back to Positano. This time we sat inside and a couple of us actually dozed a little during the ride. In Positano we headed for our favorite bar again to have one drink and this time, we did not even have to order. Our server remembered exactly what we each wanted (a red wine, a white wine, a Prosecco and a red beer). It was kind of like being Norm at Cheers except they did not holler out our names as we sat down but our drinks were almost waiting for us before we sat down. Too fun! As we were sitting there under the big umbrellas on the terrace, a huge rain storm quickly popped up and almost immediately water started flooding the street. Our server brought out a little umbrella and took turns getting each of us inside the small packed bar. Several of the people moved around to make room for us and we all had a fun time chatting. It was so fun we actually really ordered a second round this time unlike yesterday where we did it by accident. A side note here: one of the bartenders was a young Tom Cruise exact look alike – and he knew it too - but he was still nice.

Eventually the rain quit and we walked back to the hotel. As we walked back we saw a huge rainbow over the sea and a big waterfall going over a cliff in to the sea that was a result of the runoff from all the rain. We freshened up and had a nice dinner at the hotel restaurant again. After dinner we had a limoncello nightcap and went to bed. Again we decided that the deciders would meet in the lobby early the next morning to see if we should walk the Path of the gods or not. A wet and different than we hoped for but still excellent third day in Positano!
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Old Oct 5th, 2014, 04:36 PM
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Pictures from Day 12.

https://john183italy2014.shutterfly.com/pictures/391
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Old Oct 5th, 2014, 08:20 PM
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Hi John,

Just got back from our Fall trip a few days ago and I am trying to catch up on my reading! I'm so glad that you enjoyed your time in Florence. I agree that the Bargello is delightful!

Now I can't wait for your Rome portion!
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Old Oct 5th, 2014, 08:39 PM
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Great pictures of Postano. We went there a couple of years ago and loved it. You make me want to go back. Enjoying your trip report.
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Old Oct 6th, 2014, 07:06 AM
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John, we started wtih 3 days in Venice, then were in Bolzano for 6 days, then Milan for 3 days, then Lake Como for 2 days. Quite a trip and yes, I will be writing a trip report!

I rarely write a report for my weeks in Positano, as it would be quite boring and mainly involve the words "wine" "terrace" and "laying in the sun".
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Old Oct 6th, 2014, 07:14 AM
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Bookmarking. Just read day one and saw the great shots. Orvieto is so nice. Can't wait to finish this.
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