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An Italian Honeymoon: Things we did besides …

An Italian Honeymoon: Things we did besides …

Sep 19th, 2006, 08:54 AM
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Don't worry I'll keep this family friendly !
saps is offline  
Sep 19th, 2006, 08:54 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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Days 3 & 4

First off…
Positano is absolutely stunning. Pictures don’t do it justice. The views, the shops, the steps, and the restaurants are all what make it a little slice of paradise. The day before as we arrived into Positano we did not truly appreciate the town as we were basically punch drunk after 24 hours of traveling, but as we woke up this morning and sat on our terrace we instantly fell in love with our new home.

Breakfast at the Marincanto was awesome. I could eat salami and cheese for dinner 6 nights a week (the 7th night must be a ribeye steak) so Italian breakfast was my dream meal. We had about 6-8 different meats, 3-5 different cheeses, fruits, several different pastries and an endless supply of coffee.

Getting ready that morning KC learned that blow dryers in Italian hotels stink. I learned that you don’t pee in the bidet. I also spent about 10 minutes trying to decide why the toilet had two different size flush buttons but they each produced the same amount of flush power.

We spent the rest of the morning strolling around the town looking at the 10,000 pottery shops and dodging cars, which had no intention of stopping. KC and I decided to not get each other wedding presents but instead to look for something on our trip that would be special for us. Independently we came to conclusion of artwork so we had a blast looking at all the paintings of the region.

We headed down to the beach in the early afternoon and lazed there for hours. It was truly the first relaxing time we had in a couple of months. The hotel had a special rate with the beach below for renting lounge chairs, 10 Euros per day per person (normally 15). The water was great. The temperatures were warmer than the California coast but colder than tropical locations. I busted out my snorkeling gear and looked like a dork but I didn’t care. KC was all excited to go topless on an Italian beach but to her dismay everybody was fully dressed in their bathing suits so she did not want to be the only one. It must be that most of the people were from the USA, Canada, England and Australia…you know us modest English speaking folks. KC kept trying to get me to wear a Speedo and I decided that Italy did not need to see that.

That night we headed up the mountain to Il Ritrovo for dinner. I asked our hotel to make a reservation for us and the restaurant sent a car to our hotel and picked KC and I up right on time. The car driver reminded me of Large Marge from the Pee Wee Herman movie…it was an uncanny resemblance. Dinner was awesome. The view was great although it was already dark so we did not see the sunset. For most of our dinner meals we shared antipasti and then had our own first and second course. We dined on caprese salad (which is my new favorite food), gnocchi, risotto, and veal (God forbid).

On Thursday I had booked KC and myself some spa treatments at the Palazzo Sasso in Ravello (www.palazzosasso.com). We took the ferry from Positano to Amalfi (5.50 Euro per person each way). Once we got to Amalfi we bought SITA bus tickets and waited for the bus with 1.3 million other folks. The bus came and 1.29 million folks got on. We did not. I cannot believe how many people squeeze onto that thing. It was like a buffalo stampede. For 22 Euros we took a nice, calm, air conditioned taxi ride to the Ravello town square. We passed the bus and were very glad we opted for the cab.

From the town square we asked for directions twice to the Palazzo Sasso and upon arrival we were awe struck with the opulence of the hotel and the friendliness of the staff. Even though we were just using their facilities we were never treated like second class citizens. We were escorted down to the spa area past the pool and lounge chairs looking out to the coast. KC got a facial first and then we both got massages. The facilities were excellent, the staff great, and the service perfect. After our treatments we had full use of the pool and spas. We had a glass of white wine and dreamed of the day when this could be a yearly event. From the room rate prices on their website this may stay a dream…ouch!!!

We walked through town and headed down to Villa Cimbrone where we walked through the gardens and just casually hung out until we needed to head back to Amalfi to catch the ferry. In Amalfi we saw a bride walking (or I should say attempting to walk) up the steps of the main church. As she slipped I couldn’t help myself and giggled and KC couldn’t help herself and smacked me upside the head.

After a few days in Italy we quickly become accustomed to the evening dining schedule and at about 9:00 we headed down to the main square for dinner. We ate at the pizzeria below the Buca de Bacco Hotel and had a great dinner. We tried buffalo mozzarella for the first time and while we liked it we did not like it more than the regular stuff. The restaurant was right on the beach and was a great spot to people watch. There was some kind of kids dance recital being performed on a stage on the beach so it was fun to watch a bunch of Italian kids dancing to Brittney Spears.

Thanks for reading all of this…it is fun to write.

Tomorrow’s part will include meeting “The Man”
saps is offline  
Sep 19th, 2006, 09:13 AM
Join Date: May 2006
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Thank you for making me laugh! My wedding is in 10 days and we leave for Italy in 12 our first stop Positano. Your trip report was a great diversion for me today as the stress of last minute wedding plans are in full force. I look forward to reading more.
Best Wishes to you and your wife!

honeymooninitaly2 is offline  
Sep 19th, 2006, 09:21 AM
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enjoying this. . . more please
ellenem is offline  
Sep 19th, 2006, 09:22 AM
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Your trip review has been a lot of fun to read, and I am looking forward to more! We leave for our honeymoon in Italy on Thursday (9/21), and can't wait!! I am reading your review very closely for tips!

Thank you so much for sharing.

mw2006 is offline  
Sep 19th, 2006, 10:03 AM
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Your report is a treat! Yes, your SITA bus experience was exactly the same as mine from Amalfi to Ravello - except I did get on and lived to regret it! Never again - a taxi next time!

Looking forward to the rest!
Dayle is offline  
Sep 19th, 2006, 10:07 AM
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Good stuff! I head to Capri and Positano in three weeks myself so keep it coming!
jliven23 is offline  
Sep 19th, 2006, 10:12 AM
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I love your writing style and sense of humor-can't wait for next post!
Italybound07 is offline  
Sep 19th, 2006, 10:20 AM
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KrunkoDallas is offline  
Sep 19th, 2006, 10:27 AM
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I usually stick to the posts about France, but this is fun.
DanM is offline  
Sep 19th, 2006, 10:35 AM
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Thank you all for your kind words...this is really fun to write.

I might try to get my "The Man" portion written today. It is a very cool little story about meeting a local olive oil producer.

If you have any specific questions about Positano let em fly.
saps is offline  
Sep 19th, 2006, 10:38 AM
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Dayle, I honestly do not know how people actually take those buses. At some point you have to say how much uncomfortableness is worth the $ savings. For some folks I guess they can tolerate a lot more than us.

saps is offline  
Sep 19th, 2006, 11:11 AM
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My first trip to the Amalfi Coast was in March - buses were a breeze.

Big difference during tourist season! Unfortunately as a solo traveler on a budget, I never considered a taxi. I sure will in the future though - well worth the $$.
Dayle is offline  
Sep 19th, 2006, 11:16 AM
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Thanks for an entertaining report - I laughed out loud when I got to the part about the bidet!

Best wishes for a wonderful life together - you and your wife sound like great and fun-loving people.

May you enjoy many more journeys together.

fun4all4 is offline  
Sep 19th, 2006, 11:22 AM
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I am a moderator on a wedding message board so let me say, "Thank you!" for posting the link to your wedding location. It was beautiful.

You have such a great flair for writing. Your trip report has made me laugh many times already! Can't wait to hear the rest.

edhodge is offline  
Sep 19th, 2006, 01:07 PM
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Days 5 & 6

Friday was almost a repeat of Wednesday. We shopped in the morning and decided which souvenirs we were going to buy and we chose our piece of art that we would eventually purchase on Sunday. We chose an original oil painting by Vincenzo Aprile, a Sorrento based artist. The painting was of the view, from our hotel sundeck, of Positano at night. It is absolutely beautiful and the lights of the city and church are what finally sold us on this piece of art.

After the beach in the afternoon we napped (uh…yeah…we napped) and got all dressed up for a night on the town. About 7:30 we walked down to the hotel Le Sirenuse and had some cocktails at their Champagne Bar. Can’t speak about this hotel’s rooms, restaurant or other facilities but here is what I do know…the Champagne Bar was fabulous. They sit you outside on very comfortable outdoor furniture and bring you an assortment of little snacks. They had a DJ inside playing a very nice mix of Italian and American music. The candles are lit and your view is of the church dome and hills of Positano. The drink menu is not cheap (15-20 Euro per glass of champagne) but the ambiance, service and romantic factor cannot be beat.

We then headed down into town to Max’s for dinner. This was our favorite dining experience in all of Positano. Max’s is an art gallery and restaurant and is actually where we bought our painting from. The wine we ordered (1999 Piano Di Montevergine) was the best red wine I have ever had. I love wine but I do not love the whole “wine expert” snobbery that you find living in California. Watching the Sommelier work was fascinating as I thought he was going to make love to the bottle. The food was fantastic and the atmosphere was great. I told a local that we ate at Max’s and she gave a disapproving look as it is not “authentic”. I told her Max’s was 7,000 miles away from my home so it was authentic enough! Price wise it was expensive but not outrageous.

Saturday morning we had booked a boat tour along the Amalfi Coast through Gennaro e Salvatore Tour Company (www.gennaroesalvatore.it). Let me start by saying that we cannot recommend this company enough. They are wonderful and well worth their very reasonable price ($75 Euros per person and it included lunch). Peter (son of Gennaro) was our captain that day. Peter’s mom is English so he sounds like a Brit and he is just one of the nicest guys around. There were about 6 other folks on the tour with us including an older Italian husband and wife (soon to be referred to as “The Man”). We cruised along the coast and stopped a few times in small coves and grottos so we could get out and swim. KC has a morbid fascination of sharks…so she asked about 12 times whether there were sharks in the water and when 12 times the answer came back no she jumped in. About 1.4 seconds later she jumped out and said that was enough. She would rather just lie on the deck and soak in the sun. I swam around and had an awesome time except that my snorkel tube sank to the bottom of the sea.

We stopped for lunch (or what later I would call breakfast, lunch and dinner) at a restaurant along the coast that could only be reached via boat or 1000 steps. It turned out to be a 6 course meal including wine. Bruschetta, antipasti veggies, gnocchi, calamari, fresh fruits and dessert were on the menu. Oh my goodness it was on of the best meals ever because everything was so fresh. While at lunch Peter told us the story about “The Man”…

This Italian couple that was with us (they didn’t speak one bit of English) were the owners of the largest olive grove along the entire Amalfi Coast. Peter is a friend of theirs and this was their first day off from work together for the entire season. Peter was treating them to this boat cruise. They are ‘old school’ olive oil producers and work the land like they did generations ago. We actually tasted their olive oil during lunch. We were raving about the olive oil (before we knew they had made it) and as lunch concluded they offered to bring some down from their home to the boat docks for us to have. Church was at 7 pm on Sunday so the oil would be ready for us at 6 pm. The next day we went to the docks and there in an unlabeled bottle was 1 liter of the best tasting olive oil we have ever had. This guy was “The Man” around the Positano region when it came to olive oil so we were thrilled to be able to bring home a bottle of his oil. This lunch and experience with his truly authentic family was something that we will always remember from our honeymoon.

That evening Positano had an all night festival and I do mean all night. They had live music until about 3 am. Still full from our lunch we decided to skip dinner this evening and instead enjoyed some limoncello at our hotel bar. KC was under the impression that limoncello was like a big glass of lemon-aid so I think she was a bit disappointed when a small drink in a shot glass came out. We sipped our drinks and got some champagne and headed up to the terrace to enjoy the music. Even though we were at the other end of the beach the music was loud (later I found out that the hotel had a speaker that broadcasted the music). We had a fabulous time lounging on our terrace, listening to the music, drinking champagne and waiting for the fireworks. The fireworks went off at about 12:30 am and they lasted for about 20 minutes on the beach and a bit longer on our terrace.

Next installment will be Capri and then we are off to Rome (visiting Pompeii en route).
saps is offline  
Sep 19th, 2006, 01:57 PM
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I love your story telling. Keep it coming. I am laughing and thinking of magical Italy.
cafegoddess is online now  
Sep 19th, 2006, 04:58 PM
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Congrats on your wedding. I was laughing out loud while I read your trip report. Can't wait to read the rest ...
We are staying at the Marincanto in about two weeks and I have been VERY nervous about staying there after reading several recent reviews. How was your room once they moved you into a renovated room? Would you stay there again??
Cindi is offline  
Sep 19th, 2006, 07:47 PM
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saps.. thank you so much for taking us along your honeymoon trip. It really sounds so romantic. I'm hoping someday my hubby and I will make it there. Married 31 years so far, i'm wondering if it would be quite as romantic when we finally get there.
Looking forward to your next post.
callalilli is offline  
Sep 19th, 2006, 08:40 PM
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Don't sweat about the hotel. It is very nice. We were in the renovated part of the hotel for both rooms. The first room was a junior suite special with a jacuzzi tub that opened to the terrace. It had some knobs that were falling off and it was not totally private so we only used it once. The bedroom was large and the bathroom was good size also. It is hard to compare it to an American 4 star hotel because I don't think the comparisons are fair. It is in a old building that is on the cliff so of course it does not look modern. The interior of the rooms were very mediterranean (tile flooring, white drapes, older furniture).

The rooms were very clean and the housekeeping came twice a day. I should have mentioned the Positano ants earlier...we noticed that all along the railings and other ledges the entire city was crawling with ants. One morning there were ants in our room and at breakfast I told the front desk and we didn't have another problem. I don't think ant problems were unique to the Marincanto.

The staff was great and answered all our questions and made several dinner reservations for us.

While I was not blown away by any aspect of the hotel I was a satisfied customer and would stay there again.
saps is offline  

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