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Capri, Positano, and Naples trip report, plus photos (May 2013)

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Capri, Positano, and Naples trip report, plus photos (May 2013)

Old Aug 4th, 2013, 04:02 PM
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Capri, Positano, and Naples trip report, plus photos (May 2013)

Good evening everyone

As usual I get home from a much anticipated trip, which was preceded by nonstop reading and daydreaming and questions here, there and everywhere… and then a few months go by and I still haven't gotten my act together on the report. I have been slowly getting through my many photos and if I don't start this report before I finish the photo sort, no doubt I will rack up another couple of trips and fall further behind.

So without much ado, here are highlights from my trip in May. I'll put a few photo links in this first post, but since the sorting isn't done the main photo links will come later.

Top ten photos from each destination - the top ten will change as I sort photos and update the photos in the below links, but for now, current state, my favorites:

Capri:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/skywalk...tencapri/show/

Positano:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/skywalk...positano/show/

Pompeii and Herculaneum:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/skywalk...tenruins/show/

Pathway of the Gods/Nocelle:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/skywalk...sentiero/show/

Naples:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/skywalk...ennaples/show/

Here is my main question thread, started before my trip:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ast-in-may.cfm

To quickly answer my own questions found in the above thread:
I stayed in Capri, not Anacapri. For a three night trip that seemed perfect because most of my walks were on that side of the island and I covered a lot of ground. Hiking is quite easy on the eastern side, you simply need a decent pair of shoes. I even walked to the Faraglioni in flip flops.

I missed the Blue Grotto this time and didn't lose sleep over it. What I did see was so beautiful it surely made up for it. Lunch amid the Faraglioni? What can top that?

I found a great local guide in Positano (more on Lucia later).

No car and I'm just as glad I didn't bother - parking would have been a drag and it's nice to sit back and let someone else drive you. The drivers knew where to stop for good photo opps, they hung out while you did your sightseeing, they even had good lunch recommendations (my Pompeii day). Not cheap - I spent somewhere around 900 bucks on drivers/tips but a car wouldn't have been much cheaper and I'd still have to park it. Plus you have to ride a SITA bus at least once on your visit - it's part of the fun!

My final night was in Naples, not Sorrento. Great location right on the water (Hotel Excelsior). It was a gorgeous day and I walked all over, including home from dinner after dark - from the Spanish Quarter. You always seem to hear "Naples" and "crime" in the same sentence but I felt perfectly safe.

My Ravello time was short - I had four hours with my driver to Ravello including getting there and back from Positano and I did OK with that. Longer is better but the day I chose had a lot of cloud cover so I didn't get those stunning views anyway.

To be continued (yes! there's more!)...
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Old Aug 4th, 2013, 04:18 PM
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Your pictures make me want to get on a plane for Naples right this minute. Looking forward to more.
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Old Aug 4th, 2013, 04:20 PM
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Yay Flygirl!! So glad you started on your trip report - but don't feel bad about taking a while to get started. I am still working on mine from our trip last October!! I am determined to get it finished before we leave for Italy in 24 days!

Where did you take the 2nd picture in your Positano group? Great pics!
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Old Aug 4th, 2013, 07:12 PM
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Can't see the pics on my iPhone but following your report.
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Old Aug 4th, 2013, 07:51 PM
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Your photos are simply stunning, and I can't wait to hear all about your entire stay! I will have to go back to your questions thread to find out how you researched your walks.
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Old Aug 4th, 2013, 09:41 PM
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Flygirl I found the post. Thank you for posting about your trip!
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Old Aug 5th, 2013, 01:48 AM
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Can't wait for all of the details. We'll be following in your footsteps May 2014!
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Old Aug 5th, 2013, 02:47 AM
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Thank you everyone!

bon-voyage, I want to get on a plane to Naples right this minute too! So much still to see.

ekc: It's so much easier on the front end, isn't it? The photo slideshow are out of order, so what I see second might be different from what you see as the second one. Today, the ten photos of Positano depict: two shots of Positano from far above as we approached - the driver pulled over; three shots taken from my balcony at Residence Alcione (one directly after a storm blew threw); two taken near the pier with the turquoise sea; one taken a short walk from my hotel, from the sidewalk looking down to the beach; one was taken from my walk from the main beach in Positano to Fornillo Beach (also Positano, just a more secluded and quiet beach); and one was of pottery.

travelmama, if you take the word "show" off the link the photos should show up? They look much better on a big screen though.

hanabilly, thanks. After all that, my hotel pointed out most of the hikes (walks, really) that I did. I knew what I wanted to see ahead of time though which helped. I didn't know about Via Krupp at all and it was a delightful discovery my final morning.

Anja, glad you found it!

Judy, May is a fantastic time to go as you know. I'm glad I was able to scout a few things ahead of time for you!
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Old Aug 5th, 2013, 02:57 AM
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I should have mentioned at the outset - huge thanks to the many people who posted on my initial thread a few months ago! It really helped to shape my ideas for this trip. I'm heading out shortly on a quickie business trip so I'll have to elaborate further, later, but there are many good nuggets on that above thread.

Also big thanks to ekscrunchy who writes in such marvelous detail about all the food - I've followed her food trail a few times now (Madrid, Lake Como, and now Amalfi Coast) so for sure if you are planning a trip anywhere, see if she's written a report about it yet.
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Old Aug 5th, 2013, 05:27 AM
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I'm jumping in to follow your trip report. Now off to check out your pictures!
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Old Aug 5th, 2013, 04:16 PM
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Great pics!!! We hope to do some hiking during the Amalfi Coast part of our trip next year so I'm really looking forward to hearing more about your hikes (and your lunch amid the Faraglioni).
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Old Aug 6th, 2013, 05:01 AM
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Can't wait for more! I am making a list for my next trip to the AC, your experiences are valuable to me. Was this a solo trip?
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Old Aug 6th, 2013, 04:04 PM
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Would like some info on your camera and choice of lens, at your convenience.
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Old Aug 6th, 2013, 07:11 PM
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Reading along and loving your report and pictures. I am looking forward to more as we will likely do this trip in the near future. We will have about 4 weeks so I'm starting to read up to see how to fill the time with southern italy/Sicily.
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Old Aug 7th, 2013, 03:46 PM
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Hello everyone

Thank you again. I'm not running off and ignoring this thread, I'm back from a very short (yet too long) business trip. 36 hours door to door and all the way to Peru. I don't know how frequent business travelers can avoid gaining weight given all the butt-parking time there is - and all the rich food and drink because the people you're seeing want to roll out the red carpet! I will resume the report over the next few days.

John, lunch amid the Faraglioni was an absolute highlight. And the food was really, really good! You know how good views and good views don't always go together? They did here.

Anneeby, it was indeed!

pctraveler, I have a Canon 7D and primarily use a 24-105 Canon lens on it, and, my Canon S90 pocket camera. The current Naples photos are mostly the S90.

dgunbug, this was my first trip south of Rome despite close to a dozen trips to Italy so far. Are you spending all four weeks in southern Italy?
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 03:45 AM
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As my husband has spent a great deal of time in the northern region and I have seen a bit of it, this time we will stay in the southern region - starting with 3 days in Rome.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 06:36 AM
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Thanks flygirl - I'm really looking forward to the details. I do hope I don't have to paint my toenails blue to get there. LOL!!! What a gorgeous view you had. I wish I was there now enjoying the food, some wine and the view...
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 06:43 AM
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Amazing photos - what camera do you use? Heading to Italy next week so I loved seeing the images of the areas we will be in!
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Old Aug 9th, 2013, 04:02 PM
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So glad you started this, and so glad I found it Great pictures.

Looking forward for more, as we are going next May. Where did you have lunch amid the Faraglioni? Do you remember the name of the restaurant?

Can you post details on your walks/hikes on Capri? How much is doable in a day? We will have 3 days there, and I'm trying to figure out how to spend them without being on the run all the time.

Also, any restaurant recommendations in Positano and Capri? And the driver info. And the Pompeii guide. And anything else you remember...

And did I mention I loved the pictures?
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Old Aug 10th, 2013, 06:52 AM
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Hi everyone, I'm back.

Thank you for the compliments on the photos! Still no new updates on the photos above... this is taking a while.

The blue toenails I had no idea would fit in so well with the photo.

Camera is a Canon 7D.

xyz - there are two choices at the Faraglioni, and the one that is closer is called Da Luigi ai Faraglioni. When I get to my actual trip report, you'll see that in three days on Capri you can actually cover a lot of ground. I hiked pretty much all of the eastern side of the island. I'll write about the drivers/restos shortly. I will say that everyone I did have as a driver was so nice and professional, and they all drove Mercedes so you will be well taken care of. They better, given how much they charge!

Here we go, next installment (still the "setup" details of the report):

Hotels

My chosen hotels are below and I recommend each of them without hesitation. I've found my homes in this part of Italy.

Hotel La Minerva on Capri. As luck would have it, they have one single room that is only 110E. I planned this trip so late in the game (maybe 8 weeks before I left?) I was lucky to get a room here at all. The single has no view but given the wonderful location of the hotel, the stellar views from the main terrace and balcony, the pool, and the incredibly nice owners, that wasn't a problem at all. While it was a single room I would not call it too small. It is probably the size room that other hotels might try to shove a small double bed into but thankfully they only used a single bed. There was a desk and chair as well as a sitting chair, large windows (that looked at an alley) and a door that opened onto that alley. All tile including the decently-sized bathroom. I would probably say this room is the "least desirable" in the hotel given that it's the only single and no view, but, it was still a very nice room and you gotta figure all the other rooms improve from there. This hotel was awarded the 2013 Trip Advisor Traveler's Choice award as well as being the number 1 hotel on Capri on TA, too. On my next visit I'll plan better and get one with a view - although I'd have no issues staying in that one again if that were the only one available.

Residence Alcione in Positano. I sought advice on TA and this was highly recommended by a regular visitor to the Amalfi Coast. This hotel is directly next door to the Hotel California, better known as the hotel in the "balcony scene" in Under the Tuscan Sun. I absolutely loved this place. I took the Suite Saraceno for 220E a night. This apartment had to have been 600 SF, maybe even 700SF. It was huge. It had a kitchenette with everything but a dishwasher (not needed, the maid takes the dishes away and replaces with new ones), big bathroom with THREE showerheads, one of which gives a deep tissue massage that will literally push you across the shower - I discovered that one by accident, I was wondering what the bar above my head and over the shower seat was when I moved that lever - talk about a fire hose! I was sorely disappointed when I got home to my own shower which seemed so wimpy in comparison. It had a closet, it had seating in a few different places including a small table and chairs near the kitchenette, it had a wonderful balcony with stunning views over Positano (current Top Ten photos from Positano show a few balcony views). The bed was comfy and all I want to know is when I can I move in permanently. This place is not a hotel and I'm not even sure if it's technically a B&B even though they brought food up every morning. The "reception desk" in the front hallway is literally a desk in front of the steps to go upstairs when you walk in from off the street. The proprietors own the linen shop next door and if they see you walk up they come out and help you. They are also available at all times via phone. They were very helpful including driver and restaurant reservations so I didn't feel a "hotel experience" was needed.

Here is their website, showing my room:
http://www.alcioneresidence.com/apar...-saraceno.html

Hotel Excelsior in Naples. Starwood Hotel. Luxury. 100 years old but with all mod cons. Massive, massive room, walk in closet, huge bathroom, fantastic location. What else can I say? The photo currently in the "Top Ten" which looks like a monument reflected in a glossy black finish? That is a grand piano lid, near a window, in their huge grand salon.

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES:

Whenever I plan a trip somewhere, I always consult the UNESCO list to see if I will be able to add to my list of places visited. I am now up to 62 sites and this trip was certainly easy to add the three new ones: Pompeii/Herculaneum, Naples, and Amalfi Coast. They were the whole point of the trip.

Readings:

Greene on Capri by Shirley Hazzard. This is a book about Graham Greene's seasons on Capri (he owned a home there for something like 40 years) and it was written by his friend Shirley Hazzard. I read this before I left, in one weekend, and I wish I had read it after I got back instead. I would have liked a frame of reference for Capri before reading it. It's the kind of book that would benefit from a bit of a background ahead of time, I think. I'll re-read it again at some point once I get through my mountain of other books. I did notice that there are a variety of villas owned (or formerly owned) by famous writers. I guess being an author used to pay better than it does now!

Rick Steves Naples and the Amalfi Coast. I will buy his books before I visit a brand-new place, usually, since he gives good basic information. I didn't take it with me, and the only use I would have gotten out of it anyway was the chapter on Pompeii. I should have photocopied that chapter for my luggage.

Two small compact hiking books: Walking on the Amalfi Coast by Gillian Price and Sorrento/Amalfi/Capri by Sunflower Guides. This last has a website which offers updates to its book in between editions: http://www.sunflowerbooks.co.uk/prod...ast-and-capri/ I will say that for the hikes I did end up doing this time, and the fact that I looked up a local guide for the Pathway of the Gods, I actually did not need either book although they will be useful on the next trip when I go more afield. My hotel on Capri gave great advice on my walks on Capri and the eastern side of the island is so easy to navigate. If I had to choose only one I'd probably pick the Sunflower Guide but they were both interesting to read and were good for some daydreams.

My Amalfi Coast by Amanda Tabberer with photos by Carla Coulson. Amanda Tabberer is a famous Australian actress who moved to Italy in her 20s and met and fell in love with the son of the owner of Da Adolfo, a restaurant in Positano. This book is eye candy extraordinaire for the Amalfi Coast - Carla Coulson is my favorite photographer and I could easily recommend this book just for the photos alone. While it's mostly a love letter written by Amanda Tabberer to her much adored Amalfi Coast (including the story of her life there including marrying an Italian hunk and having a son), you could also call it a guide book in that she describes several of the towns along the coast including her favorite places in each as well as her favorites places to eat. She talks about some of the history of the area, some of the festivals and churches, and in addition to contemporary photos she has included some older photos of her family and friends enjoying themselves whether boating or hiking. What a life.

Fodors Amalfi Coast, Capri and Naples (borrowed). This was a really useful guidebook and I probably should not admit this here (!!) but it might be the only time I've used a Fodors guidebook. Based on this experience I will have to change that - it was well written and had a lot of useful and interesting information.

The Story of San Michele by Axel Munthe, which I bought from Amazon when I got home. Not yet read.

to be continued...
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