Monthly Archives: January 2016

Puerto Rico Dec. 2015 ~ San Juan to Rincon

We had visited Puerto Rico in March of 2015, and really liked it, so we decided to go back in December to do some more exploring of the island. We still had lots of points with Southwest Airlines, and were able to book our flights from Nashville to San Juan for only $22 round trip. (woo hoo!)

We arrived in the afternoon, so chose to stay at the San Juan Embassy Suites for the night. It was a quick cab ride from the airport to the hotel and cost around $20. The cab fares are standardized, and the cab driver will hand you a card with the fees. They charge a set fee depending on where you are going, and then an amount for each piece of luggage.

The Embassy Suites offers a complimentary cocktail hour in the late afternoon, and we got our fill of free rum drinks (probably too much judging by the pounding of our heads the next morning). We got out and walked around the hotel strip a bit, and then went back to the Embassy Suites and ate dinner at their Outback Restaurant.

In the mornings the hotel offers a really nice breakfast buffet with pretty much everything you could possibly want. http://embassysuites3.hilton.com/en/hotels/puerto-rico/embassy-suites-by-hilton-san-juan-hotel-and-casino-SJUESES/index.html

After breakfast we walked the couple of blocks to the beach to check it out. Below are two views of the hotel beach strip in that section.

We had reserved a rental car from Charlie Car Rental, located just a few blocks from the Embassy Suites. So while on our walk, we picked up our car and drove to the hotel to load up and check out. http://www.charliecars.com/

 We were curious about the Royal Isabella Golf Course, so stopped off along the way to Rincon to see what it was all about. It was VERY nice with gorgeous views over the ocean and Wally was drooling over their gold course. They offer luxury rental cottages and some homes are on the course, but it was way too pricey for us. http://www.royalisabela.com/home.php

This part of the resort featured a fine dining restaurant and outdoor casual restaurant and bar area. I loved the stone tower with its gorgeous iron chandelier.

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IMG_1565From Isabella, we drove along the coast, stopping along several of the amazing empty beaches along the way. It’s just amazing how many stretches of clean beautiful beaches with no one on them!

It was time for lunch, and several restaurants along Playa Jobos look enticing. They are located right on the water and this was the view from our parking spot.

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IMG_1575Restaurante Sonido del Mar had really good reviews, so we chose it as our lunch spot. It was casual, had a great view where we could watch the surfers try to catch a wave, and the food was pretty AND delicious. I ordered a pina colada and it was the best one I’ve ever had (and that’s saying a lot)! Here’s their Facebook page link: https://www.facebook.com/rest.sonidodelmar/

They make use of the old rum/whiskey barrels by turning them into tables. This was next door at the Kai Restaurant.

IMG_1577Our evening destination at our vacation rental, Casa Blanca House, was just south of Rincon and this was our road! Wow! Sitting on the edge of the world!

IMG_1657Here’s our vacation rental house – we had reserved the top penthouse apartment, and there is another unit also. https://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p3946436

IMG_1625The balcony with king-sized bed and hammocks with a fabulous view of the ocean sold us on this house.

The house faces west, and we had some fabulous sunsets during our stay.

IMG_1618For dinner we ventured down the road to the neighborhood restaurant, Los Pescadores, ordering up grouper bites, fries and rum drinks. The grouper bites were so good we had to go back another night! This is a very casual, laid-back restaurant with a deck overlooking the beach. Here’s a shot of Los Pescadores from the beach I took during the day, and the view down the beach from it.

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IMG_1665Full and tired from our travel day, we called it a night and headed back to the casa. Next up we’ll begin to explore Rincon. Manana!

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Italy 2015 ~ The Vatican

For our last day in Italy, we had tickets for the Vatican Museums. But first, breakfast and a whirlwind walk to see the Pantheon and a few last minute sites for the girls to tick off their list. We had noticed Il Fornaio on the way to Campo di Fiori on Via dei Baullari and all of their yummy looking pastries reeled us inside. We emerged with hot coffee and bags of pastries to fuel us, and sped through the drizzle first to see Piazza Farnese, and then towards the Pantheon. http://www.ifornaidiroma.it/item/il-fornaio/

 They did a quick tour of Basilica Santa Maria sopra Minerva, and then entered the Pantheon for a quick tour. I did an extensive blog featuring the Basilica and Pantheon from a previous trip, so won’t repeat those here, but here’s links if you are interested. https://busybeetraveler.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/rome-basilica-santa-maria-sopra-minerva/

https://busybeetraveler.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/spanish-steps-and-tour-of-pantheon-rome/

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 Time to get ready for our visit to the Vatican … we took a cab and arrived in minutes. Our tickets were for the Vatican Museums only. If you wish to see St. Peter’s Cathedral interior,  you have to get a ticket that includes that. The line was very long for St. Peters! http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_Home.html

The Gallery of Tapestries – note the size of them compared to Monica, Wally and Denise.

IMG_1430IMG_1456The Gallery of Maps was awesome! We loved the charmingly depicted maps from the various regions in Italy.

IMG_1455IMG_1441Below is TuscanyIMG_1452The Campania map below features Naples and the Amalfi Coast, which we had just left.

IMG_1448IMG_1450Looking out the window you can see how the galleries wrap around a big parking area.

IMG_0436We then entered into the various halls and chapels adorned by renowned artists and they are amazing in their detail and vibrant colors. You could look for hours and still see something new in each panel. They include Raphael’s Rooms and more.

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IMG_1469IMG_1470There was a modern arts collection next that included Henry Matisse.

Then came the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo… they funnel you through the Sistine Chapel calling for no photos and silence. We were silent…. Wow! Absolutely boggling!

IMG_0449IMG_1476IMG_1474IMG_1475I mentioned this in an earlier blog on Florence, but its worth re-mentioning – if you have any interest in architecture or art, read these two books before, during or after your visit to Italy to learn the background and evolution of these masterpieces.

IMG_1488We exited through a hall filled with small treasures and the girls shopped the gift store for gifts and souvenirs. We walked out and around the Vatican walls until we reached St. Peter’s Square and the line for those waiting to get inside St. Peter’s Basilica was verrry long.

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IMG_0483We decided to walk back to our apartment after stopping to check how much a cab was and they were charging four times more than what we had paid on the way over. Luckily it didn’t take long to get home and the rain held off for us.

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IMG_0508IMG_0504Back on our street, Via del Governo Vecchio, and it was time to eat again. Pictured below is our apartment entry and balcony above.

IMG_0519We decided we would eat at Mimi and Coco Wine Bar, which was located right below our balcony for our last dinner in Italy. IMG_0512Our last pizza in Italy for a while. And our server kindly treated us to a round of after-meal Limoncellos. Grazie! http://www.mimiecoco.com/en/index.html

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Sadly, it was time to pack up for our morning departure back to the U.S.A. We walked down to the Frigidarium for one last gelato cone to use up our Euro coins, and finished off our last bottle of wine.

Another amazing trip to Italy! Ciao! Grazie mille!

IMG_1385We’ll be back!

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Italy 2015 ~ The Colosseum & Around Rome

 It was another beautiful day and we started our morning with a stop in Campo de’ Fiori for breakfast and some quick shopping.

Breakfast at Baccanale Campo de’ Fiori Roma

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IMG_0096Monica and Denise loved the leather goods vendor’s products right as you entered the market, and had decided to pick up a few things to take home. He offered purses, wallets, men’s bags and more.

IMG_0099IMG_0375There was a hat and scarf vendor next to him, and I picked out a black felt hat and black scarf for myself before shopping the leather. I like small cross body purses, and picked out the black and brown purse I have on in the picture below. IMG_0102Happy shoppers : ) Happy vendor! IMG_0103We had purchased tickets for the Colosseum, Forum and Roman Palatine ahead of time so we could “skip the line”, and we were very happy we had. Here’s some of the sights along the way to the Colosseum.

Arriving at the Colosseum we “skipped the line” and went right in with our printouts. To get your tickets online, here’s the official site: http://www.coopculture.it/en/colosseo-e-shop.cfm

The architecture is amazing to see, and to imagine how it was during the Roman reign almost 2,000 years ago! Here’s a site with some history information about it: http://www.ancient.eu/Colosseum/

I recommend keeping a water bottle with you while traveling in Rome. You can refill at their public water spigots for clean, cold water.As you can see from Wally’s photo below, we did not bring our water bottle on this day!

Done with the Colosseum, we moved on towards the Forum and Palatine Hill. This couple was taking their “selfie” with the Colosseum behind them.

The Roman monuments and buildings are really quite amazing to see, and so detailed.

Climbing the Palatine Hill, you get great views over the ancient city of Rome. WOW! What a picture-perfect day we had!

IMG_0521IMG_0509IMG_1385Hot, tired and thirsty, we finished up with our tour and navigated to the Jewish Ghetto, where I had plotted our lunch destination. The Jewish Ghetto is a relatively short brisk walk from the Colosseum, and the tree-lined sidewalks along the Tiber River were welcome in the heat.

Fonzie Burger was our lunch destination in the quiet Jewish Ghetto, and was easy to find. They had rave reviews on Trip Advisor, Yelp and more, and we were ready for a fat juicy burger after two weeks of Italian-style dishes. Soooo many choices… mmmmm…

And it was soooo good! Highly recommend for your Rome burger and fry fix! At this point we decided to part company. The girls wanted to go see the shopping district and some of the other Rome sites we had already seen. They took a cab to the Spanish Steps area (where they found the steps closed) and we walked back to our apartment by Piazza Navona to rest and relax. Here are snapshots from the girl’s afternoon around Rome from assistant photo blogger Monica.

They returned from their afternoon sightseeing blitz, and we made our evening plan to see more of Rome after dark. Our street was starting to get lively as we made our way through the ancient streets. We stopped off at some of the churches that were open, including the Baroque-style beauty, the Church of St. Mary Magdalene on the Piazza della Maddalena near the Pantheon. Learn more about the church history here: http://www.orderofstcamillus.ie/killucan/32-principle-church-of-the-order-rome

 You have to experience the Pantheon Piazza at night when musicians are playing. Seeing this amazing building erected in 125 AD is quite amazing. In the next blog we’ll re-visit the Pantheon in the morning to see the interior.

We worked our way back through the winding alleys to Piazza Navona so the girls could check out some of the artists. Monica loved this artist’s rendering of Positano that we had just left, and took it home for one of her trip souvenirs.

We made it back to our street, Via del Governo Vecchio, and Cantina & Cucina Hosteria & Pizzeria lured us inside for dinner. It was packed, but we got a table quickly and placed our orders. And when they came, it was divine! Very good!

After dinner, we wandered down Via del Governo Vecchio a bit, and I loved these chalkboard signs outside the local market.

Back at the apartment, I decided to rest a few minutes and catch my second wind… or maybe not.

IMG_1361Next up, last day in Rome and Italy ~ back to the U. S. A.  ZZZZzzzzz

 

 

 

 

 

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Italy 2015 ~ Leaving Positano, Arriving in Rome

We loaded up and left Positano around 10 a.m. to an overcast sky for our drive back to Rome. It’s is just boggling how these big buses squeak past each other on the Amalfi Coast! It required some give and take for them to inch past each other and move on to the next bottleneck. Whew!

This was our last three nights in Rome, and we knew better than to try to take a rental car into Rome. Our plan was to return it to the airport car rental agency, and then catch a cab to our apartment. We made it to the car return an hour later than our supposed return time, but after asking nicely, the rental car agent didn’t charge us extra.

We lucked out when going into the exit area and found a cab driver that had a roomy van and spoke English. He knew exactly where our apartment was on Via Del Governo Vecchio in downtown historic Rome and dropped us off at the front door. He gave us his card and said to call him the night before our departure if we wanted to schedule pickup back to the airport. It worked out great and another travel dilemma solved! (how to get a cab big enough for 4 people and all our luggage – definitely needed the van).

Here’s our street, Via Del Governo Vecchio, just a couple of blocks from Piazza Navona, a few more to Campo dei Fiori, minutes to Piazza Pantheon, and 15 minutes to the Vatican. The perfect location! Our street had a multitude of restaurants, gelaterias, boutiques, antique and vintage clothing shops, a liquor store, market and more. Everything you could possibly need within steps!

In the third big photo, our apartment is the one on the left on the third floor with the balcony. It was very reasonable for a three-bedroom gorgeously appointed apartment and we loved it! The girls shared one of the twin rooms and used the second twin bedroom as their dressing room. They had a deluxe white marble bathroom across the hall. We took the master bedroom and had our own lovely marble bathroom too. Here’s a link to the management’s website: P & F Apartments, Apartments di Patrizia Fabri, http://www.pfapartment.com/eng/

Check out our view along the street from our wonderful balcony! Just be sure and lock your windows and doors anywhere you stay in Rome when not in your apartment. We loved people watching from our balcony!

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IMG_1265IMG_0477IMG_0476IMG_0479After unpacking a bit and getting settled in (and some wine of course) it was time to explore! We caught sunset in Piazza Navona and worked our way around it to see all the angles.

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IMG_1174IMG_1362IMG_1183IMG_1316IMG_1320There are all kinds of freaky panhandling schemes but this “baby” was probably one of the most creative we saw. See the video below the photo to see his antics – they’re hilarious! Plus you get a feel for Piazza Navona!

IMG_1305Here’s the baby video:

IMG_1319IMG_1314IMG_1317Locals playing music always adds to the atmosphere and these guys had drawn a crowd.

IMG_1178Here’s a quick video of them playing on the piazza:

IMG_1321IMG_1181We were starving by this time, and walking back down our street, heard and saw a crowd packed into the Abbey Theatre Irish Pub. Looking through the windows, we saw that there was a rugby championship match on television and it was packed. Irish food sounded really good after two and a half weeks in Italy, and the girls liked all the manly men in the pub, so we walked in and found ONE LONE TABLE in the pub ~ like it was waiting on us! The beer, stew and fish and chips were the delicious and we enjoyed watching the match too. Wish I had snapped more photos but I was tired and getting photoed out by this time.  http://abbey-rome.com/

IMG_1328IMG_1329IMG_1326Now for the finale of the night… gelato! Our gelateria Frigidarium just down the street was the perfect ending for the night. Here’s their Facebook page link. https://www.facebook.com/Frigidarium

IMG_1325That’s me in the bottom left corner…IMG_1360It was delish, and that’s it for now. Headed back to apartment and crashed. Got to be up early in the morning for our tour of Rome, the Colosseum, etc.

 

 

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Italy 2015 ~ Last Day in Positano

Our time in Positano was almost over, so it was time to get our last minute shopping done, pack and since it was going to be a rainy afternoon, get massages.

We had passed an enticing petite cafe on Via Pasitea, just down from the Boutique Rino shop we bought our linen shirts, and decided to go there for lunch. The name is Casa e Bottega Food and Design, and we were instantly drawn to their bright white interior with beach-themed accents and green, aqua and turquoise accent pieces.

IMG_1092We loved this Positano bag below on the door, and we discovered that the shop owner has them custom made from local artisans. The bag maker was actually there while we were lunching with samples for the 2016 bags. The pottery, linens and accents are for sale and they can also handle custom orders.

IMG_0003The pottery sea creatures and flattened glass plant vases hanging from the ceiling were some of my favorite things! IMG_1101

IMG_1099Surprisingly there is prickly pear on the Amalfi Coast and this Italian artist has turned it into an attractive ceramics motif.

IMG_1103IMG_0005IMG_1093IMG_1100We’re so distracted by all the pretty things it takes us a while to decide on our lunch selections.

IMG_1098The little dog that was outside the shop when we arrived must be a local regular. She walked in, sniffed out us dog people and settled in for a nap. IMG_1096

IMG_1102Now, to the food… This is an organic cafe that serves freshly-made offerings that are different from the usual Italian fare. They have salads, sandwiches, quiches, specials of the day, smoothies and desserts, and there are gluten free options.  Yummmm…IMG_1097A perfect lunch! My favorite was the quiche of the day. IMG_0009IMG_0008IMG_0006The owner is Tanina Vanacore and Monica and Denise both got her autographed cookbook “Tanina’s Kitchen Diary” to take home. Along with delicious recipes and tips, it has gorgeous photos around Positano. The perfect memorable souvenir!

Tanina’s daughter was there and she told us about their other family restaurant, Ristorante Next2 that was just up the street from our apartment. So we decided we’d try that for our last dinner in Positano.

Monica and Denise did a bit more shopping, getting some more handmade shoes for their daughters.

It was time for our afternoon massage appointments at Hotel Poseidon, and we arrived in a downpour! We had stopped by and gone up to make appointments that morning. http://www.hotelposeidonpositano.it/

IMG_1154Luckily I had snapped a few pictures on the way past a few days earlier. They were celebrating their 60-year anniversary and have a four-star status.

IMG_1085We had to wait a few minutes until our massage time, so walked around the hotel a bit and out onto their pool terrace when the rain stopped. IMG_1084IMG_1145IMG_0005IMG_0006They have the oldest elevator in Positano and it comes with instructions! Monica and Denise took a selfie to remember their ride.

They have a lovely terrace with great views over Positano.

IMG_1151Charming hand-painted tiles inset into the floor tileIMG_1153IMG_1152The neighbor’s porch…IMG_1149It was time for our massages, which were wonderfully relaxing after all of our walking those stairs and hills! We returned the the apartment to finish packing up and rest a while before dinner at Ristorante Next2.The girls decided to have fun getting dressed up, and Denise thought I needed some work (she has 4 sisters) – it cracks me up every time I look at this. This is the only evening photo you’ll see of me.

IMG_0043So we’re dressed up and the rain has passed, so we sashay up the street to Ristorante Next2. Here’s their website so you can see more of their ambiance. Reservations are recommended. Here’s Denise and Monica and our lovely, delicious selections. http://www.next2.it/en/restaurant_next2_positano.html

I loved the bathroom art – they obviously have a great sense of humor!

Tomorrow its up and out to drive back to Rome for the next three nights.

IMG_0012Buona notte ~ Next stop – Rome!

Categories: Travel: ITALY | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Italy 2015 ~ Day Trip to Isle of Capri

We had picture perfect weather for our day trip to the Isle of Capri from Positano, and walked down to the Spiaggia Grande Beach area to get our ferry tickets. The morning sunlight really brought the colors out and the Mediterranean sparkled. You buy the ferry tickets at a little kiosk next to the docking area and they were about 12 euro each round trip for Positano to Capri. Find ferry and bus schedules and tons of information on the Amalfi Coast at: http://www.positano.com/

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IMG_0296IMG_0299IMG_0298All aboard! The ferries are nice with indoor seating with a bar and restrooms and outer deck seating.

IMG_0137We got some great shots of Positano as we were heading out on the ferry.

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On the ferry ride, this handsome older fellow named Alfonso, in a straw hat and white linen shirt, was gathering “customers” for a guided tour on Capri for 20 euro each, which included the bus fare. Since we had never been to Capri and had no idea what to expect, we decided to join him. I had read about taking the public buses from the marina up to Anacapri and the chair lifts and knew it was going to be tortuous.  I am soooo glad we joined Alfonso!

Denise looked like our ship’s figurehead at the head of the ferry

Coming into sight of Capri – the three small rocks to the left are the Faraglioni, one of the iconic snapshots of Capri. Here’s a link to Capri’s official website to learn more about these famous rocks and Capri. http://www.capri.net/en/s/the-faraglioni-of-capri

IMG_0333Coming into the Marina Grande at CapriIMG_0942IMG_0943

Alfonso had put a sticker on our shoulders so he could recognize his “group”, and had us wait together after unloading off the ferry while he lined up buses for us. We had about 15 minutes to walk across the street to a coffee and bar to get drinks, snacks or use the restroom. No public buses for us! He hustled up these private buses for the correct number of people in the group (see how hard he’s working in that top left picture!). I guess it must be first come, first serve for certain guides or vendors for these buses. After passing several of the local bus stops and seeing how many people were waiting and then seeing one fully loaded like sardines in a can, I was doubly glad to be with Alfonso!

The buses take you from Marina Grande up a long winding, switch-backing nerve-wracking road where the buses squeak past each other with BARELY inches to spare. We were going up to the chair lifts at Anacapri first, then back down to Capri.

I thought this guy on the motorcycle was going to get squashed between the buses but he slipped right between them. Jeepers!

Going up on the bus…

We offloaded just down from the Monte Solaro chair lift building, and there were shops and some restaurants. Another arrangement that Alfonso helped with was getting his group a discount at one of the restaurants there. You got a few choices of entrees, a drink and dessert for a VERY reasonable price for Capri. It was nothing fancy, and they even rushed our orders to save us time. The lines everywhere were extra long and had slowed everyone down.

After our quick lunch,  Alfonso herded us to the chair lifts, getting money for our tickets and handing them out to the group. Since he bought tickets for the group, it expedited us getting to pass the ticket office and go straight to the line up the steps which was also a big time saver.

Going up! Secure all your stuff!

That is a long, tall ride but it only takes about 12 minutes! Mount Solaro is 589 meters above sea level, and there are terraces at the top with panoramic views in every direction. Wow!

You get a great view of the Faraglioni rocks from up here!

IMG_1026IMG_0045IMG_0052IMG_0431There are tunnels through the rocks and boats actually go through them! IMG_0414We had a set time to meet Alfonso back down at the buses, so took the chair lifts back down and loaded up. The buses took us to the Piazza Umberto, better known as La Piazzetta, (or tourist central).

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IMG_1041IMG_1038IMG_0076He gave us a choice of spending our remaining time on our own, or to follow him to see the famous Gardens of Augustus and Capri’s historic perfume maker, Carthusia. We chose to follow him as we knew we would never find those sites on our own in these crowds – or we might lose Monica and Denise to the numerous designer shops along the way.  IMG_0075

Carthusia has been making perfume since 1681 with products sourced only from Capri.  http://www.carthusia.it/?___store=en

There’s a public pay restroom just up the hill if you need facilities by this time! We made a stop then entered the Gardens of Augustus, created by German industrialist Friedrich Alfred Krupp. He built his own path down the hill to where he could dock a boat.

More great views from the garden – note the boat headed into the cave in the right hand picture.

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IMG_0465Time was getting short, so we strolled back to La Piazetta to meet Alfonso for the buses to return down to Marina Grande. We had time to browse the shops around the piazza (and Monica and Denise to power shop) and pick up a bottle of Prosecco for the ferry ride home.

The big “No” was how I feel about all the crowds! I think Alfonso told us that they had been having about 14,000 visitors a day that month. Wow!

That was the best 20 euro ever spent for a tour guide! We NEVER would have made it through all those bus logistics and seen all the highlights without his help. We all gave him a bit extra, and a big thank you before boarding the ferry back to Positano.

IMG_0121Positano coming into view …

IMG_1074First stop, the cocktail bar next to the dock. They make some super strong cocktails for the money. We had several and hiked our way back up the hill to our apartment… and it was early to bed that night!

Salute!

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Zzzzzzz….

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Italy 2015 ~ Shopping Positano

We awoke on our first morning in Positano ready to explore the picturesque town renowned for their summery style of clothing, handmade sandals and painted ceramics. Monica and Denise are pro shoppers, so I knew I was in for a long day. I’m going to combine two days of shopping into this one, as we scoped out several places the first day and then went back and made purchases the next. View from our balcony…

IMG_1141Italians love to garden and there are little plots everywhere, always neatly tended.IMG_1143As we were getting ready, we began to hear music up the way. We went out to see what was going on, and it was a marching band walking down the road! How wonderful! There is nothing like a marching band to get you going in the morning, and we discovered they worked their way down the hill and through town, ending up at the main beach area.

Wally set off ahead of us with plans for us to meet up with him for lunch. However one far-off glimpse of him going round a curve a long ways downhill was the last we saw of him. Here are some shots going down our street…

IMG_1082IMG_1083IMG_1086Look at the view as we go down the hill overlooking Postiano!!

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IMG_0861A great little ceramics shop in the curve…IMG_1088IMG_1087All three of us fell in love with La Bottega di Brunella in Positano. They have three stores, with the largest one at the top of the hill featuring clothing, accessories and linens for the home. They have another further down the hill with clothing and accessories, and then one near the bottom of the hill below the church. They feature loom-woven linens that are amazing and all are one-of-a-kind. Learn more about them and their Positano fashion lines at their website: http://www.abbigliamentopositanobrunella.com/en/

IMG_0837We’re going to head on down the hill…IMG_0840IMG_0859

IMG_0838Monica wanted some shoes and chose Artiginanto Rallo to have them made. She picked out the style, and then we watched as their friendly shoemaker fitted her and then made up a pair in not time, making sure they fit comfortably before letting her leave. http://www.artigianatorallo.com/

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IMG_0025We hear music again… here comes the band!

We stopped in to see the inside of the gorgeous church with the mosaic tiled dome that dominates the scenery of Positano, the Church of Santa Maria Assunta. Here’s a picture we had taken earlier so you can see most of the church.

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The La Brunella di Bottega store below the Church of Santa Maria Assunta was my favorite of the three for their blues, reds and other bright summer colors. Each piece of clothing is handmade and the dye lots are all different, so no two pieces are alike. We all found several pieces we loved and left with full bags! The shopkeeper was so sweet, helping with selections and accessories and always smiling.

Time for a drink and more gelato for Monica. Someone told her to have gelato every day, and she’s been working on it!

We made it to the bottom of the hill to the Spiaggia Grande. Time to head back up and see what we missed on some of the side streets…We picked up straw Italian hats and some shirts at the shop right behind them in the photo. They had the best selection of hats that we saw in town and most were under $20.

IMG_0846Another boutique that drew us in was Antica Sartoria that had lots of discount racks out front. Their style is very feminine to romantic, and their prices were reasonable. We took turns trying on and modeling our selections and the shop attendant was so fun! She knew her business and would say yes or no, whether it was good for you or not. We left with bulging bags from here too!  http://www.anticasartoriapositano.it/?page_id=19297&lang=en

We decided Wally needed a new look, so chose Boutique Rino di Casola Francesco further up the hill on Via Pasitea to get him some nice linen shirts. This is a second generation shop, with the son now operating the boutique. They specialize in high quality flax linen clothing and accessories. Denise got a shirt for her son, and I got Wally white, blue and purple shirts and a blue scarf for me.

IMG_0032IMG_0031The owner was very helpful with our selections. IMG_0033The shop dog

IMG_1090I tried on a shirt to see what size Wally would need, and with my new hat on, I’m getting a feel for this new look. IMG_0030Time for lunch with a view back up the hill at Ristorante Caffe Positano. Looking at that view and those plates of food makes me want to be back there right now! It was sooo good! http://www.caffepositano.it/en/

IMG_0864IMG_0034IMG_0040IMG_0037IMG_0036IMG_0038IMG_0035We finished up and went back to our apartment to find Wally. He had rested and read and had been wondering if we got lost.

IMG_0871.jpgDenise presented him with his new straw Italian hat and white linen shirt we had gotten him during our shopping spree so he could look more Italian.

We rested a bit and for dinner walked just a minute up the street to Saraceno d’Oro Ristorante and Pizzeria. It was a nice evening, so we chose one of the outdoor tables on the street. As you can see it was another perfect Italian meal!  http://www.saracenodoro.it/home.htm

IMG_0914IMG_0916IMG_0919Whew! Long day and time to head home and rest. Up next, day trip to the Isle of Capri.

Here’s my post on our day trip to Positano two years previously in 2013, and I featured lots of the painted ceramics, boutiques, art, etc. that I didn’t cover in this blog. https://busybeetraveler.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/day-trip-to-positano-italy/

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Italy 2015 ~ Arriving in Positano on the Amalfi Coast

After a week in Tuscany at Borgo Lucignanello Bandini (http://www.borgolucignanello.com/) just north of Montepulciano, it was time to pack up and head south to our next destination, Postiano on the Amalfi Coast. We got a final shot of our windowsill full of all local wines we had sampled – there are four of us keep in mind – and Wally’s Jim Beam he alternated with wine. Just wish we could have shipped all those great bottles home full!

IMG_0173 We had driven from Tuscany to the Amalfi Coast two years previously, so had an idea of what we were in for on the trip. After turning off at Castellammare di Stabia towards Sorrento (the GPS took us the long way through the town but luckily it wasn’t busy) it’s becomes curvy, sheer drops, motorcycles, cars, buses, bikes and pedestrians – altogether scary!

IMG_0791We had chosen an Air B and B apartment with two balconies overlooking the Mediterranean Sea that was furnished with antiques and looked quite charming. It was even captioned “Charming Sea View Apartment” – see her link for photos of the interior.  https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4913937?eluid=1&euid=6ccd1b64-c777-a9c4-da2a-dd2989730924

We missed our one-way street turnoff (all the above traffic issues distracted us), and ending up on the far side of Positano headed to Amalfi. I knew we had missed our turn. I called Roberta, our hostess, who was waiting at the apartment to meet us, and she told us where we had gone wrong. We backtracked and found her waving in the street for us in front of the parking garage door. Just up the street were these antique chairs someone had put out for the trash I suppose – what a shame!

IMG_0801One of the reasons we had chosen this apartment, on top of the balconies and view, was that it offers a free parking spot in a secured garage just a minute from the apartment. Parking is VERY tight in Positano, and most visitors have to pay to park in the parking garages that are good ways from where you might be staying. And consider hauling your luggage, etc., up and down the hills. This was perfect!

Roberta walked us from the garage to our apartment, and she and her mother gave us an overview of the apartment and our surroundings. She had baked us a delicious plum cake, and had a bottle of chilled Prosecco which was open almost before the door closed behind her! Grazie mille Roberta! We had the cake for breakfast each morning toasted with honey from Tuscany we had brought along drizzled over it. Mmmmm…

IMG_0014Chilling on arrival on our balcony…

IMG_0796The apartment was located on the second curve of the hill, so the main bay of Positano is just around the corner to the left. Our street had lots of restaurants, boutiques and shops scattered along it, and you could take shortcuts through the narrow alleys to go down to the main beach and waterfront.

IMG_0797View from our balcony to the right

IMG_0798Time to hit the streets and find dinner. Glad I had been working out at the YMCA several months before our trip – those steps are brutal! You can take a central town bus but it may take a while to get where you want to go.

As I made it down to the next curve on the steps and caught up with Wally, he had somehow made instant friends with a newlywed couple from California. They had gotten married at Lake Como and then came to Positano for the second half of their honeymoon. We chatted a bit about restaurants and such, and they showed us their great wedding photo on Lake Como, which we had visited last October.

IMG_0046IMG_0048IMG_0050So cute… So continuing downward – community cats hanging out at tourism kiosk seem pretty content with life.

It was dusk and we finally made it down to Spiaggia Beach and the central heart of Positano.

IMG_0057IMG_0058IMG_0060IMG_0061Time to dip our toes into the Mediterranean Sea!

Then we noticed this couple that was having their wedding photos taken on the beach… ahh, how romantic! (a bit grainy from cell phone photo shooting, but still pretty cool!)

IMG_0068IMG_0067IMG_0070Time for food! Pizzzzzzaa please! We chose Restaurant La Pergola, Buca di Bacco Bar that was beachside. http://www.bucapositano.it/ristorante-en.html

Now, to work off that pizza – back up, up, up all those steps. The restaurant, Chez Black next door was also full!

IMG_0073Next up, we’ll explore Positano and do some shopping!

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