TRAVELOGORRHEA

travelogorrhea

Domenica. On the Capitan Morgan mini-cruise to Positano and Amalfi. We had a most unique and wonderful dinner last night, but first I should bring this journal up to date. After writing in the patio with the cats, I grabbed my camera and retraced my steps to Il Postino beach, then ventured farther to the next one as well, to a cliff looking down upon a long thin brown sand beach curving to the west, with a view of Ischia across the water.

 

Then later, M., B. & I went exploring and found the lighthouse near us at the foot of a long staircase, then the rocks at the base of the cliff in the late afternoon sun, with a picture-postcard view across the water to the port and the hill behind it – and beyond that to the mainland, with Vesuvius hazy in the distance.

 

 

We finished off the bottle of Chianti playing hearts in our patio, and saw our last sunset on the island.

 

Then the dinner, starting at 9 in the garden. We bravely chose to sit at a big table to try to converse with our tablemates, and were joined by three attractive and engaging young people: a couple from Roma, and a woman from Finland who spoke nearly unaccented English. We started with a lemon seafood salad, bread and the local Procidan white wine which was cloudy and delicious, reminiscent of unfiltered apple juice. Then a course of thick round bands of pasta, obviously homemade, with mussels. And then the main course, a triumphant presentation of 6-to-8 inch grilled calamaris stuffed with mint and mozzarella! That was a seafood celebration for the tastebuds. During all this time our talk ranged widely – the Finnish woman, Tiia, is a translator who speaks six languages and spent a year of college in Bologna. The man, Ugo, is an engineer who has traveled around the world including China, and lives in Trastevere. We talked about global warming, food, traffic – and M. asked him what the Italians think of Americans. He was very diplomatic, and said the Italians feel sorry that the Americans are going through a difficult period. Couldn’t have said it better myself! At 11:30 we exchanged e-mails and said goodnight – and the nice lady from the hotel loaned us her cellphone to use as an alarm clock. Up bright and early at 6:30 this morning – it’s just past 11 and we will soon arrive in Positano.

 

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Lunch stopover in this exquisite city on a cliff. The boat let us off and M. immediately headed up the steps – hundreds of feet up to the Caffe Positano for a delicious lunch of sardine fillets, bruschetta and a cold Peroni.


 

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A quick passage to Amalfi, this spectacular place, and we saw the Hotel Luna right when we got off the boat and rolled our bags up here. It’s an old convent on the crest of the hill right above the water. Very refined. Our room wasn’t ready so we walked across the street and down the steps to their private pool and the rocks below, where you can climb down into the Bay of Sorrento. We met signor Peppe who rules the pool, then had a cold Peroni and acqua minerale in the SaracenTower. Then we checked into our room, inexplicably upgraded to a deluxe suite on two levels with two balconies - one of them with a panoramic ocean-and-city view!


 

It’s all somewhat unreal – like that huge suite I enjoyed in Hongkong at the Kowloon YMCA in 1988. Soon we will cool off in the bay.

 

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The leap off the rocks into the water is breathtaking – you are suddenly one with the enveloping ocean of Italy, treading water in the chop, looking up at the fairyland of Atrani,


 

Amalfi’s sister-city to the east. One with the pulsing whoosh! of the waves that push you back to the ladder on the rock. After showers and a nap, we made our way downhill into the town around dusk, and had a perfect meal in the alley above the Amalfi Hotel at La Perla, where I had homemade Scialatelli pasta with local clams, shrimps and mussels. We picked up lots of necessities: a map, deodorant powder for my leather sandals, Campari sodas in the tiny red flasks, a bottle of red wine from Ravello and a bottle of limoncello from Amalfi. Back on our deck, we were admiring once again our good fortune at being upgraded to this suite of rooms and balconies when *bang!* the fireworks went off right in our faces, just over the town.

 

We laughed in delight. Buona Sera.

 

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