Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Amalfi Coast, Here We Come!

Finally (finally!), Nathan gets to join in some fun. The week of Mike and Katrina's arrival, I gave Nathan our list of planned activities and asked him what he most wanted to do with us as he'd only be able to join us for one day of touring. He picked going to Positano. Years ago, Positano was a retreat for me. I'd been traveling in Italy with friends, I was tired, and I was backpacking. I've often said that Italy was the single most difficult country for me during that time, on a trip that included most of Western Europe, a couple of Eastern European countries, and Morocco. After some time in Italy, my friend and I retreated to Positano for several days, where we lounged about on our rented beach chairs, took a boat over to Capri, and basically did a whole lot of nothing. So Positano will always hold a place in my heart for offering that calm retreat...and Nathan wanted to see it.

We got an early start as my trip down the Amalfi Coast the previous week had included sitting in traffic for over an hour. I'd hoped that was due to us not leaving my house until 10:30am. As it turns out, that wasn't the problem. I haven't actually looked at a map of what our route should be to get there - I am way too dependent on the GPS - but I believe there is a road that cuts off a lot of the coastal drive. That road is currently closed. So all drivers heading south are forced to drive an extra stretch along the coast road, which meanders through little towns as well as the curvy mountains. Despite the traffic, the drive is extraordinary. Every single curve brings yet another amazing viewpoint. One of our goals was to pick up some Sorrento lemons for our homemade limoncello. Sorrento lemons are amazing. They are huge and bursting with flavor. Unfortunately, the recipe I'm trying out right now is one that takes about three months, so if all goes well, we'll have some limoncello made of Sorrento lemons by mid-summer. I plan to start a second batch soon using a different recipe, one that is a whole lot quicker!

Positano picturesquely climbs the mountain to which it clings, but the beachfront area is pedestrian only and lined with lovely, small shops. We parked our car on the edge of town and meandered down to the beach, stopping at the artisan limoncello shop to stock up. This is the place that makes organic limoncello - I mentioned them in the previous post on Positano, Driving the Amalfi Coast. I wanted to pick up several bottles to keep on hand at the house, and we snagged a ginormous, lemon candle to hopefully help with our anticipated mosquito problem this summer. (Side note: yes, Katrina, before you ask, ginormous is a real word. I looked it up - first known use, 1948! Funnily enough.).

We continued our ramble, stopping in at shops that caught our eye, Mike and Katrina picked up a few gifts, and we finally reached the beach and enjoyed yet another delicious meal, this time at Cambusa's, overlooking the beach and ocean.  With rain clouds moving in, we headed on down the coast to see the Grotto Verduro, which I had just read about on our way to Positano. Disappointingly, we arrived about 15 minutes after it closed. But, I was excited to see the coastline beyond Positano as it was totally new for me. We headed on down to the town of Amalfi, where we picked up a mountain road to cut over rather than returning via the busy, congested coast road. This was a true mountain road apparently. Driving along, we had to come to a complete stop while a goat shepherd wrangled his goats over to the side of the road for us to pass - definitely something I did not expect to see on our Amalfi Coast Day.

In case anyone is planning to visit Positano, you should be aware of the town's rules for guests, "so that also you will be able to help keeping presentable [their] town."


  1. I must comment here that after all was said and done, Positano was also my favorite. Kind of a "Seaside," but on the side of the mountain. This also had the best gelato of all of our tastings (and there were plenty!)

  2. I just had really yummy gelato - some of the best! Guess where - the mall! We have an actual mall right by our house, which is even bigger news than the yummy gelato.

  3. A mall? How did you find out about it? Not the Galleria Humberto? (or whatever it was called with the "Mall Dogs.")

  4. We had heard about a grocery store nearby. This is the place near the pharmacy where one can get antibiotics. We decided to check out the grocery store, and voila, a mall. We will be learning these things until the day our plane departs, I'm sure.