“We saw you down in the street kissing a handsome guy hello,” said one of my new American friends. “Well, that was a friend of mine,” I laughed in reply. “After all, I’m basically the mayor of this town.”
A couple of days earlier, I met said Americans while waiting in line for the SITA bus from Sorrento to Positano. English-speakers flock to each other when traveling I’ve found, so it’s not surprising that two couples from Kansas City heard me talking to my friend Becky while waiting for the bus and decided to strike up conversation. First it was to ask me if they were getting on the correct bus. This being my sixth trip to Positano in as many years, I confidently gave them directions and chatted a bit about the town. Then when I asked them where they were staying in Positano, they told me, “We have to go to the Mediterranean restaurant and ask for Lorenzo.” I rolled my eyes and started laughing, and they looked understandably shocked when I said, “Lorenzo’s my friend. I’ll take you there.”
Positano itself has less than 4,000 residents which is about twice the size of my high school, except that instead of four years together, the residents here have more often than not spent their entire lives together. Everyone knows everyone, and if you visit as often as I have, everyone knows you too. Which in all honestly is why I love it so much. When I arrived to my Pensione Casa Guadagno, the lovely Vanda greeted me in Italian telling me how good it was to see me again and how happy I looked. And when I went to my standard Mediterraneo for dinner, my friend Antonio hugged me tight, saying, “Welcome home.”
Positano is a bit of a resort town, often depicted in movies like “Only You”, “Under the Tuscan Sun”, and “Nine” because of its idyllic landscape and views. And while I love a little taste of luxury, like apertivo at the bar at the iconic Le Sirenuse hotel, I find this town much more wholesome and authentic in its every day and spend much of my time there living like a local. Incidentally, I find traveling this way leads to the best adventures and stories, right Emily and Becky?!?!? 😉
This time, I planned my trip around the Festa del Pesce, Positano’s annual fish festival held on the Fornillo beach. For five Euro you can choose a plate of fresh seafood prepared by the local vendors. There’s live music, dancing and fireworks to round out the evening before the young folk head to the town’s one and only club, Music on the Rocks. After scarfing some fried fish washed down with crisp Nastro Azzuro, Becky and I decided to check out the band. It was as if every little nonna and nonno in town decided to go dancing that night. Our favourite was a little signora clapping her castanets and dancing for hours at the very front of the stage. She saw us swaying on the side, grabbed Becky’s hand, and pulled us out to dance with her. Becky described it best the next morning, “It’s as if they are saying, ‘This is our town and we love it here!’ They want to show it off.” And living in a place like this, why wouldn’t they?
© Jennifer Konopasek and GoodTravelerKarma, 2013.