#onemonthinItaly was just the beginning…

I’m convinced that in order to deserve spending now the vast majority of my summer in Italy, I must have rescued puppies from drowning in a previous life. I can’t just be lucky, right?

After a purely magical month of May in Positano (with a quick stop in Rome in the middle), I was back in Italy for most of July.  First, it was Franciacorta and Lago d’Iseo for my friend Giovanna’s wedding, back to Verona for the Opera Festival, then back to Positano. Because, again, the puppies.

The great thing about my summer in Italy is that it’s been a wonderful combination of new experiences and old favorites. So, dear reader, you’re in a for a treat: A series of posts about my favorite place on earth!

Starting with #onemonthinItaly in review – my month in Positano!

Positano is easy navigable by its two bus stops: Chiesa Nuova (at the top of town where the bus drops you off in front of Bar Internazionale) and Sponda (on the other side just up from Li Galli bar). In between there’s a one way road which winds through town, culminating at Piazza Mulini. I rented a gorgeous apartamentino in the Liparlati area of Positano, just a 10 minute hike up steep stairs from the center of town between Piazza Mulini and Sponda. I had a teensy Juliet balcony with French doors that opened on to blooming bourganvilla with a sea view and within chiming range of three churches. So you know, a shack really. 😉

I quickly got acquainted with my local market and vegetable shop. My friend Luigi drove me up to the fish market at the top of town, where Nicola and the crew expertly cleaned and filleted my fish for me, because I of course could not be trusted with such a feat of culinary expertise. But while I was self-sufficient as I could be, I soon found that working from home every day meant that social interaction over meals every day was essential. And so, a normal day looked like this:

  • 9am: Wake up, get ready, check some emails.
  • 10:30am: Walk down to Collina for a cappuccino and cornetto.
  • 11am: A quick little passegiata on the main beach.
  • 12pm: Back up to the apartment on the local bus to continue working.
  • 2pm: Lunch at home. My favorite: Clams sautéed with garlic and cherry tomatoes.
  • 4pm: A little rest at home or on the beach.
  • 5pm: More work until Italian dinner time.
  • 9pm: Back down to town for dinner, then drinks with friends.  If I had an earlier day and could finish around 7 or 8pm, I threw a little aperitivo in there for good measure.

I have a little collection of friends in Positano since I’ve visited once a year since 2007, but what a treat to meet i miei nuovi amici! There was always someone at the bar having an espresso or at La Brezza having a beer and I was always welcomed to join in. I thought I might get bored in this town of 4,000 people over the course of the month, but I settled in quite naturally to the slower pace of life complimented by the buzz of the social nature – what’s not to love about saying “Ciao!” to five or ten people on your walk to town?!

And because I wasn’t cramming my visit into four days and therefore only having time for my favorite restaurants – Le Tre Sorelle and Mediterraneo – I was able to try a whole host of new, both to me and in general, eateries. Tanina’s healthy fare and delectable sweets at Casa e Bottega was a multiple times per week occurrence.

More to come on the foodie adventures, but first, actual adventures! With all of this time in Positano, I knew I would make the compulsory trips to Sorrento, Amalfi and Ravello, but I also wanted to try some new things as well.

First it was off to Praiano, Positano’s sister town just a short 15 minute bus ride from Mulini. I rode the bus all the way to the top of town to take in the breathtaking views, then walked back down to the Chiesa San Gennaro with it’s majestic mosaic piazza overlooking the sea with Positano in the distance.  I visited on a Sunday so several of the shops and eateries were closed, and I didn’t make it down to One Fire Beach so I don’t feel that I experienced the best of Praiano, but that’s something to look forward to on the next trip! 🙂

My lovely friend Suzanne came to visit mid-month and as we sat over breakfast at Casa e Bottega, we got a recommendation to forgo Positano’s main beach and even the more low-key Fornillo, and head to Laurito.  This tiny beach is a 15 minute (free!) boat ride away from Positano’s boat dock – just look for the boat with the red fish sign for Da Adolfo, one of two restaurants on the beach.  You hop off unceremoniously from the boat and within seconds are ensconced in a sun lounge. Lunch is at the spectacularly tasty Da Adolfo which is nearly always packed.  It’s a bit comical really as tables are full at Da Adolfo and empty at the neighboring Le Sirene.  On my first visit, we stuck to chef Sergio’s special eggplant parmagiana which was creamy, cheesy and surprisingly satisfying for a hot day in the sun. When I went back with my friend Antonio, a Positano native now living in Milan, the spread was decidedly more of a celebration of local specialties: mozzarella on grilled lemon leaves, carpaccio, seafood salad, grilled local fish and white wine with peaches. With Laurito, boats start running at midday, stop between about 1:30 and 4 for lunch, then return to Positano between about 4 and 6pm.  Be careful on the weekends as this little oasis gets busy and you may be in for a let down if you don’t make a reservation for a sun chair or lunch.

Throughout my month in Positano I’d been asking around for a guide to take me to hike the Path of the Gods, renowned for the bird’s eye views of Positano. A friend offered to take me in lieu of an official guide the Monday of my last week, offering a much needed physical exertion after a few weeks of delicious food and gelato. We started from his home village of Montepertuso, about 10 minutes drive up from the top of Positano, hiked for over an hour toward Nocelle, then turned around and came back, where we rewarded ourselves with lunch at the incredible Il Ritrovo, just on Montepertuso’s main piazza.

Finally, on my very last full day, my friend Alberto picked me up for the drive to Praiano’s Praia marina, where he guided me on a private sea kayak tour to Laurito and back. It was my first time in a kayak, and after I got the hang of how to steer myself (and push myself off rocks when steering failed me, let’s be honest), we weaved through some spectacular little caves, waved to yachts and earned our 11am beer at Da Adolfo. The trip back to Praia was a bit rough due to wind and rolling seas, so poor Alberto had to tow me most of the way. I’m shocked really that he had the patience and energy to share a yummy lunch with me at Da Armandino (oh dear lord the lemon risotto with shrimp!) before driving me back to Positano.

The best thing about my new experiences in Positano is that I shared them with old and new friends! Thank you to Lorenzo, Luigi, Fanny, Suzanne, Antonio, Cristian and Alberto for making my month truly magical!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

© Jennifer Konopasek and GoodTravelerKarma, 2014.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “#onemonthinItaly was just the beginning…

  1. Hello Jenny!!

    Thank you for adding me to you newsletter. I don’t think my girlfriend Toni is getting them though and she would love to be kept in the loop about your travels too. You may or may not remember us but we both met you while dining at Le Tre Sorelle on your last night in Positano last June. We invited you to have a drink with us as you looked a little lonely and ended up learning all about your fun holiday in Positano. We were staying at the Hotel Poseidon (what a great Hotel) and you rented Villa up on the opposite side.. Toni and I had such an amazing two weeks on the Amalfi and loads of fun meeting many people along the way but now we are home in Australia, back into reality. But you I see are busy keeping all your subscribers up to date with your travels and I particulary enjoyed reading this post below on Positano some time ago now. When you talked about your ‘Path of the Gods’ experience I couldn’t help but think of Toni’s and my experience with our wonderful guide, Franco De Simone. Please, if ever you do write about the trails around Positano again I would greatly appreciate it if you could promote his business – Franco Trekking. Our wonderful hotel hooked us up with Franco and we were not dissapointed. Not only is he a true local of the area but also a qualified guide with the Italian Excursion Federation. He tailored our hike to suit our needs and it felt great to have this flexibility as we noticed along the hiking trail many large groups going the opposite direction and trailing behind each other like well trained sheep. We had the freedom to stop, chat, smell the flowers, admire the scenery, take a breathe whenever we wanted. Not only were we treated with a lovely antipasto at the end in the village of Agerola but Franco had earlier in the day invited us into his family’s garden in Montepertuso to discuss their ‘farm to table’ lifestyle with the chance to meet local villagers. He so kindly invited us into his home on our next visit to Positano to eat and drink some of his home grown produce and of course took him up on his offer but promised I would help promote his guiding venture. I know he has tough competition from other companies and I met some of these people but weren’t impressed as it was obvious they had less knowledge of the Positano area specifically and were doing it for the money -not because they enjoy meeting people like I knew was genuine about Franco.

    Anyway, see how you go. His details are;

    Franco De Simone of Franco Trekking
    +39 089 811 789
    +39 366 3379 352
    francotrekking@live.it
    http://www.facebook.com/francotrekking

    Enjoy travelling! Love your work and envy your lifestyle,

    Best of luck,
    Toni Jena and Tania Carmichael
    P.s. I wanted to send you some photos but don’t know how..

    • Hi Tania,

      Of course I remember you and Toni and thank you again for getting in touch. Thanks as well for the detail on Franco and his trekking company. I’ve had such a wonderful summer in Positano and I’m glad you’re enjoying my posts. I would love to see some photos, so feel free to email me at jenny@goodtravelerkarma.com.

      Toni can also subscribe to my blog directly on the homepage. She just needs to enter the email address and click follow.

      Thanks again,
      Jenny

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s