Positano trip report : 9 to 23 May 2009

06/17/2009 - 13:19

Trip Report: Positano May 2009  After our adventures in Rome and Avellino Province in Campania (see previous trip reports) we moved on for the main part of our holiday, some serious chilling out on the beach.  We left our Agriturismo near Contrado and headed south on the small road to Salerno, which gave us some magnificent views as we came off the high ground.We have a bit of a mooch around Salerno, and then OH dived off up a small street (not too sure we should have been there...) and we found ourselves (minus wing mirror, a parking casualty which fortunately went back on) just above the Duomo where there was some kind of Police prize giving going on, all sorts of uniforms and snazzy cars parked in impossible corners, proud families, great fun.  We continued uphill which proved a big mistake and had to reverse out, losing the other mirror in the process, fortunately a friendly policeman found all the bits and put it all together... headed out of Salerno onto the famous Costiera Amalfitana... so beautiful and the sea so blue, at that time of year with Spring flowers and lemons everywhere.  We had to stop and take it all in at the Hotel Cetus, it all seemed too glamorous to be true!On to Positano where miraculously after a very exciting and wonderful drive we found the Garage and parked the car (14 euro a day) and then headed down stairs, paths, lifts to Hotel Puppeto where we had a very comfortable room with wonderful views from our sun terrace.  It was a bit old fashioned and looked as if it could do with a bit of updating and work (a fridge in the room for instance) but very relaxed and laid back with very friendly and helpful staff.  We used the restaurant over the weekend but quickly discovered that the menu did not change, the helpings were huge and for some reason all vegetables were precooked and kept in a cabinet to be served cold which is something I don’t think I have ever seen before...    The beach (Fornillo beach) was almost a private beach, shingly, volcanic, tended by staff, showers at the three beach bars.  We were early season (9th May) so beach bars were being put together, but we soon met up with Guido and Marco at Ferdinand’s which became a home from home most lunchtimes, lovely fresh food and good music.Unfortunately the dreaded jellyfish put in an appearance  which put a stop to swimming for a few days, I wasn’t too convinced how clean the water was either, but the weather was perfect.Positano town was a ten minute walk around the headland on a pretty path which runs more or less flat, which is a rare thing in Positano.  A good selection of shops, wonderful sandals at Safari! Bars and restaurants everywhere, having a coffee at Chez Black we saw a swordfish being delivered..  lots of Americans, it felt like the 53rd State, also Australians/New Zealanders as well as the usual European  languages all around.We arranged a trip to Il Ritrovo up in the hills, a huge fish soup/stew which was the speciality of the house, and afterwards with coffee some homemade petit fours which were great, and sent back with Limoncillo and some herb/condiment, a very nice touch.  Nice people.At the weekend in the middle of our stay the weather roughed up a bit, so we retrieved the car and set out on the Friday to Paestum, bit of a hike to get there but well worth it... through Battipaglia and down ‘the strip’, lots of buffalo products for sale but no sight of any.  Paestum was absolutely lovely, there were parties of school children which kept the volume up, but other than that very peaceful with Spring flowers and lots to see, and a very good little Museum (also very pleasant ‘Ristorante de Museo’ next door.   Thought we would return along the coast road to Salerno which was pretty depressing with the poverty, however we did see an enclosure of buffaloes.On the Amalfi coast road we came across the road closures which were quite fun, everyone very relaxed about it, the men working on ropes up in the cliffs, not a problem at all.  The problem on the road to me are the oversized buses, particularly if you have two coming in opposite directions... no-one giving an inch, normal sizes buses, normal traffic, suicidal scooter riders and insane cyclists in lycra adding to the mix...Had a superb dinner in Max’s one evening, lovely food but quite a small place where we were rather dominated by a solo American woman holding court, I think everyone in the restaurant are very familiar with her whole family’s medical histories now.  Had a trip over to Pompeii which is a definite must see but we both felt we preferred Paestum, probably as Pompeii is more crowded and was hotter and dustier.  Absolutely amazing though, and work continuing.  Went up Vesuvius afterwards, didn’t attempt the walk up to the actual summit, but it was interesting  to see the lava fields and plants that have moved in.  We got a bit lost coming back, not sure how but it was an interesting drive.. Angri, Gragnano, Pimonte up and up and up and through a tunnel and then switch backed through Furore, Conca dei Marini and then joined the coast roadWhen the weather picked up again the jellyfish had gone for a few days which was very good news so we were back into the beach/Ferdinand’s routine again.  Had dinner at Chez Black which was very good, I wasn’t too sure whether somewhere so much ‘in the front’ would make the effort.  They did.  We did call into the Pergola but the drinks were very expensive and menu not very exciting.  Had a very good meal over the square at La Cambusa, they seem to work very hard there.Spent our last evening in the restaurant in Palazzo Murat, which is in a lovely garden and very stylish with some good things on the menu and some (unobtrusive) live music.There were quite a few things we didn’t get round to doing, didn’t visit Ravello, didn’t do any boat trips, but we did a few things and enjoyed a relaxing holiday which was the main plan.  We were glad we stayed where we did, the beach looked lots better than the town beach, and the town could be pretty crowded and noisy.  Hotel was fairly basic, 3* rather than luxury, but clean and comfortable and staff very nice.  We felt the restaurant could try harder, but there are plenty of others to choose from.  Weather was perfect, the Ferdinand’s beach bar a great place with great people.Link to some photos from our trip is:http://www.flickr.com/photos/pennifer/3625350366/in/set-72157619728881388/  


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