Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sorrento and Positano 11.20.06

A morning in Sorrento

On Monday, we set out for Sorrento, taking the northerly route, on the freeway, the road that leads to Naples and then headed down towards the Sorrentine coast. Sorrento sits above the Bay of Naples and commands an excellent view, with Mt. Vesuvius and Capri just across the bay. We remembered it as a hectic city when we visited last filled with motor scooters and tourists, with buses packed to capacity carting people up and down the Amalfi Coast. I always wonder if I am just in the wrong place and not the city sung of so lovingly, as I hum "Torna Sorriento" walking down the maze of streets filled with souvenir shops. There are some very beautiful and exclusive hotels and villas perched on the cliffs there that I am sure afford their guests incomparable luxury and breathtaking views across the bay. We stayed in the Hotel Lorely several years ago and our views were truly amazing and the prices affordable for us at that time (thanks, Rick Steves).

Holiday decorations have been strung and they were putting the finishing touches on a giant tree in the main piazza so we will have to "Return to Sorrento" just to see it lit up for Christmas. We stopped in the "Museo Bottega della Tarsialegnea" the museum that displays local woodcraftwork, particularly the marquetry work that Sorrento is famous for. The furniture and art objects on display were truly worth seeing and we especially enjoyed the extensive collection of prints and photographs from an earlier age, albeit romanticized by the artists, but lovely nevertheless.

We bought some paninis at one of the local groceries and looked out over the bay while we ate, then continued on our way, towards Positano.

We drove up high above the coast, on a road that leads to Sant'Agata Sui Due Golfi (there is a point where you can see the two gulfs, Naples and Salerno and it is pretty spectacular). At another panoramic viewpoint, which we refer to now as "Luster's Lane" due to the remnants of indescribable "litter" we saw in the bushes around us. Yikes. A bit creeped out, we did manage to take some photos of the sea view, which truly was gorgeous, and made a hasty retreat back to the car.

We stopped in the tiny, and absolutely charming, fishing village of Marina Lobra, near Massa Lubrense. Tranquil and pretty, we stopped long enough to appreciate its beauty and take a few photos, then continued on our drive towards Positano.

Lovely Positano 11.20.06

We arrived as the sun was making its descent. It is fabulous. It starts out high on the cliff then spills down to the sea in all its pastel-colored glory as one would expect of a city with its reputation. Our guidebook discouraged us from driving down but we disregarded it and opted to see if we could find a place to park closer to the sea. Around 4pm, it was perhaps a good time to arrive as there weren't many people and we easily found a spot in one of the parking garages. It is very off-season now but the shops were still open and a few tourists loitered about looking at the paintings for sale on the seafront. There was just one artist painting and selling his work (probably an institution since he is also depicted on one of the city's postcards). They were nicely done, beautiful contemporary oils in all the colors of the city they captured so well. One of the American tourists bought the one I had looked at a few minutes before, admiring its verticality and simplicity of design.

The light on the city at sunset was beautiful. The locals arrived at dusk with their fishing poles. A few men were using the technique we have seen before - simply throwing out a length of fishing line and lure, without using a pole. The entire time we sat there they didn't catch anything, but they seemed to enjoy the process of winding and unwinding the line and tossing it out.

We wandered around, the streets are a delightful maze of steps and everything feels lovingly cared for and well tended. The beach was larger than I expected, but still small. It's also traffic free, which makes it seem all the more tranquil and relaxing. The American family was trying in vain to get their teenage son to leave the sea, but he clung tight and ignored their pleas. We heard "Connor!" many times before he finally turned away. We know how he felt! It was hard to leave this little paradise and we know we will come back.

Pizza and Rain

Back in Vietri, we parked our car, dropped our things and walked over to Marina di Vietri to find a pizza! We found one restaurant open (Monday night is not the best night to eat out as many of the restaurants close) and were treated to a dish of bruschetta and ordered a bottle of wine and a couple of margherita pizzas. The rain started to fall during our dinner so in an effort to stretch things out, hoping it would quit, we ordered the biscotti with vin santo that was really excellent. A huge basket of cookies arrived on our table, which we managed to make a pretty good dent in! They were both yummy.

Luckily there was a little bus in the piazza near the pizzeria and we were able to take it the short drive back to our apartment, keeping dry and out of the rain, since we had neglected to bring an umbrella with us!

I started writing this post this morning and I'm just finishing now. It did rain today. We stayed home most of the day, and only went out for a short walk when it let up for a bit, watching the rain clouds swirling and a big dark one envelope the little town of Raito, above us.

Thanksgiving, Christmas and family times

I cooked up some pumpkin (zucca) to make some pumpkin pies. We think we'll do a modified Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday, see if we can buy some turkey. We haven't seen anything like yams so we are wondering if they grow in Italy. We have seen something called "potato dolce" and maybe they will work, but they are white and not the bright orange color we are used to. No matter, it will just be the two of us. Our American friend Shelly invited us to come to her place in Umbria, but we don't really want to make the long drive. It would take us around 4 or 5 hours to get there. It would have been nice to have the company on this American holiday but we think it will be OK.

My sister Suzanne and my adorable, beautiful, and brilliant nieces Samantha and Madison will be with us next month so we'll have a family Christmas. We are really looking forward to that.

Jessica spent a week with Chris and Kyla in Richmond and we got some great new photos of all of them. She is working on a show over Thanksgiving so she couldn't be there for the holiday. Our son and his daughter look so happy to have had Aunt Jessica with them again for a brief visit. Kyla is getting so big. I will have to post a new photo of her in her new pink coat and hat! What a cutie!

We've been kind of frustrated at our poor internet coverage. It seems like our connections are slower than they were in other places and we aren't sure why. We are using the same TIM system we had in Sicily and in Verona, using our cell phone as the modem, but it is painfully slow some days, just trying to get connected to email.

That's it for the moment. We have plans to go to Napoli and visit that city. It has so much to offer.

Tonight we will just stay dry and cozy in our little apartment. We hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and we send you our love and good wishes.

Rosemary e Robert

No comments: