from the terraceToday we went along the Amalfi coast to Positano, a town I had looked at on the map. A flat map. Positano is on a hill, rising up from the sea and constructed of terraces and stairs. Lots of stairs.

stairs 1Bummed at the number of tourists – what did you expect Terri? – we climbed up from the main drag, past little houses and gardens. As we rested, panting, a woman came out of her house. I said “Troppe scale” too many stairs. We went on and on, found nothing but more stairs, so turned around. The woman seemed to be waiting. “Sai francese?” Are you French? I admitted to being an American and she invited us in for coffee!! For 45 minutes, I mangled the language, learning about her family and telling her about our dogs (what do you expect with only 8 months of study?) To Assunta Lucibello, grazie mille. It was FANTASTIC.

church cupolaPositano has a nice church, a good beach, beach umbrellas2 and lots of shopping. jewelry shoppingWe ate lunch in a covered patio and, in what became a common practice on this trip, talked to people. Canadians, the first of many, and Germans, in their own language. I did fairly well although I couldn’t remember some words – Italian is at the top of my language pile, thank goodness.

We took the ferry back to Sorrento, passing the islands Nureyev owned. All along the coast were spaced remnants of medieval towers, lookouts for Saracen pirates. Our humble ferry honked at a passing yacht – “I’m a boat.” The yacht was haughty and, unlike the buses to Sorrento, didn’t reply.boat and cliffs

Because I have been asked to highlight our meals: for dinner I had gnocchi with smoky cheese. And wine. Lots of wine. Drunk, we staggered back to the hotel. At least we were quiet, which I couldn’t say for some of those later in the street later…moody mountain Click on the pictures below for a larger, complete image including the bathing beauty’s head. The finale picture is of a Saracen lookout.

Nostro Primo Giorno in Italia

2 windowWe arrive after overnight flight, stopover Munich. All that work on Italian and I can’t stop listening to the German. It seems so easy [note: I lived there four years]! We fly on to Naples, our bags arrive; yay Lufthansa. The last time I flew to Italy with Mother, our bags were lost for 5 days. I needed to buy underwear and the word wasn’t in my dictionary…but that’s another story.

At the airport we bought the ArteCard – a combo transportation, museum pass. We were speaking English – I felt shy to try my Italian but when the saleslady couldn’t remember the word for Mostra, I knew it: exhibit. We were all impressed.2 bus

Out of the airport, looking for the bus to Sorrento. Airports are much the same – shops, gates, long walkways. But outside in another country jangles my nerves at first – the signs, the foreign language.  That first step into the unknown is disorienting. At the bus we speak to a couple from the U.K. in English, of course. A comfort zone I’m determined to leave.

The ride to Sorrento is a bit like Disney, whoosh, beep, shrieks. While the driver talks to passengers or on the phone, he speeds along a tiny coastal road packed with traffic. People park on facing the wrong direction. Motorinos court death as they zip around us. Cars blurt into our path. Where are the crumpled fenders? Every time we drove past another bus, the driver honks. He couldn’t know ALL the other drivers. Brian said it’s simple a matter of, “I’m a bus. You’re bus.”
2 Sorrento

2 ravine
Sorrento is poised on cliffs over the sea and split in half by a huge ravine. We pull our rollies through Italians taking their passagiata (evening walk) and find the hotel.

Our first meal is a bust. Mediocre pizza and a snotty waiter, but we’re exhausted and just want to get to bed.2 sunset

I hope we like this town. It’s very touristy. But we’re here – inserted into Italy. By morning the strangeness will have worn off a bit and we’ll be on our way to Positano.

Pictures: view from our hotel window, the bus, the town from the bay, the ravine, and sunset with umbrella trees.

Un Viaggio in Italia.

1 HouseWe’re ready. Armed with tickets – airplane, train, bus. Reservations for the Gallery Borghese and Vatican Museum. A ream of paper with daily plans, copies of vouchers, addresses, hotel reservations, maps. A couple of books: Rome Then and Now. The same for Pompeii. Ipods loaded with guided tours. A virtual pharmacy, thanks to hubby, B – aspirin, cold medicine, nose spray, tums, Neosporin, eye drops, band aids, ear plugs. Sweaters for the countryside, slacks for the city. Rain ponchos. Prepared. 1 statue

I’ll bet you think we have huge suitcases, but no, just standard rollies. Plus a carryon of electronics – chargers, Kindle, little laptop.1 Bicycles

Once we decided on Italy, I enrolled in an Italian conversation class. Studied on my own. A friend of a friend talked with me on the phone in Italian. Of course it takes more than a year to learn a language, but I can do the basics. “I have a reservation.” “Dinner for two. He’ll have coffee, I’ll take wine.” I can also talk about my sisters, my home town, and our dogs. Which reminds me, we have a pet sitter; leashes, instructions, towel for accidents, phone numbers left on the counter at home.1 Fish

We’re going to Naples, Pompeii, Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, and Tuscany. We rejected Venice; both of us had been and I had a transcendent experience there involving Beethoven, ballet, and Saint Mark’s Plaza. Why overlay that memory?
1 Rome

Please join us on this journey.
We’ll visit the usual cities but also the lesser-known and unusual. Pitigliano, anyone? And there will be pictures! Lots of pictures!

I take after my mother, who sometimes shot 50 rolls of film when she traveled. I have the advantage of digital. I clicked out…well I don’t think I’ll publish how many, but there is a good selection. This page is just a preview.

BTW, if you get this through email, click on the link to the website. I’ve discovered that sometimes the pictures come through email bunched and ugly. Don’t want that…

Buon Viaggio