Monday, June 20, 2016

The Jewel

Like a previous trip I have been extremely remiss in not staying current on these posts.  However I did use that wonder App called Track My Tour (please tell Chris that I sent you if you check it out) which did a much better job.  Here is the link to this part of the trip -- Click here.


Having taken one look at the road and even walked a decent chunk of it into and out of Amalfi from our apartment, the last thing we wanted to do was rent Vespas to scoot along the coast road like I said I'd quite like doing.  I've had a Vespa before in Bermuda and it was great and I could just imagine the Cary Grant/Audrey Hepburn thing with Viv on the back and the wind through our hair...  But in those days there wasn't much traffic.

Norman castle on the way to Positano.  Never a shabby view in sight.
That's the thing for even at this time of the year which is NOT high season, the roads are pretty jammed particularly when the buses and coaches get going.  We'd failed miserably trying to work out when or even where the buses went from Amalfi even though we had tickets and Amalfi was a sort of terminus for buses in the region.  We discovered we'd either just missed the hourly bus, or it was full, or even that the direction that we thought we wanted was in fact the diametrically opposite direction.  So much for bloody GPS and no maps.  It may help you finding some place but it gives you zero idea of where you are at any given point in time or where anything else is in relation to where you are.  (Apologies for this digression, we actually didn't have a GPS or car at this moment so this is more of a general rant rather than specific to where we were at this time.  This was brought about more through total lack of the language rather than anything else).

So thanks to Daniele again who suggested he should take us up and down the coast but start early because of the crowds who started to arrive in the big coaches after 11 am or so.  By that time he said we should be up in the mountains doing some other really fun stuff and of course that little surprise without which no day is complete.

Sounded good to us so we hit Positano around 9 am when we could both find parking down town and be fairly tourist free (other than us of course).

Positano is the jewel according to many and it really is very, very charming.  Water taxis go up and down the coast all the time too so if we'd been a little more energetic, we could have done that too.  But like everything else they go only once an hour and after 10 am are jam packed full so getting on isn't guaranteed at all.

It is very steep though.  Very, very steep actually.  Far more so than other little villages.  I asked Daniele why it was so popular and he said that it was down to the Americans really who were stationed here in WWII.  There wasn't a road into or out of the village so it was accessible only from the water and was hence virtually deserted.  The Roman road went up in the mountains by-passing the village.  So the GI's built a single lane road into and out of Positano which was widened (Ha!) post war to two lanes and there you are.

One thing I found interesting were the Siren Rocks just past the ubiquitous Norman watchtower.  This is where the Sirens lived and tortured poor old Odysseus in mythology.

The specks are the Siren Rocks, not very big really.  Of course it was the wind whistling between the rocks that created the 'music' of the Sirens.  Mythology sounds so much more interesting than the reality.
It was said that it was the sweetness of their singing that lured sailors to their doom on the rocks and one of the three Sirens took a fancy to Odysseus so cranked up the volume.  He managed to avoid temptation by sticking corks into his ears and sailed on safely.  Great story.  Here's The Cream singing about it!

Local industry other than tourism (90%+) is lace and sandal making.  Every shoe shop had hand made sandals for 15 euros.  Talk about Sirens sweetly singing!  Torture of a different kind for poor Viv.

But what a cool and lovely place it was.  We have to come back and spend some more time there.

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