Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Italian Series (Part 5) : Much Ado About Positano - Overview




Finally, I am writing about Positano. It was actually the first leg of my trip... and the very reason why I went to Italy in the first place. There isn't much info written online and in travel books. Prior to my trip, I imagined Positano to be like posh holiday destination St. Tropez in the South of France. On the contrary, it turned out to be more down-to-earth and less "pretentious". Positano is located on the Amalfi Coast, and is a scenic seaside town with unique architecture. Colourful houses cling to the rock face, making it a picture perfect sight (I doubt anyone can take a bad picture with a view like this).


As spoilt brats who prefer to fly via Singapore Airlines A380, our voyage started with the flight from Singapore to Zurich, followed by a Swiss Air flight from Zurich to Rome, where a chauffeured Mercedes Benz awaited. It is a long journey and I can only imagine a luxe car for the 4-hour car ride (Note: one-way transfer is about 300 Euros). We drove towards Naples, past Sorrento, before finally arriving in Positano. It was a scenic drive once we were in Sorrento, and the driver would stop along the way at key lookout points for us to snap some pictures. I would not recommend for anyone to drive as the mountain roads are narrow. Best leave it to the native pros and you get to enjoy the scenery without stress.


We stayed at centrally located Hotel Savoia. To give you some bearing, it is across from the city centre and just few doors away from the Missoni boutique. It also has easy access to atm machines, taxi centres, shops, restaurants, and just a short walk to the beach.

We chose to stay at this hotel as our friends were all staying there during the trip. We booked a deluxe room at this family-run Mediterranean-style hotel. When we checked into our room, we both couldn't believe our eyes. Perhaps we are used to the Hyatts and Four Seasons, we were not used to the decor of this hotel. It is erm.... just take a look at the picture below. However, the great location and the friendly service made up for the old school decor, small boxy tv, and lack of internet access in the rooms.


The way to the beach... there's only one way. Positano is known as the "town of stairways", and it is just full of steep steps. Any other type of footwear except flats are not recommended. These are some of shops and sights that I remembered well from my daily walk to and fro to the beach. It's a charming small town packed full of touristy shops. Shopping for fashion is almost non-existent for serious fashionistas. The only shop worth shopping at (excluding Missoni) is Antica Sartoria di Positano.


The Most Stylish Store - Missoni
(Yes, it's true, my fashionista friends! I didn't buy anything from here as I was off to Rome where more shops are available. At least there's a stylish shop in Positano... in case of a fashion emergency.)


The Most Stylish Local Brand - Antica Sartoria di Positano
(Check out the bikinis and sarongs. I didn't buy anything to wear from this shop as everyone else on the beach were wearing the same stuff. I bought some sarongs to bring home instead.)



The Most Tempting Dessert Store - La Zagara
(I resisted and succeeded!)



The Most Practical Store - Delikatessen
(Here's where we stocked up on water, biscuits, and fresh fruits.)


The Biggest Lemons I Have Ever Seen
(Lemon is a local produce in the Amalfi region. Good souvenirs to pick up are lemon-based products such as Limoncello, lemon sweets, and soaps. There are also lots of household items with lemon motifs. )


The Most Common Digestif - Limoncello
(An Italian lemon liqueur produced mainly in Southern Italy. It is served chilled at the end of dinner, or for lunch if one prefers.)


The Most Common Souvenirs - Painted tiles and plates



After walking past the shops, you will arrive at a shaded passage way with a ceiling of bougainvilleas. It's a lovely sight when it's not crowded.


At the end of the passage way is the Church of Santa Maria. As you walk past the church, it is beginning of more restaurants, shops and the beach!


The water is clear and lovely, though a little cold. However, the only thing that was foreign to me is the that beach is filled with pebbles and stones. Shocker! Especially for someone from Asia, as I am used to fine sand-filled beaches. Pebbles? Think the pain from foot reflexology and multiply it by ten, with heat added. Hot stone massage it sure ain't not! Make sure you wear your sandals at all time, right up to the last moment you get into the water.



Ok, there's sand on the beach, but it's the part leading to the pebbles. After that, it's just all stones and pebbles before the sea. I love the bright orange parasols and beach chairs.


The next blog entry will be about the food in Positano. Where to eat and what to eat? Buon Appetito!


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