Positano – Colle dell’ara
We took a taxi to the Rome Termini station in the morning, which turned out to be a really expensive taxi ride! As I was rushing to get out of the cab I took what I thought was a 10 Euro note from my wallet and got a 1 Euro coin from Pauline to pay for the 11 Euro fare. The driver came around with what looked like change and when I looked confused made some noises about the 1 Euro coin and rushed off.
I only twigged after he had driven off that both the 10 and 50 Euro notes are similar colours and I had given him 51 instead of 11 Euro! I am sure it made his day – Dumb Touriste! Anyway expensive lesson in the currency! We were pleased to leave Rome after that and the crowds and traffic and rush.
The train took us to Naples where I had hired a car to get to Positano and 3 days rest at a BnB up on the hill. Pauline who remembered the drivers and roads from this area from 30 years ago was by this stage in a state of panic. It didn’t help that we immediately got lost trying to get out of Naples onto the A3 highway. Luckily I had an Italian SIM with data in my iPhone and we could use the Apple Maps and turn-by-turn GPS navigation to find our way out. All this in a manual Left Hand Drive car driving on the wrong side of the road – first time driving a manual Left Hand Drive by the way. Nice little car though –small Volvo diesel manual (hardly used any fuel).
We eventually got to the freeway and managed to drive through the wrong lane (eTag) at the tollbooth, but other than that made it to Positano. Once we got to Positano, if we thought the roads were narrow and twisting before from Sorrento, here they really got scary! They were really only built for one car and they were two way, but also had cars and scooters parked along the side. We managed to meet a truck coming the other way and had to get right off the road to let it get past.
Eventually we arrived at what the GPS thought was the destination and we had no idea where the place was, so I call Giacomo the AirBnB host. He managed to work out from the bus stop nearby that we were only about 100M from the BnB intercom and sign which is the only indication of Colle dell’ara on the road – the actual BnB is some 200 steps up the hill from the road. We drove up a bit further and were met by Marco, Giacomo’s brother who loaded up our bags on a bag lift on a wire pulley system that was winched up the hill by the father. We parked the car and walked up the steps to Colle dell’ara with Marco.
The view from the BnB is really breathtaking! It is the highest accommodation at Positano and really beautiful. The brothers Marco and Pasquale, are really proud of the place and their gardens on the hill where they grow all their own produce for the BnB and to sell to local restaurants. We went down the hill with the local bus that afternoon and had dinner in Positano and Chez Black right on the beach – lovely. Positano turned out to be a great place and the BnB even better. The second night we had a home cooked Italian meal, cooked by the father served with local wine and local rocket fuel lemon liquor (brewed onsite). We met a group of three young Aussies who were great company (Jody, Liz and Todd) and there was also a French Canadian and his wife from Quebec.
The next night we were there we had dinner just down the road from the Colle dell’ara at the La Tagliata restaurant which also had stunning views of the sunset over the Positano bay and had a great Italian family meal cooked by Mama which was huge (no menu – they just feed you – Lots!). Started with antipasto, then pasta, then meat, then dessert each of which would have made a meal in itself.
Overall Positano ended up being one of our favourite places so far on the trip. Quite restful after the full-on days in Rome, Florence and Venice.
The trip back was fairly uneventful aside from clipping wing mirrors on the road down from the BnB in Positano we found our way back to the Naples station with no drama to hand the car back and even paid the toll on the way! One of the enduring images of Positano was the number of cars with wing mirrors dangling off the side or missing altogether!