22.07.2011 32 °C
Thursday 21 July
Positano, 442 steps to the beach!
Awoke to a glorious seaside morning, watching the sun sneak over the mountains behind the town and highlight the bright colours of the houses across from us. Looked like it was to be a warm day so we began our expedition early, taking the tiny path (also called a street here) along from the apartment, then down some steps, round a corner, down more steps, then same again until we found our way to the "beach". Never in my imagination would I have ever considered such a beach, it was only about 100m long and consisted of small to large (cricket ball size) black rocks and the most brilliant Aquamarine blue water and the cafe people setting up deck chairs and beach umbrellas of all different colours. No one in the water at that time. Rather than return up all those stairs we found a narrow path following the coastline back towards the main town area. Quite a few stairs here as well but not too bad and a very pleasant stroll to the town which was just getting going with delivery people on apes (3 wheel motorised utes) or with hand trolleys taking goods to the shops. By the time we wandered about, the streets were getting very busy with people just emerging from their hotels, some we learned later, charge between €500 & €3000 per night for a room. Given the number of Porches, Mercs and other prestige vehicles around town, I guess the price is not too high for some.
No fun to be had here so we returned to our place, got into our swimmers and had another go at the 442 steps leading down to the beach. There is a very little public area on one end of the beach where the patrons, for free, get to sit on the hot black stones and get to swim amongst to rocks and any rubbish caught in the little bay. So believe it or not we PAID €7 each to hire a comfy deck chair and big orange and black striped beach umbrella and were allocated a prime spot the second row back from the water. Almost every other customer appeared to want to get value for their money, staying firmly put on their chair, only moving occasionally to move into the sun / shade as desired. Peter was pretty quick to get into the water after hopping like a drunk kangaroo on the hot stones, plunged in to find the water very brisk indeed and within about 5 meters from shore the water was over 3 metres deep and crystal clear. This was magic stuff and well worth the €7. Hardly any swell, no surf to speak of and no other brave swimmers game to go further than about 20 m out. Obviously the beach is all about lounging about with the odd dip, not for serious swimming. Pretty funny watching people walking along trying to look "cool" when they can hardly walk on these stones. Sue even ventured in for a quick dip.
By mid afternoon the wind came up and the cafe attendants scurried around and put down all the umbrellas and this seemed to give most people the hint that it was time to go home for a Siesta, after sleeping on the beach for 3 hours I don't know why you then need another rest! So pretty soon we had almost the whole place to ourselves and made the most of it with a nice long swim before tackling the 442 steps, this time UP. By the time we got to the apartment we felt like going back for a refreshing swim!
A quick lunch then we tackled the LOCAL bus, supposedly goes around the town in a loop. We were not sure if it was running today (supposed to be on strike) and even the locals had no idea. Anyway after a short wait at the bus stop / grotto (a cave on the roadside with little shrines) the bus came along and the driver told Sue he could take us anywhere, what an offer, so on we hopped and paid the €1.60. After about 5 mins the bus (is about 1/2 size of a normal bus due to narrow streets) pulls into a small siding and the driver turns the bus off and gets out. "Will go again in about 5mins" the driver announces and sure enough, off we went with the driver resuming tooting his horn, waving arms and generally only missing cars, pedestrians and walls by mere millimeters. Maybe the stop is for him to regain strength. Sue struck up a conversation with an elderly lady who it turns out has lived here for 12 years but came from New York. She provided us with some local info while the bus careened round corners, scattering people and generally having us doubt the prospect of a long future life. They say here that solid centre lines on the road are a guide only and that whoever is in 1 lane, owns that lane. So after going up the "hill", then down the "hill" we were back to town, shaken and stirred!! Needed a refreshment to get over the excitement and found one right on the main beach, where we noticed beach chair hire was €12.50. We got a bargain at our little beach it seems.
Watched the beachgoers and marveled at some of the massive boats/yachts out in the harbor, the locals are quick to name some of the celebrities that cruise by or are seen here in town.
On the way back, UP THE HILL, to our place we stocked up on more supplies and watched the sunset from our balcony, chatting with the owner and some other guests. Sue rustled up some Tuna pasta and had the other guests envious of our modest but enticing fare, but with home cooked pasta, wine, good company and a spectacular view, how much better can it get?
Seems all pretty quiet in the town tonight but I assume the restaurants will be doing a brisk trade. Apparently it is very seasonal here with most shops closed over the winter months.