Friday, August 23, 2013

Procida & Positano - A Great Place To Be In Love

If you are anything like us, when planning where to go next it is always a little challenging because there are too many places and things to see and do. And depending on how much time you have off, you have to make tough decisions (we call those first world problems).

So when planning our honeymoon in Italy - a country which has a million things to see and do - we did some research to find cool places that we thought would make our time memorable. We ended up flying into Naples (see post about Naples, we loved it) and then from there - Procida and Positano.

View from hotel in Positano
We start in Procida -

Welcome to Procida

Sun stained walls

A lucky girl to have a guy who will carry all the luggage
Procida is a small island off to coast of Naples and just a short ferry ride from the port in Naples. It is often overlooked by the larger more touristy island Capri. There is the high speed ferry and a traditional ferry which doesn't take too much longer than the high speed. You can buy your tickets right at the port and be on your way to one of the most beautiful islands in Italy.

When we went, it was off season and mostly locals left. And by locals, we call it the best place for old men to come because it seemed to be older Italian men (think your grandfather), having a drink with their best buds - enjoying a conversation and the slow pace of their island life.

The ferry drops you off right in the center of town (think small) - water lapping over the oceans edge - lined with restaurants - all the building faded out by the sun. We ask a local to point us in the direction of our hotel, La Casa sul Mare. Their reply - turn right at the first church, turn left at the second church and walk till you see it. Got love the simplicity of that.

Water lapping over the sea wall



La Casa sul Mare was just as advertised, it over looked the other side of the island which is also a little harbor with boats and restaurants. The views are unreal from our extra large private balcony. While visiting - best to just walk and enjoy the views, buildings, food and wine. Being an island, they have access to some of the best seafood. Just be sure to have the hotel call and make sure the restaurants are still open if you travel during the off season.

While we were there, they have every type of weather you could image which made the place very mysterious: rain, thunderstorm, hail, sunshine, high force winds - all in a matter of hours during the early, early morning.


Topher <3 




Inside the restaurant we ate at - they were one of the few places still open off season
 All in all, we highly recommend Procida, any time of year to anyone who finds themselves in Italy.

On the ferry
From Procida, we take the ferry back to Naples and then headed to the train station to hop on the local train to Sorrento and begin our journey on the Amalfi Coast, specifically Positano. A little hiccup on this one because the train drivers were on strike. So when in Rome (or Naples), I posted up and had a glass of wine while Chris figured out plan b. Ends up, they opened up business for a few hours that day - so we just had to wait it out.
Presecco while waiting for the ferry in Naples - not just the thing to do at the train station :)
Once we finally were on the train, it was an easy ride to Sorrento and we'd recommend this for travelers on a budget. It will cost over 100 euros if you hire a taxi just to Sorrento and even more if you are going further down the Amalfi Coast. The train drops you off right in Sorrento and charter buses are lined up outside to take individuals to their specific towns. We paid 3 euros each to hop on the bus which will took us directly to Positano. It was all very easy to get from point A to point B.

The train
One of my favorite stories from our journey is when we hopped off the bus. We got off at the first stop in Positano - which for all we knew, was the only stop in Positano. We were wrong and for anyone who has been to the Amalfi Coast, you know, while it looks like little towns built into cliffs, they are more like mountains - and we just got dropped off at the top of the mountain and our hotel was all the way down at the bottom. For the way we normally travel (with backpacks) this would not be a problem, however, being our honeymoon and the fact we are traveling for a few weeks in both Italy and Cuba - my sweet husband agreed a real suitcase was okay for me to pack. Poor guy was stuck carrying the bag down the mountain stairs - ending with one semi-busted wheel. He won husband of the year award and it reminded me why best to travel light. Best part is, the second bus stop in Positano is a few steps from where we needed to be. We will always have a good laugh over that one so hey - not so bad. And our suggestion to anyone traveling via bus to their specific destination, ask the bus driver which is the best stop to get off at for where you are going.

Those are more like mountains in my book
Stairs that run down the mountain to easily get around
Flowers and Champagne from the hubs :)
We both decided, Positano is the most beautiful place we've ever been. The cobble stone paths, abundance of flowers, ocean views, mountain views, shops and restaurants are out of a picture book.

 
 
 

An Asian wedding, given by an American priest, in Positano, Italy - globalization
A day at the beach

During the days, we filled our time walking around, eating, drinking - we tried to take a cooking class but they stopped for the season. One of the best walks we did was climb to the town above Positanto. They had amazing views and a really neat cemetery overlooking the ocean. Would be a nice resting place - it also happened to be All Saints Day so families were paying their respects to their lost loved ones.

View from our walk up the mountain
While we ate very well on the entire trip - the best dining experience we had was at La Tagliata. It was up above Positano and they had a van which picked us up at the bottom and drove us up to the top (need to make reservations for this). We heard great things about this place and they did not disappoint. We are just two people and ate like kings. Everything is homemade, local and delicious. The menu is a tasting menu so you just sit and wait for them to bring you one of the best meals of your life. We ordered a bottle of the house red and that too was local and delish. Since it was the off season and the weather not so great, we were one of the few people there that nice which was kind of nice. In the other room was the family and friends of the owners all enjoying their food as well. Truly a place that cooks with love. I think they were impressed with how much food we were able to put down too. (sorry for the photos with half eaten plates - we kept forgetting to take photos because we just went straight in for kill)

Greens 4 ways

Eggplants and zucchinis

Beans that were so tasty

Meats and Cheeses

Pastas - got ahead of ourselves here

A serious plate of meat

Yes, that just happened

And we even had room for dessert
And while we attempted to make it to some of the other towns along the way - it wasn't in the cards this go around. But we were extremely interested in visiting Ravello - until next time. 

I will end the post by saying: It is a great place to be in love.

Travelers Tips:

You may recognize some of the photos from Procida because it is where they filmed part of The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Also, one thing we learned on this trip - was to be patient when it comes to transportation, especially when it's factors you cannot control like weather and strikes. Make the best of it because you don't want to ruin the experience before you even get there. Be like and have a drink - you will feel better.

Links to a few of the places we stayed and ate, all of which we'd recommend:

Procida:
La Casa sul Mare

Positano: 
La Tagliata 
Hotel Palazzo Murat 

Our Two Cents on Trip Advisory: 

Procida: Hotel La Casa sul Mare
*Positano: Hotel Palazzo Murat*
*Positano: La Tagliata*  

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