Upon arriving, we decided to do a little bit of sight-seeing for an hour or two around Sorrento before hopping on the Circumvesuviana to Naples, then onwards to Rome.
Corso Italia is Sorrento’s main shopping area. You see leather goods from bags to shoes for sale. Fresh fruits and vegetables. There are silk scarves, kitchen towels and various trinkets to pick up to serve as memorabilia.
You will reach the cathedral as you walk along Corso Italia. You’ll then hear a buzz. The buzz of people talking and spoons and forks scratching on plates. There are restaurants right in front of it. We were a bit hungry already but decided not to have lunch there. Too many tourists.
view from my table
Since it’s always better to enjoy food with nice ambiance and few people, we decided to walk around until we saw a panini bar. There were more locals here which was better.
There is something about the “light” in Italy. It brings out the warmth in everything it touches.
After asking around where the fermata di autobus is located, we found ourselves at a corner and a Tabaccheria* across us.
“Wait here Bubba. I’ll go get our tickets.” I told Cholo.
I proceeded to the Tabaccheria*.
“Buongiorno Signore! Per favore, Vorrei due biglietti per Praiano? ” I asked for two tickets for Praiano. Unsure if the man behind the counter understood me.
“Si!” he replied as he pressed his fingers on the buttons of his cash register.
He started speaking in rapid fire Italian and all I picked up was, “….due Euro e venti centesimio.”
I handed him my payment as he handed me my tickets.
I was a little worried when I saw the ticket because it didn’t look like the Sita Bus ticket (click here to be brought to my previous blog). After examining my ticket closely, the ticket stated that the bus runs through Positano to Praiano and vice versa.
I walk back to the bus stop a little apprehensive because I might have had bought the wrong ticket.
“Do you have our tickets?” asked Cholo.
“Yes, but they look different for the Sita Bus tickets. There must be a different bus line that goes around.” I replied.
“Are you sure?” he asked.
A few minutes later, a small orange bus comes into view**.
Views from the bus stop:
(in front of the bus stop)
*If you need a bus ticket anywhere in Italy, look for a Tabaccheria. It’s a one stop shop that sells water, chips, candy, gellato and bus tickets. Oh yes, cigarettes too.
(To the right of the bus stop)
If i would have known parking attendants were this cute in Italy, I would have rented a car.
Here is a french woman asking an old Italian man if she was at the right bus stop to proceed to Praiano.
**I found out soon after that there was a municipal bus that goes from Praiano and Positano and vice versa every 3o minutes (plus or minus). It is what the locals usually take to commute because it goes into the heart of town of both comunes .
It will cost you 1.10 Euros per way.
It is a cheaper alternative than riding on the Sita Bus which cost 2.40 on a 45 minute ticket.
“Look at the houses Bubba!” I said to Cholo while pointing to it. “They are right on the cliff face.”
Cholo looks around glowing with delight.
The sun is now out and beaming down. The surrounding area is radiating with a warmth of color that I will never see anywhere else.
The sea breeze is gently fanning it’s cool breath around us.
I see something orange.
“What are those orange things down there?” I asked out loud.
We look over the ledge and saw the beach. We saw orange sun beds in a perfect line.
“Let’s make our way to the beach!” exclaims Cholo.
And off we went down the road that would hopefully lead us to it.
The road we took on a whim indeed brought us to Spiaggia Grande. Buses stop on the top of the hillside in Positano since the city is almost living “vertically” unto the cliff face. Getting down to sea level would involve walking down the meandering road.
I’m glad that there were not as much stairs involved. *laughs* (check my blogs about Praiano here to understand what I meant.)
You see the street lined with quaint houses painted in different shades of red, yellow and white.
The street is also lined with pots of flowering yellow flowers and trees with pink blossoms.
Many tourists stop along the ledge (that includes me) to see the magnificent view of the sea. It is indeed breath-taking. It is also awe inspiring to see for your very eyes the houses built unto the cliff face. Such is human innovation, working with what he has.
You see various Italian kids zooming past in their colorful Vespas, while jumping out of their way.
Positano was also a fishing village back in the day. It became one of Italy’s top tourist destination when it got featured in various articles and movies through out time.
We saw lots of shops selling different ceramic pieces; from plates to kitchen accessories, ceramic table tops, ceramic tiles. I would have bought a lot if it wouldn’t make my luggage heavier than it already is.
There were quaint little shops selling linen clothes, skimpy swim wear and some sold Italian art. Contemporary Italian art.
When we found ourselves by the door of Chiesa Santa Maria Assunta di Positano, we decided to entered to have a look. We took the time to rest and thank God for blessing us with such an experience. All I remembered was that it was all white inside the church. It was heavily accented with gold lines around the arches and domes. It had a high ceiling which I liked. It was bright and airy. There was a beautiful fresco depicting the virgin and angles. I believe there were a few popes in it too.
I stood up and walked over to the candles. I was quite surprised to find out that they were electric candles. I tried lighting one. I placed 1 Euro into the slot and clicked on the switch.
My electric candle didn’t light up. I clicked on it again. No Light. After the 5th try I gave up.
A list of profane words ran through my mind at that instant. I walked back to Cholo and told him I would wait for outside.
I walked over to Piazza Flavio Gioia and looked around. Spiaggia Grande is bordered by an esplanade lined with restaurants. I check out my travel guide, Fodor’s Italy 2009, to check out what’s the 411 of the surrounding area. Well it turns out that restaurants here are the best and the priciest in Positano. I closed my guide book.
Cholo was now at my side and we decided to head to the beach and to relax.
We found a nice spot at the stoney beach. I propped my scarf and we laid on top of it. It wasn’t very comfortable, but a sun bed for rent can cost you between 5 to 10 Euros. That was how much our lunch of two slices of pizza and 2 cans of coke cost us.
We enjoyed the wonderful scenery.
We saw sailboats pass on the the water.
We saw another gay couple a few meters away from us enjoying their time together.
We saw kids splashing in the water. Italian men and women in their skimpy and colorful swimsuits.
The occasional Korean tourists posing for pictures.
The occasional Japanese tourists in their colorful swimming outfits with sun hats to match.
It was now by mid afternoon and we were already sweating under the sun in Spiaggia Grande. Earlier, before we left our hotel, Cholo asked me if I was going to bring my trunks. I said no, because after all we were going to do a day trip.
I looked over to Cholo and told him, “We should have brought our trunks bubba.”
He was looking at me with his “I TOLD YOU SO” look.
“Well, I didn’t know that we were going to spend the day at the beach!” was my stupid defense. “I also need to pee.”
“Go into the sea!” was all he said with a laugh.
So I stood up and stripped down to my boxers shorts (thank god I was wearing black boxer shorts!) I walked over to the water’s edge and dipped my foot into the water.
That was very cold water.
With no other choice, I dove in.
I did my business unto the Tyrrhenian soon after.
So did Cholo.
We stayed on for a little over an hour just to dry up. We then retraced our steps and continued to explore the rest of Positano.
To get to Positano click here to read my blog “Making It To Praiano”
Praiano is definitely cheaper because it is not a major tourist destination in comparison to the likes of Positano, Amalfi or Ravello.
As I have briefly stated in an earlier blog (click here), Praiano is less touristy, quieter and quainter.
If you are traveling on a budget, like Cholo and I do, it’s always best to travel during off-peak season*. We arrived In Italy on September 10th 2011. The peak season was already ebbing. Most European tourists have left to return to their countries. The Italian shops are now open. The sun was still out but it was getting cooler.
Room rates vary according to room location, view, amenities, etc.
Prices starts at 80 euros up to 180 Euros; which includes breakfast.
Hotel Holiday and Hotel Margherita are affordable while Hotel Onda Verda is a splurge.
You can also check out Hostelbookers.com (click here). Just be mindful that prices here are shown on a per person basis.
We paid 110 Euros per night for our room at Hotel Holiday.
*It has been said that Peak season runs from May to September and off-peak season is from November to March. August is the month when all of Italy goes into summer vacation and the temperature might get too hot.
Deciding to explore Praiano, with some help from Laura and the ceramic copula, we found ourselves in Chiesa di San Gennaro. Around here we found an arrow leading to Spiagga La Gavitella. Since it was almost sunset we decided to follow the arrow and find La Gavitella.
On our way back up to Piazza di San Gennaro
Getting to La Gavitella involved alot of stairs. ALOT! More stairs than that of LaPraia. If you are not decided to go all the way, like some tourists, it’s better to go back as long as you don’t go beyond the half way mark.
La Gavitella enjoys the sun the entire day, thus this is a nice venue to watch it set.
La Gavitella doesn’t have a beach. You jump straight into the water from the stone ledge.
Some people take boat trips around the area. It’s easier than the stairs.
Walking through the the residential area, you see many reflections of the culture. Such as chili left to dry in the sun and poems written on ceramic tiles (click here to be brought to that blog).
Making our way to Piazza di San Gennaro, we decided to sit down and relax before moving on. We enjoyed watching the locals who were evidently fired up for the upcoming fiesta.
A round of applause rang throughout the piazza when the light bulbs were lit.