Positano, Italy

Two years ago, I got let go from my job at Sid Lee. The company’s Amsterdam branch was in the process of going bankrupt, and within six months of my departure, the agency had permanently closed. On one hand, I felt relieved, because I was ready for a big change (I kid you not, after receiving the news I laughed and smiled the whole bike ride home!) But on the other hand, I felt incredibly anxious, because I had never not had a job. I got a large settlement from the company as I was on a permanent contract, so I had no financial worries in the time I was unemployed – the only nagging stress was my visa situation. By law, I had three months to find a new job in Amsterdam, and if this didn’t happen, I would be asked to leave the country. To be honest, I did consider moving back to the US. I was speaking to a few ad shops in LA, and was particularly excited by the prospect of living (somewhat) closer to home and in a bright sunny beach-side state. With less than a month to go in my visa grace period, I got a job at Booking.com (I will tell you about the drama behind this move another time!) And so I spent my last unemployed month relaxing and enjoying some down time before I came back in the new year and started my new job.What does all of this have to do with Positano, Italy? In the period of my unemployment, I made a list of dreams and the things I wanted to achieve while sans job (you know I love my lists!) At the very tipity-top of my list was a road trip through Italy. I wanted to go to Tuscany, Rome, Lake Como, Cinqe Terra, and the Amalfi Coast. I floated the idea past a few friends, and Amie and I wound up heading to Cinque Terra in October during my down time (we also hit up Berlin this trip which was incredibly fun!) While our Italian escape was amazing, it was slightly watered down compared to the grandiose road trip I had envisioned. So I started talking to my mom about a big fat Italian trip – a dream vacation we shared due to our mutual love of sunshine and the sea. As we plotted out potential ideas, it evolved into a family affair, with my god-mother, Sandra, and my cousin Julie also keen to join! And so for two years we tossed around ideas and dates, and finally got around to booking tickets for the Italian trip of a lifetime in the spring of 2017.

On the itinerary for our trip was Positano, Amalfi, Capri, Pompei, and Rome – a stellar lineup of beautiful Italian cities and villages. My god mother’s birthday also fell within the span of our vacation, so not only did we have a reason to travel, we had an excuse to celebrate! The ladies flew into Amsterdam and spent a few days at my place, before we all piled on to a plane and flew into Naples, the closest airport to Positano where were staying. I have to say, if we did this trip again, I think we would have bused it. The drive along the steep, curving cliffs of Positano was terrifying, parking the car was a pain, the trek to our Airbnb with our luggage was long, and we also got massively ripped off by the rental car company (when we showed up, they ‘had no record’ of our booking and we wound up there for two hours before it was resolved, paying three times as much for a rental we had made for free with my dad’s reward points!) All that aside, once we had huffed and puffed our way up to the apartment, we were absolutely delighted with what we found.We had booked into ‘The Chef’s Home’, an apartment we found online that once belonged to a famous Italian chef. The property is still in the family, but now serves as a vacation rental versus a chef’s dwelling. That said, the kitchen was still very suitable for the cooking-inclined, and beautifully designed at that!^ ^ This is the view from the square we were staying in.^ ^ The Chef’s KitchenThe living room in the Chef’s House had a large brick fireplace, which looked perfect for roasting pizzas in times past.The apartment had huge windows that looked out over the square – the perfect spot to perch and take it all in!^ ^ The view from the window.The apartment looped around a small outdoor staircase, where the roof could be accessed. I had my ‘wow’ moment after climbing the rickety stairs up to the top and taking in my first 360° view of Positano – it was a camera-less moment that I will remember forever :)After a brief rest to catch our breath and drop our bags, we freshened up for dinner and headed out to find some food!The views from our small square were spectacular, confirming the beauty of the Pinterest images I had been pining over for ages!We stopped at the fist cafe we came across – a small local with a small menu, but enough classics to keep our bellies happy. I got a salad and a pizza, which basically consisted of olive oil, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil served two different ways! The first way:The second way:Yes, this pizza was mouth-watering, and was all I was craving from this Italy trip! My mom got pasta, and my Aunt Sandra and Julie split the seafood platter, which also looked fantastic!We finished the meal with shots of limoncello on the house, followed by a steep walk home – which was welcome after such a big Italian meal!Our house was bright and welcoming, waiting for us when we arrived.The next day, the sky was brilliant and blue without a cloud in sight. We decided to walk down to the beach – which was a long way to go, but would give us a beautiful view of the town.
On our way to the beach, we passed adorable shady benches and houses wrapped in flowers.
In addition to dozens of dare-devil Italians on scooters flying past! There were many, many stairs, and although we were happy to have done the trek once, it was definitely not an easy stroll, and we were thankful there was a bus for the hike back up! However, the hundreds of beautiful stairs made for plentiful photo opportunities :) And the backdrop wasn’t too shabby either! v v This was my first glimpse of the center of Positano, and I was smitten all over again with our temporary home! We weaved down to the water front, through a shopping street covered with a trellis of pink, dangling flowers.  By the time we arrived at the beach, we were starving, so we ordered some snacks (in the form of more pizza) to enjoy while we people watched. After we ate, we walked 50 steps to the beach, where we were treated to those famous Positano views. We roamed along the water and eventually invested in some sun beds so we could hang sand-free on the beach. My Mom was the only one brave enough to go for a dip, but we all enjoyed lounging in the sun and sipping some drinks as we relaxed seaside.For dinner that night, we did something a bit more special, as it was my god mother’s birthday! We booked a table at II Ritrovo which had excellent reviews online. They picked us up via shuttle at our apartment, and drove us up one of the many steep cliffs that overlooked Positano where we got out at a restaurant perched above the world. We were seated in the back building, which did not have sea views, but did have an impressive collection of wine. The evening was amazing because we were amongst amazing company, but I will say that the portions were quite small and the service was absolutely horrible. We waited almost an hour and a half with only wine and bread on the table, and when we did finally receive our starter, there was almost another hour’s wait before we received our main. The service was quite disappointing considering we had a reservation, and I don’t think I would recommend the experience to others.But when the food did come, it was awfully pretty :)As were the views on our ride home – and the shuttle driver was kind enough to stop so we could take take a picture of the glowing town.
Overall, I don’t think we could have asked for a better day – or my aunt for a better birthday! There was family, exploration, wine, sunshine, beach time, amazing food, a breathtaking backdrop, and fantastic company! This was our only ‘chill’ day in Positano, as we spent the next two days exploring Amalfi and Capri – and while I can’t wait to share these with you, I think that first day we spent by the beach was definitely my favorite :)

xo Ali

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