What are you going to do on a free Monday in Positano? You can wander around and shop, browse with the beautiful people, or you can take a trip down the coast to Amalfi. Surrounded by dramatic cliffs and scenery, famous for its Limoncello and the burial place of Saint Andrew, Amalfi has been the “beach scene” for Roman emperors and movie stars alike. And they still let us in. We took the bus from Positano for the full affect, along the twisty road (something like Rt.1 on the CA coast or Skyline Drive in VA), and came back by boat so we could get a good view of the coastline. It was pretty touristy and you could get your fill in a couple of hours but it was a great way to spend the morning. Our first view of Amalfi as we got off the bus… Ted and Tom couldn’t resist… it’s like this fountain was built for kids in grown-up suits… St. Andrew’s Cathedral… they let us in and there were no lightning bolts, even though we did not behave ourselves. Ok, I know this is wrong on so many levels, but BR and Lion wanted to pay there respects to St. Andrew, so…

What a view… this is the Amalfi Coast of Italy!! Having a blast!


Positano Living

We hit the Hotel Jackpot again in Positano. Ted and I got a deluxe room with a bathroom bigger than some of the bedrooms we’ve had. It was so posh, we got spoiled.
Check out the views…
This is actually the town from a boat ride when we came back from Amalfi (I’ll tell you about that later)…our hotel is about 2/3 of the way up!
This is looking down from our hotel balcony into the street. Lot’s of shopping, twisty streets, and limoncelo!!
We got in kind of late and had to immediately head to our dinner at a restaurant up the street. Another food fest, oh darn! It was all served family style with platters and platters coming out of the kitchen to applause by the group.
New friends John & Linda dishing out the pasta course.
Some kind of ravioli with sauce and cheese. It’s all becoming a blur. I know I scarfed it down no problemo!
Fresh thick pasta noodles with all kinds of little clams and mussels. Yum. Then a platter of eggplant parmigianathat I just wanted to dive in to…
When the desserts started coming I started to cry… not sure if it was for joy or the madness taking hold. What are you going to do with a platter like this? Nothing to do but give in.
Really good Tiramasu. And I didn’t even get a picture of the platter of canolis as I was busy stuffing myself.
My buddy Jen…
More friends Linda and Bob.
Yup, it’s going down bad.
We’re not coming back. As long as the euros keep popping out of the little bancomat, we’re just going to keep going!! Ha!

Eat Your Heart Out – Buffalo Style!

After Paestum, we were given a tour and lunch at none other than an authentic, organic, water-buffalo farm where they make buffalo mozzarella and ricotta cheeses. (JP – I thought of you… it was the best I’ve ever eaten and I’m ruined for life. The Best!)
Making the cheese…
Ok, so then we were treated to the most incredible cheese fest, glorious animal butter-fat binge we’ve ever experienced in our lives. The meal started with fresh bread warm from the oven. This bread had olives in it and it was crusty and delicious…
The first course were cheese blintzes with ricotta and spinach that were just so delicate.
Then each person got a plate of little mozzarella balls, ricotta, and salad to go with…is this not the most appetizing plate you’ve ever seen?
The ricotta was like nothing I’ve ever had in my life and the texture of the mozz balls have ruined me for any other I will ever be able to get in the states. Once I ate this plate and thought I was going to burst, this little Italian woman came around with extra!! I couldn’t resist… I said just a little more “piccolo”… yea that didn’t work. I got another plateful!! Oh my, it’s going down bad.
Then dessert was this creamy, tangy yogurt in little jars. Ted was going around and collecting all he could from others who weren’t eating it. The taste was so unique and I loved it.
As if that wasn’t enough, the gave us gelato made with buffalo milk. I actually had to step away from the table at this point but Ted went the whole nine yards. Help!! We’re trapped in food nirvana!!
Mauritzio, the best bus driver in the world who has been with Ted and I for almost 4 weeks now, joined us for lunch. At this point, he says that Ted is his brother. (He wore a Ted Pagan Tiki Hut t-shirt to the cave party, good guy.)
Ok, back on the bus for a serious nap and on to Positano, the playground of the rich and famous… and us!

Ruined for Ruins

Buon Giornio! As we left Matera (I think it was Sunday) we made a morning stop at Paestum, a Greco-Roman city in the Campania region. The high points are the standing remains of three major temples from about 500 BC. Boy, at this point I’m like, yea… been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Just kidding. These were pretty impressive and we did the quick walk through. To be honest, I was not exactly up to par after the Cave Party (big surprise, huh). BR and Lion, chillin‘ at the Paestum Ruins. Not a bad view for a morning walk to clear the head. Wandering the site with Susan, Tom, and Lion! Ok, short blog. More food, wine, etc. to come. Chow!


No Expectations

Welcome to Matera Last Friday we headed off for Matera. At 3 weeks into this trip each day has become a surprise because I never had time to research where we were going at this stage. So I had absolutely no idea what we were going to find inMatera. Vieste had been so cool, how could we top that…
Back on the bus… we stopped mid morning in ancient Alberobello where we were introduced to cone-shaped trulli houses and partook of a local food and wine tasting from the Basilicata region. It was a family run store and they were very nice – the owner was trained as a Sommelier and spoke pretty good English. We picked up some great snacks like toasted cannelloni beans and pepperocini relish. Plus wine of course. Then we wandered the town and found an enoteca (wine bar) in a cave which we immediately liked.
Trulli in Alberobella
I’m roughing it, aren’t I?

Back on the bus for only a few hours this time and we arrived in Matera. For this town we had a true RickSteves experience… we were dropped off with our luggage on the side of the road just as we got into town. Then we had to drag our suitcases over cobblestone streets to our hotel. Most of this vacation our luggage has either been taken by taxi to the hotel from the bus or we were dropped off right at the hotel. It didn’t used to be this way for RS tours. I guess either Rick or his clientele are aging…
The group makes it to our hotel… aren’t they a pretty sight?
I was blown away by my first glimpse of Matera. You can’t imagine it. Caves (sassi) homes carved out of rock, built up and expanded. It looked like something out of a movie. Actually, this town had been the setting for several movies including Mel Gibson’s recent bloody movie about Christ.
This is Matera, the view from our patio.

It’s pretty cool.

Our sassi was posh with a living room, a lower level bedroom including a teeny tiny little bathroom… and a roof top terrace with a breath taking view. Can you tell what’s coming next? Oh yes, party time again!!
Our terrace patio…
That night we had a group dinner and gorged ourselves on antipasti of sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, little balls of some veggie that I loved, and other delectables. Then there was a noodle soup with garbanzos and the secondi were these roasted meats that were fantastic… The 17th was both Susan’s and Linda’s birthday so there was much celebrating.
Primi Piatti
Secondi…does that not look really good?
Happy Birthday Susan!
The next day we got a tour of the city and we got ready for the big party. This is the one that seems to happen some time on each of our tours, when everyone gets supplies and we do it up big time. A thunderstorm rolled thru that evening so Donato was a great guide and got us a cave in the hotel to party in. I think you just need to see the pictures to know that it was a great time. We consumed about 17 bottles of wine between the pre-function in our room and the big party. I was hurting the next day…it’s going down bad!
Cave party!
What a spread!
Ted, Cave Dancer… with glowing halo provided by Donato and Mauritzio!!
More later.

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