As with most travel plans, what we had planned to do in Positano and what we actually did were quite different.
In our daily lives, our routines become so predictable.
That’s what I love so much about traveling. It forces you to put aside your expectations and just be open. And often, things turn out even better than planned.
I believe men ought to inspect their dreams. And know them for what they are.
-Britta, The Drifters by James Michener
This seems to be the theme of my life lately – to take action on my dreams. I’ve held so many dreams at an arm’s length the way one watches a movie – seeing the images, but knowing they’re not real. Observing, but not participating – until now.
I think there’s a certain fear that our dreams may not meet our expectations – as is one of the themes of The Drifters. Britta, one of the main characters from Norway, fears that if her father (who views Ceylon as the paradise on earth) “was ever forced to see Ceylon [Sri Lanka] as it actually was, he’d collapse.”
Sometimes when we view a place (or a person or thing) as the ultimate utopia, the fall is greater should it disappoint us. Isn’t it only human to shy away from disappointment? And so the cycle becomes a yearning never fulfilled because the fear of disappointment is the greater of the two.
What Positano proved to me is that sometimes the value in a place is not always in its beauty, but who it stretches us to become.
Upon arrival in Positano, I was in the weird limbo of reconciling my dream vision of Positano with reality. It wasn’t that the scenery disappointed me – it was far more stunning in real life – rather it was the feeling of constant vertigo that I hadn’t expected (this was probably due to the fact that we were staying halfway up a cliffside). I felt like I was constantly finding my balance and grasping for the earth. I just wanted to feel grounded.
I think it’s not so much that I’m afraid of heights as it is the terrifying feeling of vertigo – of not being able to find my balance.
And this is where I found my bearings again, a few hundred yards and 300 steps below our little white house.
What we did
We dined. We swam. We laughed. On repeat.
There are four beaches in Positano: Marina Grande (the main beach), Fornillo, Arienzo and Laurito (where the famous Da Adolfo is located).
Even though we had ambitious plans to hike and kayak, we ended up spending most of our time at Arienzo Beach (blessing in disguise!).
We went to Bagni d’Arienzo for lunch twice in a row because we loved it so much. It has a super casual beach vibe. Some the waiters were even barefoot! I loved the spaghetti alle vongole (and tried to order it when I got back to the US and they used chopped up canned clams – the horror!!!). We also loved the fresh fish of the day (can’t recall the name). It was so simply prepared, with just olive oil, lemon and herbs, and a little salt, I believe. That’s what I love about Italian cuisine – it is always fresh, local, and simple – which brings out the best flavors.
After our unforgettable meal, we relaxed on the beach. As a July baby and water sign, I am in my element on the beach. It was September, but the weather was still hot and the water warm. It was bliss bobbing underneath the sun looking up at the cliffs from below.
The Arienzo Beach Club has a boat service that runs several times a day to Marina Grande. After swimming, we decided to explore Positano for a bit. This boat ride saved me from hiking along the congested cliffside road…and that’s how I fell in love with Positano.
What we had planned to do…(and my Positano wishlist for next time!)
We had planned to go kayaking along the Amalfi Coast, but the sea was too rough so our kayaking excursion got canceled. I can see why…even the motorized boats at Arienzo beach had trouble docking, and it was even more challenging to get in the boat. We kayak often in the lakes near my hometown in the Sierra Nevada. I can’t wait to try sea kayaking! Seeing the Amalfi Coast by boat is my favorite.
Another thing I had wanted to do was take the ferry to Capri for the day, but we ended up enjoying Positano so much. Next time we’ll plan to stay more than 3 days so we can explore more of the Amalfi Coast, such as Ravello.
One of the main reasons I had wanted to go to Positano was to hike the Path of the Gods, but it was just so hot that we all preferred to swim and hang out on the beach. Margie in Italy has a beautiful post about her experience hiking the Path of the Gods if you’d like to read about the link from someone who did it.
I keep hearing about this restaurant called Casa e Bottega, which looks adorable and has a healthy organic menu. I definitely want to try it next time. And of course, I can’t go to Positano without going back to Bagni d’Arienzo – for the beach AND the food!
I just made this discovery this Instagram, and someday I would love to attend this yoga retreat in Positano with Sole Yoga Holidays.
Catch up on the other posts in my Positano Series!
Let’s chat: If you’ve been to Positano, what did you do? If you’ve never been, what’s on your wishlist?0
La Dolce Vita through from California to Italy. I’m Kelly, an American girl with Italian taste in food & wine. I blog about learning Italian, food & wine pairings, how to find authentic Italian ingredients in the US, and seasonal recipes from scratch.