By Marlena Karlsson
The moment I saw Only You with Robert Downey Jr. and Marisa Tomei, it set off a dream in me to travel to the little town of Positano, Italy in the Amalfi Coast. The cliff-side homes nestled right against the most beautiful backdrop of mountains blesses every view with serene sea vistas. The idea of drinking a glass of wine and watching the sun slip down into the sea at the end of the day as boats are being cradled by the ocean with my true love was the most alluring thing to me.
On our twentieth anniversary, my husband and I were finally able to make this dream into a reality. Our driver zipped along the small roads that crooked back and forth down the mountain into the town of Positano. Hiring a driver was a genius idea on behalf of my husband as I would never had the courage to drive this practically one lane road with break-neck turns over the mountains!
We finally arrive to the moment when the view of the Amalfi Coast became visible and my eyes could hardly believe that twenty years of longing for this moment had arrived. My perfect little city draped in bougainvillea appeared at once. This delicate, leaf-like pink, red and white flowers covered entries, walkways, homes and even decorated the inside of restaurants and hotels. Bougainvillea was the flower I wore in my hair when we got married so it holds a place in my heart. It was everything I’d ever dreamed of seeing.
We walked through the winding cobblestone streets that led to family-owned shops and charming markets. Artists were at every corner painting as if there were no other souls around to distract them. They were capturing her spirit - Italy, in the way only an artist truly could. I longed so much to be beside them painting my own version of paradise on my canvas.
Restaurants offered enticing cocktails and the most wonderful lemon gelato with lovely views of the water. I noticed that people would eat for hours with the intention of completely enjoying and TASTING the meal. They were experiencing every nuance of flavor from the fresh olives, cheese, brick oven pizza, pasta, bread and wine. Time stood still to savor each meal.
Our servers would never rush you through the meal or bring the check until we requested it. We enjoyed the traditional Italian music and the artists would always take requests which would inevitably lead to someone playing the old tune, O Sole Mio. Cliche yes, but it still made me smile to hear it echoing through the salty air. The pace of our visit was completely guided by our food experiences.
We walked, held hands, took pictures, paused for lunch, laughed like kids and paused again for a gelato. We would return home to our apartment to watch the sunset from our balcony and dress for dinner. A four-course dinner would always finish with the famous Limoncello: an Italian liqueur cured primarily of fresh grown lemons, sugar, water and vodka, produced in the Amalfi Coast. The incredible flavor of fresh lemons were the most delicious, I could eat them as a dessert. Leaving the restaurant, the owner of the establishment would smile gratefully and say, “buenas noches.”
“She is our city of stairs,” I was told by a local affectionately describing Positano. Wow, was she right! Our step counter clocked us as close to 15,000 steps a day. I think half those steps were stairs! Fortunately, there are porters at the top and bottom of the city happy to get you around for a few euros. Ultimately, walking is the best way to experience the city.
Our time in Positano satisfied a long time dream of mine but the memories will continue to play in my mind of lovely pause in life to experience the wonderful flavors, enjoy romantic walks and reflect on an unforgettably colorful Amalfi Coast view. Arrivederci!