Day 3 in Positano
Some stories' beginnings have to start at the end, and this is one of them. Last night we watched our son Oki (Oscar Ramon Costantini) propose to his longtime girlfriend Hannah. It was so perfect in its simplicity and natural beauty over looking the Amalfi Coast. First though, let me say that these two have been together for over 3 years and have lived together since Oki graduated from Chico, where Hannah visited often during his time there. Hannah, like Oki, is a fellow WHS Wildcat whom we adore, and whose parents we count among our closest friends.
This trip was planned in December of 2022 to replace Christmas gifts none of the kids needed to fill up their tiny Redwood City homes. Oscar and I gifted them their tickets, and little by little the kids added the rest. Places like Positano must be planned well ahead as this area is heavy with tourists and smaller than you think. Planning ahead also makes the cost of the trip much more bearable.
Day 3 was our boat day. We chartered a mid-size boat that could accommodate 8 people with our captain and set off to see the coastside, Capri and the Blue Grotto. At 9 am we called for a taxi van that could get our group down the mountain from our villa. We arrived at the port that was our lowest destination yet. The shops were peppered along the corridors and very similar to the ones we had seen above. HERE IS WHERE I WOULD’VE DONE SOMETHING DIFFERENT. What we should’ve done here is buy a bunch of panini in one of the cafes. That is if I had brought a “cooler” bag with me. We love to boat in America, and this boat and atmosphere was the best we had ever seen, but we definitely needed more food with us. In Italy one of the biggest past times is sitting in a restaurant, but as Americans we would rather swim and be away from the crowds while we had our precious boat time. So, they may not like it, but plan ahead and do not take “we have snacks on the boat” for an answer.
Ok, let's talk about the beauty of the Amalfi Coast by water. This is truly one of God’s most beautiful creations and there are so many here! The mountain range surrounds you on one side, with the open Tyrrhenian Sea on the other. The water was like a translucent navy blue that sat still enough if you were in it to see far down below. It is clean, just cool enough to easily dive-in, and so refreshing. The mountains and islands are pristine and peppered with private villas of which you cannot help but to wonder how on earth they access their homes by road. Our captain was a lovely man named Andrea who was a boat driver by summer, and an Italian butcher by winter. He told us that in his marriage he is the crafty one with many talents, and his wife is the money wise one, which is what helps them be comfortable in an incredibly difficult Italian economy. We chatted for a bit about what we do, the differences in the ability to get ahead in our respective countries, and the commonalities he and Oscar share having both been raised by butchers. A longer story to be told over wine sometime.
Andrea told us to be aware of the monetary demands in the blue grotto, and we later wished we had paid a little bit more attention to that, but no big deal. The blue grotto is truly magical and something to behold, but the wait to get in is in what would be a beautiful cove is crowded with boats waiting their turn to unload their guests, 4 at at a time, onto the small boats that take you through the narrow cave and into the cavern. He showed us a video of Andrea Bocelli signing in there, and we were in love thinking about the master acoustics inside. All of our drivers had operatic voices and began to sing as we headed in! They all began to smile and listen when Sofia joined them in her mezzo soprano voice as did our neighbors in the surrounding boats! We had so much fun! A couple of bottles of prosecco had been consumed while waiting for our turn to cruise in, and that made it all the sweeter.
For lunch we stopped at a beach shack in Nurano, skipping the Michelin Star experiences Andrea is obligated to tell us about, and enjoyed amazing paninis, fresh salads and cool drinks. We returned to our boat and had one last swim in the magical Tyrrhenian Sea.
Arriving back in port at around 5 was very chaotic and filled with people. It was so hot and humid we could not wait to get back up the mountain. We had seen a butcher shop on the way in, so we quickly stopped in to buy breaded chicken cutlets, and some sausage for dinner, then headed up the mountain. Back at the villa we all sat and enjoyed the incredible air conditioning, and began to plan our beautiful night ahead!
For the engagement dinner Oscar made a spicy penne a la arrabiata, us girls set up some appetizers, while Oki and McKenna decorated our terrazza overlooking the Amalfi Coast. The food here is not expensive to buy and cook. The Italians in this touristy area know the value of their culinary skills and survive off of it. Just this one night though, we did it ourselves, and Oscar’s cooking was proclaimed to have been better than any restaurant we had been to by the kids!
We ended day 3 by officially inviting Hannah to be a Costantini and join our family. That is what an engagement is after all! Our families have been spending our holidays together now for a few years already as Hannah’s brother lives in Arizona and it is only her and her parents. Not much changes although I can suddenly see little Costantinis in the years ahead a lot more clearly and we cannot wait.
I have very little time to edit this as we pack up and leave our beautiful Villa Graziella this morning. Look this place up and ask me any questions. It was absolutely perfect! Tonight and tomorrow we are at a hotel a bit lower on the mountain as this place was already booked month in advance. Tomorrow is a beach day, and today we chill, then Friday we begin our trek to our beloved Cagli to reunite with the rest of the Costantini clan!!!!
See you all that are still listening tomorrow!
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