Our day started today as usual. Everyone is fighting and irritated with each other. Just kidding. Sort of. We meet for breakfast again and Nicole tells me that she found out this morning that gary has been keeping the snickers bar stash in her dirty unmentionables compartment of their suitcase. It seems that during the “gary special reorg” yesterday he decided to move the snickers bars from Nicoles allotted spot and move them to the zipped compartment of their suitcase. He didn’t happen to notice all the balled up underpants in there. This has caused a bit of a spat as gary was giving out said snickers bars yesterday like it was his job.
Then there’s Dad. Mom is VERY worried that Dad is going to lose things on this trip. He is not allowed to carry any cash or credit, he can’t have his phone, and I SWEAR she makes him sign for his dentures. So In the elevator on the way to breakfast we hear him say, “Judy, can I have some tums?” Very very sheepishly. I think she’s so obsessed with him losing something that, very unlike my sweet mother, she rounds on him and gives him a loud and stern “NO RICK YOU DON’T NEED THOSE UNTIL 7 PM. NOW STOP ASKING FOR STUFF.”
He just nods and says “…okay…” very quietly. We all burst out laughing. I guess heart burn will have to wait. Until after 7.
In any case, the plan today is to shop on Amalfi town proper and then take the ferry to Positano. Gonzo, Camilla and nic and I take the hotel provided bus to the town (about a 15 minute drive through the switchback roads) and gary and Chris decide to take a romantic walk to town. There is a trail they discovered a few years back that takes a well traveled and well kept walk down into the rear of amalfi-this is the walk where I found a small leather repair shop and the love of my life in 2014. My vintage Louis Vuitton saddle bag. FOR 10 EUROS. The walk can be quite steep at times, and it’s hard on the knees. So the four most delicate of the muppets take to the bus as mentioned. We all meet the boys in town about an hour later-it’s a very HOT day and we are looking forward to our 11am beverage….only to find out that the boys drank all the morning beer on the way down the trail. We make them eat snickers bars as punishment.
I am a sucker for Italian made clothes. It’s not because they are so well made (although they are) and it’s not that they are Italian (snort), but it’s because these people get me. Flow-y cotton shifts, sweaters with divine lace inserts. Think the tacky “Together” Sears brand from the 80’s meets well fed chesty Italian women of the 2010’s. Everyone would look at these clothes and say-that’s a KAREN shirt. I can get away with this crap because I’m an artist and people expect me to be “eccentric”. I. Do. Some. Damage. Worth every penny. I’m actually wearing a top that I bought here last time-still in tact and one of my favorites. Still has its flow-y “is she or isn’t she pregnant” goodness. So I know it’s money well spent. Mom and Nic buy a couple sweatshirts (eww) and we all stock up on spices for the next 10 years or so. They have the most amazing pre-mixed spices here and all over Italy. They have become a staple at my house and I use them like they are cooking chemo-lifesaving pasta spices. I only have a package left at home. The horror! So 30€ later and I have another 3 year stock-our usual Italy rotation.
Now it’s time for ferry tickets and the “Amalfi Jet” to Positano. 13€ each for round trip. From the open air top of the boat it is a STUNNING ferry ride of about 25 minutes-and you get to see the coastline from the water-a whole new perspective. When your looking at the mountains from the water you can really get a sense of how precariously positioned the roads are. Bridges dug out of cliffs and tunnels all built into hard stone. Fascinating. AND the ferry serves nice cold beer for 4€….. Nicole protests (she has a perfectly urine warm beer in her napsack! Gasp!) but eventually we are able to pry the euros out of her hands.
Positano is a richer Amalfi Town. You get off the ferry at the beach and make your way up through the cliff side town’s meandering shop lined walkways. It’s much like Mykonos with its white buildings and narrow pathways. We sit the boys at the beachside wall and go shopping again. At one point Nicole and Mom are ahead and I say I’ll catch up. As I am about 5 minutes behind them I see them up ahead starting down another pathway. I do our dog whistle and Nicole immediately turns and nods and continues on-satisfied that I’ve seen them and know which direction to head in. We have used this whistle all over the world. Gary’s invention-it is very precise-four even whistles with a long, higher octave one at the end. We have found missing muppets from china to France using that whistle. When I do the whistle this time I hear the male of the two bickering British behind me (who are clearly separated from their respective muppets) say, “that’s it Margie. We’re coming up with a secret whistle before we leave the hotel tomorrow. Humph.”
After an hour of shopping we slip back down to the beach wall and find the boys. Nicole and I set the rest on the beach blankets from our nap-sacks and go grab a pizza and beers for everyone. We sit, along the Mediterranean, eating authentic olive, basil and artichoke pizza with happy conversation all around us, the salty sweet smell of the ocean, and I have to swallow the lump in my throat down many times. We stay that way for 40 minutes. I think mostly in silence. Letting it soak in-trying with all our might to feel the weight of this heavy experience.
After a few hours in Positano we are back in the boat and back to Amalfi. We do a little more shopping and then all back in the bus to get Home. And all asleep within the first 13 seconds. Something about salt air and racked visas that makes you tired you know?
We reach Home around 3pm and put Gonzo and Camilla down for their naps. We head back to our room and meet at the bar. -not an actual bar, but we’ve started calling the shared half wall of our decks “the bar”. Instead of hanging out in one room-we go to our respective rooms and pass wine and snacks over the shared wall-more Times then not just standing at the wall drinking and talking. It starts when Nicole and I are standing at the wall in silence with rum in our hands and she says, “so. You come here often?.” And the nickname is born. We had taken to saying “wanna meet at the bar?” as our way of saying -“Camilla and Gonzo need a nap-let’s go back to our place and drink wine”, but I think mom and Dad actually thought we were hanging out at some seedy Italian hovel. So now we just look at each other and shake our heads to the side “Night at the Roxbury” style-bobbing to fake music. That’s the signal. Last night I almost had to call bar security on Gary-and Chris swears that he’s not paying the cover charge again. So it may soon become a ladies only establishment. I’ll keep you posted.
Anyway, after a few hours at the bar and an hour nap, we are off to dinner one last time. But before we can head down, Mom texts me-“bring your file. Come to our room.” And off I go. I’ve taken to singing “‘o Sole Mio” while I file-it just makes it feel less toothy and a little more “Italian whittling” ish. Greg, Mike-you have to try it. Very chic.
Diner is amazing as usual-I have gnocchi tonight and Chris has the muscle risotto. Both amazing. Pasta and bisque for everyone else-with everyone having meat for the main. Veal or pork or chicken. Tender and flavorful.
Back to Camilla’s for a night cap-then off to the muppet bar for another. Then I spend 2 hours repacking. While Chris sits at the muppet bar with Gary and Nicole in his underpants with a blanket wrapped around him so that I can pack his clothes. He looks like a very sick monk-all bald and white with a shroud on.
This bar is going down hill fast-probably best we’re leaving tomorrow.
See you in Pompeii tomorrow!