Positano is a little fishing village teetering on the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast between Sorrento and Praiano. The houses are built on terraces, precariously stacked upon one another, cascading down the steep cliffs towards the small beach below. A backdrop of verdant covered hills against a cobalt blue sky completes this picture postcard of a town.
Pretty as a Picture
To call the town, picturesque would be an understatement. The pastel-painted houses – primrose, pink, peach and terracotta peep out from overflowing foliage and lemon groves to give the town a dreamy feel not to be mistaken for anywhere but Italy’s Amalfi Coast. You’d almost expect to see a young Audrey Hepburn drive past in an ice-cream coloured sports car, chiffon headscarf billowing as ‘Moon River’ floats on the breeze behind her.
Colourful shops line the stepped and sloping alleyways selling ceramics, art, jewellery and hand-made leather sandals – made to order while you wait and handy if your heels can’t hack the inclines. The hundreds of steps can be hard work and there are no lifts but every other building is a bar or restaurant so there’s no shortage of places to catch your breath and besides you’ll know you’ve burnt off the calories from that gelato before you’ve got back to the top.
Head down to Spiaggia Grande where the fishermen launch their boats. Sunshine-coloured parasols spike the sand like cocktail umbrellas and ferries drop off sandal-clad, straw-hatted day-trippers. Restaurants and bars line the walkway and artists replicate the views on their canvases. Gelato abounds. Because there’s no room in Positano for tourist buses or major development it has retained that charming fifties feeling. Positano is a Roman Holiday in glorious Technicolor.
Wander along to the far side of the beach and look back for one the best views you’ll see of Positano. The Collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta, founded in the 13th century is topped with a gorgeous majolica dome encrusted with vibrant yellow, blue and green tiles; yellow for the sunshine, blue for the sea and green for the lush foliage. The softly rounded dome contrasts beautifully against the pastel coloured cubes clambering down the hills. Inside the church you’ll find the icon Tavola of the Madonna Nera or Black Madonna.
Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Positano makes for a dream of a day-trip during your stay in Sorrento or Amalfi. The views on the drive to the town are stunning and there are many lookout points dotted along the coast with wonderful views of the town, La Galli islands and the Costiera Amalfitana. So, stroll awhile, shop awhile and indulge in an amazing lunch at ‘La Tagliata’ in the hills as you gaze down on picture postcard Positano and a perfect day.
How to get to Positano
The SITA bus departs twice-hourly from the front of the Sorrento train station to Positano, continuing on to Amalfi. You can purchase individual tickets (€1.40–€2.50 per sector) or a UnicoCostiera pass for unlimited travel all along the Amalfi Coast – valid for 24 hours (€6) or 3 days (€15). The bus can get very busy in high season and a seat is not guaranteed. For the best views when travelling from Sorrento to Amalfi sit on the right-hand side of the bus (as you face the front) and swap to the left for the return journey.
For a different perspective on the return journey, a ferry is a good option giving beautiful views of the coastline from the water. www.metrodelmare.com Frequency varies seasonally and there are roughly six daily trips between Amalfi and Positano (20 min €6) and four daily between Amalfi and Sorrento (60 min €7).
If you’re feeling reckless/brave you could hire a car and drive yourself – although that’s not something I’d recommend if you really want to take in the views because your eye will be on the oncoming traffic – out of season would be less crowded but still not for the faint-hearted. Parking is extremely limited in Positano.
In Hoi An town at full moon the town celebrates. All the electric lights are switched off and softly coloured lanterns cast magical shadows in the narrow streets. Candles are lit and cast into the river along with wishes and prayers and set sail into the night flickering in their small paper cups. A gentle glow radiates through Hoi An…
This post is part of Ailsa’s Travel Theme – Light
Hoi An – a Culinary Quest
Hoi An – A Little Piece of Heaven
London’s skyscraper, The Shard, designed by architect Renzo Piano is an amazing visitor attraction. ‘The View from the Shard’ on floors 69-72 is the only place where it is possible to see all of London at once. The 360 degree panoramic takes in the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Battersea Power Station, Wembley Stadium and the Olympic Park. I visited the Shard on a grey and mizzy opening day to see how many London landmarks I could spot.
I love looking down on the world from way up high – be it from a hot air balloon, a plane window or the highest of buildings. I’ve viewed Paris from the Eiffel Tower, Toronto and its islands from the CN Tower, New York from the observation deck of the World Trade Centre and Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon and Rio de Janeiro by helicopter. Obviously I don’t suffer from vertigo. When I heard about The View from the Shard I knew instantly that I had to see my capital city from its highest point.
Check out the views from the time I looked out over Dubai from the Burj Khalifa
What’s it like to visit the Shard
We started our visit in the lobby before going through security where coats and bags pass through x-ray machines and people through a scanner – much like airport security only friendlier. We’re directed to the first lift through an area with a map of London covering the walls and floor with cryptic clues marking each landmark. The Shard experience is ‘queue free’ because visitors choose the time and date of their visit so with a limited number of tickets available per slot we didn’t have to wait.
The first lift, one of 44 in the building, went up the first 33 floors at a rate of 6 metres a second. We shooshed upwards smoothly and quietly feeling nothing but a small tummy flip as we came to a halt. The lift attendants were chatty and gave out random facts like that 95% of the building’s construction materials are recycled. The second lift whisked us up the next 35 floors to level 68, the cloudscape, and as we stepped out my ears popped. Onwards and upwards and a short flight of stairs and we’re at floor 69 home to the triple-height main viewing gallery. The ascent took no more than a minute; to take the stairs – all 306 flights – doesn’t bear thinking about…
The day had started wet and grey but luckily the rain had cleared and the sun even put in a brief appearance although raindrops still speckled the glass. On a clear day the epic views stretch for up to 40 miles.
View of the Thames
We picked out many of the capital’s major landmarks – with the help of twelve interactive telescopes you can pinpoint up to 200 famous buildings and monuments.
The view from the Shard
After half an hour on this level we climbed up another short set of stairs to reach floor 72. This is the highest viewing point of any building in Western Europe at a spectacular height of 244 metres.
Partially open to the elements this level is surrounded by massive shards of glass. These gradually taper up to a peak making up the spire. This takes The Shard to a full breathtaking 1,016 feet.
Looking up to the peak
11,000 panes of glass to clean
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Shard and I’d love to return and view London at dusk. Afternoon tea at The Shard sounds pretty good too. A stay high up at the hotel in the Shard, The Shangri La, would be an experience too.
What’s to know…
How much time did we spend at The Shard? Set aside 1 to 2 hours – we were there around 1.5 hours and we weren’t rushed through the visit.
Prices – In Advance: Adults: £25.95, Children: £19.95 On the day: Adults: £30.95, Children: £24.95
These Prices for General Admission at April 2017
Daily 9am to 10pm except 25 December. Timed tickets every 30 minutes until last entry at 8.30pm. The Shard closes at 10pm.
Getting there – Tube London Bridge (Northern Line, Jubilee Line) Overground/Network Rail London Bridge
The Shard Viewing Gallery
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What a busy year this has turned out to be both travel and work-wise. 2012 took me to 17 cities and seven countries; four of them completely new! I’ve continued to explore my home county of Sussex enjoying unusual festivals and the gorgeous countryside. I’ve eaten some delicious food but have to tip my hat to Italian cuisine this year which has been stunning and I’ve stayed in some wonderful and unusual hotels. Here’s what happened in 2012.
New Year in Ho Chi Minh City
We started 2012 on a high celebrating New Year Saigon style. This has to be one of the best New Years I’ve ever had and the first spent away from home. We watched the celebrations from the rooftop bar at the iconic Rex Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City before joining the crowds on the packed streets to see in 2012. A New Years Eve that I’ll never forget and Vietnam was an amazing way to start my travel year. We also spent time in Hanoi and Halong Bay but Hoi An is the place that stole a piece of my heart.
Tenerife got a lot of Travelbunny love this year with four trips to the island, three for work but the first visit of the year was with my daughter. She was working for Tui had some concessions to use up and treated me to a week in the sunshine – what a lovely daughter I have! We mainly relaxed but did head out to La Gomera for a day which is a beautiful little island and especially lovely in the springtime.
April arrived and time to pack up the car and head for Morzine in the French Alps, where we stay with friends every year, skiing in Avoriaz and the Porte du Soleil. We take all the food for the evening meals as we love to cook and after a day on the slopes there’s nothing better than spending time with friends, food and a glass or two of red next to a roaring fire.
Skiing – Avoriaz
April also saw two days in Tallinn, my first ‘new country’ of the year. This was a work trip so I didn’t see as much of the town as I’d have liked but was surprised to find it had more of a Scandinavian feel than Eastern European. Note to self: ‘Go back. Explore’.
View over Tallinn
Celebrations in April as I won round 39 of photo roulette with the theme Local Character. I went on to host round 40 with the theme ‘Street Scene’ and had a great time discovering lots of talented people, their blogs and photography.
May and another new destination for me; Paphos in Cyprus. I spent a week working with a colleague on a conference we’d organised for 300 people. Unfortunately we only got out of the hotel on one evening for a meal and I probably shouldn’t count this a new destination as I didn’t actually see any of it – and people think I’m on holiday all the time…! Another place to re-visit.
June puts in an appearance and with it a whole heap of excitement – my first trip to Italy! I can’t believe it’s taken so long to get there and I have totally fallen in love with this country, its people and that amazing Italian food. We based ourselves in Sorrento visiting the fascinating city of Pompeii and taking the famous Amalfi Coast road down to Amalfi itself. I’m heading back to Sorrento next year for some serious gelato research.
Marina Grande Sorrento
June also saw the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in all its jubiliciousness and we were lucky to celebrate without getting rained on. I also met the Queen for the first time at Royal Ascot – well she rode past in a carriage but she did wave at me!
Next up July and with it Blogville and back to Italy. I met up with fellow-blogger Kathryn from Travel with Kat and we discovered Bologna, food capital of Italy, Rimini and Ferrara together. We had a fabulous time and it was wonderful to explore with someone who quite understood the need to stop and photograph every sight, building and morsel of food that we encountered!
Neptune Fountain, Bologna
I like to spend August at home because there’s nowhere better than England in the summertime, however, summer didn’t seem to arrive this year but that was okay because we were kept busy as London hit the spotlight and we cheered on our sporting heroes. I didn’t get to the games but did see the Olympic torch both in Battle and Bexhill where Eddie Izzard held the flame aloft.
September took us to Turkey, the final ‘new country’ of the year and a holiday. We started off in Cappadocia where we stayed in a Fairy Chimney, the most unusual hotel stay ever! We then travelled by bus to Pamukkale, had beach time in Bodrum and finished off our trip in Istanbul. The highlight had to be our dawn hot air balloon trip in Cappadocia – in fact that is one of my highlights of the year. In September Easyjet awarded me ‘Blogger of the Month’. Wow what a month!
The rest of the year has been busy around work with two trips to Tenerife in November and December. This time, although I was working, I managed to get to Teide National Park for a morning which was stunning. On one of the trips we stayed at the amazing Abama Hotel, a Ritz Carlton property which was an experience in itself!
Majestic Mount Teide
This year also saw lots of awards from my fellow bloggers and I now have a ‘fit to burst’ virtual awards cabinet and a big fat grin across my face. These awards are a fabulous way to learn about other blogs and I’ve been introduced to some very talented bloggers this way from the world over. So thank you all for stopping by, liking and commenting on my travel tales, it means so much to me that you take time to do so. Remember too, if you’d like any advice or tips on any of the destinations I’ve visited just drop me a line – I’m more than happy to help out if I can.
So that was 2012 – but what of future travel? Not a lot booked at the moment but that’s how January 2012 started off so who knows where I’ll be travelling to next year, wherever it is I hope you’ll join me on the journey.
I knew which of Bologna’s top sights I wanted to see during my two-day break en-route to Rimini. Piazza Maggiore was high on the list as were the medieval twin towers and the charming hidden canals of the city. Food, of course, was a huge draw and I was keen to indulge in some serious gelato tastings. But the sight that captivated me most was the city’s intricately decorated porticoes. I was constantly drawn back to the colonnades and pillars which filtered the sunlight and drew shifting shadows across the marble walkways creating an ever-changing perspective as the sun crept across the city.
Ready to board the British Pullman
The umber and cream liveried carriages of the iconic British Pullman calmly drew into the bustle of London Victoria. The chatter on Platform 2 grew measurably louder, a sense of anticipation filling the air as smiling stewards, in crisp white uniforms alighted and welcomed the passengers, directing them to their carriages.
Your carriage awaits…
A glance at my ‘Invitation to Board’, encased in a plush leather wallet, led me down the platform and almost the full length of the pristine train to ‘Zena’ our carriage for a luncheon trip through the glorious Kent countryside. As we settled into beautifully upholstered armchairs the guard gave a shrill blast on his whistle, the British Pullman pulled away and transported us back to a time of elegance, glamour and quiet sophistication. The crystal glasses on the immaculately set table softly clinked and the wooden interior creaked slightly as the train rolled along the tracks. As I sipped my Bellini I couldn’t help but smile – how much more genteel was this than the journey to London on Southern Rail that morning… (more…)