On the Amalfi Coast, the day was closing in on me, the day I’d dreamt about, celebrating my Birthday here. It was tomorrow, what was I going to do to celebrate?
I’d spent a carefree 5 weeks prior travelling the way every traveller dreams. No routine, waking up and choosing what I wanted to see next, where I wanted to wander to and what I wanted to see on that day. What do I want to see and do today, what do I actually FEEL like doing was my biggest question that day?
It was a wonderful holiday, change happened mid-step and we truly just went with the flow.
We were two 40-something girlfriends travelling because we could. Single, carefree, looking for adventure and ticking off our bucket list as we travelled.
We’d booked the 1st 4 nights in Madrid and the last week on the Amalfi Coast of a 6-week trip and the rest we were just going to “wing it”. And we did.
But now it was time to choose, that all important decision that just had to be made…Where was I going to spend my Birthday now that I was on the Amalfi Coast, living the dream?
And so the day started just like any other day of the 5 weeks prior, what did we feel like doing? Such a luxury not being governed by time or routine, such bliss!
It was a late start to the day, however, it was pretty much the norm for us given the late nights, or should I say early mornings. When dinner had turned into dancing, or just chatting and sipping wine with the locals.
We caught one the little local buses that we’d become so fond of throughout our stay in Italy. We went just to the top of the cliffs to explore whatever it was down below that we couldn’t quite see from our villa where we were staying in Praiano. Praiano is just down the coast road (about 10km’s) from Positano.
We found Praiano Marina down below that crazy road. If you’ve been on any part of the Amalfi Coast road you’ll know what I’m talking about! Praiano Marina is tiny cove tucked away amidst the soaring white cliffs of the Amalfi coastline.
Between two very steep cliffs was a beach with a few restaurants, cafes and a little ticket office to purchase your ferry ride over to The Isle of Capri.
The seductive aroma of the coffee enticed us yet again to part take in what had become another holiday ritual, having to sample another pastry.
The “beach” didn’t resemble the beautiful golden stretches of sand that we frequented at home, instead, the soft round rocks were the size of a cricket ball.
Sitting outside, drinking in the view and marvelling once more at the beauty of the coastline and the ocean, I noticed a few people disappearing around a corner that I hadn’t previously noticed.
Coffee consumed and not one to ignore a mystery, we followed to explore where the path would take us.
Around the corner lay a track carved out of the cliff face that leads to not only a lighthouse, but a few more restaurants with sun-beds and umbrella’s on a tier down, right next to the ocean.
After a thorough exploration of the coastline with its twists and turns we chose a place to spend the rest of the day. La Pirata was a rustic restaurant, carved out of the cliff and also had the sun-beds and umbrellas below.
If you visited there today and sit in Il Pirata it has changed since my visit there. It doesn’t look as rustic, with a definite up-market feel to it.
It also had a view in every direction. We could see the Marina with the little fishing boats bobbing up and down, the lighthouse nearby and of course the Med.
With only a short stroll up the ramp to the restaurant, I mused that I’m sure we’d discovered paradise!
So the day had arrived and we were back the next day. With views that would rival a postcard, it was the perfect place for a celebratory lunch.
Maria greeted me “Ciao Bella, Buon Compleanno” she’d remembered it was my Birthday today from our visit the previous day.
My feast was simple and delicious, succulent grilled local prawns served with hand cut fries made from fresh potatoes, accompanied with a glass or two of a crisp white from a local vineyard.
If delicious food, spectacular scenery and if the perfect sunny weather was not enough for the memory to live on for many years then it would have been the friendliness of Maria the owner.
I enquired how long she had owned the restaurant, since Papa, nodding to the gentleman that looked after the sun-beds bought the mountain with my Uncle.
They had found the spot, fishing, 40 years previous and decided it would make a perfect spot for a restaurant and bar.
Maria explained how they had chiselled the area inside, home to the kitchen and bar. She even brought out the prized 1st photo of the mountain, pre-Il Pirata days that sat proudly on the bar wall.
As the conversation expanded I told her how much I loved the little village of Praiano and she explained about village life. She even offered me a job should I return to Italy as I had planned.
I sat quietly, breathing in the salty air, exhilarated I was living the moment that I’d dreamt of for years. No amount of planning would have made the day more perfect. That it naturally unfolded, created a memorable travel moment, a Birthday I’ll cherish forever.
Have you visited the Amalfi Coast, what is your most memorable day there?