It was May of last year that I visited Positano, Italy for the first time and experienced the second major travel regret of my life. (My first, if you’ll recall, is that I didn’t visit Egypt before the political situation there became unstable.) My second travel regret isn’t that I visited Positano, of course. Far from it. No, my regret is that I didn’t have enough time there.
I had one day in the port of Naples on my Mediterranean cruise. Just one day to see Pompeii and as much of the Amalfi Coast as we could squeeze in before we needed to be back aboard the ship. “As much as we could squeeze in” turned out to be Sorrento and Positano, two picturesque towns along the coast, with very different landscapes and personalities. Both were beautiful in their own way, but Positano was unlike any town I’ve ever seen, with the azure sea spread out before it, dotted with boats, and steep cliffs rising up behind it and layers upon layers of winding streets that make the houses look stacked one upon the other.
To get there, our guide, Giovanni, drove our van along narrow, winding roads, with sheer rock cliffs on one side–draped in netting in an attempt to prevent rockslides–and a steep drop off the other side. Occasionally, a large truck or bus would come careening around a blind curve at us, and everyone would hold their breath and pray there was enough room on the road for both vehicles. Everyone except Giovanni, who seemed completely unfazed. When Giovanni stopped on a hill overlooking Positano so we could get some photos, I knew this view was our reward for taking our lives in our hands on that road. Because yes, it was worth it.
Then he drove us to a garage in town and let us have some time to wander at will. Because we needed to get back to the ship before it departed, we had about an hour to explore. Just an hour to enjoy all of this:
See what I mean? To have just an hour in a place this beautiful? The tragedy of it all.
Actually, I’m very lucky I got to spend any time there at all, which puts me ahead of millions of other people on the planet. But I feel as though I went to a birthday party and only got a fingerful of frosting off the cake before it was gone. Some day, I’d like to go back and spend more time in Positano–and the rest of the Amalfi Coast, too, while I’m at it.
Do you have a favorite place that you only had a short period of time in and wish you could spend more time there? Where was it?