Our first trip was to Italy! May 2010

The excitement started much before the day of departure. However, this report will start as of the first day. The day we leave for Italy.

Lucky for us Sue wanted to drive us to the airport. Do not know if she needed the car or if she just wanted to make sure we were really leaving. After being dropped off at the airport we proceeded to the first class line and received our boarding passes and checked our luggage. We proceeded to security and were passed on to the terminal. Once in the terminal Marti needed to stop for a magazine. Once secured we then proceeded to the Admirals Club. After Marti enjoyed some of the clubs great coffee, I showed her around the club. She liked the coffee very much and liked how quite the club was compared to the terminal. Just prior to boarding we left the club and were able to step right onto our plane. We were in the First Class section and we were treated with care. The flight was perfect and we deplaned at the O’Hara terminal. We went into the Chicago Admirals Club for a tour and then proceeded to the special Flagship Lounge. Our layover was about three hours but the food and services in the Flagship Lounge made me feel that the wait was just a brief moment. We left the lounge and proceeded to our transatlantic airplane. After boarding we were able to trade our business seats with another passenger and soon we were off to Italy sitting side by side.

The flight to Italy was wonderful and the service was grand. On arrival we passed through customs and headed to catch our first train ride from the airline terminal to the Rome Train Station. The Leonardo train was very much like a subway ride in New York. It was packed and the train had very little air to breath. We arrived after a thirty minute ride at the main Rome rail station and it was here we had our first taste of Italy. The Leonardo train dropped us off just outside the main station so we needed to walk to the main station.

With our luggage in hand we departed the Leonardo train and ventured into a very busy main train station. We were looking for our high speed train that would take us to Naples. Once we located the main station we discovered that our train was to arrive at 11:55 am. What we did not know was that that meant that we would not know what track it was going to arrive on. We waited in a very busy snack area and watched all of the people coming and going through the train station. We were approached just two times and asked for money. Lucky for me all I had learned to say in Italian was “no capach”. At 11:47 am we discovered our train was arriving on track number seven. Lucky for us we met a train worker who explained to us that we were trying to board the incorrect train. He said in a very authoritative voice “NO” and pointed for us to leave that side of the track. So we were now on the right side of the track and waiting to board our high speed train to Naples. After joining the mass of people boarding we stored our luggage and found our first class seats. This train ride was much better than the Leonardo train in that we had assigned seats and we were treated with a flow of fresh air. Ridding trains in Italy is an experience one should not miss. It is made even better with tons of luggage.

Lucky for us we were met in Naples with a sign bearing our names by Umberto our driver who was to take us to Positano, Italy. The drive was very scenic however I did become just a little car sick on the way there. On arriving in Positano we were informed that our hotel was just a short walk down the mountain. We were very happy to learn that the town of Positano was built for burros. So since there were no available burros we needed to walk the remaining distance to our hotel the Buca di Bacco. Our luggage was passed on to a local porter who was to transport it via an electric burro to the hotel. We were not allowed on the electric burro as it was considered unsafe. So we were sent to meander down a pleasant path to our quaint hotel and the start of our dream vacation. At this time I considered the path to be very beautiful and very charming. Yes, our stroll was all downhill to the Buca di Bacco.

We walked into the lobby of the hotel and went through the check in process. The hotel provided us a special welcome drink ticket and a very nice young lady took us to our room as soon as it was ready. The room was very beautiful. As you enter the room there was the main part of the room with a large bed, antique chest of drawers, small desk and a fabulous view of the beach and Sea. It had a beautiful bathroom with both a shower and a bathtub, with lots of amenities from toothbrushes and razors, to shampoo and tanning lotion. Much to our surprise the room had its own terrace! We had an area as large as our room with two lounge chairs accompanied by a table and chairs. We were very pleased with the room and the special service the hotel and staff provided to us.

We soon unpacked and took refreshing showers. I stretched out on the bed and was soon asleep for a short nap. Once awake we headed off for dinner. We went to the hotel’s own place and enjoyed a very wonderful dinner. (Just a little note to my daughter Susan – This was one of the best restaurants in all of Positano and I did not need to wear anything other than my shorts and casual shoes.) I had veal (not the best) and Marti had fish (it was outstanding) and we shared some desert. Then we went for a walk and talked about our next day activities.
[sea bass steamed wrapped around asparagus, smashed potatoes.- creamy, veal stew…..sort of tough but sauce was good. Spinach sautéed in oil, garlic and lemon juice. Then tiramisu…. Really good, light amount of sponge cake dradged in booze, pastry cream and whipped cream and powdered chocolate on top]
Tuesday was my second day of vacation. My muscles were just getting over the pain of transporting our very bulky luggage onto and off of two different trains, when much to my surprise we were off on a walking tour of beautiful Positano.