Video: Epic family holiday back to our Mother Countries by Leo Paoliello

The epic Zorbaletto trip back to our ‘Mother Countries’: 32 days, 10 people, 4 countries, 3 generations, 2 families, 1 epic adventure

Our epic Zorbaletto trip of a lifetime – the bucket list items we ticked off was travelling back to our ‘Mother Countries’ with our families. Yes, that’s right, both of our families. Sadly not both of our entire families – my sister Susie and her husband Ben and kids Indi and Sam couldn’t join us.

What started off as ‘sitting in a Greek village for a month’ to celebrate a milestone birthday of Zorba’s, morphed into an epic family European odyssey to Cyprus, Greece and Italy with Zorba’s mum Katie, his sister Marnie, husband Con (Italian) and their 11-year-old triplets sons – Leo, John and Matthew, and my mum and dad, Gina and Walter. Ten of us travelling together for 21 days (with the Greek side departing then; my parents stayed on for another 9 days).

Nephew Leo Paoliello (11.5 years) created this video that captures so many happy moment of the trip – grab a cuppa and relive our trip with us.

To read about how we found a cousin in Cyprus, one we weren’t even looking for that involved several 90+ years residents, the town’s mayor, and a school teacher who had been jailed for killing rabbits. Click here for the full story.

Pretty Positano just took our breath way – it really was a huge bucket list moment to stay in a luxurious villa for a week right in the heart of the Amalfi Coast town – here’s where we recommend you eat when in Positano click here.

Thanks Leo!

Leo Paoliello

Leo Paoliello

 

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Positano – best places to eat

Positano on the Amalfi Coast in Italy is one of the prettiest places on the planet. It attracts hoards of tourists, the majority of whom are day trippers. As the late afternoon arrive, the day trippers leave, and that’s when Positano becomes magical.  If you’re heading to the Amalfi Coast, consider staying in Positano rather than Sorrento which is bigger, bustling, and very touristy. Positano is also touristy, you can’t really get away from it, but it’s much smaller in size, and it’s at its best at night.

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Best places to eat in Positano

Like all tourist destinations, a little bit of research goes a long way to ensure that you eat well. We’ve just spent a week in Positano (stayed in this amazing villa) and have done the research for you.

Bar Bruno
Via Cristoforo Colombo 157, Positano
+39 089 875 392

You might go to Bar Bruno for the stunning views, but make no mistake, the food is just as good. You might want to book during the summer, it’s a popular place and the outdoor tables have views across Positano are always the first to go. It’s a big walk almost to the top of the hill and is on the road leading out of Positano. The main road runs between the outdoor tables and the restaurant – waist-coat wearing waiters scurry across the road balancing plates. Sit back, enjoy a spritz with aperol and watch Positano sparkle with lights as it falls into darkness.

When it comes to ordering – choose anything with seafood. The spaghetti vongole (my favourite – clams) was fantastic. Mum and Dad had a special of spaghetti with half a lobster and they are still raving about that meal.

The service is mostly efficient, the prices are good, not exorbitant and not dirt cheap either. It’s a lovely place to go for meal that has the full package – views, terrific food and good service. Ask any local, they’ll tell you. We ate there twice.

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Covo dei Saraceni
Via Regina Giovanna, 5, Positano
+39 089 875 400

Upstairs:  Part of a five star restaurant, the Covo dei Saraceni adjacent to the port where the ferries come in. Upstairs it’s posh, plush, luxurious fine dining that you’ll pay handsomely for. The views of the bay, the twinkling lights of the boats and houses built into Positano’s cliffs are breathtaking. It’s a great choice for a special night out. The food is fancy, fine dining, not blow your socks amazing, but good. Not sure if I’d rush back (unless someone else was paying!). I prefer food that is full of flavour that has me wanting more, rather than perfectly cut carrot cubes.

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Downstairs: Is a casual pizzeria with a woodfired pizza oven. There’s outdoor seating on the cobbled pavement out the front and aircon inside. The pizzas are banging – Zorba said it was one of the best pizzas he’s had in Italy. The pasta is good too – again I had spaghetti vongole. Sadly, on the night we went they mucked up our order (surprising, we were the only ones inside eating – early dinner with the nephews), so our experience could’ve been A1 had that not happened. Reasonably priced and despite the order mix up, I’d go back.

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La Pergola
Via del Brigantino 35/37, Positano
+39 089 811 461

La Pergola is a restaurant and pizzeria – as you look at the ocean it’s on the left side of the main beach, Spiaggia Grande, in Positano.  They have a giant woodfired oven for pizza and their pizzas are good. They also do takeaway pizza.

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Mediterraneo
Viale Pasitea, 236, Positano
+39 089 811651

On the Spiaggia Fornillo side of Positano (the little beach), up the Mediterreaneo - 1hill, Mediterreaneo is a fun place if you can let your guard down and enjoy cheesy Italian music. The food is pretty good, the prices are mid-range, what you expect in Positano, and every other night a musician comes in and gets diners involved in sing alongs – It’s Amore, Il Solo Mio, etc. Expect a tambourine to land on your lap. Go on, have another wine and let your hair down. It’s silly tourist fun.

 

Gelato: Bar al Buca
Via del Brigantino 35/37, Positano
+39 089 811 461

Hands down the best gelato in Positano, and I tried just about every place! The prices are reasonable, three euro for a medium cup (2 flavours) and every flavour is bang on. The chocolate is amazing, so is the nocciola (hazlenut), lemon, pistacchio, straticcella (like vanilla choc chip) and coffee. It’s adjacent to La Pergola – look for the big black lion statues out the front.

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Delicatessen
Via dei Mulini, 5-11, 84017, Positano, Italy
(+39) 089875489

If you’re lucky enough to be staying in Positano on the Spaiggia Grande side, then a visit to this deli is a must to pick up some supplies – bread, proscuitto, tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella (just 2.50 euro!), beer, wine, etc. If you are staying close by, they’ll deliver it to your villa. Winning! They also make fresh panini – a great lunch option if you’re sick of eating big meals.

Deli supplies

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Supplies bought from the deli

A word about La Tagliata

It’s well known amongst tourists and it has high ratings on TripAdvisor (never trust TripAdvisor for food!!) but be warned the food at La Tagliata is not what it once was. Several locals warned us that their food isn’t so fresh. If you’re keen to try it, go for the experience, not for the food. You will be picked up and driven up the mountain to a restaurant in the hills somewhere high above Positano. Drink choices are just red or white, and the wine comes in a jug, and the food is very meat heavy, cooked on a grill. There’s no menu per se.  I ate at La Tagliata several years ago and the experience was ok – lots of food, but I prefer to go to restaurants were the locals want to eat, so sitting next to tourists didn’t create the experience I crave when I travel.

 

Your tips

Have you got any awesome tips on where to eat in Positano? Leave a comment and let me know!

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What happened about the smashed champagne glass?

In Positano, you may recall that we accidently smashed one of the lovely crystal champagne glasses the nice old man lent to me after I told him we had got engaged.  I felt so bad about that accident that I was fretting and saying to Zorba, “let’s buy him a bottle of Verve to make up for it / where could we buy replacement champagne glasses in Positano?” etc.  Zorba told me to stop worrying about it that we’ll just talk to him and tell him what happened.

The next morning, I sheepishly checked out and Zorba did all the talking.  Marco Carlo, owner of the Maria Luisa Pensione, is the loveliest man – he said, “noooo, don’t worry, no problem, it’s ok…” In my best Italian I apologised profusely and he put a hand on my shoulder and said, “it’s ok, really,”.  Oh good!  Thanks!  Such a nice man.

We can highly recommend the Pensione Maria Luisa in Positano – it’s clean, cheap, good location, QUIET at night (hard to find in Positano), and had killer views of the sea and the town.  They have a website – google them!

We are now in Sicilia and look past to our time in Positano last week really fondly. That place is magical. You have to go. 

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Amalfi Coast days keep getting better

Does life get any better? I keep asking myself that question and I don’t reckon it does!   We have just had two of the best days in my life.

The first best day:

Gabbie was on the beach when we arrived, sitting on a lettino owned by her hotel. I ordered a freshly made lemon granita from Guido and Zorba and i took our place on Positano’s best beach.   The lovely Alessandro brought my drink down, and a gorgeous flower for my friend Gabriella.  Sigh.  I used to get flowers from men in Italia, now I get what i pay for, a drink, and my friends get the flowers….!  Zorba said he’d go sit at the other end of the beach if ‘he was cramping my style’.  Hahaha!  My single days are over and I reminded Zorba that it was his job to give me flowers now 🙂

I walked to Gabbie and gave her the flower Guido had had delivered via Alessandro.  Gabbie pinned in straight in her hair and went to Bar Ferginando to thank Guido.  She came back a few minutes later and asked us if we wanted to go out on Alessandro’s boat.  Sure!  Sounds great! 

Alessandro spoke perfect English and took us for the most delightful cruise up the Amalfi Coast. We sat back in the sun, wow-ing at the spectacular view.  It is seriously one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.  Azure crystal clear water backed by impressive rock cliff faces, grottos everywhere, oh it was joy. Sheer splendid joy.  No one brought a camera – so we all gazed in amazement at the beauty of the water and the coast, etching the images into our minds.

He stopped the boat and we all jumped off and went for a glorious swim.  Aaaaahhhh – perfecto!   After a refreshing swim, Alessandro stopped at Positano jetty and ordered us some beers – it wasn’t a drive through as much as a ‘sail through’ – hahaha – and I was in HEAVEN.   In the boat, cruising along the Amalfi Coast, chatting, laughing, sun baking, and drinking beer…bliss!  We went past one boat and from a respectable distance, saw a couple making love (so Italian! anywhere!). 

Gabbie and I were just saying – pinch me, is this real?  How did this happen?  Who cares how it happened, all i knew is that I was having one of the best days of our trip so far.

After a few hours out on the boat, we went back to Guido’s Bar Ferginando and had more beers and some lunch. Then more beer and a mojito – a mistake.  I had to go down to the beach and I slept on a lettino until Zorba dragged me home.  No disco dancing for me tonight!

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The second best day:

The next day, Zorba and I realised a dream.  We hired scooters and rode up and down the Amalfi Coast.  Regrettably there weren’t any vespas to rent, so I had a Piaggio Liberty 125cc and Zorba had a 150cc Honda.   We would have hired scooters sooner except that the hire places in Positano are ridiculously expensive.  65 euro per day, EACH.  No way.  In Sorrento it was 30 euro per day.  We were planning on taking the local bus to Ravello, when walking to the bus stop, not 100m from the last rip off hire place, we see scooters for hire for 32 euro.  So we changed our plan and got a scooter each!

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It was so much fun riding the windy coast road.  To be honest, I was expecting to crap myself most of the way around, given how narrow the roads are and how crazy Italians drive.  But it wasn’t scary at all.  It was exhilarating!  Zorba was loving it and so was I.   We stopped at Praiano, Amalfi, Minori – where we had a very disappointing lunch (dont’ go there, nothing there), then rode the scenic mountain roads up to Ravello.   We rode up the mountain, seeing lush greenery, terraced farm land, and spectacular views from high up the mountain.  Sensational.

Ravello is lovely.  Cute and gorgeous.  I spent a fortune on some crockery, an Antipasto set, that will be shipped home.  I’m happy – I have wanted to buy crockery from Italy for years.

We made our way back to Positano, stopping at Atrani for a drink and look around. The first world cup game was being played, so we sat in a bar and watched the first half, then had to leave to get the Scooters back.  Riding back was heaps fun too.  

We had two of the best days ever!!!  We saw the Amalfi coast by boat, then by scooter.  Two of the best days ever!  And a superb way to spend our last day in Positano, riding a scooter.

Positano will always have a special place in our hearts – not only is it magical, but it is the place were Zorba planned to propose to me – and then did.  We love it and will return.

Next stop, Sicilia!

 

 

 

 

 

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A smashing celebration!

Before dinner, Zorba decided we should have the bottle of Verve champagne we bought in Sorrento (bargain 35 euro!).  After I spent about an hour stressing out over the internet connection that kept dropping out when trying to book flights to Palermo, I asked the lovely old guy who owns Pensione Maria Luisa if he had some champagne glasses we could borrow because we were celebrating our engagement.   He congratulated me and said yes of course – off he shuffled and brought back two sets of glasses for me to choose from. One was like a glass dessert dish and not really a champagne glass at all, and the other was like a beer glass… oh well, better than plastic.  I thanked him and said they would be fine. He said – wait I might have another – and returned back with two beautiful crystal champagne glasses.  I was imagining that they were perhaps a wedding present when he received them as they were not really the kind of glasses you see in shops, rather in old relatives houses.  Perfect!!

Zorba and I popped the Verve and he proposed to me properly – dropping to one knee and saying the most lovely things.  It was so romantic and very sweet…of course I cried (a happy cry!).  We toasted and sipped the yummy Verve, then Zorba put the iPod ear piece in my ear, he had the other one, and we danced on our balcony to “It’s Amore!”.  As he tried to twirl me around, the head phone popped out of my ear – after pulling on it – it was hysterical!  We altered our dancing style – no twirls – and drank the champagne and drank in the beautiful view of Positano.  

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I couldn’t let an occasion like this go without a photo!  So we got the tripod out and did some self portraits, photos of my ring, photo of drinking champagne, etc etc.  As we were getting to the end of the champas, we started to become photo stylists and set up some shots of my ring (off) with the champagne.  We were having a ball, adding a flower from the garden, moving object around…and then…. SMASH!  Oooooohhhhh SHIT!  The beautiful crystal champagne glass was accidently knocked off the table and smashed into a thousand pieces.  Shit shit shiiiiiit!!!  Oh God, I felt so so so so terrible!  That lovely man lent us his glasses and we smashed one.  Whoops!

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We went to dinner, met up with my new bestie Gabbie, and had a really really fun night back at Mediterraneo restaurant singing along with Alfonso.  The food was so good last time, I ordered the same thing – Spigola con guazetto (fish cooked in white wine, tomatoes and onion).  We had THE BEST red I have drunk in Italia to date too – called Mioi.  Smooth with chocolate aromas and reasonable at 20 euro a bottle. So we had two bottles! 

The owner, also a waiter there, was crazy – a lot of fun and kept jumping in photos. For dessert, we ordered a local speciality a delicious lemon sponge cake, known in English as “the boob” because of it’s shape.  We had to order it and it was delicious!  What a fun fun fun night!

Happy and ‘un poco brillo’ (a little tipsy), we both slept like babies….

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