Today is Monday here in Italy and we have moved to a new hotel. This morning we were picked up at our hotel Santa Cantrina at 11;00 am and driven on Amalfi Drive about 20 minutes or so to the San Pietro Hotel close to the town of Positano. The sun was out, but the forecast was for rain in the afternoon.

This small, unique hotel is one of our favorite in the world. Named after Saint Peter (the owner was named Peter) it has a small but beautiful chapel at the road level when you drive in. One end of the chapel is all glass with a large cross hanging in front of it and the sea far below. It has pews and an altar. It is set up for Mass. Bright colored flowers grow all around the small area. The view around it is spectacular. Positano on one side and the Amalfi coast on the other. Bright  red flowers SAN PIETROare planted at altar end and the whole area is very special. Ten years ago we flew our good friend Father Frank Costello S.J. from Gonzaga here and in this very chapel, in the presence of a few friends, we renewed our twentieth wedding vows. The hotel is very special to us. This time we are here four nights. However, the volcano in Iceland has been active and flights canceled plus British Air flight attendants are planning to strike. So we could be in Europe longer then planned.

From where you drive in and around behind the chapel, you take a short flight of steps down to an elevator which opens in the large reception area. The walls are all windows. Outside flowers are planted everywhere, a lemon tree is loaded with yellow lemons and the view is wonderful.  The view through the glass walls are to to a very large balcony area with bright colored benches of ceramic inlay tile. The drop from the balcony area  is straight down a very long ways to the ocean below. Positano is off to one side and the beautiful Amalfi coast to the other.

Our wonderful room is located above the lobby area with large wrap around balcony. On one end we look down at the swimming pool one floor below and the Amalfi coast line. On the other end we look at the town of Positano which is built into the mountain. After unpacking we took the elevator far down to the beach level. The shaft for this elevator was blasted straight down through solid rock which took many months. In fact, many of room locations were also blasted right out of the rock cliff. The entire hotel is constructed down the stone cliff. At the beach level we have a light lunch. The waves are crashing in and the seas are large. There is a swimming pool here too, but closed due to the heavy seas.

The waiter tells us that yesterday a woman drowned  while standing at the dock in Positano where the boats pick people up to take them to Capri. She was a tourist who was on the dock with her twelve year old son. It was dangerous due to huge waves the locals say they had not seen before. One wave pulled them both out to sea. Two local men who were protecting their fishing boats by dragging them up to high ground, saw it happen and dove in and rescued the boy, but the mother drowned. Today the seas are calmer, but are still heavy from the wind.

After lunch at the hotel we were driven to the top of the sidewalk above town by Michelli who has been the driver since the first time we came here which is some twenty years ago. He speaks little English but is friendly and remembers us. The houses and small shops at Positano slope down from high above the ocean down the town and the ocean.There is a narrow one way road that starts at one end of town, high above at Amalfi drive, and winds it way down to the town square and climbs back up to the other end where it connects with Amalfi Drive again. If you start from the drop off point on Amalfi drive you walk down a narrow sidewalk to get to the town. As you do, you look down at homes and restaurants built into the ocean side of the rock to the beach. On the other side of the very narrow one way road there are little shops and above that homes that stretch up the rock mountain which can be reached only by climbing flights of stone stairs. As you descend closer to the bottom of the walk way you find hotels that you enter at street level but which are constructed down the cliff towards the beach below. You see houses built into the slopping area one above another. Their view is spectacular, but walking the stairs to get their a challenge. When you get to the end of the walk there is a very small square with some shops. From there a wide rock sidewalk heads down sharply towards the beach. Shops are located along it and some more hotels plus a large church at the bottom. There are some rather steep steps and the walk continues until you arrive at the beach where there more shops and restaurants along the beach area.

 We walked down the sidewalk from where we were dropped off at Amalfi drive and went down to the square. Lita checked shops out and I walked the rock sidewalk all the way to the beach, had coffee and tiny strawberries and then headed back up to the square. I decided we didn't have to walk back up the walk to Amalfi drive and got a ride at the square back to the hotel. It’s now 6:30 pm and we are preparing to have a drink and dinner at the beautiful restaurant which has a deck open to a wonderful view. The weather report says we will have a beautiful sun day today and then rain again for the week. I hope they are wrong. A further report to follow.

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