It has protein, calcium, and so why not? The Hotel Santa Caterina’s breakfast buffet set a new bar for elaborate. Pastries, lemon bundt cake, meats, cheeses, unnecessary American classics, juicy strawberries, poached everything, Muesli, Nutella, 15 kinds of jam (Creighton- is this reminding you of Bread and Jam for France’s?), fresh squeezed juices, my now staple lemon yogurt, and…..cafe, limone, chocolate, e fragola gelato. I couldn’t resist. The waiters were stunned. Sarah was laughing. I was happy. (this was forgotten in my drafts and I thought it deserved a post)
It was hard tearing ourselves away from the Belmond Caruso (www.belmondcaruso.com). Their setting in the mountains is so peaceful, and the extensive gardens create a buffer from the outside world. The service is impeccable, and we were treated like queens. The Hotel Santa Caterina is fantastic perched just above the sea, but is more eclectic. My travel strategy at any luxury resort is typically to book the cheapest room and then to spend the bulk of the time in the magnificent public spaces with views, pools, gardens. We peeked into the remote suite used by Marilyn Monroe on a honeymoon and another used by Hilary Clinton. In fact when the big pool was already closed for the evening we talked our way into the private pool of that suite. Lovely! We did not like our pink Mafia room that they had upgraded too, but did love the new one with an expansive deck that felt like being on the bow of the boat. We did sleep well and we rolled from bed across turquoise tiles onto our gigantic terrace which feels like the bow of a majestic yacht with nothin but sea as far as the eye can see. The sea sparkles. The sun is already bright and intense. We hear the sounds of Amalfi coming to life with roosters, Vespas, trucks, boats. And that is how we ease into our day.
The views from our breakfast table are equally staggering, and now Sarah is really threatening not to leave. In fact, she is already planning Italy 2017 with our kids and husbands. Alora, why not? Fresh mint tea Miley offsets the gluttony that is my buffet experience. Now I’m writing in a chaise 5ft from the ocean. The glass elevator descends through the cliff to drop you just at the base of the sea with a curving cement deck, a saltwater pool, and a ladder into the sea. This could be addictive. Minus my annoying arm Lymphedema I can almost forget about the cancer. My spine held up remarkably well during and after the Path of the Gods. I’m sleeping like a baby each night. So one year out I’m grateful for every day, and this is one hell of a way to celebrate the year mark.
After a swim in the ocean side grotto saltwater pool—stunning and reached by a clear elevator cut through the cliff–we grabbed the bus from Amalfi to Positano (after missing the first bus due to it being full and after Sarah attracted much attention from some local men) and thanks to our friend Sara Bliss ((author of awesome blog http://www.hotelchic.com and imminent book Hotel Chic) we were able to dine with a bit of extra attention at the lovely and timeless Le Sireneuse overlooking the mosaic dome and the turquoise bay. Blue and white, green and white, and either white washed or deep red walls define the stunning spaces. We savored asparagus soup with ricotta and sea bream with grilled vegetables with a crisp Marisa Cuomo white. Thanks to Sara, we met they elegant owner who also curates the store’s fabulous boutique. This is an exquisite family run hotel at the top of its game. Positano climbs in color from the picturesque bay up the cliffs. It was such a treat, but it made me happy that I had chosen the quieter hotels for our stays.
Rough waves cancelled all the ferries so all the buses were full. After jostling with some aggressive Chinese and German tourists we befriended a nice American couple and returned to the Sireneuse to procure an overpriced but comfortable cab. It turned out that the guy had served in the Marines the same years as Creighton and literally geographically his unit was one step ahead of C’s. Small world. We returned to another swim in the private pool and enjoyed a final dinner watching the sea and sky as they moved through 10 shades of blue into night. I adored having 1×1 time with Sarah. Almost 30 years of friendship and we never run out of things to talk about. I love hearing about how she tackles landscape design and then how she thinks about politics and relationships and life. We laugh and cry and solve the world’s problems over each delicious meal.