Farewell to the mother ship

Today Eden Roc Hotel closes for the winter. Like most businesses in Positano that rely on the tourist trade, the winter months are simply not worth being open for.  It also gives the staff who have worked virtually non-stop since Easter a well deserved break.

For us, being completely selfish, this means losing our favorite evening drinks spot, a place we can have a chat with the staff that we now call friends, and a place for a meal – quick and easy when we can’t be bothered cooking at the villa or long and delicious when we have visitors and we want to showcase some fine Italian cuisine.

It’s also means no more lazy breakfast which comes, of course, with the theatre that is Tony’s impecable service and his world-beating cappuccino.

Although we weren’t staying at the hotel we have been treated like guests.  As someone put it, our room is just a little further along the corridor than the others.

With the hotel closing we are left to fend for ourselves for a week until we leave Positano next Tuesday.  Having said that the lovely Carmine has given us contact phone numbers in case we need anything and Tony has threatened to call in and say hello. It would be lovely if he did but sadly I don’t think our cappuccino would impress him overly.

Last night we went to the hotel for a farewell drink. Jean has yet to find a chardonnay that matches the quality of the one the hotel serves by the glass and this would be her last chance to relax and enjoy it.

As with all great evenings the chardonnay seemed to taste a little better than usual and we passed the time chatting to Carlo and perfecting our Italian.  The phrase “altro giro” (another round) was used frequently and Carlo’s stock of chardonnay looked in grave danger of not making it to the cellar for winter.

The hotel owner Dominic Casola called in for a few minutes which was a surprise and a treat. Dominic has been ill for over a year and is only slowly recovering. His two sons now run the hotel.  He pointed out that his older son Rafaelle was, at that moment, entertaining the Mayor of Positano at the next table in the bar and that Rafaelle was now on the Positano town council.

After a farewell limoncello or two we said our goodbyes to Eden Roc and wandered, well more staggered, home to the usual rapturous welcome from the girls.

Today’s been a quiet day at Villa Greta. We aren’t as young as we once were and a night out takes it’s toll. And there’s nothing like a wee nap in the afternoon to recover. Sleep well girls.

Ok, so someone help me out here

Today was a beautiful day – that’s it in the photo above.  The weather was stunning – warm enough in the sun to sunbath. No wind and, once the sun went down, cool but not chilly.

So here’s my problem.  I always figured that Italy was much closer to the equator than New Zealand and that’s what determined the hot, hot summers and milder winters when compared to home. I always thought that Positano must be on a similar latitude to, say, Brisbane in Australia. It made sense to me.

But then I checked the facts.

The latitude of Positano is 40° 37′ N. The latitude of Wellington is 41° 19′ S. That’s almost identical. In fact Paekakariki is 40° 37′ S which is identical. (For non-kiwi readers Paekakariki – pronounced Pie-car-car-reeky – is a very small coastal community about 40kms north of our home town Wellington.)

In theory Positano in November and December should have the same weather as Paekakariki in May and June. Now, I’m not wanting to upset the lovely people of Paekakariki but this isn’t the case.


Our Gecko

We have a gecko which lives behind one of the front door shutters. He’s about 4 inches long, hides during the day but comes out at night to find dinner – bugs and the like. This suits us as the fewer bugs around the house the lower the chance of anything terrifying Jean.

He clings to the wall overlooking the street and being a gecko (or should that be Gekko) we’ve named him Gordon after the character in the movie. (Movie buff humour I’m afraid).

A funny old Friday


This gallery contains 24 photos.

Friday is shopping day.  The day we head into Positano with the single-minded purpose of refilling the cupboards for another week. Although the village is only a 10 minute walk, on Friday we take the car. The thought of walking … Continue reading

Daisy has a new vet

Over the last week or so Daisy’s coughing has got worse so it was time for a visit to a vet. The team at Eden Roc Hotel had kindly offered to arrange for a vet to call if needed and on Monday we decided it was needed.

We’ve never had a house call from a vet before but all was arranged and at 9:15 on Monday morning the wonderful Dott. Antonio Apuzzo called at Villa Greta. His english was good and his understanding of Daisy and her heart condition was even better.

He explained that in terms of the medication she was on, there were no additional pills she could take so it came down to adjusting her current medication to best treat her symptoms. He asked us to visit his practice in the village of Sant’Agata in the commune of Massa Lubrense where he would arrange for a cardiologist to visit and conduct an ECG on Daisy. Based on the results of this, her medication could be adjusted.  It was decided that Wednesday morning at 11 was the time.

We had no idea what the house call would cost and Jean had walked to the village Monday morning to take out additional cash as we figured a house call could be expensive.  The bill was only €30 and as he left he gave us his mobile number to call if Daisy got worse between Monday and Wednesday. What more could we want.

Wednesday morning we set out for Sant’Agata.  This small town is only 15kms from Positano but the windy road meant a drive of 35 minutes.  The village is located right on the spine of the Amalfi Peninsular so as you drive there you see alternatively views along the Amalfi Coast to Praiano and beyond to Salerno in the south, and across the bay of Naples to Napoli, Vesuvius and beyond in the north. It is the most spectacular drive to a vet we have ever had.

And on the way you pass the Grand Hotel Nastro Azzuro – an impressive hotel with a great view of the bay of Naples and named after Italian beer! This is my kind of place.

The village itself is delightful and at 11am, it was in full swing with the fish monger busy, the greengrocer inundated with locals and that general bustle of a busy Italian village.

We arrived promptly, ten minutes late, and met the cardiologist Dott. Antonella Sergio. Once again she had an immediate understanding of Daisy’s condition. You also get the feeling that the respect Italians inherently have for the aged in the community also extends to dogs. Once Daisy’s age was explained (nearly 15 years old – close to 90 in human years) she was treated with the greatest respect.

Despite that, she still managed to have a seizure on the table in the middle of the ECG which prompted even more care, a supply of oxygen to ensure she recovered and a modified ECG so she could stand rather than be forced to lie down.

The upshot of the ECG – her condition is a little worse than it was 3 months ago. But we now have a new pill regime and the addition of a cortisone spray to help with her coughing. We also now understand how to alter the balance of her medication depending on the symptoms she displays.

As we left, Dott. Apuzzo reiterated that we should call him if Daisy gets worse – although he joked that he hoped he didn’t hear from us.

Thank you Dott. Antonio and Dott. Antonella. We hope we don’t have to call either.

We then retired to the patisserie across the road and had a celebratory cake and cappuccino or two. We vowed to return to Sant’Agata and explore it further. There are also some great photographs to be taken on the drive there and back but this trip I didn’t take my camera.  It was business after all – well as close as we get to business these days.

Our Madonna – updated

This morning while sitting on our terrace having that first cappuccino, Jean spotted a little lady from the village cleaning our Madonna.  Our lady got the full treatment – glass cleaned, flowers refreshed and steps swept.

Based on this Jean has put away her glass polish and stopped trying to figure out how to get our vaccum cleaner cord to reach 20 metres down the road.