This summer we decided to revisit some favorite destinations, but to fool ourselves that we were really going to different places, we stayed in slightly different locales and tried a different style of living. For example, we love the Amalfi Coast and have stayed in Ravello many times, so this time we decided to stay in Positano. It was a little handier for us to take ferries to Ischia and Capri, and we could always take a bus to Ravello. Positano is like living in a stadium, and getting around either firms up every muscle in your body or, like Chris, reminds you of all your football/ skiing/racquetball knee injuries. From the beach, it was 167 steps to our hotel, the Miramare, and another 133 steps to the top of the hill where we often went for dinner. In the cardiovascular sense we quickly became acclimated to the climbs; however, at the end of day three, Chris’s knee was so swollen he could hardly wear long pants.
The hotel was beautiful, with a balcony overlooking the coast. About three miles from Positano lies the archipelago of Li Galli, made up of three small islands. Geologically speaking, the archipelago is a projection of the Sorentine Peninsula, and mythology has always identified the islands as the home of the Sirens in the time of the ancient Greeks. The myth of the small islands is that they are the bodies of the three sirens who committed suicide because Odysseus managed to escape the lure of their song. One windy night I was sure I heard their whistling siren call….it was eerie. Positano was charming, with delicious food (especially seafood). We walked and enjoyed the cultural background – I even had the nerve to get my hair colored in Positano – now that’s scary.
Next stop was Paris. Paris is like a second home for Chris and I, so this time we decided to stay in a completely different area, the 2nd arrondissment, AND rent an apartment for two weeks. We stayed in an apartment on the corner of Tiquetonne and rue Montorgueil. Rue Montorgueil is a market street like none I’ve never seen – it’s like Rue Cler on steroids and much more of a hangout for trendy Parisians than Rue Cler or Mouffetard. The neighborhood was delightful, but the apartment was on a quartier pieton (walking street) lined with cafes and bars, so we lost many hours of sleep until we discovered wax ear plugs which allowed us to sleep until the garbage men came between 6 and 7am.
Even within our own building the noise level was high, with a near-deaf insomniac next door (we heard Some Like It Hot two nights!) and two adorable grade school girls upstairs that Chris swore wore bricks on their feet. We also learned what “small” means in a Parisapartment. Ours was about 25 square meters (250 sq. ft.) and paradoxically that is much smaller than a hotel room of the same size because of all the “features” they try to provide. Imagine, for example that our 25sq. meter apartment had a queen bed, a sofa, a table for three, a washer/dryer, full kitchen, entry foyer, a (working!) fireplace, and a large bookcase. Sounds charming, but setting up and using each item requires a Rubik’s cube realignment of the entire apartment. We realized that apartment renting is not for the meek, because it is much more difficult to research, get references, etc., and it requires a 100% commitment up-front. Our bottom-line advice would be to make sure you are really going to use and enjoy the amenities of apartment living and then research, research, research. Did I mention that EHT doesn’t rent apartments? Well now you know why…
All together, however, we had a wonderful time and even got in a little face time with Jacques Chirac (no fooling!) at an antiquities exhibit held to celebrate the reopening of the Grand Palais.