La Dolce Vita – Positano, Italy

English: Part of Positano, Italy.

Positano, Italy

After weeks of practicing phrases on Duolingo (I can now say “the woman has the fork and the garlic” or maybe it’s “the woman has the fork in the garlic,”)  I am off to Positano to eat lemons and cook with friends.  John Steinbeck described Positano  in a 1953 issue of Harper’s Bazaar:

“Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you are gone.”

Stephanie Rosenbloom in her New York Times article – What A Great Trip and I’m Not Even There Yet – noted that preparing for the adventure can be just as satisfying as the trip itself, and it has been – from trying to remember my Italian grandmother’s phrasing as she admonished me to “mangia il pane e beve il latte” -to climbing stairs in anticipation of Positano’s many steps – a natural stairmaster to work off all that pasta I plan to eat. Not sure how much reading I will do as I sip the limonata, but I am taking with me:

  • Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
  • The Elephant’s Journey by Jose Saramago
  • The House in Amalfi by Elizabeth Adler
  • Walking on the Amalfi Coast by Gillian Price
  • and another Donna Leon mystery


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Reading My Way Through Spain

Preparing for a trip can be as satisfying as traveling. As I looked forward to touring the paradores, drinking the Sangria, and eating the tapas, these books were on my Kindle:

Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving

The Blind Man of Seville by Robert Wilson

Winter in Madrid by C.J. Sanson

Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s books are based in Barcelona, and I found the street that housed the fictional Cemetery of Lost Books. Now that I’ve caught Catalan fever, I need to reread all my Zafón favorites…

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Hemingway was everywhere in Ronda, the home of the bullfight – his “Fiesta” might be a good alternative to watching the gore. And, if you are a Joyce fan, his chapter on Penelope in Ulysses was set in Ronda.

With the aroma of orange blossoms everywhere, a quiet garden with a view could inspire any reader.