CIAO, BELLA ATRANI

Atrani town & beach

Setting up a new (admittedly tiny) residence in a foreign country takes courage, planning and a bit (or alot) of madness. Luckily I have all three. Many asked me why I would spend my hard-earned cash on such a very tiny apartment, in a tiny town (only 900 residents) on Italy’s Amalfi Coast.  Atrani, I-T-A-L-Y?  It was an easy decision, I’ve vacationed here dozens of times, and these pictures ARE my backyard. I’m a 1 min walk to the piazza, and a 2 min walk to the sea/beach. What my micro-studio apartment lacks in size, it makes up for in location, location, marvelous-glorious (!) location…

After weeks of preparing a packing list and shopping ’til I dropped in Los Angeles, I loaded up three suitcases with about 50 lbs each- pillows, sheets, towels, shower curtain, throw rugs, scissors, stapler, tools (2 screwdrivers and pliers), toiletries, radio, anything and everything I could think of that I might need to begin this new adventure. In addition to countless clothes, I brought running outfits and shoes, and surfing rash guards too, just in case I found some surf, somewhere. And a ‘swifter’, my favorite red Brazilian nail polish, 7 pairs of Havaianas sandals, and 10 bikini’s made the trip.  Atrani is a tiny village- no Target or Walmart here. The closest household shopping is at least an hour’s bus ride away- so my list had to be complete and pre-planned. It was. But after 2 days of settling in, I realized I should have brought a smoke detector, eye drops, a few more throw rugs, & clothes pins. But, ya can’t think of everything.

The Amalfi Coast of Italy is one of the most beautiful places on earth. For centuries it’s been the playground for royalty, popes, and politicians- and they, and many rich and famous still summer here. With neighbors like Sophia Loren (who once lived down the road), how could I go wrong? Getting here from Los Angeles involved 2 plane rides, a bus, a train, and finally another bus.  Schlepping 4 pieces of luggage (3 weighing in at 50 lbs each wasn’t easy, but I was committed- or maybe should have been?) There were only luggage carts at Rome airport, nowhere else– and NO porters to help. So I had to strap 2 suitcases together, then hands fully loaded, drag it all around Rome train station. Not fun, not pretty, but ya gotta do what you gotta do. Luckily a sympathetic train rider lifted all my luggage onto the train, while he and another fellow passenger lifted them down as well when train arrived in Salerno.  This American notices & loves Italian chivalary. Facing at least 25 steps down at the Salerno train station and NO porters in sight; I thought, OK, guess I’m stuck here until a solution appears. Presto- Francesco, who apparently just hangs out to help for whatever you wish to pay. God bless him– I just couldn’t have done it alone. He stayed with me at the bus stop, and even loaded my bags onto the Amalfi bus for me.  Arriving in Atrani was a different story. After being dropped at the only bus stop in Atrani, there are about 45 steps down. No one in sight. So this ‘can-do’ woman carried ONE suitcase down about 10 steps, then returned for the next suitcase, then the next suitcase.  Then I repeated the process again for another 1o steps, until all 45 steps were behind me.  It took multiple trips, but I did it. Then the wonderful restaurant at the base of the stairs held my suitcases so I could take them to my apt in multiple trips- 47 steps UP to my apt. each trip. Exhausting, back breaking work- but well worth it.  Later, every muscle was sore… I’m sure there is NO Stairmaster equipment here! Most homes are over 80 steps up, some are 100’s, yes hundreds of steps up. So my 47 steps are almost sea-level to the locals. 🙂

It’s taken 2 days to clean the apt and unpack. Still lots to do– and loving it. For some reason, the first thing I did was hang the sheer curtain I brought for my double doors. Yes, I have a delightful view of the neighbor’s laundry, and the 5-star hotel neighbor too. Funny, that’s what I chose to do first, and made me proud that it fit perfectly, as did the curtain rod I brought. Yep, pre-planning, baby.

Rewarded myself with a wonderful late lunch in my backyard, Atrani’s piazza.

Ciao, bella Atrani, your newest resident (#935)  just arrived.

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