Being from the southern tip of Africa meant that it was about a 24 hour journey before we finally arrived in the beautiful little town of Praiano, on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. The last stretch of the trip was done by bus from Sorrento, along the treacherous Amalfi Coast drive, and as the bus made its way around the corners it offered us little glimpses of its splendour.
I am not sure if it is the way that the houses seem to cling to the impossibly steep slopes rising out from the sea, the way lemon trees are planted at stupendous angles or the hypnotic beauty of the sea, speckled with white foam lines as speed boats and yachts make their way across the glistening blue ocean, but I fell completely and utterly in love with this place.
Just down the road from our hotel was a wonderful little restaurant called M’ama! (Via Umberto I, 72, Praiano). Located on top of another hotel it offered uninterrupted, panoramic views; in front of you, as far as the eyes could see, was just this mesmerising ocean and at the back was the beautiful mountains with houses dotted in between the green.
Their food was amazing. Especially the seafood. Fresh, simple and delicious. Not trying to be too complicated and just letting the beautiful local produce do its thing. Think freshly made pasta, cooked to perfection, with clams and mussels, just dressed with some tomatoes, basil and some olive oil. Lemon sorbet. Wonderful wine. To top it all off, after the meal, we were presented with small, icy cold glasses with the local lemon liqueur called Limoncello. It was so cold that you could only take the smallest of sips at a time, but it was delicious and a perfect way to end off the night.
On our last night in Praiano, we just had to go back to M’ama. After a wonderful meal, the little glasses made their appearance again. So I looked at hubby and asked whether he thought they would sell it to us. I really wanted to take a little piece of this paradise with me. When it was time to pay the bill we asked the waiter if this was possible but unfortunately it was not to be.
However, as we were making our way out the door, the waiter came rushing down the stairs. He spoke to the manager and explained that we were regular customers that week. And the manager gave permission to give the glasses to us for free. No sour endings here!
Today this is one of my most treasured ornaments that we’ve brought back from any holiday. I can’t wait to return one day but until then, we will sip Limoncello at home and talk about when we are going to retire there. Dream big, I say!