Friday, November 8

A day of cakes and fire.

Yesterday, after the school run, I went for an early morning walk on the beach. The weather has been spectacular for this time of year. It was warm and sunny and I had fun watching this couple playing around in their dressing gowns.
I hadn't been to the beach in about 2 weeks, since I finished work there and in that time it has transformed from a busy working holiday resort to an off season sleepy empty beach. There was hardly anyone around and after a while I made my way back up into town.

What to do on a sunny November day? How about visiting a friend who makes cakes all day long? It sounded good to me so we hopped into the car and drove back towards Sorrento to visit Francesco.
He greeted us with this:
The pasticceria was a whirl of activity. Everywhere we looked there was something yummy being made. Francesco, his brother and their father whipped up about 20 trays of cakes and cookies in the hour that we were there.
Chocolate pies- mmmmm.
It was amazing watching them, and even better getting to try everything they made!
Here Mariano is making pasta di mandorla, an almond pastry which is used to make traditional almond cookies.
He started with a pile of almonds and sugar, put them through what I can only describe as a mincing machine, which ground the almonds into a paste. He added honey and I'm not sure what else because then Francesco started playing with chocolate which distracted me for a moment..
and voila', before I even realized there were three trays of almond cookies waiting to go in the oven.
Even the raw pastry tasted good, especially when I found a bucket of chocolate chips to go with it...
I spend 2 hours a day driving the coast road between Positano and Sorrento. It is always beautiful but it is a hard drive. You need to concentrate all the time, there are no straight parts to relax on and the less said about some of the other drivers, the better!

The most frustrating thing that can happen when you're trying to stick to a schedule is the road being suddenly closed for some reason, usually rockfalls or fire in the summer. The detour that has to be taken can take up to 2 hours.

This summer Positano was lucky and escaped being hit by forest fires in the mountains, especially after last years devastating fire. So imagine our surprise when on our way back from Sorrento we saw smoke rising along the coast and found out the road had been closed due to a fire.
The firemen were there inspecting the damage. The road was closed for a while but later reopened (one way at a time) as the fire headed away from road level. Obviously it could still be dangerous but as there are only 2 ways in and out of town, the other being a 2 hour detour inland, they try to let people past as soon as possible.
And soon afterwards the fire helicopters arrived and put out all the flames.
We arrived home without having to take the long detour. I drove past the fire this morning and it is out, just a large burnt patch on the mountain remains.


  1. Wow how amazing the beach all to yourselves , and what fun to go and watch them cake making .. shame about the fires, hope they are not done maliciously :-(

    1. I'm not sure about this one but usually they are set on purpose. :-(

  2. My husband is being annoyingly gushy about the warm weather and the swims he is still having every time I ring him. Life is not fair. #schoolstinks Enjoy it while it lasts!

    1. They are saying it will go on until xmas!

  3. When staying in Atrani and Nocelle this time of year last year I revelled in the fact that I could be practically the only person on the beach. I spent some time in Nerano relishing spaghetti con zucchini and the atmosphere.

    1. There's something special about being alone on a beach isn't there? Last year we had a November day on the beach at Nerano too!

  4. this looks wonderful nicki i love receiving the pictures each day and share them with a few people in australia.. and tasmania where i live. i have a blog now just started two posts whalllaaaaaaa :) and would love you to check in i am not very brave about this.. my life seems slightly boring after reading how you get around your little haunt each day.. look up mrs figstuff.. and by the way there is a mr figstuff in america somewhere so one day there may be little figstuff children..... face book figstuff is a product i am involved in at the moment.. you have a wonderful day i am going to bed right now it is raining gently on the roof and rather cold and very early in the morning like 1355hrs. cheers marilyn

    1. Dond't worry, a lot of my life is boring too! I just don't post that here!


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