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On to Sorrento!

We will be back Roma.

sunny 73 °F

May 16th, 2012

It is the morning of another day of travel. Our plan today is to catch a train to Naples and then take a ferry to Sorrento. I'm not too excited about waking up even though it is only 8:30. I'm pretty sure the walls here are made of paper or else people were purposely trying to yell through our window the whole night. Last night we were treated to a good old fashioned lover's quarrel that lasted at least a half hour, at 3 in the morning. Nicole claims she slept through the whole thing. Lucky her. At 9:30, our temporary landlady, Katarina, showed up to start cleaning the room. We were not quite ready so she left to the market to pass some time. We packed it all up and then went to find Katarina to say arrivederci and thank her for the apartment. The weather today is fantastic. 9:30 and at least 70 and sunny. A nice little surprise for us as we walked the mile to the train station. We stumbled upon an excavation site in progress, right in the middle of nowhere! The weather worn brickwork of the Romans runs all through Rome in the form of walls and ruins of walls. It would be difficult not to see a portion of it at least every city block. These men were uncovering a white limestone arch connecting two sections of the ancient barriers. The arch had numerous inscriptions on it. I imagined it to be a gate to a main thoroughfare to the heart of Rome! We found our train without a fuss and began our southerly trek. The only exciting thing about the train ride was a married couple, Germans, with their shoes off and feet up on the seats. The train stopped and we found ourselves in the trashy city known as Naples with a decision to make. 

To take the train or to take the ferry? The train offers a speedier and cheaper trip, though much less full of sites. The ferry, more expensive, would command a view of the coast. We of course chose the ferry. Yes mom, I know you're shocked I chose the more expensive route, but my wifey really wanted to. We walked out of the train station and immediately realized we could not get out of Naples soon enough. The feeling in the city is dirt. I'm not sure that "dirt" is technically a feeling, but I'm sticking with it. The buildings are both filthy and covered with graffiti. It's as if someone sneezed on everything and then tried to wipe it away with dirty hands.  You can see mounds of trash in almost every direction, literally, right along the street. El yucko.  Not the visage of Italy we were going for. The bus took us to a nearby airport where we switched buses. We did not know we would have to switch buses, because the Internet directions we were following did not tell us. When you are there in a city you do not know or like, little hiccups like this put you on edge. We were now double watchful for our next stop. At one point we jumped up to get off and the bus driver promptly shut the door on us before we could. I think he took pity on us poor tourists and was doing what he could to get us where we needed to go. The  bus took us to the right spot at the pier where we jumped off. Another hiccup was to be met here. When we asked for tickets to Sorrento, we were told that the water was too rough and ferries were not leaving for Sorrento anymore that day. Great, more time in the Dirt Land. We went back up to the bus stop which was inconveniently right on some road construction. Three lanes were merging to about one and a half. This caused our bus to arrive very slowly. It would not have been a problem in the states, but people over here are selfish drivers. Everyone is jockeying for position while trying to avoid getting squished like bugs by the buses. Speaking of bugs, the gnats, aka people on motorcycles, are winding their way through the cars, along the curb, and in some cases up on the sidewalk! Put those skills together with jam packed traffic in your mind and let the chaos begin. Finally we made it back to the train station, found our train, and made it to Sorrento. 

After only walking for 50 feet or so, we realized the pace life here is much slower, and we are ready for that. Quaint and clean, Sorrento lies on the western coast of Italy. If Rome feels ancient and awe inspiring, Sorrento feels like a cultural haven of relaxation and beauty. Our hostel is 2 miles from the train station. Since we are professional walkers, we began the march. The road winds along the coast up and up to the campground hostel.  (*Disclaimer* Michelle is not allowed to read the next several dangerous sentences.) The road up has a sidewalk for half our walk, and no sidewalk for the other half. This might seem okay except the road is literally the width of two buses. There is nowhere to escape on the right side of the road or the left as each side is either a drop off to certain death or a wall of rock 20 feet high respectively. Also, the road is extremely windy (wine-dee) which makes it difficult to see around each bend. So here we are, walking along and just hoping that the Italians are paying attention around every curve. We had a few hair raising moments, especially when a bus went by, but the drivers are used to people on foot and we made it just fine. (I told you not to read that Michelle. You can stop wringing your hands, we are safe :) ) The hostel itself is spread over 20 or 30 acres of forested land on a mountain directly on the coast. Our cabin, called pegasus, overlooks the Mediterranean Ocean and has a breathtaking view of Sorrento.  We will be sure to show pictures. By this time it was about 5 o'clock so we were ready to drop our things off and eat! Down the hill we went. Sorrento is so quaint. We stopped at nearly every little shop along the way. From the main street we found a side street teeming with life and commerce. Of course there were several restaurants along this main road, but one thing I've learned, if you are traveling in Italy, do not bother with the popular restaurants. Go in search of a mom and pop place, something off the well beaten path.  We found an awesome little place down an ally and sat to eat. I ordered my meal in Italian, which I believe truly impressed Nicole. I ordered gnocchi verdi and a pizza gigino. Gnocchi is a potato based, pasta like meal. I would describe the texture as like cheese, in the shape of too big jellybeans. It is a filling and amazing dish.  We split it and then split the pizza. Nicole looked like a super model the whole night and I couldn't help but randomly kiss her, my wife, on our honeymoon, eating authentic food in Italy! The rest of the night was passed with super fun shopping along the shops and street vendors. Nicole found an awesome scarf for only 3 euro. Something I forgot to mention was that the prices for the same items in Rome were much less here in Sorrento. We strolled along the Italian street lamp lit alleyways and picturesque streets (eating our most massive, most delicious, and most indulgent amount of gelato yet) until we were ready to head "home".  

P.S. as I was reading this over, I turned to Nicole and told her "I don't even like READING about Naples. That's how much I don't like it." She looked back at me with her serious face and said, "I'm SO glad we don't have to back there" :)

Posted by hangtime41 18.05.2012 10:38 Archived in Italy

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