Monday, June 27th, Rome to Naples to Sorrento
|View of the Sorrento Harbor|
Our morning train to Naples is delayed 40 minutes. We know that when we arrive in Naples we must transfer to a different train line for Sorrento and when we arrive Art asks a cluster of loitering men for directions to the local train line platform. One disheveled, middle age man, reeking of alcohol takes it upon himself to escort us through the terminal and to the local line. I’m quite sure that his escort will come with a price but he does his best to reassure and charm us and repeatedly tries to help me with my luggage. Indeed, when we are reach the ticket turn style, he asks Art for ten Euros. Art chuckles and hands him five and we join the other passengers gathered on the platform to wait for the local train. It arrives shortly and there is a rush and push to board the crowded train and we stand, sardine style, much of the way to Sorrento. During the push to get aboard, Art is blocked and jostled by several men and when he settles onboard he discovers that the button to his cargo pant's pocket is undone. He is upset but fortunately, still has his wallet. (This episode will inspire Art to purchase a decoy wallet in Sorrento into which he will put a small amount of cash and keep in his upper accessible pant’s pocket. He will also buy a pack of safety pins to pin closed his lower cargo pant pocket where his will keep his real wallet.)
Our Air B & and B host, Gisieppie picks us up at train station and drives us the ten minutes to our accommodation at the Lemon House. She is in her mid 50’s; large and gregarious, and we are grateful for the direct delivery to our room. This is the first Air B & B that we have stayed at and the room is exactly what is pictured on the web site. Unfortunately, the drive to the Lemon House is mostly uphill and I realize that the “short walk to town” will be more like a hike. We settle into the immaculate and spacious room with a queen bed and a pull out sofa for John. The bathroom is updated and more than adequate but Gisieppie rambles on with complicated instructions about how to close the shower door properly. She suggests tours to Capri and tours along the Amalfi Coast and although we want to do both, I simply want to be left alone and to read travel details in the Rick Steve's guide book and check my e-mail. I feel that she is annoyed that I don’t commit to one of her tour suggestions where she likely receives a commission but I feel equally annoyed and pressured by her. She eventually leaves us alone in our room and we attempt to log onto the Lemon-House wireless. The connection is painfully slow and will continue to be problematic over the next several days.
|Waiting for our laundry to wash|
|Technical challenges - soap dispenser|
We bag up our dirty laundry and with map in hand, walk into town with finding a Laundromat first on our agenda. Once again, our friend Rick Steve’s gets us directly to one of the two Laundromat’s in town and I watch with amusement as Art and John try to figure out how to purchase soap from the dispenser and operate the washing machine. (I have learned that trying to help in these “technical” situations only leads to disharmony.) When the comedy of errors is over and the machine is agitating our laundry, Art and John tell me they are leaving to buy sandwiches and leave me to guard over our laundry. They are gone a very long time but in the meantime I make many friends at the Laundromat.
Although I am alone to begin with, a newly wed couple arrives, the young woman looking terrified with the prospects of domestic duties. Soon a group of seasoned and gregarious Australians arrive and the sterile Laundromat turns into a party as they open bags of dirty laundry and bottles of beer. They struggle to operate the machines but I watched Art and John carefully and I am forthright in disclosing the idiosyncrasies of the machines. Art and John return just in time to decipher the mysteries of the dryer cycle and to confess that they have been watching a soccer game while I watched the laundry spin.
With stuff bags filled with clean laundry, we set out to explore the more interesting parts of Sorrento. It is late afternoon and the sun basks the city in a golden glow. The Italy versus Spain Soccer game is underway followed by the England and Iceland game and all the cafes are filled with enthusiastic fans. Art and John want to watch and they manage to find a shared table at an outdoor cafe where they can sit, watch and drink beer.
|Art & John watching a Soccer Game in Sorrento Italy|
|A winning soccer maneuver, Sorrento|
Not a sports fan, I take this opportunity to stroll the picturesque city alone and I stumble upon a cliffside elevator down to the marina several hundred feet below where I hope to investigate times and prices of tickets to Ill de Capri. The elevator pops me out at beach level and although it is late in the day there are still people enjoying the fading sunlight.
|Private beachside cabanas|
|Peter's Beach, Sorrento|
|The New Marina, Sorrento|
I meander back the narrow boardwalk, enter through the turn style for the cliffside elevator, pay my half euro, and am quickly transported back up to Sorrento. The elevator regurgitates me onto the cliffside square and I walk to the railing to admire the view of the marina below. After inhaling the view, I leave the park and see a Franciscan Church adjoining the square.
I have read about this church cloister in our Rick Steve’s guide book and step into the courtyard. The courtyard glows in the late afternoon sunlight; bougainvillea bright against the gothic stone archways. I stroll the perimeter and decompress before heading back to the main street to join Art and John and to partake of the soccer festivities. In between cheers for the teams, Art is in conversation with two British couples and they heatedly discuss Brexit and what it signifies for the U.K. and the European Union.
When the game finally ends we walk down to the Grande Marina in search of dinner. The winding cobblestone pathway descends steeply toward the sea and we arrive at the marina just in time for sunset.
|Walking down to the Grande Marina|
|Sunset at the Grande Marina|
|Grande Marina Sorrento, Italy|
|Close up at the Grande Marina|
The silver sheen on the water is lovely but the service is slow and although Art’s seafood pasta is good, John’s and my dinners are disappointing. We stroll along the waterfront after dinner, find the bus that departs every 30 minutes and take it back up into town. The evening is balmy and we enjoy after dinner drinks at an outdoor cafe and when the bill arrives, they also bring us shots of Lemonchello, the local aperitif that Sorrento is famous for. The thick sweet liquor tastes like melted lemon jello with a kick.
|Campari and Lemonchello|
From there we hoof it through the town center and uphill “the short walk” to our Lemon House Air B & B. When we crawl into our beds, it is after 11:00 P.M.