After 5 nights, we were very sad to be leaving beautiful Venice, but at least we were moving on to Sorrento in the South of Italy. After a torturous journey – a vaporetto, a train to Florence, a train to Naples and then an incredibly frightening train to Sorrento – we arrived in buzzing Sorrento.
We didn’t have exceedingly high expectations of Sorrento, expecting it to be a small quiet place. But just like our lucky timing in San Sebastian, we had arrived in Sorrento smack bang in the middle of their holiday period – when all the Italians (like those who had been absent from Florence) were vacationing in Sorrento (and the surrounding areas), so we had finally caught up to them.
This meant that Sorrento had a real buzz to it, with a local-tourist type feel. It really had an awesome vibe. Walking down the main street at night – the restaurant terraces were packed, the shops were open late, the street performers were all on show. Despite the fact that we had been travelling for the last month, arriving in Sorrento felt like we had just begun our vacation. I guess walking >25km a day (like we had been doing thus far) isn’t exactly relaxing. Arriving in Sorrento was a breath of fresh air. Perhaps it was the sea air.
Aside from the thrilling buzz of the place, we also had some really great Italian food here. I really didn’t enjoy their famed limoncello though. But then again, that really applies to all limoncello [and Grappa (which I tried in Ios), Campari (which I tried in Venice) and Ouzo (which I tried in Mykonos) – basically, if it doesn’t say Bailey’s, then liqueur just isn’t for me 😉 ]. I wouldn’t say the food is quite as good as Florence, which I think is unbeatable, but it was definitely enjoyable and there is plenty of variety along the main strip.
Visiting Capri from Sorrento is an absolute must-do – the most beautiful scenery I think I have ever seen! If you visit Capri, things to do are:
1. Go on a boat tour around the island for some interesting scenery and sights. They usually go for an hour or two, and show you some great things. They aren’t particularly expensive and will take you to the blue grotto which is a must do – see (2) below.
2. Go inside the blue grotto. You must must must do this. You can visit the blue grotto either by the boat tour mentioned above (which I think is the easier option) or you can go yourself via public transport, but it sounded pretty tricky to do. Two things to note:
- I would recommend going straight to the blue grotto upon arriving at the Isle of Capri, as you often cannot visit during the afternoon due to high tide. And you DON’T want to miss out, trust me!!
- There are often really long queues to enter the blue grotto – it is DEFINITELY worth the wait. On our boat tour, the BF and I were the only ones who wanted to wait in the queue, so the tour guide dropped us onto another boat to wait. GO INSIDE THE BLUE GROTTO – I cannot stress this enough. The 40-minute wait was well worth it. You get onto a mini row boat which takes you inside a cave through a very low entrance (you have to lie back in the boat in order to enter). Inside, you have the most incredibly blue, clear water and the way the light enters the cave creates an amazing colour; the boat riders sing, which creates a wonderful echo inside the cave. The photos don’t even do it justice.
3. Go on the chairlift to the top of Mount Solaro (which is 589 metres above sea level) for unbelievable views. The chairlift itself takes 10/15 minutes each way, and also has the most splendid views. The feeling of your legs dangling on top of the world is incredible.
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to also visit the beautiful Positano or Amalfi Coast while we were in Southern Italy. We were even willing to brave the (apparently) intensely scary bus drive to get there, but we just couldn’t squeeze it in. I guess this is just an excuse to go back some day!
We also visited Pompeii, which was a moving experience. But the audio guide was hopeless. It didn’t even direct us to the right sites, which is worse than walking around on your own unguided. It made me very angry. Warning: we got caught in a summer storm (we thought maybe there was going to be another volcanic eruption). Luckily there were heaps of vendors selling umbrellas and ponchos just outside the entrance. It definitely set the right mood for a place like Pompeii, though.
More to come on the topic of beautiful Sorrento and a few nut run-ins!
Until next time… buona giornata.
An Allergian Abroad