Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sorrento (7/31 - 8/4) : I Swear I'm Still Here Edition

Based on the last two depressing posts on this blog, you might think I got too tired writing about sad things to continue updating, and our travels in Europe ended in sadness and flea bites.

This would not be correct.

In fact, we had such a great time in Sorrento, I completely forgot to write a blog post about it and CONTINUED to forget until now, almost two weeks later. THAT's how much fun it was.

I feel like half this blog is me apologizing for updating late, and the other half is Sarah's pictures. No reason to change a formula that's working. Sorry for updating so late. America changes a person. Once I got muh freedoms back, I decided it would be best to use them doing non-essential things. That's my bad. I hope you enjoy these pictures from Sorrento.


Before we left Venice, we got one last dose of capitalist skulduggery - EasyJet had overbooked our flight, meaning we were not guaranteed seats on the plane, even though we showed up two hours early, were the first to the gate, and, you know, paid for tickets. We ended up on the plane, but we were not pleased. But that was the last touch of darkness--after that, Italy was sunshiney and beautiful and scenic.

Our last stop, Sorrento, is located on the Sorrentine peninsula, near Naples (and Mt. Vesuvius). It's a small town situated on the cliffs along the coast that feels as much like a beach town as it is possible to get while not having actual beaches, or at least very few.

The BnB we stayed at was situated in a citrus orchard, with lemon, orange, and lime trees growing everywhere, and a little stable and pen for this cute little pony. Sarah named him Pippin, and they became best friends almost impossibly fast. Every time we left our room, we would make sure to go visit Pippin for a bit.

We ate out every night in Sorrento. We had saved up as much money as possible during the rest of our trip for exactly this purpose, because we figured the food in Italy would be so good. It was delicious. We tried to get far off the beaten track and eat at restaurants where the patrons seemed to be mostly locals.

We also did a lot of exploring in Sorrento. All along the cliffs, hotels sit looking out over the water, and cool paths through caves and ledges lead down to the water. Some of them are concrete, but some are just carved out of the rock.

They're all lit by these dim lights, and surprisingly graffiti-free for its location. We found at least three cave passages that lead down to the beaches, but who knows how many there are down there... there are also lifts, but those cost money, and we were saving ours for Italian food.

The view at sunset was incredible. That ominous-looking lump over there on the right is Vesuvius, always ready to ruin someone's day... but it didn't, and this day was perfect.

Speaking of Vesuvius, we also headed over to Pompeii for a day to see the ruins. Sarah bought me sunglasses so my lil eyes wouldn't get strained or burned in the sun. If you look closely, you can see the means by which we took a selfie. If you do that, this picture becomes art.

After Pompeii, we took a train down to Herculaneum, a smaller town that also was buried by the Vesuvius eruption in 79 AD. Because it was much closer, it was buried under almost 10m of rock and was only re-discovered recently (well, in the past 300 years). Excavation is still ongoing, and they are still finding new artifacts and even human remains.

You had to pay to go on the real beaches with the black sand, since there were so few of them and they were all privately owned, but we figured it was worth it. On our last day in Sorrento, we paid up and spent the whole day on the beach.

I got Sarah a big floppy sun hat so she could shield her precious face from the Mediterranean sun.

The water was clear and cool, and the beach was hot and crowded. We alternated between two states of bliss, and I read an embarrassingly large chunk of LOTR. As beach days go, it was ideal.

The privately owned beaches had all kinds of infrastructure: docks, chairs, tanning docks, restaurants, changing rooms--but if all you did was chill on the beach all day, it was surprisingly affordable.

Each one of the hotels on the cliffside had its own set of tunnels through the rocks with frequent overlooks and foundations reaching down all the way to the water. It had the feel of an Age of Exploration fortress.

Except for, you know, the beaches and tourists.

Our last view of the Sorrento beaches before we left for home.

And our last selfie before home.

On our last night, we went to a little restaurant with the best food we'd had all trip.

For the past six weeks, no matter what I ordered at a restaurant, Sarah's food was always better than mine. And this wasn't a grass-is-greener situation--it was always true, and she agreed. Sarah always got food that was objectively better than mine. But not here. Here, I finally got lasagna that I thought was the best thing I'd had all trip, and I preferred it to Sarah's gnocchi (she still liked hers better). After dessert, the musicians passed out tambourines, and we all played and sang along, even though we had almost no idea what we were saying.

It was the perfect way to end our last couple days in Europe.

Goodbye, Sorrento!


Our three days of rest in relaxation in Sorrento were a perfect end to our two weeks traveling through Europe. We moved from place to place so quickly that we were worn out by the time we reached Italy, and Sorrento was just what we needed. When we hopped on our flight back to Dulles, we were tired and happy and ready to go home.

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