Monday, 4 August 2014

Sorrento - the days of wine and Zucchini flowers

Today is my last day in Bologna and I find I am taster behind in my blogging with Amalfi coast and Emilia Romagna adventures to relate before I move on to Venice.

Having spent the last few days travelling to different cities, I elected to spend today in Bologna - I stretched this a little to include a trip to San Luca, which is a church on a hill, which can be seen from the railway in the valley below, and is reached by means of walking up the hill under the cover of a colonnade of arches - 666 in all, although the labelling stops at 657 for some reason. It is as exhausting as it sounds, and at the time of writing this part of the blog, I was a complete sweaty mess. The view of the surrounding hills was worth it though.

So - to rewind a little - let me take you to Sorrento. I was very glad to leave Rome and the train ride to Naples is rather stunning. The rolling hills of Tuscany give way to a rather starker landscape, with rocky crags jutting out all over the place. I think I passed the old monetary of Monte Casino, where my grandfather fought in WW2, which was quite impressive. Arriving in Naples meant a change of train to Sorrento and here I must digress to question the lack of signs at stations and indeed pretty much any city. They don't make it easy by any means!

Anyway, having found the train and bundled on to it with a shed load of people, mostly bound for Pompeii, I then moved slowly round the bay of Naples to my hotel in Sorrento. Here I was to meet my mother and godmother (Carol and Kathy) although they weren't due for some hours. Time to explore the hotel, give in to the urge for a siesta and have a couple of drinks on the terrace whilst watching the sun set.

Mum and Kathy arrived late in the evening so it wasn't until the following morning that we started to plan things to do. The first thing to reveal was the plan for Mum's birthday on Friday - dad having bought tickets to the opera in Naples. This went down very well (and the day was lovely... we went to Naples by boat, I persuaded everyone up to the museum, which was rather further up the hill than I'd thought, and we managed to get the open top tour bus back down on the cheap, because it was their last trip of the day, and Cavaleria Rusticana was great, even if it did take us a few goes to figure out how to get to our box.

Sorrento was very much a change of pace - after rushing about seeing everything it was possible to see in the big cities, here I had to adjust myself to a slower pace of life. If I'd been certain of anything when planning my trip it was that my alcohol levels would rise dramatically - and so it proved. Not that I'm complaining - it was lovely to meander around Amalfi, Capri and Ravello (getting there by various bus and boat combinations) soaking up the atmosphere of the narrow windy streets before pausing for a long lunch.

And the food was something else. I mean to do a separate post about the best places to visit once I'm back at home, but let me say that Il Buck and L'antica - both in Sorrento - are out of this world and make me sad that I just can't manage 8 courses.

The write up of Bologna is going to have to wait, because it's time for me to finish packing and then go out for dinner - after that 6(ish) mile hike up a hill and back again this morning, I am more than ready for my food!

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