Thursday, Oct 6
Saturday, Oct 8 - South to Naples & Sorrento
Took the train into Rome, then got on a train south for Naples. We seem to be riding out from under the rain. The train is smooth, better than a bus or car. First class is very comfortable. Once we figure out train travel, this will be the way to go. Better than trying to figure out road maps!
More mountains as we go south, lots of tunnels. Mt. Vesuvius is in the clouds. Took a taxi to Sorrento, and this was an even more harrowing ride and way too expensive, 100 €. The mountains meet the water in cliffs. Very beautiful. The taxi driver stopped along the way to let us take pictures. He took one of us.
Sorrento is a mountainside town with a view across the Gulf of Naples, Vesuvius and the island of Capri, off to the west. The town is famous for inlaid wood. Our hotel room was full of it. We stayed at the Hotel Antiche Mura, which means “Ancient Wall.” The hotel was built on an old 15th century wall foundation. This old city wall helped protect Sorrento from marauding Saracen and Turkish pirates. There is a gorge behind the hotel, which was an easy avenue for attack from the gulf. A portion of the wall and a cannon were still visible, as well as a tower, by the pool area. Originally there were four watchtowers.
Went for a stroll in the old part of Sorrento and visited a lot of inlaid wood shops. Music boxes, furniture – I loved the rosewood. Ate lunch at the Foreigner’s Club, with a view of the Gulf of Naples, Sorrento and Vesuvius. We watched thunderstorms sweep over Naples and the volcano. Sailboats, yachts, hydrofoils, cliffs, sparkling water.
The hotel is not much to look at outside, but gorgeous inside. Marble and ceramic tile, inlaid wood furniture, beautiful pool and garden, dramatic gorge out back. Ate dinner at Z’Ntonio’s. I had risotto (rice) with asparagus over lobster. Pat had fresh sea bass in olive sauce.