400 days to travel the world…only stopping to eat, drink, and everything in-between.

Posts tagged “Sorrento

Day 155 of 400: Capri – Italy

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The price to take a ferry from Sorrento to the island of Capri was the same price as a guided tour around the island by ferry-boat, so we opted for the tour.  The boat itself was nothing special…there were probably 100 people aboard with us…all of us listening to the tour guide tell us little facts about the island and where to go etc.  The ride was about an hour before we arrived and docked.

The city center of Capri had loads of tourists (apparently the beauty of this island isn’t a big secret)…and we played that same role looking at all the shops and taking pictures of the cathedrals and cobblestone streets.  The pricing in the little boutiques were definitely on the pricey side, so we did mostly window shopping.  After walking around a bit, we escaped the madness and started walking off the beaten path to the edge of the island where we found a trail.  It was about 95 degrees and high noon so the hike was especially difficult as we climbed up and down steep flights of steps…but the views were extremely rewarding…it reminded us of Hawaii.

The rugged cliffs were massive, the rocks sticking straight out of the water, the hidden caves and the gorgeous coastal views of the island were stunning.  There were tons of little lizards slithering around as we hiked up and down the mountain.  It was nice to just stare out at the horizon as all the boats sailed by.

As we were getting close to the end of our hike…my face was beet red and Giff was sweating to the point where he could ring his shirt out several times.  We saw umbrellas below and what looked like beach access.  We took the 300 meter hike down towards the water even though this meant we would need to hike back up.  Once we got to the bottom, we found out the beaches were private…we could have access but it was about $25 per person just to stick our pinky toe in the water.  We couldn’t justify the money, so turned around for the long hike back up.

It would have been smart of us to bring a bottle of water or some fruit on this long hike…but didn’t!  By the time we got to the top, we were extremely thirsty.  Thankfully there was a lemonade stand and we quickly ordered two lemonades.  We were given two small Dixie cups of lemonade for $6 each!  It was highway robbery but we needed the drink.

Once we cooled off a bit and bought some large waters, we saw the clock was ticking.  We needed to be at a certain port by a certain time to catch our boat back and wanted to see the top of the island first.  We quickly caught a public bus full of people dripping in sweat (including us) as we were all squished together to get to the town at the top called, Anacapri.  We only had about an hour but were hungry so found a touristy food place to grab a quick snack.  We continued through the town, looking at the main sites and taking a few pictures.  It was much quieter up there, not as many people.  Both the town of Capri and the town of Anacapri had their typical squares with old buildings and cute streets, but the real reason to come to this island has nothing to do with the center.  It is a must to get out of the town and onto a hiking path in order to appreciate the landscape.

Once we got back down on the bus to the main town of Capri…we opted to take the downhill walk the rest of the way to our port.  We made it back with a few minutes to spare, and then got back on the boat to finish our island tour and head back to Sorrento.  They showed us a few different sites like a statue hidden in a cave and some of the beautiful coastline from the boat view.  They also pointed out the blue grotto which is one of the highlights of Capri.  It is sea cave and the way the sun shines through the water into the cave causes it to light up with a blue color.  The lines were quite long with people wanting to enter the cave so we didn’t do it, but probably would have had we stayed on Capri for another day.

A bit sunburned and sticky from our hike, we got back from the boat and back to our hotel.  We went next door to a restaurant and ordered a pizza and salad to take to our hotel room before climbing into bed.  Our overall opinion of Capri is that the island itself is gorgeous and the hikes are challenging but rewarding with the breathtaking views.  There are however way too many tourists swarming the streets.

Day 154 of 400: Sorrento – Italy

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How cool is it to have a huge bin of fresh oranges just waiting to be freshly squeezed right into  your glass for breakfast?  And right next to the unlimited supply of oranges a coffee machine grinding the beans per cup of coffee?  Our first impression of breakfast was a great one.  We sat down with our OJ’s/coffee and munched on the warm pastries, fresh fruit and granola while sitting outside looking past the lemon trees to the water.  We could really get use to this hotel!

After breakfast we took the free hotel shuttle down to the town of Sorrento which was on the same road as our hotel at the bottom of the mountain.  We started our tour of the city looking at their old fortress wall and then made our way to the cobblestone streets.  There were lots of shops set up with all kinds of shopping and this time the prices were good in comparison to Positano.  We played around, trying on hats…looking at leather belts and more lemon stores.  Giff saw an Amore & Baci charm bracelet in the window (the Italian version of Pandora) and brought me over to see it. I have been wanting to form a charm bracelet with a charm from different countries to highlight our trip.  Giff found one that was all about Italy.  We went inside and had fun looking at all the charms and picking a bracelet and some charms to get it started.  These charms are so detailed and represent major highlights in Italy like the Vatican, a lemon, a gondola etc.  It will be fun to look in the other countries on our trip to complete the collection.

In between the shops were plenty of ice cream parlors and we found one that looked dangerous.  We picked a couple of flavors and sat down to cool off from the hot sun before continuing our walk.  We ended up walking around town for quite a while finding little back roads in the city.  One area lead us to the water where people were swimming.  We had to climb down several steps to the bottom of the cliff to get to the water, and once there…saw that it wasn’t a typical sandy beach.  It was more like a blocked off swimming area. It had all kinds of beach chairs and umbrellas set up all over the docks and water chairs attached to a rope in the water.  We looked around and then climbed back up the stairs enclosed by tunnels until we reached the city again.

We worked up an appetite walking all over the place and found a table at a pizzeria.  It appeared to be a pretty local place and we had fun listening to the Italians chat at their tables as we crunched on our pizza and salad.  We walked around just a bit more after our late lunch and then caught the shuttle back to our hotel.

We were tired and decided to enjoy our early evening at our hotel where we ordered food from the same restaurant, opened our wine and watched a movie in Italian.

Day 153 of 400: Amalfi Coast and Sorrento – Italy

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Before checking into our hotel in Sorrento, we drove further north enjoying the Amalfi Coast drive.  For some reason the views just never get old!  The driving was like being in a video game.  Since the road was built into the mountain right at the edge where the water and cliff meet, it was very narrow.  Specifically around the dozens of twists and turns, the road was not always wide enough for two cars and there were so many buses carrying tourists back and forth between coastal towns.  There was definitely not enough room for the cars and buses.  This is not a road where looking down at your phone while driving is even an option.

As we weaved our way around the mountain, we passed through the town of Amalfi which was full of pastel colored buildings and crowds of people.  We continued driving because the parking lot was so packed.  We went a bit inland through another small town and stopped for a picture.  We drove back down the mountain to Sorrento to check in after our driving excursion.

Sorrento is a coastal town right in between Positano and Naples.  It is always an adventure looking for our hotel or B&B.  We usually get in the vicinity and drive around the area or stop and ask someone who speaks no English but through hand signals we figure it out.  This time, we ended up driving down an unpaved road…we both got the feeling it may be leading us the wrong way but we kept going because there are plenty of dirt roads in the countryside.  This one however lead us directly into a barn at someone’s house.  We literally could not drive any further or we would hit the barn, then a women came walking out speaking all Italian asking us what we were doing.  As we smiled and pointed to Bridgette (GPS) she smiled back and kept talking in Italian and we kept replying in English…it would have made a great Seinfeld episode.

Back on the correct road, we found our hotel, Il Nido (www.ilnido.com)and it was sitting up on a mountain overlooking the sea.  We checked in and got all our things in the room (we have quite a lot of stuff now with all of the wine we have accumulated).  Our room had a balcony and a panoramic view of the sea, Mt Vesuvius(volcano), Naples and the downtown area of Sorrento.  It also had air conditioning…something our last place didn’t have…air conditioning in Italy in July is crucial!

Since the hotel was nice and the views pristine…we decided to order dinner from the hotel restaurant and open one of our bottles of wine.  The sunset was beautiful on the water and we had front row seats.  Dinner was great…the noodles were homemade and seafood fresh.  We enjoyed relaxing and settling in for the evening.