So Friday we were off to Sorrento around 2pm. We had to take the train to Naples in order to get to Sorrento. Let me just tell you this train to Naples...the A/C was broken and none of the windows opened. To make matters worse, this couple sat facing us with their two two (approximately) year old girls (yes, two of them) in their laps. They did not speak English (not that I am the American who expects everyone to speak English, but it added to the ridiculousness of this train ride). These two kids were throwing stuff, taking all their clothes off, crying, you name it. Talk about birth control...the mother decided to strip one of them completely down to a diaper. The girl was sweating so bad the mother proceeded to give her a "sponge bath" (I say this in quotes because I feel like a wipe down with a baby wipe every five minutes isn't exactly a sponge bath, is it?). The mom was also sweating like a pig along with the other two year old who kept touching all of my stuff on the table. Oh wait, the sweaty one cried for about 20% of the ride. Did I mention that? I began to get so hot and frustrated that I had some napkins and used them to wipe of my face and my legs. I think at this point the mother thought I wanted a sponge bath too because she handed me the pack of baby wipes...I kid you not!
We finally made it to Naples and had to switch to the Circumvesuviana line to get to Sorrento. Everyone and their mother were smoking cigs while we were waiting for the train (did I mention I was getting over a cold??) We finally get on the train and this thing was standing room only. This one did not have A/C, but at least their were windows. It was about an hour train ride. At the end of the ride this creepy old guy kept trying to talk to us in Italian. I kept saying, "no capiche, no capiche!" I pulled out my dictionary. Embarrassingly enough, it opened up to the (let's just call it) the "how to hook up in Italian" section of the book, which contains phrases like "I only practice safe sex" (seriously, who uses this?). So this creepy old man starts pointing to words like "amore" and then saying "love." So weird. We finally get to Sorrento (still sweating) and this guy follows us to buy bus tickets. Finally, Crystal just looks at him and says, "ciao!" and he walked away (thank God, what a creeper).
We walked into the center of town, Piazza Tasso. From there, we caught a bus uphill to our hotel, Pension Elios (located on Via Capo). The owner of the place was so sweet! She spoke great English and asked us about our weekend plans. She asked us "where'a are all'a your'a bags'a?" When we told her we came from Rome she said "ah...thats'a where'a they'a are!" We had an AWESOME view of the water from our room. Sorrento is absolutely beautiful! The pictures don't even do it justice. We had dinner at O'Parrucchiano dal 1868. I had the mixed pasta dish Cannelloni, stuffed shells and Ravioli. It was delish! Sorrento and this region near the Amalfi Coast is known for its huge lemons. We had Delizia Limone, which is a fluffy dome cake covered with lemon whipped cream. This was a yummy dessert and very light! After dinner we took a walk down the streets of Sorrento, where all the shops and street vendors stay open until 11. It was very cool to see everyone out at night strolling. One of the highlights of my trip to Sorrento was designing my own pair of sandals! I saw this store from the street and there were hundreds of shoes outside (clearly, they caught my eye). When I walked in to the store, to my surprise, there were two men making the shoes, right there on the spot. I picked a design and they fit them to my mini feet and they were done in about 15 minutes! So freaking cool!
The next morning we caught the bus to Positano. Positano is one of the towns along the Amalfi Coast. It's a very chic town filled with boutiques and beaches (think like St. Simons, but fancier). The town is basically up on a hill of winding roads and in order to get to the beach, you have to descend down the winding roads. We rented a beach chair and umbrella on Spaggia Grande for the day and relaxed on the beach for 3-4 hours. The sand was pebbles and rocks. Not the easiest thing to walk on barefoot, but very beautiful. Positano, like Sorrento, also had amazing views! While we were on the beach there was a mom there with her two kids. Her little girl looked to be around 7 and about 150 lbs. She was wearing a teeny bikini eating a cheeseburger. Her brother was also there. An hour or so went by and I turned around and this family caught my eye. The girl in the teeny bikini did at first, but this time it was the butt ass naked kid (apparently, all of the kids run around naked on the beach here. wth??). Wait, the mother was also breast feeding a baby. Where did that baby come from? Was it in her bag or something? So bizarre. But, no worries the scenery and the relaxing day at the beach definitely trumped this odd encounter. We took the bus back to Sorrento and made a stop at the gelateria nearby. This place was bumping. It had a disco ball and was playing club music. The gelato was pretty good, but I was so distracted by the "ambiance," I can barely remember what it tasted like!
Sunday morning we got up and headed to Pompeii. Pompeii was an ancient city that was buried under 30 feet of volcanic ash after Mount Vesuvius erupted. Pompeii was rediscovered in the 1600s. The city had about 20,o00 residents. We saw several remains of the buildings, the forum and a few frescoes. Hopefully my pics will give you a better understanding of what it was like there. We spent about 4 hours here exploring and taking picture, while listening to an audio tour (if you go, opt out of the audio tour. wasn't the greatest).
From Pompeii, we headed to Naples with plans to have pizza for dinner. This was a bust. Because it was 4:30 in the afternoon (most places in Italy, other than touristy joints, are closed from 3:30-7 and Naples isn't that touristy) on a Sunday, every single restaurant and shop was closed. Naples was a total dump. There was garbage piled high on every corner and sketchiness across the board. Graffiti on every wall. Not to mention, we saw a few rats and a million pigeons in the streets. We have been learning in class that because Naples is in Southern Italy, it has a high crime rate and is closely linked to the mafia. This would probably explain the state the city is in. I hate to say that though, because I was really hoping Naples would be my opportunity to really interact with native Italians on a non-tourist level. I think that if we would have come here on a different day, we would have had a better experience. Needless to say, we did not get any pizza since everything was closed. Total bummer.
All in all, it was a great weekend! I will definitely be going back to Sorrento and Positano. I have a presentation tomorrow and a final on Wednesday. Ciao Ciao for now!!
[Pictures (left to right, top to bottom): Frescoes from Pompeii located in Villa dei Misteri, Forum of Pompeii, view overlooking the bay in Positano, our beach spot in Positano, view of Positano from the bus ride on the winding roads (if you see the sea of orange, that is where our beach spot was), Delizia Limone dessert at O'Parrucchiano, shoes being made at Corcione, street view of Sorrento, view of Sorrento from Via Capo and view from Pension Elios in Sorrento]