Wednesday, October 31, 2012

3 Nights in Sorrento

Here's the second post of my Italy adventure. On Thursday, October 11th, we got the 6 AM wake-up call. Our bags were out by the door at 6:30 and whisked away to the bus. We had breakfast and boarded the bus at 7:30 sharp. We had a long drive ahead of us, I think 2 or 3 hours (hard to remember). We were headed to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast.

On the way we stopped for lunch at a special place that made fresh Buffalo Mozzarella cheese. We were served different forms and flavors of the cheese, made fresh from real buffalo milk.

The building was so cool, and there were ruins just off the patio where we had lunch.

Afterward we drove further south to Paestum to see 3 Greek Temples, still standing from VI Century B.C., and a museum that held artifacts.

Carl, these old fish hooks are for you.

The village was abandoned and moved across to that hill, where the people could see as the enemy approached.

 Still standing after a couple thousand years. We could learn from them. This is the Temple of Ceres.

 This road was built by the Greeks and goes through the town. You can still see the divots in the rock from the wagon wheels.

 Joyce, Mel, Helen and Greg.
 The Temple of Neptune, the best preserved of all the temples.

Temple or Basilica? The great Doric temple dedicated to Hera is the oldest in Paestum. (I bought the little book, that's where I'm getting this information)

 We found the restrooms and the Gelato in the little cafe across from this building. Then we got back on the bus to head north to Sorrento.
 On the way to our next hotel the Hotel Corallo in Sorrento. (it means Coral)

 We arrived at the Hotel Corallo, this is the lobby lounge area. We were waiting to be called to go to our rooms. The view of the ocean is out the windows to the left.

 I believe this Villa next door belongs to a wealthy Russian.
 We waited outside on the veranda, watching the sunset.

 The hotel cocktail lounge with real goldfish in that vase.
 From our room, looking at the others in our group at their balconies.
 Watching the sunset from our private balcony at our room.

 This room was the best! It was so pretty in the coral color and the coral lamps.

 Never did try the bidets. Not that adventuresome.
On Friday morning, Oct 12th, we departed at 8 am by our private coach (bus) for Positano, Amalfi and Vietri sul Mare, along the world famous "Amalfi Drive".
Of course it rained, but the drive and the views were still spectacular. That is the road carved into the hillside that we just traveled. It was tight and the cliffs were steep and we had about 6 to 8 inches to spare.

 We stopped to see the sights and purchase some treasures alongside the road.
 Our bus driver was amazing.

 We stopped at this ceramic shop so I could purchase a pair of ceramic salad tongs that had Amalfi stamped into the wooden handles. The others bought much more, in fact some of them had theirs shipped home. The ceramics were so beautiful and pretty expensive. I also bought 2 trivets.

 We are at the main square in Amalfi.

 Yum....lunch. Oink Oink!
These beautiful shiny copper lights were hanging in the cafe where we had lunch.
 Here's Andy.
 After lunch, we left Amalfi and drove back up to Pompeii. We took a route over the hills, did not re-drive that same windy road. This is Pompeii and that is Mt Vesuvius in the background.
 The city was covered in ash in 79 AD and is only 1/3 recovered at this time.

 Real bones of a real man/woman who was stopped dead in his/her tracks by the volcano.

 Real teeth, yep!

 We were back at our hotel in time to watch another beautiful sunset.
 The bus took us to town for dinner on our own and some shopping. It was a Friday night, so the folks were all out and about. This is such a great place, Sorrento.

 I had the ravioli and a cocktail.
 Kathy had fish topped with pomegranate and corn. She raved about it.
 We had the front row table outside.
 All I can say is WOW, what a vacation!
Saturday morning we headed to Sorrento's Harbor to depart to the Island of Capri, by fast boat.

 The ladies were attempting to gather the menfolk for a photo of them. The guys were getting a little rowdy.

 On the boat to the island.
 Capri harbor.
 Then on to another bus to the top of the Island to a town called Anacapri.

 Capri is known for its handmade sandals. They sure were beautiful and expensive.
 The Limoncello store!! I had a brilliant idea to have a Limoncello party on our last night, outside on the veranda after dinner. Well, it poured rain, and by then everyone was beat. Everyone had purchased a special Limoncello glass for that night. We ended up having the Limoncello the very last night of the entire trip. It was worth the wait.

 We took a funicular down the hill to Capri. That was fun. Of course we sang the song.

 Back to the boat and back to Sorrento.
On the way back we stopped at a wood factory.

 Salute! my little Limoncello cup. We had dinner at the hotel in Sorrento.
 Sunday, October 14th. 7:30 am departure by coach to Florence. I believe it was about a 6 hour drive. We stopped along the way.
 Stopped at a Cameo store where they hand carve beautiful cameos and sell coral jewelry. I bought a coral ring.
 The countryside was beautiful.
 Got lucky with this shot out the bus window.
 Along the hillsides were Medieval villages.
 We stopped at Orvieto. Perched on a plateau of tufa rock, with the outline of its world famous Duomo visible for miles around, the city of Orvieto has adapted to the needs of the modern day tourist by transforming itself into a car-free haven. We took a funicular up to the city.

 The heart of Orvieto is the Piazza del Duomo, onto which look the town's most important public buildings and the facade of the Duomo, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture with it polychrome marble inlays and dazzling mosiacs.
 Inside the cathedral is the San Brizio Chapel. Unfortunately we were not allowed to photographic inside, but it truly was so beautiful.
 The town square with cafes and shops all around.

 Group photo.

 On the way to Florence. This is Tuscany.

Next stop Florence. Whew, I'm exhausted.