Thursday, October 16, 2008

Farewell Roma, Hello Sorrento

On our final night in Rome, we ambled down the cobblestone streets and ended up at a little ristorante called That’s Amore, where we both had bruschetta, a bowl of pasta, and a green salad. For desert we went to, you guessed it, Blue Ice, for a scoop of our final Roman gelato. Howard noshed on raspberry and orange and I branched out and had a decadent cioccolato arancia (chocolate orange). I’m sure I was walking around Rome with black lips!

On Monday morning, we ate our final breakfast at the Hotel Fontana and bid farewell to our breakfast lady:

But before we checked out, we had one final site to visit: The Pantheon (finally). We walked the short distance to the church, the equivalent of four or five Oregon blocks. It was the perfect time to visit as there were only a few of us there, compared to the evening hours when the entire church and portico were always jammed with people. After a quiet walk through the massive domed church, we made our way back to our hotel. By the way, the first photo below is a photo from a previous walk-by, but I wanted to set the stage for our morning visit with a photo of the massive structure that the Pantheon is!

Because as you can see, no one was inside when we were!

After we visited the Pantheon, we returned to the hotel. We grabbed our already packed bags, walked to the street behind Trevi Fountain (after throwing in our coins in the Trevi, which ensures a return visit), and hopped on Bus #175.

Our bus delivered us to Termini Station, where Howard rounded up train tickets to Naples, from here on out Napoli. We read the departure schedule, and went to binario #21 as listed, with plenty of time to spare. We waited. And waited. And waited. There was no one around to ask if we were in the right place . . . as our 10:27 a.m. departure time came and went, we began to get a tad nervous, and suspicious of where we were waiting. Howard asked an Italian woman a few questions, and well, with her help we decided to go binario #13, where we found a train to Napoli about to depart. We asked a train conductor about using our 10:27 ticket (it was 11:00 a.m. by this time), and all he said was “Train #1” and pointed toward the first car – a long ways down the track. Howard suggested we just hop on board, and it was a good thing we did because we had only walked through a few cars when the doors to the train closed and it started to move. We worked our way through about 10 cars and finally found a few empty seats. After getting ourselves settled, and as the train was zooming along, I happened to look out the window. I saw an ancient above-ground Roman aqua duct and then Roman ruins on both sides of the train! Howard and I both started laughing, grateful that I had looked up and out at just the right time!

After a two-hour ride, we arrived in Napoli. We ate a quick slice, then found our way to the Circumvesuviana ticket office, where we purchased tickets for our hour train ride to Sorrento. It was a full train, filled primarily with commuters; they slowly left the train as we made about 20 stops at small communities along the way. On the trip, we saw not only these many small communities, but also had gorgeous views of the country-side (lots of farming), and glimpses of the Gulf of Naples. When we arrived in Sorrento, we pulled out our Rick Steve’s travel book and Howard began reading about possible hotels. He had only been reading about two minutes when an older Italian woman ran up to Howard and pointed excitedly into his book at the very hotel Howard was considering. Turns out the Hotel del Corso had one room available and we took it! The hotel, located in an 18th century building, was on the second floor of the ground level shops and was situated on the main drag of Sorrento, Corso Italia. Perfecto! This is the view we had out of our window:

And this is the view from the upstairs solarium:

Once settled, we found an outdoor restaurant and sat down for a cappuccino so we could read up on Sorrento and lay out some plans for what we wanted to do during our three nights here. Turns out that Sorrento is in the midst of lemon groves, so there are lots of lemony things and yellow things. Warning to my family and friends: expect your gift to involve lemons!

After our afternoon coffees, we set out to explore the historic portion of this beautiful resort town. Not sure of the temperature, but it was hot, at least in the mid-70s. We had fun ambling down a narrow back alley lined with shops and restaurants – this back lane was at least 15 blocks long. Here I am at the beginning of one of the alleyways:

For dinner, we got take away sandwiches (from Dolce & Salato) so we could eat in bed and watch CNN, the only channel in English (and our first TV since we left the states). Looks like economics are still an issue and McCain and Obama are still at it . . .

Tomorrow we plan to jump back on the Circumvesuviana and head for Pompeii, about 30 minutes north of Sorrento. I remember learning about Pompeii as a child and I have always wanted to visit. Here I am “many years” later, finally having that dream come true: and on my birthday. What a gift.


Bridget B. said...

Darren and I loved Sorrento . . . and Pompeii!! SO FUN! and we had the best pizza ever in one of the Cinque Terra villages . . . enjoy it for me!

gl. said...

happy birthday!

Raffaele Ariante said...

Felice Domenica Dyane
grazie per avermi inserito nel tuo spazio e spero veramente di incontrarti in USA con le mie Bombe d'Amore e di Colore.
Un saluto a Howard.
Raffaele Ariante

Raffaele Ariante said...

ciao Dayna

Raffaele Ariante said...

Ciao Dayna,
sono felice che mi hai inserito nel tuo spazio. Spero di vederti negli USA con le mie BOMBE
Un saluto a Howard
Ti abbraccio
Raffaele Ariante