Nibbles

Serenity in Sorrento

I write sitting on the veranda overlooking the sea, Mount Vesuvius shrouded in fog at its base and church bells warning all of Mass (it’s 19.00). Two cannons shots dot the air with plumes of smoke at the nook between two mountains at the edge of town. It really is amazingly beautiful here. I started reading my book, Suite Française, on the train on the way here. It is moving, and I have a new appreciation for the writing given all that I’ve learned in the past two weeks.

Backing up a bit, I booked the hotel online last night and couldn’t really locate directions on how to get there (other than go to Sorrento).

I headed to the Termini this morning at about 8.30am (after cappuccino at Joe’s, of course!) and was dismayed to find that apparently “Seats may not be occupied at this time”, or something to that affect, means that the train is sold out. I bought a ticket for the 10.45 train (EuroStar, a fast one, not a bad trade) first class (that’s all there was) and found a place to relax and read overlooking the station. I reflected a moment or two on how I hadn’t had any issues with pick pocketing and wondered if I might observe some in action if I watched carefully enough. But my attention just wasn’t into it.

Time for boarding the train came quickly, the hour passed as if it were far less, and we were off. First class is nice… Cozy chairs, tables for working on, and stewards who serve juice and biscuits just as an airline. I sat across from an attractive young Italian with a humble—or perhaps uncertain—air who mistook me for being Italian myself. Arriving in Naples I found that I couldn’t yet buy a ticket for the local train, then realized that’s because they’re for sale in that area alone (like a bus ticket). Got on the train at the right platform, but it was bound for a slightly different direction. I, with many other Sorrento bound travelers, we redirected by the conductor and soon enough the right train came by. I took it to the end, just as much as the directions I did have instructed, and wandered down to the Foreigner’s Club to ask for a further idea of where my hotel might be. I knew I was out of the general area when they asked if I had a car. I had lunch at Ristorante d’Ante, or something close to that, and then took the train back one stop to Sant’Agnello.

Getting off I had a general idea of where I belonged (there was a map in the Sorrento station listing the hotels) but there wasn’t much signage to assist in getting my bearings. I headed off, at this point quite sweaty and ready for the pool, certain that I would (eventually) find my way. Streets were deserted; it was siesta time on Sunday. Ironically I wandered down a street (hoping to find Via Italia at the other end) where Hotel Angelina was. That’s where the girls were staying. Sure enough as I approached passing by the gate I heard familiar voices. They were surprised to see me, and the receptionist gave me a map to point me in the right direction.

I headed back the way I came, now bound without a doubt for the pool, stat! I found the large tree he referred to and headed up the hill. And then there was another hill. Then I finally came to the top, at least to where I belonged, my face as red as a ripe pomodoro and shining with perspiration of exertion I checked in at last. I was delivered to my room, and I showered and headed for the pool. More reading of my book, and finally here I am. Cannon’s are still going off in the not so distant distance, and the sun it setting with people finally moving to join me on the veranda. The crowd is an older casual aristocratic sort, mostly French. I’m having dinner in the hotel tonight, most places in town are closed, and apparently the restaurant here is quite good according to an enthusiastic recommendation from a gentleman at the pool. I made a reservation and have requested a view. Choosing what to wear unfortunately took but a moment. I didn’t bring much (my laptop and all else in my backpack) and I wish I had something just a little nicer. Oh well, it will do.

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