Sorrento, Italy – 2014

Sorrento perambulation-Hotel Solara via old roads 

After an exploration of Sorrento we got slightly lost as we walked back to the hotel.  We made it back in time for dinner just before sunset.  Promising walking but complex navigation among the wee tracks and old roads that abound in the area.  The start of a very hot week with temperatures every day in the region of 25-30c and higher.

 

Hotel Solara-Pantano-Capo di Sorrento-Punta del Cabo-Puolo-Capo di Massa-Via Fontanelle-Hotel Solara

A lovely walk in a warm sun.  Nice visits to the sea and good café stops to stay hydrated.  Great walking along old roads used only for access.  Back by 3pm for a swim and a beer followed by the ‘Gala Candlelight Dinner’.  The food was good but I found the pianist very irritating; just not my sort of music.

 

Solara-Li Simoni-Pignatelli-Vadabilo-S.Agata-S.Lucia-Sorrento-Pantano-Solara

On the old tracks and paths to S.Agata for coffee & cake.  Interesting steep descent to Sorrento and a climb back up to the hotel.  Flowers, olive trees, lemon trees, lizards.  Visited the Gelateria with 50 ice cream flavours, very nice.  Going well & feeling good.

 

Vesuvius

We gave in and went on an excursion; it’s so busy and crowded here that we decided to get ‘looked after’.  Good decision……I enjoyed it and I’m not sure which was more impressive, the bus driver coping with these busy narrow winding roads or the volcano.  Nice walk to the crater on a comparatively quiet day.  Only hordes of tourists as opposed to being ‘rammed’.  Surprised how big and deep the crater was and the fumaroles were fumaroling nicely.  Great views of Naples, if this volcano ever blows it will be a disaster of titanic proportions.

 

Pompeii

Insane, crazy tourism.  I can only take in so many old ruins!  With the Guida, Roberta, nipping away in my ear all the time and huge crowds everywhere in the end I pulled out the ear phone and forsook the group for a solo walk round.  A chance to find a quiet comer and reflect a little.  Having said that Pompeii had to be done, if only once.  Amazing preservation of a 2000 year old town, well conserved paintings and grooves worn into the road surface by iron ‘chariot wheels’, just how many passages did that take?  Human nature being what it is the biggest queue was for the brothel and the erotic paintings and carvings within.  Spookiest was the plaster casts of bodies caught in the volcanic ash.  Ignoring the ‘hard sell’ we were relieved to get on the bus and get away.  Never again but it’s a tick off the list.

 

Solara-Massa-S.  Maria-Annunzatia-Marina della Lobra-S. Montano-Solara

The best day so far; going further away from Sorrento widens the gap between us and all the other millions of tourists and we actually met some other walking groups for the first time.  The section from Hotel Solara to Marina della Lobra was particularly attractive via cool, inviting shaded roads and footpaths.  We found a lovely Michelin listed restaurant for morning coffee.  Two coffees and 5 homemade biscuits cost 5 Euros and we were made very welcome despite our lack of Italian.  The only downside of the day was the grotty sea edge walk from Marina, all cracked concrete, weeds and litter past a river that was being used as a sewage outfall.  Wonderful flowers everywhere, Kathryn was in her element.

 

Sorrento-Positano Boat Journey

A tad expensive but well worth it.  Cool breezes and sublime views of Capri and the remote peninsular that has almost no road access.  Spectacular cliffs and frequent watchtowers built to guard against ‘pirates’.  Nothing could have prepared us for Positano.

 

Positano-Monte Pertuso-Valle del Pozzo-Corvo-Formillo-Positano

Positano; what an amazing place.  It’s like a vertical, multilayered, coloured cake of houses and hotels, heaving with people.  Fortunately there are many, many steps so that it is easy to leave all the fat, unfit people behind and get some peace and quiet.  The first section of the route climbs 350m and it’s more or less all steps.  We wouldn’t have found the start but for the Cicerone Guide Book.  Very scenic, very hot & sweaty.  Montepertuso arrived timeously with a restaurant where we had delicious homemade lemonade, so tart we had to add sugar, but very refreshing.  Our quiet drink was shattered when a group of about 25 German walkers joined us, I’m sure they were having a nice time in a noisy sort of way, so we left smartish (well I did).  The next section actually got a bit technical with some scrambling along narrow limestone ledges, all the time among stunning cliff scenery.  Eventually we joined an old track descending from S. Maria to Positano, straightforward if knee jerking, downhill walking (thank goodness for Pacer Poles) with 1500′ of descent.  The track gives great views of this amazing town right down thousands of steps to the beach and a well deserved ice cream.  The bus was full and we were lucky to get seats.  I know we are all ‘self-obsessed’ but I wish self-obsessed American tourists would just do it quietly.  For most of the 30 min journey I was forced to listen to one droning on about his bloody holiday in a very loud voice, I think the driver at the other end of the bus could hear him.  Oh, the joys of using local transport.  What a wonderful, memorable day………

 

Solara-Sorrento

Walked into Sorrento, bimbled about buying a few gifts and had lunch at La Favorita ‘O Parrucchiano, sort of outside under a canopy of lemon trees.  Bus back to the hotel, beer by the swimming pool and Glasgow by 10.30 pm.  An excellent ending to a short if beautiful holiday.  Would I go back?  Probably not, it’s just too busy, even in October.

 

 

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