Well, Sorrento certainly is a bustling resort town.
Having crossed everything off our Naples to-do list, we had a lazy morning yesterday before packing up and heading off to the train station to catch a train to Sorrento. It’s the same line that serves Pompei and Herculaneum, which is crazy busy, so we were hoping that by going mid-day, we’d be able to get seats. We were also hoping to get one of the fast trains. We managed seats but it was not the fast train. An hour and a half later, we pulled into Sorrento, stored our bags at the train station and went into the old historic centre for some lunch and to do some exploring. After a drink and light lunch at the edge of Piazza Tasso, we wandered down the main road in the historic centre, overwhelmed by the insane number of limoncello shops. We stopped for some gelato (panna cotta and chocolate orange) before continuing to wander, exploring the tiny side streets, filled with their limoncello and lemon paraphernalia. After not too long, we went back to the train station to collect our bags and catch the shuttle to our hotel.
Because this trip was somewhat last minute for us, we had a hard time finding a hotel in Sorrento - so many places were already fully booked or just didn’t really meet what we were looking for. Because we’re here for a week, we really wanted something with a balcony, preferable with a sea view. After literally hours of searching, we finally settled on a little place outside of Sorrento that has a shuttle into the town throughout the day. Once we realized that shuttles were fairly common, that opened up much more in the way of balconies with sea views so that discovery was good! After arriving at the hotel and getting checked in, we stepped out onto that elusive balcony and all that time searching felt worth it. We have a stunning view that looks out over Sorrento and the Bay of Naples. It’s been lovely to spend time out there with a book and take in the view.
After a couple of hours, we headed back down into Sorrento for dinner at a lovely little spot tucked out of the way where I had some of the smoothest panna cotta I’ve ever had - along with delicious gnocchi while EDP indulged his love of seafood with grouper. And we both enjoyed a rather delicious bottle of local wine, the likes of which I’m sure I’ll never be able to find in Canada.
Today was another day spent in town, walking down after breakfast. The roads are too dangerous to walk down but there’s a footpath that wound down, steep enough to make us not overly interested in walking back to the hotel. Once down in Sorrento, one of the things on the list to check out was Il Vallone dei Mulini, the ruins of an old mill in a gorge. Turns out, we passed it on our way into town and you can’t actually go into the gorge, as I thought you could. So we ended up back-tracking and seeing exactly what we had already seen. From there, we headed into Villa Comunale, a park, to get a good look at Marina Piccolo and Marina San Francesco before taking the steep footpath down to see them up close - and to get a better idea of the ferry we’ll need to catch for our day on Capri. Then it was back up approximately 7,174 steps back into the historic centre to start making our way to Marina Grande, the fishing village at the west end of town, and the home to a seafood restaurant EDP was particularly keen on.
Things were still quiet so we decided to take a little one hour boat tour of the coast (no three hour tours for this gal, even without a single cloud in the sky.) It was a lovely little tour that kept us close to the coastline, taking us past the ruins of an old Roman villa with its secret cove “swimming pool” and past several of the little villages before dropping us back off at the Marina, right in front of the restaurant EDP wanted to try. And funnily enough, our boat driver (Captain? Skipper? Pilot?) was one of the family members of the restaurant, doing most of the fishing while his wife and daughter run the restaurant. With Prosecco in hand, we sat overlooking the marina and one of the huge cliffs looming up over us. EDP devoured a massive bowl of muscles before having some of the best octopus of his life, while even I got to have some fresh seafood! I rarely eat any kind of fish when we travel because communicating a shellfish allergy through a language barrier is just the kind of risky activity I like to steer clear of. But this fantastic little restaurant had a page at the back of their menu outlining what common allergens are used in their kitchen and so all I had to do was point at the little pictures and was assured I was able to have the pasta with the catch of the day (tuna) without fear. And I did. And it was delicious. I was warned not to share EDP’s fries, though, because they were made in the same fryer as the shrimp. I really didn’t expect to be able to be able to have any seafood on this trip so lunch was a special treat (my mantra has been “I’m perfectly fine with pomodoro.”)
Once we were done with lunch, we headed back up into the town to kill some time before the shuttle started back up after its lunch break. Sorrento is a lovely little town but it’s incredibly touristy without much to do beyond buy limoncello, lemon candy, lemon-themed ceramics & linens, and lemon-scented soap. It’s not typically the kind of town we like to spend a lot of time in and had we realized what it was going to be like, instead of giving ourselves a full day, we probably would have done just a morning or afternoon and fit in one of the nearby villages, as well. Ah well, we know for next time. Before we caught the shuttle, we stopped at a little grocery store to get some strawberries, cheese, salami, and bread to enjoy a little picnic with the bottle of Prosecco the hotel had left in our room for us. It was the perfect light dinner to end the day after our seafood lunch extravaganza and in anticipation for tomorrow’s food tour, which we expect to be one of the highlights of our time here.