We took a train from Florence to Naples and bought tickets for the local Circumvesuviana train that was supposed to take us to Sorrento. All websites and tour books we had read had advised us to watch out for pickpockets in this area and especially on the Circumvesuviana. Therefore, I was on full vigilance mode when I noticed a couple of local ruffians harassing a bunch of girls. I, being the upstanding citizen that I am, automatically jumped to the rescue when the goons got distracted by my dashing turban.
Since I had anticipated their move, I maintained a poker face with my pocketknife in my hand and Jack Reacher fighting techniques in my head and stared them down. They got off on the next stop and the ride was uneventful after that. We arrived in S. Agnello (a suburb of Sorrento so to say) and it immediately reminded me of India, but cleaner and full of nice white people. The small town feel was in the air and there were scooters everywhere you looked. The local vibe in the streets peppered with grocery shops and small convenience stores felt very welcoming.
TIn contrast to Cinque Terre, I glimpsed a lot of native people in Sorrento, children playing in the streets, couples sitting on benches, and elders playing cards outside a cafe. We walked to our hostel which was outfitted like a modern three star hotel and was apparently famous enough to have been graced by the presence of celebrities but not so much that I would remember their names. After getting settled in, we walked down to Sorrento to eat dinner and check out the city. On the way there and back, we managed to take some excellent pictures of the Bay of Naples with Mount Vesuvius faint in the background.
Our hostel’s terrace was even better than the one in Florence. This one had three different tiers along with a bar and a view of two soccer fields. Needless to say, I spent the rest of the night with Jack Reacher and some quality Italian football. The hostel provided breakfast the next morning and we walked down to Sorrento to catch a bus to the towns of Amalfi and Positano on the Amalfi Coast.
The guidebooks had recommended to find a window seat on the right side of the bus and I was lucky enough to get one, because the view was SPECTACULAR. The winding road took us along the coast with the cliffs dropping straight down into the pure blue waters. Our driver must have been the distant cousin of the one driving Rowling’s Knight Bus, because he couldn’t possibly have maneuvered through the tight twisting turns without some magical help. We got off in Positano which is a very pretty town with a beautiful beach.
We decided to return to it later and proceeded to fight for our spot on the next bus headed for Amalfi. We had to stand because the bus was packed, and the road to Amalfi ended up being even worse in terms of twists and turns. Unfortunately, a lady sitting a little ahead of me was unable to hold in her lunch. The Scottish gentleman who had been standing next to the lady moved down by me and proceeded to entertain me for the rest of the ride by spewing colorful profanities which kept me laughing uncontrollably.
Amalfi was not much different from Sorrento or Positano, so we just had a quick snack and took a ferry back to Positano, where we proceeded to swim and relax on the beach until the sun set behind the cliffs. The ride back was not nearly as entertaining, and fatigued from the day, we retired pretty early.
The next day took us on a day trip to Pompeii, the city that slept for 1500 years. The whole place had been maintained pretty well and we walked through the town among the ruins of the volcanic explosion, keeping a wary eye on Vesuvius all the time. Since my interest in ancient ruins had been dampened by Rome, I did not think Pompeii was that interesting, but it was still cool to visit and walk in streets that had been occupied a thousand years ago. The excursion took up most of the day and we came back to pack up our stuff for…