Let’s all wish Justine a big Happy Birthday! There are some of you out there who just did, but most of you (who know us well) are like, “um, her birthday isn’t for another 3-1/2 months.” that is true, but apparently no one told Telus. Yesterday she received 3 separate text messages from them telling her she has free calls tomorrow because it’s her birthday! Weird…
We were off to Sorrento today. Sorrento is a coastal city which survives today on tourism. The city began with the Romans who built many small villas in the area. Very little of ancient Sorrento remains. The area does remain an inspiration for poets and artists around the world. Sorrento had its period of economic and cultural growth during the 18th century after centuries of influence from Etruscans, Greeks, Romans, Byzantine, French and Spanish cultures.
We hopped on the Circumvesuviana, which is a metro-like train, and rode for a little over an hour. There were 34 stops between Naples and Sorrento. The proper reaction to that should have been: Wow that’s a lot of stops! On our trip we got some nice views. On one side was the coast and ocean. Lovely! On the other was the one-and-only Mount Vesuvius, an actual active volcano. There will be more info on this in the coming days.
Once we made it to Sorrento we had planned on riding the scenic bus from Sorrento along the Amalfi Coast. Apparently this wasn’t possible. The rains and floods that wiped out parts of the Cinque Terre forced the bus route to be closed. Too bad! But we made the best of things and entertained ourselves walking around Sorrento. The town sits up high right along the coast. There were many nice views of the nearby islands and surrounding coastline. It is so cool how these Italian coastal cities sit there on those scenic cliffs, just hanging out over the water. It makes for great photos (and devistating floods apparently).
After walking through town & down to the port, it had started to rain slightly. We had no other plans for Sorrento so we headed back to the train station and hopped back on the train to Naples. We then took to the streets, walking down some of the best paths of the city. The hostel owner had went crazy labeling everywhere that we should go in the city, especially what streets to take past dark…this city is a little sketchier than most. The city has an interesting character. It is grimy & dirty, with graffiti everywhere, but you forgive it because there is still a charm hidden underneath.
We stopped for lunch down by the first castle. The restaurant was called Nene and actually had other customers…not that we haven’t eaten alone before. We munched on pizzas, as that is what everyone says you are to do in Napoli. Pizza originated here and they take it very seriously. The ingredients of their margharita pizza have been regulated by law since 2004. Justine had messicana pizza (pomodoro, salame, olive & peperoncino…although she picked off the olives). Kristin had a caprese pizza (mozzarella, pomodorini, parmigiano & basilico, plus Justine’s olives). They were huge (we couldn’t even finish them) and just tasted fresh. Man it’s great to be back to Italian food!
And here is that first castle we mentioned, Castle Nuovo or New Castle because it was built in 1279…we don’t know much else about it, but doesn’t it look exactly like what you always wanted your sand castles to be?:
Our afternoon was filled with the pretty buildings of Naples. The more you see of the city, the more you love it. You start totally overlooking the grime (& construction everywhere!) and only see the old architecture & gorgeous ocean views. Here are some of the incredible buildings we saw today:
We took a break and sat on some steps in the Piazza del Plebiscito. Loitering is fun. This is the old central square of the city. One can imagine it must be packed on hot summer days…full of hot, sweaty tourists jostling each other & having their pockets picked. There was hardly anyone around in the beginning of November, except us and some crazy circus performers… Ok, maybe they weren’t part of the circus, but they had to at least be a group of gymnasts (if not ninjas). They stood in the center of the square taking photos of each other doing crazy stunts. They first caught our notice with a pic of 7 of them all doing perfect, toes-pointed, hand stands. It progressed from there until one guy was just standing up straight while another guy balanced in a one-handed handstand on the top of his head…insanity!
We walked all the way out to the city’s point to see the larger castle, Castel dell’Ovo. This castle dates from the 12th century but the Romans had villas on the site since the first century BC. Its significance declined when the New Castle was built. This one sits out onto the water with a great view surrounding it. It was free to enter and explore so we climbed up the stairs and found a perch. Our timing was perfect to watch the sun set behind the housed hill of the city’s cove. Pretty much a picture perfect moment…and luckily Kristin’s camera had just enough battery life to capture it!
Things We Learned Today:
– Kristin needs to tone it down. She never realized how animated she is as a person until it became painful for her to laugh, gasp & get overly excited.
Love, Luck & Limone Gelato,