Sorrento: A great base on the Amalfi Coast
Travel in Italy is like childbirth. Painful much of the time, yet at the end of the whole process, it's so amazing you forget how awful it was and you do it again. And, in my case, again and again. I learned my lesson about having children after having three...they don't stay cute and tiny, by the way. But I'm still not over Italy, and so I keep going back. After all, there are still parts I haven't seen and Italy doesn't disappoint. The true dilemma is whether to return to the places I love or keep pushing forward. I try to do both.
Since it's summer as I'm writing this, I'll start by telling you about the Amalfi Coast. I stayed in Sorrento, which is a great beach town and a fantastic place for a summer vacation. True to all my Italian experiences, it was difficult to get there. I took the tiny commuter train called the Circumvesuviana from Naples. First of all, there is no lift at the train station in Naples and I had luggage. I should learn to backpack, but I can't. I'm not wired that way. And although I have severely trimmed down what I travel with, I must have a certain amount of accoutrements with me or I am very unhappy. Leaving, I tried a car instead of the train. The traffic was unbelievable, and everything you have heard about driving the hairpin turns through the Amalfi hills is true. I'd return, but next time, I might try a helicopter or the ferry.
Sorrento is a great town. The locals have an ongoing love affair with Dean Martin and you can hear his lovely, slurring voice drifting through the air everywhere you go. There’s not much to do here except admire the scenery, swim, shop the markets at night and stroll, but I loved it. Sorrento has a ferry stop, as well as a bus station, and yes, there is that train so it makes a great base from which to go to the other towns in Amalfi.
There are great bargains to be had in the shops. There are incredible linens, such as tablecloths, napkins, embroidered throws, and pillow cases. All were inexpensive and I loaded up on gifts (see why I need luggage?).
Lemons grow everywhere and they are the size of American grapefruit. The lemon motif is predominant and lemons are used in nearly every recipe. My favorite meal here was pasta served in a half of a lemon shell. Not only was it delicious, it was more than enough to fill me up. The lemons are huge! The meal was served at my favorite restaurant called Ristorante L’Antica Trattoria. The waiters are charming and are known to strew your plate with flower petals. The second time we ate there, they gave us complimentary champagne because we came back.
See, that's the lure of Italy. Everything and everyone is so seductive you keep coming back for more.