Italian Paradiso

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

We had another early morning flight to get to Italy, this time on the airline everyone loves to hate, Ryan Air! Our flight to Rome was at 6am and the 4:30am airport shuttle bus was full so we were on the shuttle at 3:30am, before most people came home from the pubs in Dublin. (interesting side note: my mom said that when she was in Dublin many years ago, the men would leave Mass when the homily started to go to the pub and would come back at the end of Mass to pick their wives up).

We flew to Rome and then took a shuttle directly to Termini, the train station. From there we took an express train to Napoli (Naples) and then a slow train from Naples to Sorrento. We were traveling from 3:30am to around 3pm...exhausting! An American couple was sitting next to us on both trains. The wife was asking about our travels and was curious to know if we had been staying at hostels or hotels. HA HA. I could stay at a hostel for a week for the price of one night at a hotel. After explaining that we were students traveling on a budget, she proceeded to recommend we rent a motorboat to sail out to the island of Capri. D’oh.

On to Sorrento….it’s a small town along the Amalfi Coast of Italy. It's not far from Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. We saw Vesuvius from a distance while we were on the train. The Amalfi coast is breathtakingly beautiful. There weren’t any actual beaches in Sorrento because the coastline is mainly rocky bluffs. The water is blue and so clear you can see the bottom. Sorrento is known for it’s lemons (they are HUGE – bigger than grapefruits!) and limoncello. I am not sure what you call a place where you grow lemons, a lemon orchard?, but you could see tree after tree of lemons walking down the street. There is not a lot to see or do in Sorrento, so it was a nice break from being in big cities and trying to cram all the sights and museums in. There were several churches and lots of cute shops and cafes on winding cobblestone streets. It’s a shame we were only there about 24 hours.

Our plan for the following day was to take a bus on the roads winding through the cliffs to Positano, another town more beautiful than Sorrento. We waited over an hour for a bus that never showed up, the driver was probably drinking espresso and smoking a cigarette somewhere, so we ended up spending more time in Sorrento ☺ For lunch I had authentic insalata Caprese – tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, and seasoned with olive oil and salt & pepper. Caprese salad comes from the island of Capri, which is right across the water from Sorrento. Following lunch was more shopping. Limoncello – check. Scarves – check. Custom made sandals – check! There are few things I love more than nail polish, scarves, cupcakes, Catholicism, and fabulous shoes.

Saga of the Sandals
There were several shops in Sorrento where you could have sandals custom made in 5-10 minutes. After perusing all of the shoe shops a few times, I decided on a pair at La Conchiglia. I pulled the sample shoe and told the craftsman that was the shoe I wanted. He began rifling through his box of supplies and I could tell he didn’t have the leather piece I wanted. He showed me a lighter brown color but I was set on the darker brown. Now I was conflicted. I really wanted those shoes. Do I leave Sorrento without fabulous custom-made sandals or settle for a pair that I don’t love and still spend 40 euro? Sad sad day. I began to consider haggling the price down since he didn’t have the color I wanted. I asked if he had the mate to the sample shoe…my last resort. A few minutes later he pulled out the other shoe and I told him I would take the leather strap that was on the sample shoes. He was amused, but this was serious business! ;) He whipped out a stack of leather footbeds and told me I wear a 39W. I refuse to believe I have fat feet.... He took the sandal strap, fit it exactly to my foot, and then cut a slit in the leather of the footbed, secured the strap in the slit, and then secured the strap with three small nails on each side. By this point I was practically giddy. Actually let’s be honest, I was as excited as a five-year old on Christmas morning :D

I grabbed a lemon slushie, sat down in a park, and admired my new Italian shoes while Alicia laughed at me :) Soon after it was time to head back to the train station and return to Rome for part two of our Italian holiday (Rome). I'm already dreaming of when I can return to the Amalfi Coast, next summer perhaps?!

Ciao, Sorrento!


Kristen said...

YOUR PICTURES ARE AMAZING!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!! Can we please go there next summer?!?! Hahah Alicia would laugh at you for the shoes. I want to see those shoes in person. And you would buy more scarves.

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