I am aware that it wasn’t long ago when I used a similar title for when Jarrod and I went to Rome in May, but I have been incredibly lucky to be invited abroad with Jarrod’s family again. This time, the sunny coast, Sorrento.
After a 3 a.m. start, we landed safely in Naples, Italy, by ten-ish. A coach was sorted with the TUI package Jarrod’s family organised to take us nearly two hours out of the city, along the winding roads and up the cliffs to Grand Hotel President. The thing that struck me the most when we checked into our rooms was the view. We were so high up that we overlooked the entire coast – the shimmering waters to our left, and beyond the sea, Vesuvius. You see pictures online and in that Doctor Who episode (‘Fires of Pompeii’ was it?) but it’s so much more impressive in reality. Albeit we’re still a good distance away from the volcano and the cloud covers most of it, but there was talk earlier of going to see it on Monday, so that’s something to look forward to.
We had a bite to eat after we took our bags to our rooms, just in the hotel restaurant by the pool but it was very much needed – I hadn’t eaten anything all day because of our early start and flying making me feel a bit queasy so I was ready for some spaghetti bolognese. After food and a cold shower, I felt a bit more human, however Jarrod and I were completely shattered so we had a sleep until dinner.
Dinner was booked on the roof of the hotel. The interior was beautiful but we still sat outside so we could appreciate the view. The sun was like a blood orange in the sky and casted an amber light over the city below. We also saw Sorrento at night which was just as beautiful – twinkling lights all over.
The food was magnificent. For starters, I ordered a walnut and courgette tart, with a cheese fondue on the side and it was quite honestly the best starter I had ever ordered at a restaurant. For main course I ordered a curried pasta with pork and apples, and although it sounded peculiar, it was incredibly nice. Whilst we waited for our food, the staff brought out some appetisers; breadsticks with butter, then a fried sushi (I have to admit, it was the first time I had sushi and it was delicious!) and then we had two mini bread rolls each. And just when I thought I couldn’t eat any more, after they cleared our empty plates away, they gave us bitesized pastries. There was a coconut tart (my favourite), a chocolate cream eclair, a rum baba (is that how you spell it?) and something called a San Giuseppe. I couldn’t manage a proper dessert after all that.
Today was not exactly a late start but late enough for me anyway. I started off the day by reading Good Omens on our balcony with a cup of tea (Jarrod thought I was mental for having a hot drink in this heat). I felt so relaxed and just didn’t want to move, but we had planned on going into town to have a look around so I had to get ready.
The town was just like Rome really; the bustling, narrow streets, the crazy Italian driving and the people stood outside the shops trying to sell their products or hustle you into their restaurants, except there were far less people trying to sell you things on the street, in fact, I didn’t see a single person.
We stopped at a cafe, where Jarrod and I had something to eat, seeing as we didn’t have breakfast – a chicken panini, except I forgot that the Italian panini is somewhat different to the english. I pictured a panini on thin, white bread with the diagonal scorch marks on the top, but this panini was like a baguette; big, thick bread with chicken goujons and salad, and a side of fries we didn’t even know about. I couldn’t eat it all.
After finishing our drinks and food, we carried on wandering, popping into any shops that took our fancy – We’d come back to buy anything though. There was a Limoncello shop we stopped at which sold bottles and bottles, chocolates too. We were practically dragged back into the shop when we attempted to leave and had a cup of Limoncello forced into our hand to try. There were about five different flavours we tried altogether; regular Limoncello, a slightly softer version, Meloncello, Pistachio and an orange flavoured one. All but the pistachio were pretty good, but I think my taste buds still need to come round to Limoncello. Not only did we have free samples of the surprisingly sweet drink, but we also had chocolates and cookies, some flavoured with lemon. But it didn’t stop there. Balsamic vinegar with their lemon infused olive oil was next. I’m not a huge fan of oil and balsamic, despite my attempts of saying “No, thank you” (these guys were really damn persistent and wouldn’t take no as an answer), I tried it anyway, knowing full-well I wouldn’t like it. I was right.
Around one o’clock, Jarrod and I took the coach back to the hotel with huge bottles of water whilst his parents walked back up the hill – there was no way anyone could manage that walk up the cliff with a heavy bag. We’ll do the walk one day though.
I really wasn’t hungry after that brunch we had so instead of ordering lunch like the others, the hotel kindly made a mozzarella and parma ham sandwich, except the bread was pizza dough, to take away and have it when I felt like it. After all, it was a little wait until dinner.
We caught the 7:30 bus into town for dinner, and we decided to go to a pizzeria which Jarrod remembered going to and thoroughly enjoying. It was a good choice; I had a margharita pizza with pork sausage and it was the best pizza I had had in Italy. Although the journey down was nice and smooth, the journey up wasn’t as good – we had to stand which in hindsight wasn’t that bad but considering the price of the hotel package, it was pretty poor. Other than that minor setback, it was a pretty good day and I was very much looking forward to rest of the week.