I thought I would show you some pics from my recent holiday in Italy. The boys and I went Sorrento in the Campania region of Italy. This was the boys’ first overseas holiday and my first for 20 years so it was a bit of a big thing for us. I had been to the region before about 22 years ago on my honeymoon so had some idea of what to expect. Needless to say it has got a little more built up over the last 20 years but not, I think, as much as some of the other tourist areas in the Mediterranean. It’s interesting that when you tell people you are going to Sorrento some of them look a little blank or they comment that Italy is very expensive. Our experience is that this was not the case, the restaurants were no more expensive than in the UK if you look around and avoid the ones targeting tourists. Our hotel was 15-20 minutes walk from the centre of Sorrento and as we had gone for a bed and breakfast option we had to walk into town every evening for dinner. At first this seemed onerous and I wished I had chosen somewhere that did half board but it turned out to be a really good option since we got to feel like we were in Italy instead of staying in a hotel that could have been anywhere.
What really struck me about the area was the huge amount of citrus fruit trees. Sorrento is known for its lemons. Its lemon this and lemon that. A lot of the dishes in the restaurants featured lemons including a particularly nice escalope with a thick lemon sauce and a pudding which was a sort of lemon sponge with a soft meringue over it. However, the biggest lemon product in the region is Lemoncello. Now this is where I admit to being a complete wally. I hadn’t realised that Lemoncello was a liqueur, naively I thought it was a soft drink. So you can imagine the waiter’s face when we ordered 3 Lemoncellos at 10:30 in the morning!!! It also turns out that the Italians, well certainly in this region, seem to make liqueurs out of anything: walnuts, melons and in Ischia rocket! After my mid morning encounter I avoided this delight for the rest of the week. The other thing that was noticeable was the size of the citrus fruit – they were huge. The photo above is of some grapefruits which were just by the hotel pool; I took some convincing that they were grapefruit as they were just so big.
Whilst the location of the hotel pool was glorious, surrounded with citrus trees and looking towards the mountains which include Versuivus, we couldn’t travel all that way without seeing some of the local sites. As the temperatures were up in the 30s we unanimously agreed that trekking up Versuivus was not high up our list of things to do. Our first trip was a cruise along the coast to Amalfi. The trip included going across to the island of Capri where we could jump from the boat into the deep water which was very welcome to cool off. Then back along the coast; the Amalfi coast is famous especially what they call the Amalfi drive which is the road which takes you along the coast. The views are breathtaking both from the road and from the sea; lots of small villages clinging onto the steep cliff faces. We looked at Postinano but decided to continue on to Amalfi since Positano is a well-known haunt of the rich meaning it is full of expensive designer shops etc, not something my two teenage boys would be interested in. Amalfi was much as I remember it from 20 odd years ago although busier. We had a mooch around the shops and bought food stuffs that will probably lurk in my cupboards for some time.
We enjoyed the cruise although we all experienced a strange swaying motion for some time after we got back to dry land. For our next trip we decided to be cultural and visit Herculaneum. We considered Pompeii but I hadn’t really enjoyed my visit there previously and I had wanted to see Herculaneum every since I had seen it on a BBC programme. But you will have to wait until the next post for the culture!