Italy and Greece - Part 2

Day 6 – Today we left Rome and headed to Sorrento.  We stopped along the way at an outlet mall for lunch, and then found out that our hotel in Sorrento wouldn’t be ready when we got there, since another large group had just left.  Our bus driver, Alessandro, came to the rescue, and took us on an impromptu trip to Naples.  He lives in and grew up in Naples, so he was the perfect guide.  Laura translated for him while he drove us to the main piazza in town.  We grabbed a quick pizza lunch before he continued the bus tour around the bay, stopping at some gorgeous spots for photos. 


After Naples, we headed to Sorrento where our room was finally ready.  Matt and I were lucky, because we got a room facing the ocean, with a big balcony.  The hotel had it’s own beach, and everyone headed out to the warm Mediterranean sea for a swim before dinner.  For dinner we had pizza again!  It was so good.  Unfortunately the salads in Italy were not to my taste.  They were all slathered with salt and olive oil, where I prefer just a drop of olive oil and a lot of vinegar.  So I ate mainly carbs while in Italy. 

After dinner we walked around downtown Sorrento.  We had a limoncello tasting, which I enjoyed and Matt did not.  After that we got some gelato and did some shopping.  Matt bought me a pretty red coral necklace.  We also went to a Dali museum, and saw some of the interesting paintings he did.  That night we relaxed on the beach for a while with the rest of the group.

Day 7 – This was our day to go to Capri.  We were up nice and early to catch the 9am ferry to Capri.  When we got there, we had a boat ride around the island.  Unfortunately the waves were too high to go around the island completely, but we went about halfway around.  We stopped by the white grotto and took a swim break.  The water was so nice and crystal clear.  We stopped again after that to swim, but it had gotten cloudy and was a little chilly. 

Back in the city of Capri we got lunch and then headed up the funiculare (cable car) to the upper part of Capri.  We walked around where the shops were for a little while, but it was so crowded that we turned off the main path and started walking around the residential paths (can’t really call the streets, they were so narrow!) .  We got some incredible views that way, and were able to enjoy the scenery without hundreds of other people. 

We met back up with the group to get back on the ferry to Sorrento later in the afternoon, and once again had a couple hours to swim and relax at our hotel beach before getting ready for the night.  That night we went to dinner a beautiful restaurant at the top of a hill, overlooking the bay of Naples.  We got there right before sunset and had a great view.  Again, the food was great and I left stuffed!

That night we went to a karaoke bar with the rest of the group.  It was fun to get to go out and dance and get to know the people in the group better.

Day 8 – This was another early morning.  We got on the coach at 8am to head off to Positano and Amalfi.  The bus ride was kind of terrifying.  The roads are pretty narrow and winding and on the edge of a cliff.  We got dropped off at the top of Positano, and we walked down literally hundreds of stairs to get to the bottom.  I consider myself to be in fairly good shape, and my legs were shaking a little when we got to the bottom.  We did get a break when we took the ferry.  It was amazing to be able to see the coast from the boat.

After the half hour ferry ride, we got to Amalfi and we had the rest of the afternoon to look around.  First we decided to check out Amalfi Cathedral, located in the central square.  The inside was very interesting, because it had been added to several times throughout the centuries, and every time was in a different style, so it was kind of like walking through 4 churches at once. 

After the cathedral, we stopped for lunch, where I had a salad and Matt got some pizza.  After lunch we walked around the town and even saw a miniature version of Amalfi.  We stopped by the beach, and sat on some rocks near the water for a while, soaking in the sun.  After our time in Amalfi, we headed back to Sorrento, stopping at a cheese making shop along the way.  We got to see a demonstration of mozzarella cheese being made, and then got to sample some. 

Mini-Amalfi model.

When we got back to the hotel we had one last chance to swim on the beautiful beach by our hotel.  A bunch of people from our tour went swimming, and we made up a type of dodgeball game, and played that for a while.  That night we ate at our hotel, which had delicious food.  The hotel had actually been a restaurant first, and then they built the hotel around it. 

Sunset as seen from our hotel balcony over Capri.

Day 9 – This morning we checked out of our hotel in Sorrento.  On our way out, we stopped at Pompeii, which was one of my favorite parts of the trip.  Our tour guide took us through the city, and I thought it was fascinating how well engineered everything was.  Since the ground was rock, they couldn’t dig sewers like they did in most Roman cities, so they threw their waste in the street.  Instead of having everyone walk through it, the streets were set about a foot lower than the sidewalks.  Also, they had pedestrian crossings which were raised rocks so people never had to walk in the street.  The pedestrian crossings were also spaced based on the width of a chariot, and you could still see some of the chariot marks in the stone. 

Pink Floyd played here!

There were also public water fountains on some of the corners, which provided water constantly, and the water that wasn’t used would spill into the streets and clear away the waste.   We also got to see ancient artifacts, stores where people sold food, a bath house and the amphitheater.  To me, the Pompeii tour was the perfect way to spend my last morning in Italy. 

The rest of the day was a travel day.  We drove across the country from the west side to Bari on the east side.  Then we caught a ferry to Greece.  Our tour manager warned us that she wasn’t sure if we would have a Italian or Greek ferry, but we were lucky because we got the Greek ferry (it supposedly has better food and facilities).  She also wasn’t sure if we would be able to get cabins, or if we would have to sleep in the airplane style seats they offered, but we were lucky again and were able to stay in cabins.  Matt and I stayed with another couple, but we were just happy to have a cabin.  

Day 10 – This morning we woke up and could see the coast of Greece!  We ate breakfast on the boat, and then hung out with the rest of our tour group until we arrived in Greece around 1pm.  We boarded another coach, and headed to Athens, stopping on the way at the Corinth canal, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Aegean Sea. 

We arrived at our hotel in Athens around 5pm, and had a couple of hours to settle in and get ready before our first dinner in Greece.  We walked to dinner, through the shopping area of Plaka, and had a delicious Greek dinner.  We had Greek salad, fried cheese, smoky eggplant salad, grape leaves, and yummy grilled vegetables.  After dinner we bought some drinks with some other people from our tour, and drank them on the roof of our hotel, which had a great view overlooking the Acropolis. 

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