M and I have a joke that whenever we travel I am always to get sick, get covered in mosquito bites, or develop some strange intolerance to something I eat. It is alway me sick for days and M somehow catches nothing more then a sniffle. This trip is no exception.
Despite how close Palermo and Sorrento may seem, it is a 10 hour journey by train. The sun rose at 5:00am and so did we. We boarded a 9 hour train from Palermo to Naples, riding down the coast and taking the boat / train back to the mainland.
To get to Sorrento from Naples you have to take a subway. When walking to our subway station, with all luggage in hand, my foot slid out from under me. I was walking on one of those slippery black stones and landed straight on my right elbow.
M was a far bit ahead so I yelled at him to come back. He rushed over just as a group of older Italian men came over to help. They were just across the street having their afternoon glass of wine and saw me fall. They brought out a chair and cup of ice for my elbow. They were so kind but I just wanted to get to our hotel.
We thanked them and went down to the subway. My elbow was in a lot of pain but I was still able to move my fingers and stretch my arm. The subway ride was about an hour long and as time passed I gained less and less mobility in my arm.
Once we arrived in Sorrento and found our hotel we started searching for a pharmacy or ER. We were unsure which would be appropriate and if it was bad enough to visit the ER. Both our hotel and a local pharmacist suggested the ER.
Now I don’t have many expectations for ER rooms. I know it means long waits, poor organizations, and not the cleanest environments. But the ER in Sorrento exceeded our general ER dissappointment.
When we arrived at 6:00PM we were told to wait in the hallway. Don’t we need to check in? Or write our name down? Nope…just wait in the hallway. Ok.
We met another English speaking couple, they told us they waited 4 hours for a couple tests and we should just leave if I could stand it. It was a Friday night and I would say there was less then 10 patients in the whole “hospital”.
About 3 hours into waiting, I was the only patient left in the “waiting hallway”. We started to wonder if it was only the Italians receiving help.
We started to noticed doctors changing into casual clothes and leaving…we were the only ones left. An Italian man who arrived much later then us who had already been helped noticed me crying and went to talk to the secretary. Then they decided to help us, immediately.
I had a couple X-rays and MRI’s done. The tests showed I had hairline fractures in two bones. They then made us wait another hour for the orthapedic to come back to work…the one we saw leave earlier. When he returned my elbow was wrapped and we were on our way. We found a small cafe and took their leftover pizza to eat in our hotel room at 1:00AM.
In short, screw Italian hospitals.
The next morning we struggled to wake up and with my cast in tow we headed to Pompeii.
There were plenty of tours to pick from and we choose a guided 2 hour tour by Tempio Travel. Boy did our tour guide like to talk, he may have liked to talk more about Pompeii then actually show us it.
We saw the colosseum, theatre, the home of a wealth man and the forum along with many other sites.
Starving, we had lunch just outside the archeological site at a little cheap cafe. Then boarded the train back for Sorrento. We decided to rest in our hotel room for a bit which is when M found our that someone had stolen his credit card information.
He spent a couple hours talking with our bank and contacting the different vendors where purchases were made, hoping he would be refunded and get the name of the thief.
It started to get late so we went to the nearby restaurant, Il Ritrovo, the hotel owner also managed. Delicious seafood spaghetti, wine, and lots of sweet limoncello got us through the night.
Day 12 of our trip started off right. We were headed to our next day tour when we saw a restaurant advertising American breakfast that stopped us dead in our tracks. (Bar Ercolano Snc) We loaded up on fluffy eggs, mediocre bacon, toast, bold smelling coffee, and fresh juice. The perfect start.
While our hotel was in Sorrento, we very much wanted to visit the Amalfi coast and Positano. Fortunately there was a full day tour from Sorrento that would drive us to each of those little cities. So in a little van with a bunch of other families looking to do the same, we headed for Positano with a couple of scenic stops along the way.
Once our bus squeezed and parked within the tiny streets of Positano we got to wonder up and down the alleys, stopping at the little limoncello and souvenir shops along the way.
Once M and I had reached the bottom of the hill we stopped at a fancy cafe along the water for some beer, espresso, and limoncello. I know, the perfect combination for 11:00AM.
By the end of our drinks we were pretty happy we did not stay in Positano. While the city is absolutely beautiful and there is plenty to enjoy, it is super expensive.
It was about time to get back on the bus so we made our way up the hill and picked up a few souvenirs. A few limoncello bottles, a lemon ornament, postcards and stickers.
After getting back on the bust we continued to drive down to the Amalfi coast, passing a very beautiful and expensive hotel, Sophia Loren’s home, and a couple other scenic shots along the way.
Once we arrived in Amalfi there was a guided boat tour available we took advantage of. The boat took us up and down the coast, showing us the most beautiful sites.
After the tour we still had some free time and attempted to check out the main Cathedral in the center of town. However they required we pay a fee just to enter, which we refuse to do when visiting any church.
Instead our hungry bellies led us down the street until we found a little cafe called Cuoppo d’Amalfi. We enjoyed paninis, arancini, and our favorite beer, lemon Peroni. We sat outside people watching, eating our savory cheese paninis, and enjoying the evening.
All around Italy you will come across beautiful pottery with colorful designs. We wondered into a few pottery stores but eventually found one that had agreeable prices and good quality pottery.
M and I found the most beautiful pitcher and two shot glasses that now decorate our home.
We walked around the town a bit more and sat near the shore until it was time for our bus to leave.
The bus drive back was quick, especially when you sleep the entire way. After we dropped off our new pottery we walked the streets looking for dinner. On our walk we found a nice restaurant called Syrrentum with an outside area and some good looking food. We ordered Calamari, Bellinis, beer and Cantelloni.
On the walk back we came across what we thought was a stray dog and said hi to him for a bit. Then he started following us.
I tried to get a pastry from a nearby cafe for him, but they did not accept card.
We continued down the street and he kept following us. We named him Buddy.
We asked a couple locals if they know of any animal shelters around, apparently there are absolutely none. So we walked, with Buddy, to the police station and asked a cop if they knew what to do. After he looked at us like we were crazy, he said the dog belonged to a guy around the corner. He lets the dog out around dinner and all the restaurants give him their scraps. Still not sure if we believe him but we sneaked away when Buddy wasn’t looking. And it broke our little hearts.
We loved this Positano / Amalfi tour! Check out their Trip Advisor page here.
Our last full day in Sorrento we woke up and made our way to a pastry shop my father suggested called Bar Rita. While it was a really great pastry shop we clearly did not know how to order. For breakfast M got a pastry that was filled with some sort of liquor and I got a huge roll of bread…just bread. We walked to a little shaded area and sat on a bench eating our liquor pastry and giant roll.
After our tasty breakfast we walked the streets looking into the little shops and came to a cliff overlooking the ocean. Looking over the cliff we saw rock piles going out into the sea where people could rent chairs to lay out on. It looked like a lovely way to spend the day!
We shopped around some more, picking up a bunch of varied limoncello samplers to try later. A few stores down we got some limoncello cookies from a great store called Nino and Friends. So it was lemons all around!
We stopped at a Gelateria called Davide il Gelato, my dad suggested, for our afternoon snack. M got his topped with strawberries and toppings while I enjoyed a coffee float for my pick me up.
We walked back to our hotel to rest for a bit when M received an e-mail with the name and e-mail address of the girl who stole his credit card information. We contemplated ways on what to do with the information and watched a documentary on Pompeii. Inspiration of the holy hell we wanted to bring down on this credit card thief.
We did some laundry and worked up an appetite. We then visited a pizzeria called Da Franco my father suggested. There were giant legs of pig hanging from the ceiling. A very nice aesthetic touch. They looked even better sliced up and on our pizzas.
The night ended with our shot glasses from the Almalfi coast, limoncello samples, and Game of Thrones.
Our hotel: Il Ritrovo B&B
Review: We booked our hotel a bit last minute. Combined with the area already being pretty expensive there weren’t a lot of options but we were pretty happy with Il Ritrovo. It was a fairly budget hotel in an ok location. Very clean and pretty modern. Main downside was the train that would go though your backyard. Sounded like bombs going off at 6:00AM everyday.