The Day We Didn’t Get Lost (Part Two)

It doesn’t happen very often — I’d go so far as to say I can count the number of times on one hand — but every once in a blue moon, my Women’s Walkabout companion and I have a day where we actually move in a straight line to get where we’re going. The tale starts here, if you’re curious. And now for Part Two …

Getting to Know Sorrento

Every location in my travels has had its own “spirit”, a unique vibe. I’m not talking new age mystical juju, mind you, but rather a distinct character — likely a result of the various subcultures that differ and thrive in the many pockets of this world of ours — that bleeds through everything you see, smell, feel, hear, and taste. Sorrento was no exception.

The spirit of Sorrento was refuge, respite, and release.

We felt it as soon as our train pulled into the station, and we were officially free of the tension and wariness of surviving Naples (aka “Pickpocket Central”). We chalked it up to just that: the natural serotonin and dopamine rush of being in a safer part of the country. Yet over the next few days, we discovered that those feelings returned, without fail, every time we arrived here from some other “there”.

Sorrento was that destination where if we could reach it, we knew we’d be alright. Sorrento was our “safe zone” in what sometimes felt like a game of Beat the Clock. Sorrento was our haven.

But as I said, that realization came later. On this first day, we were just so darned thrilled to be done with the scary part of the trek, and also ridiculously hungry (it’s amazing how fiercely those primal desires rise to the surface when you’re coming down from fight-or-flight mode, innit?). We grabbed an English pamphlet with a map and things to do (our bus for our final destination wouldn’t depart for several hours, so we had time to kill), found a restaurant by the water, and made a beeline for it.

To say we “plopped down” into our outdoor patio seats wouldn’t do it justice. Emotionally exhausted, we promptly ordered red wine and lunch, told our muscles it was time to relax, and soaked in the sunshine and view. (Yes, the gnocci below was mine – and yes, it was to die for.)

And it wouldn’t be a vacation with my traveling companion without a bit of flirting from the locals. (She has that effect on people.) These street musicians also knew a good mark when they saw one — of course we dropped some coin into their tambourine, as did many of the other patrons — and they absolutely oozed with charm, as any good busker must. Yet it was more than obvious that they laid it on particularly thick for our table, to impress my lovely friend (aye, the benefits of being a wing-woman are a-plenty).

Refueled and relaxed, we took the advice of our server and headed down the main road toward the “beautiful coastline” that he told us was not to be missed “on such a beautiful day as this”. We encountered a modest crowd, but nothing too terrible — it was a weekday in late September, which meant that adults were at work and kids were back in school.

By the by, I highly recommend this strategy for anyone wanting to visit — well, anywhere, really. Unless you super enjoy navigating chaos and the crazies, in which case I raise my glass and an eyebrow to you.

The first part of our trek was a lot of this:

We found ourselves surrounded by countless shops, architecture, and food places. This was clearly Sorrento’s main downtown area, and a thriving one at that.

Not satisfied to linger where the people are, we continued to follow the path that we were counseled to take. The farther we went, the fewer people we were around, which was just fine with us.

The road became a little steeper. Then a bit more. After awhile, we hit the coast and decision time: do we put our legs to the test and see how high we can get before having to turn around so that we’re on time for our bus?

Of course we do.

We continue on the long and winding road, which gradually led to this:

And in the category of Bizarro Sorrento, this:

The weather truly was a heap of sunshiny goodness. Also crazy windy. We started to feel a bit winded (sorry, had to do it) so we found a patio that was probably private property during tourist season. With nobody around to kick us out, we took advantage of the tables and chairs, and got one of my favorite shots of the day:

We had a bit of time left to wander, but didn’t want to push it. Reluctantly, we whispered our thank yous to the breeze, and walked down the meandering hill toward the bus station, where we would shuttle to our bed and breakfast in Marciano (our “home” for the duration of our Amalfi Coast stay).

At least, that’s what we thought was going to happen.

More to come in the next installment …

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