The trip to Naples was the one I was most looking forward to. In particular because we would be visiting Pompeii. I had read about Pompeii in grade school from a book my sister won as part of a summer reading adventure through one of our city library programs. I had hoped we would be visiting Pompeii in the morning before it got too hot, but we went to Sorrento first. Upon meeting our guide, I thought that he was pretty good until he mentioned that he had been married three times and that he liked his latest wife best because she didn’t talk. He went on to express that women should remain at home and their only job was to bear children. I was shocked. I’m not sure if that’s a cultural thing, but it’s still unbelievable to hear and that type of misogyny should be put to an end by running the offender over with a bus. Or something equally horrible. To get to Sorrento is a scenic drive up a rather steep and narrow road up a cliff. Once we arrived, we were taken to a furniture shop and given two hours to explore. There really wasn’t much to see for us in Sorrento so we walked down the main streets and looked at the churches and stuff before returning to our meeting place almost 45 minutes early. The only thing I considered purchasing was from the furniture shop that we first went to. It was a handmade music box. However, I didn’t think it was worth €130 for something the size of a chocolate box. From there we headed off to a farm for lunch. All the ingredients for our lunch had either been grown or raised there. Our starter was a couple slices of salami, one slice of prosciutto, green and black olives, basket mozzarella and bocconcini. I could only get down the bocconcini, the salami and prosciutto had too much of a raw meat taste, I can’t stand olives and the basket mozzarella was flavourless. The main was a lasagna noodle sliced lengthwise with a tomato and dried cheese sauce. It was good, but I would have preferred it a little more al dente. Dessert was a cream puff with some lemon zest and smothered in more cream. Then came the famous limoncello. GAWD that stuff is strong! They gave us two demonstrations at the farm. One was how the mozzarella was made. The other was how they made limoncello as well as other fruit and nut liqueurs. By far the walnut liqueur was the strongest, described by my dad as tasting like brandy. After that we headed back to the bus and we were off to Pompeii.
We stopped in a cameo shop while our guide bought tickets and this really racist Italian American lady held up the group by like half an hour because she was buying a cameo and turned off her radio.
We saw a lot of interesting places in Pompeii including a brothel…with stone beds…I can’t imagine how uncomfortable that would have been. What if you hit your head and died?! Anyways we also looked at some of the places the “big wigs” lived at. Fancy…There was a lot of walking, but that’s what I prefer anyways. And under the hot sun it was painful to stay standing in one spot for very long. Pompeii is so big that we only got to see the highlights. I might want to come back when it isn’t s hot to slowly explore what the entire town-city has to offer.
After such a tiring day all I wanted to do was sleep, but instead we had to pack and have our bags outside our staterooms before 10pm for disembarkation the next day. We were picked up at the terminal by a car from Hotel Seccy, the hotel we would be staying in in Fiumicino. The hotel was lovely. It had an antique-historical charm. The only things I could complain about was that there were weathered tiles in the bathroom making it look like it was dirty, the bedet taking up too much space again, and that there was some weird splotch/stain on my bed cover.
We were starving and there had been recommendations that the pizza place next door was amazing. But surprise, it doesn’t open until 7:30pm. So instead we walked to the sea/riverside and got some pasta. This is where I learned what scampi really were. Like huge shrimp or shrimp on steroids. Mini lobsters really. The pasta here was a lovely al dente. Would definitely come back to tried their fried fish/seafood special. For dinner I think my dad went overboard…we had scampi risotto, penne carbonara, calamari, chicory, fried mixed seafood, a mushroom and sausage pizza, tiramisu, and biscotti. Seriously. SO full! The only complaint I have is that Italians take their time with everything so we went in at 7:30 and didn’t leave until about 9:30. The restaurant only had 4 other tables and we were the first to arrive.
As Fiumicino is a small fishing village, seafood was in abundance, which was great, but because it was a small fishing village, it doesn’t get many tourists which in turn means many of them can’t speak English. This was the first time during the whole trip that we couldn’t rely on English or Chinese to get by. Yes, we spoke Chinese in Italy…with owners of souvenir shops in Rome and two Chinese restaurants in Rome. We got by with pointing and one lady (the one at the pizza place) was impressed I was able to find the Italian equivalent for my English order. What got me was that they had an English menu but no one in the place could speak or read English.
The one thing I think I love most is the Caprese Panini I had in Rome on our second day there. It was glorious. Caprese Paninis are the best things in the world. It was the last thing we bought at the airport before we headed back home.
By the end of this trip I was tired and sick. Like a coworker said, “You have to work in Europe.” This didn’t feel like a vacation. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every minute of it, but I was exhausted after all of this and needed a vacation from my vacation, but unfortunately I don’t have that luxury. It’s nose to the grindstone and I just have keep on working just to get by. One day I’ll go back and take my sweet time going from city to city. And the next time I visit Italy, I will go to Venice.