Buongiorno from Sorrento. It is currently 5am in lovely Sorrento – slowly beating the jet lag…slowly. Yesterday was another big day. The weather has been quite hot which has been a big change from home where it has been snowing – or so I hear.
This morning we had breakfast included at the hotel. It was nothing fancy, just a pretty classic continental breakfast, an orange juice and a couple of croissants did the trick. We had to be on the coach at 8am to drive to the Vatican City. As most people know, the Vatican City is it’s own city-state that is enclaved in Rome. It’s the home of the pope and a very holy site for Catholicism. Anyway, you should’ve seen the line to this place – enormous! If we weren’t able to skip the line, we would’ve been waiting hours upon hours.
Luckily, we were able to skip the main line and join the pre-booked line that was also pretty enormous, but moved at a faster pace. We had a local tour guide who is an expert on the Vatican. We put in headphones with a little radio so she could talk to us as we walked through the Vatican museum and the Sistine chapel. It was hard to hear/understand her at times through the headset because she spoke so fast/the radio wasn’t clear/there was so much going on. Honestly, this tour was really hard to enjoy. We felt like sheep being herded through thousands of people (35,000 per day visit the Vatican!)
The highlight was the roof of the Sistine Chapel that Michelangelo painted which has a 3D effect and is really beautiful. Though again really hard to enjoy due to the sheer amount of people around.
After the whirlwind tour we were able to walk freely around St Mark’s basilica which was a bit more space-friendly and is the biggest church in the world. It’s enormous in scale. There are so many massive structures in Italy.
We then spent some time in St Mark’s square which is really beautiful because you can look at the obelisk in the middle and back towards the basilica which is so grand.
We then had about 45 minutes to grab some lunch. Everything about the Vatican is very touristy and we did not have enough time to get far away so we stopped at a little pizza to-go place called “Alice”. Like in Rome you order the pizza you want and are charged by the weight – but the pizza was just nowhere near as good as Roscioli’s. We had three slices – a mushroom slice, a anchovy and tomato slice and a ham and cheese slice. All of it was pretty average. We considered getting gelato afterwards but everywhere was very touristy and we didn’t want our first gelato to be fake – so we held off.
We the jumped on coach to go to Sorrento. It was about a four hour drive. We had coach introductions where each person gets up the front of the coach on the microphone and introduces themselves, what they do and tells some things about themselves. It is fun and interesting to hear from and get to know everyone. 43 people on our tour – still can’t remember names.
The coach stopped just before we got to Sorrento at a viewpoint overlooking the ocean and Sorrento. It was really beautiful. Also at this viewpoint there is an old man who sells Lemon Granita which is lemon slushie made with fresh local lemons. It also had little lemon chunks in it. It was absolutely delicious. Lemons are not bitter here, they are very sweet and lemony. It went down a treat.
We drove through the windy streets of Sorrento to our hotel. The bus couldn’t get all the way to our hotel so we had to haul our bags down this massive hill through a tunnel which was kind of scary with the cars but not too bad (it will be harder taking our bags up the hill when we leave!). The view from our hotel balcony is absolutely stunning..the picture speaks for itself
We had an optional dinner (We had to pay extra) tonight which we opted to pay for and do. Prior to this though we had what Italians call Aperitivo which is a drink (usually alcoholic) that is served before dinner. We had a Bellini and ate little pizza snacks whilst talking to a few girls on our tour. It was quite lovely. We did have to walk down a giant hill and staircase to get there, we knew the walk back would be unforgiving, and it was. We were dressed up in our nice clothes for dinner which made the trek even harder. I swear we are actually going to lose weight being in Italy. Though we are eating a lot, we are doing so much exercise. Way more than I thought.
Dinner was a four course meal accompanied by wine at a restaurant called Terrazza delle Sirene. It has a beautiful view overlooking the ocean (I think everywhere in Sorrento does!). We were the last ones into the dining room for dinner and there was only two seats left and they were on different tables so we did not dine together tonight. The first course was bruschetta, caprese salad and grilled vegetables. It was pretty okay – the bruschetta was really nice, the tomatoes in Italy are very sweet and fresh.
The primo was a cheesy ravioli and some red sauces pasta – this course was quite good. The ravioli had a cheese sauce with cheese on the inside.
For the secondi we had the choices of chicken or fish and of course being in Sorrento and so close to the shore, we chose fish. It is always the fish of the day – so basically whatever they catch, today I believe it was bream. It has a tomatoey sauce with some potatoes and carrots. The fish tasted very fresh and delicious, but had little bones in it which made it a bit difficult to eat.
For Dulce we had profiteroles with lemon cream drizzled over them. Ronnie loves all things lemon which meant it was delicious! It was served with a shot of limoncello which went down a treat.
We then headed back to the hotel at 10pm to try and get on top of that jet lag..which we did! Finally!!!
Itemised Spending –
Pizza at Vatican – €7.80
Servo snacks – €8
Lemon Granita – €3
Optional dinner “Bay of Naples Feast” – €72
Today was a bit cheaper, which is definitely a win for us as we are coming in way under budget we haven’t reached budget on any of the days yet!
Isle of Capri tomorrow!
Ronnie and Aimee