Sorrento – June, 2015

Have you ever been to a place that when you leave you have to soak in every view in case you never return? A place that fills you with joy, radiates beauty and is everything you ever imagined it to be?

I have, and for me that is Italy.
My first visit was when I was 11, and it was my first holiday abroad. We flew to Tuscany, rented a car and drove to the top of a hill shrouded in mystery to find our perfect little rented house. This house was in a heart of a quaint village where we soaked in the Italian culture, this started the love I felt for the amazing country.
On June 8th 2015 the fire in my heart was ignited once more when me and my fiance landed in Sorrento.
Day 1
 

We were up at 6am sharp ready for a long day of travelling. By 11:30 we were at Birmingham Airport which is a lovely airport to get around and before we knew it we were on the plane, by 7 we were in Naples on the coach for the drive to Sorrento and then finally at 9:30 we were at the hotel, where we were greeted by the staff who had kept the kitchen open so we could have tea. We stayed at the lovely Hotel Admiral which was nestled into the cliff on the Marina Grande. I cannot recommend this hotel enough, it had excellent food, very lovely and welcoming staff and the BEST views.

View from our balcony

Day 2

We headed to the welcome talk provided by Thomson at 10am situated in a lovely restaurant, this was for the reps to introduce themselves, to sell the excursions and answer any questions. This was really helpful and we booked in for the Vesuvius and Pompeii day trip. They also provided a tour of Sorrento that lasted about 2 and a half hours. We wandered through all the delightful streets, sampled the amazing ice cream, drank Limoncello and Prosecco and soaked in the glorious views. This was very helpful as after the tour we felt we already knew the little city of Sorrento and could find our way round with no trouble. After the tour, me and Sam wanted to head down to the Marina Piccolo to see all the boats and try for some lunch. We walked down literally the side of the cliff down steps and slopes to the bottom, one left turn and we were sat on the beach eating pizza – perfect!

After our lunch we headed back up the hill (oh my god!) to do some mooching around the shops. I treated myself to a bottle of Limoncello which looked like a cute potion bottle and a lovely little blue jug with famous Sorrento Lemons on it. We headed back to the hotel to have a little rest and sun ourselves for a bit, this didn’t last long as we found ourselves in the middle of a thunderstorm!

Marina Grande at night

After the storm calmed we went back up into the city to get some headache tablets (boo) and water, on the way back we decided to venture up the other side of Marina Grande, we found these wonderful steps taking you under

ancient arch ways and we were able to take beautiful photos of the Marina lit up at night. This was the perfect end to our first day out in Sorrento.

Day 3

Due to the unexpected thunderstorm the previous evening, we had some sun time to make up for. We awoke at 8am and had the lovely breakfast buffet, we changed into some swim gear and perched our bums on the sunbeds. Absolutely beautiful morning out on the decking, with the sun above, the pool to the right and a view of Vesuvius to your left, we knew right then it would be hard leaving that place! We stayed out for about 3 hours, topping up our tan, having a swim and reading our magazines (Sam; Empire, me: Look). I may have slept for a bit too..

After our pool session we headed back to Marina Piccolo, paid for our ferry and hopped on the boat to Capri. It only took about 30 minutes to get there and we arrived at the beautiful island ready to explore. We headed up the hill and saw a turn to the left for ‘Centro’, we walked in that direction completely unaware that the walk was a very steep hill with lots of steps, and no shade!

Capri

It was worth it though for the beautiful view and a lovely array of shops, not that we shopped in any, Prada and Gucci are a little out of my price range! We were at Capri for a couple of hours and then headed back to the hotel, I was suffering from another headache so had a little power nap to recuperate. Then it was our first proper meal in the hotel, very nice food! We then decided to go back out on that beautiful walk from the night before, but this time with Sam’s snazzy camera so he could get some fabulous photos.

Day 4

Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius time!! Ever since booking it we had been looking forward to this day! We woke early to get the bus at 8am en route to Pompeii, we had a lovely tour guide who was spewing out the facts from the minute we got on the bus, it was great! We arrived at Pompeii and followed the guide through the amazing ruins. It was incredible just being there, walking down the streets that were once bustling with people going about their everyday lives. We saw an old bakery, loads of houses and even a brothel! It was phenomenal to see what was still standing, which was a lot. We had a walkie talkie hooked up to what the guide was saying so we could hear her no matter where she was, which was really handy. There were moments when I would look at the ruins and then look up at the background to see Vesuvius looming behind, as if he was looking at the damage he had done.

Pompeii with Vesuvius in the background

Next it was on to the man himself, we went back on the coach and travelled up the mountain. Bearing in mind this was a massive coach and there are windy roads, it was pretty scary and the coach went practically to the top to drop us off! Italians aren’t as bad drivers as people make out! We paid the £10 to start our climb to the top. After 30 minutes of climbing up the sandy/ashy terrain we arrived at the top, and after catching our breaths we looked out at the beautiful view. It was without a doubt something I will never forget, it is utterly breathtaking to think I have stood on a volcano and peered into its core!

                                    

We were allowed to spend an hour up Vesuvius and take in all its glory before heading back to the coach and back into Sorrento. By about 6pm we were back at the hotel and feeling very hungry!

We checked the board for what was on for dinner and saw that it was the Gala dinner with entertainment, so we got suited and booted for dinner with pretty much everyone in the hotel out on the terrace, with the sea underneath our seats. We were treated to a 4 course meal that was given to us without choosing on a menu (!) and then the entertainment was in between each meal, have a watch below! This was the perfect end to the perfect day.

Day 5

After the long day that was yesterday, we wanted to chill for a bit! We woke for breakfast and then nabbed ourselves a sun lounger to sun ourselves for a good while, it was so nice relaxing. Our plan for day 5 involved trying out the train service in Sorrento, the Circumvesuviana. Piece of advice – do not try this train service! The place we got the ticket from was fine, very helpful lady, but the minute we stepped foot on the platforms we had no clue! There were no maps, no signs on the platforms and no direction of where the trains were going when they arrived, it was a nightmare. I asked 3 different people if it was the train to ‘Ercalano’ and finally we knew we were on the right one. The trains themselves are disgusting, they are very tatty and have graffiti everywhere, and there is graffiti on the signs at the different stops so you don’t even know if you’re at the right stop! Anyway, disappointment aside we finally got off at Herculaneum and made our way to the ruin.

On arrival to Herculaneum we were amazed and gobsmacked. There was so much of it preserved and in my honest opinion it was better than Pompeii, you could see more of it so you really got a sense of what life was like, it was literally like walking around a city still standing. I would highly recommend going there, I mean do Pompeii too, but don’t miss out on Herculaneum because it’s the same kind of thing, because it’s actually better.We walked around for a good few hours, and then braved the horrid train again (more confusion) before getting back to Sorrento. We stopped off for an ice cream at our favourite place and then made our way back to the hotel for dinner.
There was a young couple the same age as us that we had been speaking to (and we went to Pompeii with them) and they came and sat with us after for a drink and chatter, we stayed up chatting for like 3 hours before heading back to our rooms at midnight! We chatted about everything, practically our life stories, it was so lovely! (never actually got their numbers though, whoops).
Day 6
 
The penultimate full day in Sorrento, boo! We wanted to use the last two days to majorly chill as we had done everything else we had wanted to do. So up we were, down for breakfast and then straight out on the sun beds! At this point we could literally stay there forever! We sunned our selves for a very long time and then we went into the town to do some shopping for presents. We wanted to make sure we explored all of Sorrento (which we did) so we took some purposeful wrong turns and ended up down this amazing little street where we bought everything we had been looking for! I got a little ceramic vase with lemons on for the house, a bottle of Limoncello, two lovely tops from this amazing shop, a brilliant painting of Sorrento, some cheese and pasta and here’s the best bit…THERE WAS A HARRY POTTER SHOP! (I got a snitch bracelet). Sam also found his favourite shop which contained all things football, so he bought a Napoli FC t-shirt! We then got our parents some Pecorino cheese, some pasta, a Murano figurine, some coffee, and a jar of Lemon Spread – there was a theme!
We spent a while getting all these bits and pieces, it took us a good hour to find the awesome street! So it was about 6 when we got back to the hotel and the dinner for that night was the buffet, yay! I had been wanting to try the buffet since I got there so I was really excited haha. Our terrace looked right down onto the decking where the tables were being laid out again and I could see the HUGE line of tables for where the food was going, and when we got out there, it was just food EVERYWHERE! We had a huge plate of food with everything ever made in Italy, it was awesome! We ended the day of very successful shopping with the most food ever and drinks in the evening, t’was perfect 🙂
Day 7
 
Our last day!! (internally crying as I remember) We again spent all morning/midday sunning ourselves, adamant to relax as much as possible before going back to the real, annoying life back in England. So again it was quite late before we headed out, and the only plan for the day was to go to the panoramic view we were told about on day 1. This was a very long walk to a spot over the other side where you could see all the way to our hotel, and everything in between! Lets just say it was bloody amazing and worth the walk.

View from the furthest point in Sorrento

Standing in that spot looking out at the view I started to soak in everything I could, so as to not forget what I felt in that moment. This was pretty much what the say was to be honest, just walking around enjoying everything for one last time and making photographic memories. As it was our last day we saw it fit that we have a meal out instead, we went to a restaurant on the marina, right on the beach, that we had walked past everyday. I had Crab Ravioli and Sam had Prawn Linguine, both were delicious and it was a lovely last night.

We got back to the hotel at about half 9, and as we needed to be up at 5 for the transfer in the morning, we went to bed not long after.

The last thing we did in Sorrento was head out onto the terrace and just look. I remember my heart aching for what I was leaving behind, we both stood there and said to ourselves that we wanted to stay forever. We will definitely go back, but for the time being I am very sad to not be there.
It has been about a month since I arrived and all I have done since is feel the withdrawal symptoms. During the day I find myself walking down the Sorrento streets or looking at the view from the terrace. I often look back over my pictures and my heart does a little flutter.
It was without a doubt the best holiday I have been on. I have been to Italy 4 times before, all amazing, but being in the country I love the most with the guy I love the most was something special.
               
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