Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Oct 21 2017


Sorrento

 Saturday Oct 21 2017

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We had the most difficult drive of our Italian Odyssey getting to Sorrento. The morning started out well. We were packed and left Villa Il Pina just before 10 AM, having read all the meters and settled up with the managers. Surprise! We got a small refund and there were no issues. 

We had stayed on the Amalfi coast for three days just a few weeks ago but we had not visited Sorrento. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to spend a day in Sorrento rather than stay overnight in the Naples airport. We hadn’t counted on the traffic on the busy roads. 

We left the villa and drove as far as the favourite lunch restaurant in San Marco and stopped for a coffee and a shared croissant. We were feeling good. Off we went, using “maps.me” as a guide. All was well, until we hit Saturday shopping traffic coming into Solerno, and after we left the A3 Autostrada to head to Sorrento. Maps.me must have thought it was directing us along the shortest route instead of the fastest. They forgot that the road went through all the towns crowded with Saturday shoppers. Next we took the wrong entrance onto the main road to Sorrento. We turned around at the next available exit and were back on track. That was fine until we were 20 km from Sorrento when the traffic started backing up; shades of Amalfi traffic.  

Finally we got into to town and tried to follow the directions to our hotel, Ulysse Delux Hostal. We made it part way down a narrow pedestrian street before reaching the gates stopping cars from coming in or out. We had to back out, with help from locals, turn around in an impossible entrance to a car park, resulting in minor scratches to the rear bumper before we were headed in the right direction. We stopped trying to figure out where we were in relation to our hotel and finally realized we had to take a hidden switchback under the main street. We stopped in a large car park and got out. We finally hit pay dirt. This was the car park used by the hotel and there was even an elevator right into the lobby.  

It turns out Ulysse Delux is built into the hillside and topped with the car park. It is really a hotel, miles above a traditional hostel. We checked into our room, got a map and went out to find a recommended restaurant still open. We did find something for lunch, and of course, a gelato shop nearby. The rest of the afternoon was spent walking to the Piazza and along the streets above the marinas. It really is a very interesting town. Ray declared the "beach", mostly large piers with chaises and umbrellas to rent, rather than a long sandy beach, an imaginative use of the sea shore.  

We took the excellent recommendation of the hotel to go to a restaurant favoured by local Italians. Da Filippo also had a free shuttle service to get us there and back again. Ray had thought we might be able to walk home ourselves. While in the car being driven to the hotel we realized the shuttle home was much safer. We would have been totally lost in the dark on our own. We had asked for a reservation at a much earlier hour than Italian diners, so that is why we were able to get a reservation for a Saturday at the last minute. The selections were very tasty and not overpriced. Ray and I shared a green gnocchi with salmon sauce, scaloppini with lemon sauce and a rocket and tomato salad, all washed down with a bottle of local red wine, an excellent meal. The shuttle that took us there was waiting to take us home again; great service!  

Now it was time to leave Italy and return to visit our daughter and her family in Paris. We were awake early and had a good breakfast in the hotel. The drive was easy, using “maps.me” again until we hit Napoli and missed the turn to bring us to the airport. Instead, we found ourselves at a gate leading to the port. An attendant helped us turn around and take the 2nd exit back to town again. This time we made it quickly to the airport but couldn’t find where the car rental return site was. Our friends had already emailed us that they had the same problems the day before. Ray circled back to the passenger drop-off spot and I ran in to ask information where the car-drop off was. I followed the woman’s directions, back out of the airport to the circle, and stopped at the right hand exit to try to see the car rental drop offs. I jumped out to ask a person stopped there. In the meantime Ray spied a small sign pointing to the right. We followed the sign and missed the driveway once, turned around, and made it the 2nd time. It was easy to get rid of the car, especially as neither Ray nor the attendant mentioned the minor bumper scrape. We were glad to have time to relax before flying to Paris.

Select one of the following to read about our adventures and see photos on Google Albums. 

Naples

 

Vesuvius, Pompeii and Capri

 

Walking on the Amalfi Coast

 

Apulia Bike Tour

 

Villa Il Pia, Montecorice

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