Today's adventure included taking the train to another location and navigating new streets on my own. And it was surprisingly easy, even with no Italian in my bag of tricks.
This morning, after a great breakfast (made great by the fellow travelers at my B'n'B that share knowledge, stories and laughs), I made my way to the Circumvesuviana train station which is about 3 minutes walking from my hotel. I had heard and read in the guide books that this area is rife with pick-pockets and just plain dangerous... however, there was no danger when I went (I guess that's the benefit of traveling in the off-season). Sure, there were vagrants begging and some less than savoury people standing outside, but no one hassled me or even approached me. I strolled in, right up to the ticket counter and bought my return ticket for 8 Euros total. The train was easy to find, was clean and generally comfortable. I will say that it pays to get there right when the doors open though as it fills up very quickly and generally is standing room only all the way to Pompeii (which is a fair ways away).
The train right was pleasant and it was good to see the little towns and Mt. Vesuvius whizzing by. I loved that the further south it went, the more citrus trees I saw. I was shocked that the lemons, oranges and mandarins were still ripening on the trees.
Upon arrival in Sorrento, it's pretty easy to find the city centre. You exit the train, walk straight and there you are! The streets are incredibly clean (which is a nice change after the piles of garbage in Napoli - I never said Napoli was clean in the last post... the good things far outweighed the bad in my first impressions) and beautifully decorated for the holidays.
I arrived at about 11 am and in Sorrento (as in much of southern Italy from what I am learning) everything pretty much shuts down from noon to 4pm or so. I thought that the markets would be bustling with last minute shopper etc, but no... Sorrento was sleepy. This beautiful seaside town was already shutting doors and locking up when I arrived. Thankfully some of the shops were open in hopes of getting the few tourists to loosen our purse strings (which I dutifully did at the limoncello store, Limonoro). So after wandering and getting a couple of gorgeous shots...
I went for lunch. I'm not always a fan of things like mussels and clams (almost never really) but since I was in a town that is FAMOUS for their seafood, I thought I should at least try. I am SO glad that I did... it was delicious!!!
After that, there was just very little left to do and the sun was already sliding out of the sky, so I headed for the train station and got into the next train headed for Napoli. It was a faster route going back, which was nice and it was basically empty. I popped off at the Piazza Garibaldi stazione this time and was greeted by a really lovely Christmas tree (covered with hand written Christmas letters and wishes... very sweet). As I was walking back, I saw a coffee shop mentioned in my guide book (I like the EyeWitness guide books) as the BEST place to get coffee in Napoli. So naturally, I had to test it out... and it might be the best cappuccino and sfogliatella that I have ever tasted (it was my first sfogliatella to tell the truth). So if you are ever at the Stazione Centrale, hit up Mexico Cafe/Bar... YUM!!! And it was 2.60 Euros... ridiculous!