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12 Jun 2015

My holiday to Sorrento

Long time no blog! My doctorate is manic at the moment, but I managed to find time for a holiday! Today's post is long and photo heavy!

We went to Sorrento in Italy. It's somewhere I have wanted to go since I was a little girl. My Nanny and Poppa used to go frequently and talk about it as a really glamorous, beautiful place which sparked my interest. I also really wanted to go to Pompeii and see in real life all the interesting things I saw on documentaries. This year, my boyfriend and I decided to go finally!

We stayed in Sorrento at an AirBnB apartment in the historic centre which was beautiful. It was a really great price, and perfectly located down a small lane off the historic centre. We had a small flower shop right outside our flat door

On the first day, we were tired from travelling so we stayed in Sorrento. We walked around the lanes and went to the harbour. As Sorrento is built into a cliff, there aren't any beaches sadly, but the harbour is beautiful.

All throughout the lanes are little alleyways with interesting things to see

There was an abandoned mill at the bottom of a valley, with a casual main road living next to it! 

That night we went out for dinner at Ristorante Da Gigino which was amazing! We had a carbonara and a traditional Pizza which had barely cooked mozzarella on. Delicious! 

I wore a necklace I'd bought from a market in Sorrento, my Long Tall Sally palazzo trousers and my New Look crop bardot top

The second day we explored Pompeii. We booked a tour which was fantastic, and then spent some time on our own exploring after.

In the brothel there was a menu of rude images! Can you believe these are from around 70AD!

The casts of bodies were so surreal and sad.

According to our guide, all the animals in Pompeii ran away just before the volcano erupted (something to do with them sensing it) so there aren't many animals. This dog was chained up and couldn't escape. It was incredibly sad to see him so contorted.

The streets were amazing. In many places there were deep grooves in the stones from the chariots, which were all standard sizes.

Vesuvius eerily looking over the city.

We then walked across the city to the large amphitheater where there was a special exhibition of the casts.  I hadn't realised that the bodies weren't found like this. Apparently when excavating, archaeologists found hollow sounding areas. Someone filled one with plaster and chipped away to find the hollow left from a body (which had decomposed, leaving bones). there are skeletons within the casts. 

I found it quite frustrating that some of Pompeii was closed and not kept properly. It left me wondering if Italy has so much history, maybe it's not that important to them in the scheme of things! 

That night we came home and again napped, showered and got dressed up for going out. 

I'm wearing a lace crop top from TFNC and gingham Capri pants from Peacocks! That night we went to Tavernallegra because it was high on Tripadvisor. It was nice, but I'm easily embarrassed, and the staff are not! The manager was singing almost all the time, then they brought out this "love volcano" for a couple on a date and sang them a song about being married for a long time and gave us all tambourines! The manager and guitar player were going table-to-table serenading, so we wolfed down our food and legged it before it was our turn! It all felt very surreal! 

The next day we went to Herculaneum, which is a smaller town ruins near Pompeii. Due to the way the volcano erupted, Herculaneum was coated in a thick layer of boiling mud rather than pumice, meaning the wood and food was preserved!

 This amazing mosaic was on the wall of an office. Mosaics were always on the floor, so this was impressive

When initially excavated, archaeologists thought the people of Herculaneum had been successfully evacuated because they didn't find bodies like in Pompeii. Then the most recent excavation found the old boat house which was on the shore (until the eruption caused a few more km of land to exist!). There were 300 skeletons huddled up in the arches of the boat house, waiting for rescue. It was haunting. You can see them behind the ropes. 

Herculaneum is tiny and very quiet compared to Pompeii. The main reason is because it's less well known, but also because it was harder to excavate. Furthermore, the modern city of Herculaneum has been built on top of most of the ancient city so will probably never be uncovered. 

On our second last day, we went to the island of Capri, which was super easy by boat from Sorrento. 

Leaving Sorrento

Capri is absolutely stunning. It's really mountainous and gorgeous. As it was a hot day, we dived into the nearest bar for a drink or two before adventuring from Marina Grande to the main town of Capri

We then got a bus up the winding roads to the rival town of Anacapri which is up a steep cliff. In a packed bus, going round the winding cliff roads at high speed was terrifying.

From Anacapri you can get a chair lift to the highest peak. It was fantastic! It was quite scary because I am scared of heights, but I was distracted from my fear by the amazing view and peace. Being in a noisy town, it was glorious to be swinging around in the warm air, ankles grazing plants in people's back gardens and only being able to hear birds singing. 

I don't think I really wanted to leave Capri but we came back to Sorrento that afternoon for dinner at Meating Sorrento - a fantastic steak restaurant. Sadly the red wine, hot sun and limoncello shots got to me and I was a little sick. It was very embarrassing! 

On the last day we went to Naples by Circumvesuviana train to see the Archaeological Museum which housed all the treasures raided from Pompeii and Herculaneum. It was amazing to see and really worth the trip, although again sections were closed due to staff shortages, as my Lonely Planet book suggested they would be. Naples itself I found to be quite rough and I was relieved to get back to Sorrento at the end of the day. 

Overall the holiday was FANTASTIC! I want to be back there now. It was so incredibly beautiful and there was so much to do and see. I would have liked to do an Amalfi Coast tour on top of what we did but we didn't have time. I would definitely use AirBnB again and I would highly recommend Sorrento to anyone who wants a lovely holiday with delicious Italian food. It has really sparked a passion in me to learn Italian and how to cook Italian food (even if we did have the best kebab ever there at Kebab Ciampa!) Go, have lots of gelato in interesting flavours and just sit in the open air people watching! It's brilliant! 

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