David above Sorrento Italy
Hello from Naples – not the one in Florida. We docked in the port this morning about 7:00. Before that we were up and getting ourselves started for a full day. We had a good breakfast in the Horizon Court and then headed to the Princess Theater to get ready for our excursion. This has become something of a regular routine, except on shore days or when the ship has a late arrival in port. So we were pretty much prepared for today.
Our excursion today was titled “Sorrento & Amalfi Coast Cruise”. Our group was called and we reported to our bus for a drive through Naples and out to the peninsula which points toward Capri. We drove past Mt Vesuvius, but the top was shrouded in clouds and we could not see the peak. Likewise we could vaguely see an island in the mist out in the direction where our guide said was the “Ile of Capri”. So you are already getting the idea that this is not one of our better weather days – and you’re right.
Our guide (Lomae) gave us some information about Naples and the region. Naples is the
Some of the many inlayed wood products
largest harbor, behind Genoa. Naples is the 3rd
largest city in population (behind Rome and Milan) and 2nd
in size (behind only Rome). Vesuvius is one of the two active volcanos on the European continent (excluding a bunch of active volcanos on islands). But it is located only about 9 kilometers from Naples. The last eruption was in 1944 and at that time the lava closed the crater at the top. This stopped the regular venting of steam and has caused the internal pressure to build constantly. They get minor earthquakes fairly frequently. When the pressure becomes too great there will eventually be another eruption and Naples could be in big trouble – but at least our guide took that pretty casually.
She talked briefly about the eruption in 79AD which buried Pompei. That tour seemed like much too much walking, as did the tour which would have climbed the upper slope of the volcano. So we rode out to Sorrento and arrived about 9:00. The first order of business was a bathroom break at half a euro per seat. Our guide lead us from the bus park to the center of town, called the Piazza
Lunch in the Aurora Restaurant
Tasso. We started with a visit to a woodworking shop on the main square, where they showed us how they make inlays. There were a lot of amazing pieces for sale, but nobody better be getting their heart set on one of these expensive pieces. We had about 10 minutes to browse and then we were led down one of the little lanes to a lemon shop. They gave us samples of lemon cookies, lemon candies, and lemon liqueur (lemons are a common product around here). Then the group was given about 90 minutes for free time to explore the shops. Janet decided to stay close to the meeting point and was able to find a bench to use for a while. David went to a nearby bank to get some more cash from the ATM and then did a little shopping in some of the stores. Frankly there are literally hundreds of tourist shops selling all kinds of things.
At 11:00 the group met up at a nearby restaurant and had lunch. This seemed kind of early, but the food was good. We had cannelloni for a first course, either pork or chicken for the entrée
Looking down on Sorrento in the afternoon
with vegetables, and a pastry for dessert. They served white wine with lunch and expresso coffee afterwards. Anyway, it was an early lunch but it filled us up. We sat with a couple from Minnesota who had boarded the ship in Rome. They are from a small town near Jerry and Joyce. They were very nice and we shared stories of our cruising adventures. Afterwards our guide told us there was some bad news. Although we had partly sunny skies and only a slight breeze in Sorrento, the weather on the other side of the peninsula was much worse. Our boat ride along the Amalfi Coast had been cancelled. It was about noon and we were told to take another 1.5 hours for more shopping. Losing the cruise was very disappointing but they couldn’t control the weather. Having to spend another 90 minutes sitting around town showed a real lack of planning on their part. They refunded part of our excursion cost because we didn’t get the boat ride, but they didn’t have any plan what to do with us.
Anyway, we walked over to the bus stop at 1:30, but the bus did not show up
Samples of Cameos
for another 20 minutes. We drove up into the hill above town for a scenic view, but it was cloudy up there and we could only partly see below. Anyway, we drove around some more and then headed back toward Naples. Along the way we stopped at a Cameo Factory, where they demonstrated how they are made and offered to sell them to us. It was actually pretty interesting.
We then drove back to town and found it had been raining in Naples all day – the good news is that we had good weather most of the time in Sorrento. We went for a drive around town and then were driven back to the ship. It was not the day we had planned, but that summarizes our excursion.
We went back to the ship and did a quick cleanup before going to the lounge for a few snacks and cocktails. Then we were off to the dining room and had a table to ourselves once again. Tonight was Surf & Turf, which we both enjoyed. First Janet had Veal Sweetbreads and David had Shrimp Cocktails. Then Janet had the Special Pasta the head waiter was cooking and David had a bowl of Chowder. For dessert Janet had Chocolate Ice Cream with Chocolate Syrup, and David had Cheesecake. We still do not have new tablemates but the two couples that sat at the next table introduced themselves as being from Dubai and they seem nice. They had even visited St. Louis once and went up the Arch. They talked about how impressed they were with the Clydesdales.
Now we are back in the cabin resting up and watching a movie (Ricky and the Flash). That about wraps up our day.
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