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Published: June 13th 2017
A room with a view
A view of Mount Vesuvius from our hotel room
Geo: 40.6263, 14.3757DAY TWO (8/3)—Arrival Day in Italy
There's something about Paris, even if you just run between raindrops as you change planes. Somehow you just know there is romance in the air.
We had a 4.5 hour layover at Charles de Gaulle before boarding yet another Air France flight, this time to our actual destination: Naples.
I tried to find a Starbucks at the airport, to feed my Starbucks capitals coffee mugs addiction. None to be had. But I did grab a latte which was so much superior to the Nescafe that Air France served and called coffee. I had forgotten just how bad the French can be at that – no real beans, it seems, just an instant concoction of some sort, with orange foam floating on top. They have cafes, but where's the coffee?
I wandered a little at the airport, taking pictures of some of the retail displays. The French do that so well. And only one lady yelled at me for taking photos. It's going to be a good day.
I stopped at the parfumerie to spray on a little of Guerlain's "Ysatis" and cover up the fact that I hadn't had a shower. I'm tired, my make-up is tired, and
the security restrictions regarding liquids that resulted from 9/11 have caused me to carry just a lipstick. There's only so much that a little pink tube can do to salvage this 60-something face. But we'll always have Paris.Bienvenuto!
My reference book on traveling to Italy (“Eyewitness Travel”😉 spends a lot of time describing the differences between northern and southern Italy. My favorite distinction is when it describes Milan as efficient and rich while Naples is described as chaotic, dirty and corrupt. And so it is that our first exposure to Italy on this trip is to the capital of organized crime.
Naples is a big city but we didn't see too much of it. A Tauck representative met us at the exit beyond the luggage carousel and delivered us to a driver who whisked us out of town and down a scenic, winding road to Sorrento. He stopped at an overlook and let me get some classic coast photos: Mount Vesuvius, beaches, cliffs overlooking the bay, and yes, Italian beachgoers.
Our hotel, Sorrento's Grand Excelsior Vittoria, is among the Leading Hotels of the World. Guests have included Sophia Loren and Enrico Caruso. The view from our room is quite incredible. There's a balcony,
a flat screen TV, some lovely antiques and a not-so-comfy king size bed.
To my delight, the case of Tab soda that my sister shipped for me (USPS) is awaiting at the concierge desk. I have my stash of cold caffeine!
We had little time to clean up; I took what I thought would be a quick shower but turned out to be a plumbing disaster. When I turned off the water in the shower, water shot out of the pipes for the sink and in nothing flat, the bathroom was flooded as was the entrance to the room. Luckily – for us and for them -- the hotel took care of it quickly.
The welcome cocktail reception was in a private room of the hotel. There we met up with Len Pacitti, our Tauck Travel Director. We had a chance to mingle with our fellow travelers. Then we went out onto the terrace for dinner. Breathtaking.
The view was incredible, the food was divine, our fellow travelers all seem so pleasant and the evening was capped off with a tenor singing some of Italy's most famous songs.
Very romantic. And very impressive. What a way to start our trip.
Then, at 1:45 a.m., I awoke
to loud “banging” noises. Equipment failure? Gunshots? But no. Fireworks. Fireworks at 1:45 in the morning! Nice show over the water but what's up with that?
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