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Published: March 2nd 2018
This morning we said farewell to our host, Claudio, at the Residence Schuler, and by 9:00 AM our taxi was on its way to the airport in Catania, an hour's drive south of Taormina. Weather conditions were pretty miserable, with lingering showers and chilly temperatures, but conditions began to improve by the time we arrived at the airport. We encountered a large crowd of passengers gathered around the Alitalia check-in area, and soon discovered that a large group of high school students were traveling on a school sponsored trip to Berlin.
Still, we had plenty of time to check-in, and then pass through security screening, before our scheduled departure at 11:35 AM. Following a short bus ride from the gate, we boarded the aircraft on the tarmac, but were surprised when the flight actually departed 15-minutes early; so we arrived in Napoli at 12:15 PM (30-minutes ahead of schedule!).
Since we arrived early, there was no sign of our good friend Francesco, who would be driving us to our apartment in Piano di Sorrento, but it was not long after that I spotted him heading to the arrivals area on foot. He has not changed a wit since we
last saw him in 2016; still the same jovial spirit that has endeared him to so many friends and clients over the years. It was quite the reunion, with lots of reminiscing and the latest news of his family (wife Anna, and twins Lucia and Luigi, now 5-years-old). With all the conversation, the hour drive from Naples to Sorrento flew by in no time, and we made plans to get together this Sunday.
Following a brief stop at a local grocery market, we met the manager at the apartment across the street from the Villa Fondi, and began to settle into our new digs. The apartment, located on Via Ripa di Cassano, is very nicely furnished and decorated. It sits on the 4th-floor, and from the small balcony facing north we have a view of the Bay of Naples, the tiny Marina di Cassano below, and a partial view of Mt. Vesuvius in the distance. Since it is located just a couple of blocks from the villa we rented with friends in 2016, the area is quite familiar to us.
The weather here in Sorrento is somewhat milder than it was in Sicily, but with very hazy skies
and blustery winds of up to 30mph. It took awhile to bring the temperature of the apartment up to speed, by means of a rather complicated dual system of electric heat and propane-fired radiators. Two large cylinders of propane gas, which is also used for cooking, sit outside on the balcony.
One of the propane tanks ran out the morning after arrival, requiring a switch to the other tank; and shortly after we arrived, the power to the apartment suddenly conked out, so I had to go down the stairs to the ground floor and reset a circuit breaker (hope this is not a regular occurrence!)
Dee's comments: Up early, anticipating our trip to Naples and Sorrento. First thing out of the gate, Alitalia hit us with baggage fees of 100 euros, plus a "service charge" of 17 euros. So much for the cheap 75 euro fare for the two of us, which ended up being 192 euros for a 45-minute flight (needless to say, Yentil wasn't happy). Next, security screening, where of course the bells went off for my bra, which resulted in a pat-down---they even ran their fingers and hands through my hair!
Naples early; best part of the day was seeing Francesco's smiling face again! Very windy when we arrived in Sorrento; quick stop for groceries before reaching the apartment; beautiful view from the balcony; whipped-up a quick dinner before our lights were out at 9 PM.
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