Thursday, September 17, 2009

Italia with the Parentals

DAY 1:
Napoli, Pompei, Sorrento and Capri were on our list of exploration at the beginning of the week. It didn't take long for us to realize things weren't going to play out like they had on most of our previous vacations. We left my apartment to find a traffic jam. Got to the airport to find we really didn't need to be rushing around as there was a mysterious delay. Flew through a thunderstorm (or something of that nature) and experienced our first ever borded landing. (The landing gear was pulled down then pulled up!) Once we were on the ground the whole plane started applauding (all but my mother who was holding her 'barf bag' in her hands.) We found out later from some new friends in the AirForce that in spite of the rain, the pilot had 'overshot' his landing. Yikes. Anywho, the weather that day was fitting for the mood. Naples is... let me think... scary. Chaos is the best definition. We flew into Naples hoping to arrive in Pompeii in the early afternoon. No such luck. The train station was taken over with construction and not employed by very helpful employees. We stepped on our train only to be directed OFF our train. The FFSS informed us that we couldn't get there by our train. We got to a stop somewhere between Naples and Pompeii and sat in the rain (under an awning) for... a while. We sat and watched the train we wanted to be on zoom past us. A half hour later we were on the wrong train, headed to the wrong side of town. Once we made it to the 'Circumvesuvia' we were famished - this is a great part of the story, just FYI - we walk in the sprinkling rain to Zeus's for some stone-fired Italian pizza. Our waitress was delightful *heavy sarcasm here, though she did warm up before we left*. Once we place our order the rain was coming down in SHEETS. I'm talking heavy Iowa thunderstorm rain. It was intense. But we were warm, dry, sitting and anticipating some of the best pizza in the world. We enjoyed our pizza... a lot, and pressed on to find our hotel. (Remember how we were on the wrong train, headed for the wrong side of town?) Somehow the directions we'd printed out from the hotel weren't getting us where we needed to be! We waited for the bus for two hours, occupying ourselves by finding GINORMOUS lemons and peeking in at the ruins.
The bus never came, so we started walking, and walking, and walking, and walking... then I got ice cream...
took some pictures of the architecture in the center of Pompeii... and then we walked some more. Dad then took matters into his own hands, asked a cop where our hotel was, then continued on our hunt. We peeked around every corner. We read every hotel sign. We were ready for defeat. Then finally, the glorious moment had arrived, HOTEL DIANA.
We entered to find the most delightful individual we'd seen all day. We sat in the courtyard to regain our bearings, made our way into our great room with a bidet/foot-washer) and continued to explore Pompeii by way of grocery shopping. A great bottle of wine, Celtic beer, chocolate and a banana. You wouldn't think it would be a difficult purchase, but after the day we'd had why would we expect anything less? The gal behind the register threw (no exaggeration here) the banana back at Mom and made some less than friendly commentary to her in Italian. Much to Mom's surprise, you're to weigh ALL your produce before getting to the counter... hmm... back at our hotel we met a lovely couple from Britain. They sat with us enjoying their Brandy and tea while we enjoyed our Italian Merlot.  
Day 2: The breakfast at Hotel Diana is nice. Ace juice, milk and cereal, croissants and rolls, peaches/nectarines and grapes and the best cappuccino I've ever experienced. Dad and I went on a search for an ATM only to find you have to be a part of the Secret Service to enter a bank in Italy. We then retrieved Mom and were on our way to Sorrento. In Sorrento we got lost on our way to the port... things like this happen when there are no straight roads OR street signs. Apparently Mom passed as a part of the Secret Service and she stood in line at the bank for a good 20 minutes before she was able to cash her travelers check. ONWARD. We made it to the port! We were able to meet some of the other guests who were residing at Hotel Diana. We found out the price of the ferry to Capri was not what it had been advertised as online. Mom and I purchased some lovely Pashminas. We had to wait to actually buy our tickets, so we had a DELICIOUS lunch.  
The server at this restraunt was really great at his job. We watched as the restraunt kitty corner from them got turned down time after time while the restraunt we ate at reaped all the benefit! We did catch the ferry to Capri. It looked like a ship headed for America... cars and LOTS of people. Once in Capri, we took the feniculars to the top of the mountain. Gucci, Armani, Dolce & Gabana and stores of the like lined the streets. Finally we got out of the crowded 'downtown' area of where we were and found ourselves on a path along the coast of this mountain, walking through trees and resorts and brilliant homes. TBC...

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