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Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Start of Sorrento

We have just been fortunate enough to return from a week's holiday to Sorrento in Italy.  The main driver for the trip was a family wedding, but it was a great time to further lean on my husband to try and persuade him to attend. 

The persuasion worked - along with the fact that the rest of his small family were going too - so it seemed to cover a lot of bases. 

I left my car at my parents-in-law, and we proceeded to Gatwick on Friday, 27th August on a bank holiday weekend.  Fortunately, that didn't cause us any problem - what did make the journey very unpleasant was a gastric-vomiting bug that made me suddenly violently ill.  Very luckily, it had passed by the time I stepped off the plane, and we were able to navigate those steep and winding roads in a coach from Naples to Sorrento without further incident. 

Despite the flight only being two hours, travelling had taken all day, and we didn't arrive at the hotel until nearly 9pm.  The vast majority of the wedding party was also staying at the Grand Hotel Flora, so we were greeted by quite a few people when we arrived. 

We were quickly ushered into the dining room to choose our meal for the evening.  I was very pleased to enjoy my meal, after not keeping anything down all day!  It did seem strange to eat roast chicken, asparagus and roast potatoes in Italy, but I was ravenous. 

After unpacking and settling in a little, we met Paul's extended family in the bar by the pool, and chatted for quite a while.  After the autumnal, rainy weather we left, it was glorious to sit out in the evening in balmy conditions by the pool!  The Flora was not luxurious by any stretch of the imagination, but the food was okay most nights, being half board, and the main benefit was a terrific sized swimming pool, in which I enjoyed swimming laps when I could. 

This was the view from the dining room balcony - the lovely blue pool, with the Bay of Naples above.  My parents-in-law were lucky to have an even better view than this - their room balcony was directly above.  They enjoyed sitting out most evenings with a glass of wine. 

Being a package holiday, I decided to go to the welcome meeting the next morning, which was followed by a walking tour of Sorrento.  An internal debate ensued - do you want to be one of the sheep, and follow the crowd, or go off and do your own thing?  Better to do something than not, so Paul and I, with a group of about 30 others, set off for Sorrento towards the late morning.  It was, in fact, very useful to find out where the train station and other amenities were.  Sorrento all runs off one main narrow street, Corso Italia, which is always noisy and busy with the hustle and bustle of coaches, scooters and cars all competing with each other to get to their destinations first. A horse and cart also comes into the equation!

Apart from the benefits of finding out where things were located, the tour was very much a marketing tool, and we were taken in and out of various shops to experience the local craft work and specialities of the area.  The liminchello and limon creme would both be delicious in the right context, but liminchello (the lemon liquer) is very strong and too much at before midday!  Sorrento is famous for its wooden inlaid work (which I didn't actually see) and jewellery made from coral, which is both watermelon red and a bright turquoise in colour.  I found the jewellery very gaudy and it didn't appeal at all.  Neither did the cameos, though the workmanship, all being tooled from shell, is very delicate, precise and fascinating. 

I loved how the main street grew fruit trees along its length - this was so typical of the area.  Every spare bit of space was devoted to the growing of lemon trees and other fruit, and the tomatoes were divine! The soil of the area is very rich in minerals, being a volcanic area, and the local produce really benefits.  I imagine this scene, portrayed with tiles, to really typify the historical context of the region.


  1. This is great Alsion we are thinking of going there in October. Looks lovely.

  2. You're voicing my own thoughts at the moment! The limincello is too strong at ANY time of the day, imho! I don't like the coral jewellery either but maybe you'll tell us in a couple of posts that you saw the coral growing round Capri? As for the tomatoes! The first meal I had in Naples was spaghetti with Vesuvius tomatoes - such a simple dish and just so incredibly delish. There is definitely something in that volcanic soil.

  3. That pool looks fab! Sorry you were so poorly to start with - I look forward to reading about the rest of your holiday.

    (To answer your question about the cross stitch - I am doing a large throw (called an afghan) to go on our bed - it will have 18 butterflies on it - I have patterns for 12 so will repeat my fave 6. It is a labour of love as it takes many hours just to do one. Thankyou for your lovely comments, K xxx)

  4. Glad you had a nice time :)

  5. poor you being crook at the start, glad you got over it quickly and had a good week though love, can't wait to see more photos that you are bound to have taken appear on lo's