At Hotel Lirico, we had a breakfast with nice rolls and butter and soft cheese, packets of salami, and cappucino. We watched a little family of 4 who we guessed were Spanish & German.
We checked out. At the hotel desk, we asked the clerk how much a cab to Termini (Rome’s main train station) would cost – 5 or 6 €. Damn – we truly got ripped off yesterday by the taxi driver. No cabs were available (huh?) though so we had to walk with our heavy annoying bags over to the train station.
At Termini the line for validating our EuroPass was super long and there were only 2 windows open. As a result, we missed our 10:45 am train to Napoli (arriving 12:30) even though we got to the station at around 10:15. We commiserated with two American women behind us also waiting to validate, but never exchanged names. When we got to the ticket window, we booked the next train to Napoli @ 11:27 and begrudgingly payed 6 € for a reservation which seemed unfair given that we already paid for a reservation on a train that we missed because of long lines. Almost all of the trains on the departure board were late except of course for the one we just missed. Our 11:27 was now pushed out to 12:27, giving us plenty of time to kill, spent by people watching, napping briefly with my head on my suitcase, and eating at Chef Express – sort of an Italian Fresh Choice. We had Insalata Caprese and strawberries. EVOO and balsamic vinegar were available as condiments and we noted that the balsamic vinegar was the same brand that we buy in the U.S. at our local Safeway.
Our train did not end up leaving until about 1 pm, an hour and a half after the scheduled departure. Throughout our 2 trips to Italy, many trains have left late or not at all (a fact that we’ve learned to compensate for by booking earlier trains). On the train we shared a reservation compartment with an old Italian couple and the trip took longer than it was supposed to – 3 hours. I read quite a bit of Arab & Jew.
Napoli really looks like Crapoli.
The aggressively nice old man
In the train station an old man was “aggressively nice” about helping us catch our train to Sorrento. Missing many a tooth, he spoke English well, albeit with a heavy accent, and told us that the last train to Sorrento for several hours is leaving in 10 minutes, at 4:45. This sounded dubious and we have no idea even now if this was true, but since missing this train would have thrown a huge wrench in our plans, we decided to hustle and trust this guy who probably was going to expect a few euros for his “services”. We didn’t ask for it but he quickly led us through the station to a newstand. We bought 2 tickets and hauled ass towards the train. The old man actually took Nicole’s bags, which made me a bit nervous. I realized that he definitely wanted money – this is clearly how he makes his living. At the turnstile he asked for 20 euros which seemed like a lot but since he was an old man and carried Nicole’s bags and we were in a rush, I just gave it to him. Nicole went through the turnstile and waited for me, but I couldn’t find my ticket. She shouted that I had it but I turned all my pockets inside out and couldn’t find it. So with 3 minutes until the train leaves, Panic. I took my bags and hauled ass back towards the newsstand to buy another ticket for 3,40 euro and then hauled ass back to the turnstile and on to the platform, where luckily, the train was a few minutes late so we made it.
The Circumvesuviana train was crowded and we had to stand. We passed many stops including “Pompeii Scavi” and along the way the buildings looked like crap and we remarked how Andy was right that “the Amalfi Coast is the arm pit of Italy”.
Sorrento is nicer though and with the help of directions from two shopkeepers we found the Hotel Antiche Mura, just up from the Piazza Tasso. The concierge was a nice English speaking Italian woman who told us that the pool is still open and suggested that we go there, probably because we looked so sweaty and exhausted. Room 104 was quite nice and had this weird hydromassage thing in the shower. We went out and walked around Sorrento and had gelato an hour before we went to dinner at L’Antica Trattoria, a somewhat froofy and expensive restaurant. It was good but not great.
Back at the hotel we passed out in our clothes and at 3:30 am Nicole made me change my clothes and go to bed for real.