A two-and-a-half hour commuter train from Rome to Naples. Easy, right? Kinda. Then a metro-style train ride from Naples to Sorrento. Even easier, right? NO. NO NO NO. While waiting for the Circumvesuviana train, a gypsy woman approached us begging for money, but what I didn’t immediately notice was that her boob was out and a baby was sucking on it. Yeah, she’s definitely got the shock factor down. Then on the train a gypsy woman opened Margo’s zipped tote bag and attempted to rob her. Luckily to no avail. And soon after we witnessed a fight between gypsies. And also saw the ugliest person either of us has ever seen in our lives (not trying to be mean, it’s just a sad fact…she had a beard). We ultimately stood for an hour, in wall-to-wall people (including a massive group of Asian tourists), to get to Sorrento. Oh, and then we got there and quickly realized we weren’t where we need to be, and had to take a 20-euro cab to the hostel. So what did we do? Slept the rest of the day. Obvi. Fail numero dos of the trip. Our hostel (which was super modern but luckily our two-person room was great with a wonderful view of the coast) was a 35 minute walk from the main town square in Sorrento, but we trekked over there for a nice pizza dinner.
Sunday morning, we woke up at a decent hour and headed to Pompeii. Beautiful weather once again while exploring the incredible remains of the ancient city, all beautifully preserved in ash after the explosion of Mount Vesuvius. I was really fascinated by Pompeii as a kid, so this was pretty darn cool. We expored the ruins for two hours, and as afternoon hit and we got more and more confused (shoulda bought the audio guides), we decided to head back to town and hit the beach. We got about an hour of sun in before clouds filled the sky, but it’s really something to be sunbathing on the Italian coast. I just loved the beauty of the cliffs hanging over the Mediterranean. Swoon.
We decided to head to the town square for gelato before cleaning up at the hotel and researching dinner options. After drinks at the hostel (a 10% discount for staying there, how could we not?) we headed to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant we had heard about online. Oh. My. God. The owner was an old (yet still dashing) blue-eyed Italian man who (according to a website) knew English but refused to speak anything but Italian. The six-table restaurant was full, so he showed us on his watch when we should come back. 11 pm. Oh man, I’m so glad we waited. Not only was the young waiter tall, dark, and handsome, but the food was delicious.
Monday we set off for Positano, known as the most beautiful town on the Amalfi Coast. What we didn’t know ahead of time is that a landslide had closed the coastal road from Sorrento to Positano. What we also didn’t know is that Italian buses are notoriously off-schedule. So that’s how we ended up standing for two hours on a bus that traversed the mountains and cliffsides and that ended up in Amalfi, not Positano. Another thing we didn’t know was that you need to take a bus from Amalfi to Positano, and that day very few were running. So we waited, determined to make it to the fabled Positano. It ultimately took us FIVE hours to get from Sorrento to Positano. It should have taken an hour and half. That’s Italy for you.
Luckily, Positano didn’t disappoint. It is gorgeous. Really. A town built right onto the steep cliffs hanging precariously over the turquoise water of the Med. And in 80 degree weather, it’s even better. We were in heaven. We paid for beach chairs, and with tanning oil (and sunscreen) in hand, we basked the day away in the sun, taking occasional dips in the sea to cool off. Totally worth the trek.
We ended up waiting for a bus to get back to Amalfi, where we luckily made onto the last bus heading back to Sorrento, thank God. It was very surreal, just us and two Italian girls, an Italian couple, and the bus driver. We arrived back to Sorrento at midnight, starved, so we stopped for a late dinner at a pizza/pasta joint. Nothing to write home about, but it hit the spot.
We were terrified for the next day, having met an older Australian woman—“Diane”—in Amalfi who told us we might have a hard time getting back to Rome in time for our 2 pm flight since May 1 was a national holiday. Which is why we woke up at 4:30 am to pack and catch the first train over to Naples. Yes, misery is what that’s called. We were quite the sight. Luckily Diane was dead wrong, and all was business as usual. We quickly bought train tickets to Rome and arrived at the airport four hours before takeoff.
Despite our myriad hellish transportation experiences, we made it back to Madrid after having an overall wonderful trip. Such incredible food all around (pasta, pizza, gelato, cappuccinos), amazing sights, and ample beach time. Now I can’t wait to take middle-aged style vacations when I’m actually middle-aged.