DAY 7 - WEDNESDAY 20TH AUGUST
Up at 6.45am, a better night although Georgia is a blanket hogger and I spent most of the night trying to re-gain control of the blankets.
Sunshine streams in when I pull back the curtains and I am upset that I have missed the sunrise and port arrival. This glorious morning we are docked in Naples and our plans today are pretty flexible. We knew we are going to catch a hydrofoil and hopefully see Sorrento but I am pretty keen to also explore Positano if we can. Alarm goes off at 7.15am as we gave the girls a lie in as we thought the hydrofoil we wanted to take to Sorrento didnt leave till 9.00am, however we then discovered that another hydrofoil line, Metro Mare, left at 8.25am and this is the cheaper option. Still, the girls are happy to have had an extra half hour in bed and we go to breakfast. India and I go to The Cova Café for fresh pastries. I have a croissant and apple tart and grab a yoghurt and Earl Grey tea, whilst India chooses a sugar twist, pain au chocolat and brioche. Back to the Waterfall café, to meet up with Kev and Georgia, who had fresh cooked omelettes. We disembark at 8.05am and go to the Hydrofoil pier, which is next to the pier we are docked at. We do some investigations of the timetables and decide that as the Sorrento hydrofoil terminates at Positano we could do that and fulfill my wish to visit this beautiful hillside town. So 14 each and we jump on the hydrofoil with 3 minutes to spare. For information the alternative would have been 6.50 to Sorrento or the other hydrofoil charged 11.50 to Sorrento. The hydrofoil is rather like a large plane inside with seats of 3,3,3,3, great air conditioning and a safety film. We spent some of the journey on the back of the hydrofoil, which was great fun with the spray and the sea breeze blowing at us as we speed along the beautiful coast of Italy. After two stops, one of which was Sorrento, the hillside village of Positano comes into view.
Bougainvillea draped houses, little streets and steps to a beach full of sun chairs and umbrellas with tiny boats bobbing in the harbour. It really is a picture postcard place. We get off and after a quick visit to the Tourist Information Office where we pick up a map and bus timetable we wander up the narrow streets covered with vines and beautiful flowers as a canopy. There are lots of people selling crafts, jewellery, art lining the street and masses of tourists - meaning it really is quite a scrum.
From the top of the road we take some pictures looking back down towards the beach, then meander back down stopping to buy some pasta and soap on the way. We find a seafront bar and enjoy a cold beer and peanuts with Georgia whilst India does a spot of shopping. We then take a slow walk back up to the main road and find the bus stop, which has wonderful views down over Positano.
The bus arrives promptly at noon and we clamber on board, choosing to sit on the left hand side so we will get a great view of the wonderful coast all the way to Sorrento. This photo taken through the bus window really doesn't do justice to the wonderful scenery
We remember to validate the ticket when we get on and the ticket is valid for 90 minutes of travel. The bus is air conditioned and at a cost of only 3 represents great value for money. I would highly recommend this drive to anyone and indeed I would love to visit this part of Italy again and visit further east, to the villages of Amalfi and Ravello. The road out of Positano is so narrow with traffic, pedestrians, bikes trying to pass the bus; I am amazed at the skills of the bus drivers negotiating through such tiny spaces. The scenery is spectacular wonderful cliffs down to the sea, boats bobbing on the sea and hillside villages. We then get to the point on the peninsular where you can see both sides of it. Olive and nut trees are abundant with nets spread out ready for the harvesting. After about half an hour we see Sorrento spread out below us.
It really is the most spectacular drive as slowly we start the descent down the hills, with Mount Vesuvius sitting proudly in the background. We arrive at about 1pm and are starving so we find a local café, which also does take-outs. We order mozzarella and Parma ham panninis, mozzarella and ham rolls and water for 12 and find the quiet, shady square Piazza dSan Antonio.
We sit on the benches and watch the world go by whilst enjoying lunch. Afterwards we wander along the front to look down at the sunbathing decks full of people enjoying the sunshine and swimming in the sea.
There are some lovely piazzas all the way along the front and we enjoy a quiet walk with surprisingly few people before heading back towards the centre and through the quaint, narrow streets, which are full of shops, bars and restaurants. It is very atmospheric and not as busy as most of the places we have been so far.
We buy some Limoncello sweets for work before heading to the train station. India practices her Italian and asks for four singles to Napoli, the cost of which is 3.30 each. We leave at 3.26pm and after an uneventful journey arrive about an hour later at Napoli Garibaldi some 26 stops later!!! Head off towards the port and are not very impressed by what we see of Naples. In fairness we had never intended to see the best bits of Naples but the bit we did see was quite dirty and had quite a lot of rubbish still even though the recent refuse strike was clearly over as there werent the piles of black bags everywhere that had been on the news over previous months. We really dont see much to enthral us although there are plenty of clothes shops and India declares that her favourite Italian word is Salida (Sale).
Well no-one can accuse us of not utilising the transport services in Italy, we have managed to use the hydrofoil, bus and train today - all for a very reasonable cost and all very punctual which was really appreciated in the summer heat.
Back to the ship and the wonderful cold towels, iced water or fruit punch. Once onboard straight to the Waterfall cafe where we all grab an ice cream todays flavours include, strawberry, coffee, coconut sherbet and mint. Kev has a John Daniels afterwards, whilst India and I have an Earl Grey to take back to the cabin, Georgia is happy with just ice cream. Sit on the balcony and try to book a reservation at the Waterfall bistro unfortunately there is nothing available later than 7pm so we decide to skip a proper meal tonight and just order room service. We jump in the shower to freshen up and before too long John arrives with our choices; minute steak with fries, quessadilas, pizza, fruit plate and a cheese plate. Open a bottle of red wine and enjoy our food and drink on the balcony. We are still feeling peckish so Kev and India head off to see what there is in the Waterfall café. He returns with sushi for three and ravioli for Georgia which she really enjoyed plus a selection of desserts. The ship then sails away and we say arrivederci to Italy. The Italians at the port wave and we wave back, they then blow kisses so obviously we reciprocate. It is a wonderful feeling to sail away the sun setting behind Naples, Voyager of the Seas in front of us and the Norwegian Gem behind. We all agree Italy you are bellisimo we have had a fantastic time here and we still have Venice to look forward to at the end of the cruise. It has been another wonderful day of discovery and the more I do this cruising lark the more I love it. We are looking forward to a ship day tomorrow so plan on staying up late tonight to make the most of a lie in tomorrow. The girls play cards whilst we sip wine and enjoy seeing the land slipping away on the horizon. At 8.30pm Kev and I head to the Waterfall bar just as we are going past Capri. The lights are twinkling on the island of Capri and on the hillside villages on the peninsula and the temperature out on deck is absolutely perfect. We order a bottle of chilled Chardonnay and take in the views, whilst listening to the guitarist singing Thats Amore and Volarez there are even people dancing on the deck tonight. The girls went to play chess ages ago and we said wed meet them but the wine and the music are very compelling.
We do eventually meet up with them and go to see what is happening in Revelations. It is country music with line dancing so we dont hang around for long instead we go to deck 4 where the girls play American monopoly while we get $20 for the casino from which we get $5 worth of quarters. Unfortunately this is soon lost in the slots and we dont fancy mastering anything else so back to the girls and then back to Revelations for cocktails I have something, which is far too ginny for me, Kev has a John Daniels. The waitress tries to make my cocktail more appetising by adding lemonade but this then makes it far too sweet - still needs must and I drink it down. We see Steve, Terri, Marilyn and John and compare notes on what we have been doing in the ports. John tells us a story about a couple who got on a train at Villefranche without realising it was an express train and they ended up in Italy instead of Monaco, they then got on a return train but that didnt stop in Villefranche so they didnt end up back at Villefranche until 2.30pm and had been no-where.!! Georgia and I valiantly try to stay awake but the combination of line dancing and non-inspiring music proves too much for us and we head back to the cabin at midnight where I promptly fall asleep. About 1.10am Kev and India return and head out onto the balcony where India shouts, look a volcano erupting. We all dash onto the balcony to see Stromboli in the distance she says they saw it from the deck but didnt know what it was. However in the Daily it did say that we would be passing Stromboli at about this time so I knew that was what it was. Sure enough we could see a tiny glow of red where lava was flowing how amazing. Another first for us all - an erupting volcano viewed from a cruise ship - amazing
Click on the film strip to see some video of our time in Positano and Sorrento
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