After 48 hours of travelling including sleepovers in Singapore and Frankfurt we arrived in Naples fresh and semi timeclock adjusted ready for the start of our 60 in Sorrento adventure meeting up with schoolfriends of Ann’s to celebrate the wonders of turning 60.
We made a good decision to get a driver to pick us up at the airport and so the journey to Sorrento was hassle free and easy. Checking into the Hotel Bellevue Syrene we were treated like royalty and shown around the facilities and our large room although very pink was stunning with an even more stunning view looking back to Vesuvius and Naples. We enjoyed the afternoon happy hour which started at 1pm and included a vast array of tasty treats and drinks ,which doubled as lunch for us.
After a wander around town we had a lovely dinner out with some of the 60 in Sorrento crew, Jenny, Trish & Don in town and planned to catch up with Jenny the next day for a trip to Herculaneum. We had visited Pompeii when we were last in Sorrento 18 years ago so seeing Herculaneum was a big priority for us this time around.
The classic old train from Sorrento to Naples had not changed in the 18 years since we had been here and it was rough and tough but we luckily got a seat in 20 mins we were arriving at Herculaneum and wandering down the street a short stroll to the ticket office. The entry is located above the excavated town and as you walk along the path you get the full overview of what lies in store.
There is a great deal more original structure in Herculaneum than Pompeii but on a much smaller scale so you cannot really compare them, both are great, and having been to Pompeii before we were excited to get to see Herculaneum. Seeing both gave us a true sense of life 2,000 years ago. The Bath houses, schools, villas, shops, fast food outlets and brothels all had some amazing intact features and the frescos and mosaics were astounding.
The forum and peristyle areas were in amazing condition and then entering the excavated caves showing how they are exposing more of the town but going under the existing town was very exciting. The port side where the warehouses are located was unnerving with the actual skeletons in tact of slaves who did not get away in time, burned to death as they clung to each other in desperation waiting for the boats that could not get to them.
We stopped for a very basic Pizza in town and then got the rattler back to Sorrento and had a well deserved rest before meeting much of the crew down at the Marina Grande for dinner at Taverna Azzura. This was an easy walk from the Hotel and gave us a chance to take in areas of Sorrento that we had not seen yet. We enjoyed some nice nightcaps at the Bellevue Syrene with Jenny, Don & Trisha.
We spent the next day just wandering around Sorrento and checking out some of the gardens and grottos, museums, churches and shops, before all meeting again at the Soul & Fish restaurant In Marina Grande again but this time with Robyn & Ian too, who had just arrived that day.
We enjoyed our happy hour drinks and canapes out on the terrace of the Hotel, before a fabulous seafood feast with 11 of the crew. The stroll to the restaurant and back was the perfect way to take in the beautiful weather and the sites along the shoreline.
Our last day in Sorrento was spent on the bus Touristica exploring the Sorrento peninsula and enjoying the fabulous views to the Isle of Capri and down the Amalfi coast from Termini on the top of the hill.
Our last night was spent with the whole crew of 11 ladies and 5 gents at the massive restaurant, O Parruchiano , which I believe can feed 900 people in its garden setting and tiered buildings. We have never seen anything like it and surprisingly it was tastefully done and our long table for 16 was in the lovely courtyard. We finished off the night with a big Lemon booby desert ( Delizie al limone )with candles to celebrate all the 60th birthdays . The realization that we were all in Italy celebrating friendship was fantastic, and for some of the girls it was from when they were 5 years old, and the efforts that were made by many to travel to Sorrento was amazing and a fun night was had by all.
Breakfast on the Terrace at the hotel was a perfect way to start the day. The atmosphere, architecture , scenery and food was perfect.