Sometimes it’s the little things which make the biggest impression. On arrival in Naples it was fascinating to hear some of the student’s observations about life in Italy; driving on the right, the different sound of hooters and sirens, the swarm of scooters buzzing around and the riders’ apparent suicidal disregard for other traffic. Then there are the tall thin Coca Cola cans and the gun-carrying police, not to mention the traffic wardens!
Given that many in our group have never been to Italy and at least one has never left the UK, it’s clear that this is going to be an unforgettable experience!
After a 6am flight from Gatwick, we arrived slightly ahead of schedule. As if on cue, we were greeted by a torrential downpour causing a few anxious looks as we looked around to see who, if anyone, had bothered to pack waterproofs. We needn’t have worried. Almost as soon as it had started, the rain stopped, the sun came out and normal service was resumed!
Heading out of Naples on the coach, we passed through the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, looking dark and foreboding with the peak hidden in cloud. I can’t wait for our visit there tomorrow and having now seen it, I’m definitely glad I bought my walking boots!
We got off just outside the old town walls and our Italian-speaking courier, Tracey, soon negotiated a deal with a nearby restaurant who made everyone pizza or pasta with a cold drink for 6 Euros each. Given that most of us had missed breakfast, it really hit the spot and our energy was restored for a gentle walk through the centre of Sorrento and down to the picturesque little harbour. The cobbled steps were quite steep and after a quick break to buy some water we weren’t looking forward to walking back up. However, the promise of ice cream soon got everyone moving again and Tracey led us to a great little Gelateria. Choosing which flavour from around 60 options was tricky but I eventually settled on pistachio and panna cotta which didn’t disappoint!
After our ice cream, we got back on the bus to go to the hotel, the Villa Igea, for little nap and a relaxing shower before dinner.
Day 1 has been a tiring but tantilising introduction to this little corner of Italy and I can’t wait to see what the week has in store!