On Monday we took the boat over to the Isle of Capri. The sun was blazing down and we were all excited to venture away from Sorrento and discover somewhere new. We had quite an interesting day, to say the least.
Upon arriving at the port, I soon noticed the difference between Sorrento and Capri. Here, the marina was heaving with tourists arriving for day-trips and the atmosphere was very different to that of Sorrento – where I feel that the locals are still very much ‘in touch’ with their roots and adoring of their home town, if you like. Although a beautiful setting, being hassled by restaurant managers to eat at their establishments (sometimes even a menu thrusted into my face to prevent me from walking past…) wasn’t entirely what I was expected and, quite frankly, very off-putting. We managed to wrangle our way through the mass of strangely oppressive Italians eventually and found the stairs to the town centre. Thank goodness!
Little did we know.
20 minutes of non-stop steep stair-climbing. I’m talking worse than the stairs at Covent Garden tube station, for any of you nutters (myself included) who have ever decided that climbing those would be a good idea. Now we understood why the town had a funicular. A mountain tram for such a small town seemed dramatic to me but after climbing those steps for what seemed like an entire lifetime, my jelly legs threatening to subside with each stride, I could comprehend the need for such a mode of transport. As soon as we reached the centre we collapsed at the nearest cafe and ordered ‘fresh lemon’ from the waiter. Four glasses of water, ice and lemon juice were placed in front of us, alongside two sachets of sugar. A single sip of the beverage and our faces were all twisting from the acrid, unpleasant sourness. We ended up emptying those sachets of sugar into the drinks until we could bare the taste. Refreshing, after copious amounts of sugar, yes. But then we got the bill and felt robbed. €8 each. This day was beginning to feel like a disaster.
Deciding to take the funicular back down to the marina after our earlier experience with the steps, we headed to the port for the two-hour boat tour that would take us all around the island. After a half-hour delay and terrible rudeness from the men organising the trip I was at my wits end. Capri didn’t seem fun at all. However, despite being freezing due to the spraying waters and the raging winds, the boat trip divulged the beauty of Capri to me and I took some wonderful photographs. After the trip we went for lunch at one of the quieter, less imposing restaurants which was absolutely delicious, to my relief. My Caprese salad was light and flavourful; the mozzarella and tomatoes fresh, fusing delightfully with the basil-infused olive oil in my mouth.
The trip had us all exhausted once back in Sorrento. Room service for dinner it was.
Tuesday, due to the threateningly dark clouds overhead, was a work day. Psychology and English revision for myself, History for my sister. My parents went into town and brought back goodies for a picnic lunch in the hotel room and we gorged on freshly baked Italian bread with marmite (found in the ‘Foreign foods’ aisle!) and jam (stolen from the hotel’s buffet breakfast), rich strawberries, salad and 85% dark chocolate to finish. A welcome break from the hefty Italian lunches we have been consuming; teeming with mozzarella, creamy gelato, olive oil and plentiful amounts of pizza dough. I’m astonished that we’re not obese as of yet.
In the evening, we decided to have dinner at the hotel restaurant due to the stormy weather outside and had cocktails beforehand.
I ordered a ‘Sex on the Beach’ from our sweet waiter and he told me “I can’t do it at the beach, but I can do the pool instead?” Italians are so cheeky. I love it.
We had a gorgeous meal. Our appetiser was a cheese mousse with vegetables, which looked very pretty and tasted just as good. Mum’s dessert of mini sponge cakes filled and topped with lemon custard was too exquisite not to photograph…
Wednesday morning, after a night of nursing a food-baby slash sugar-rush, we found the weather much tamer. After breakfast, for me greek yoghurt, an array of fresh fruits and apricot jam on toast, we left the hotel for a little excursion around town. Following a brief wander through the Artisan part of town – hand-crafted ceramic and olive-wood goods high and low, we went to see the ancient urban wall of Sorrento; the Parsano Bastion. Since Roman times, Sorrento had a defence system in the form of large, imposing walls. Recently the walls have been in a state of partial preservation – the restoration works allowing us a view of the beautiful coast of Tufa Rock; rich with ferns and other luxurious vegetation.
A quick trip to the market for some food – more bread and chocolate – and I just had to photograph the fruits and vegetables. The artichokes, especially, are so bright and colourful here. Fresh produce like I’ve never seen before.
In the evening we went out to Inn Bufalito – a mozzarella bar and restaurant based in the heart of Sorrento. I decided on house-made fusilli bucati in a rich tomato sauce with smoked mozzarella and eggplant. My first pasta dish of the holiday! The version on the menu included sausage but they kindly left that out for me. It was delicious. The pasta was cooked perfectly, slightly chewy – just how authentic homemade Italian pasta should be. The smoked mozzarella added a lovely barbecue flavour to the sauce and the eggplant was soft and tender. Paired with a glass of white wine, I was extremely satisfied.
My sister’s steak was cooked to perfection, as was my dad’s papardelle with buffalo ragu. Sadly, my mum’s dish arrived at our table long after the others, and many elements were stony cold. A shame, as my meal was potentially the best I’ve had so far whilst staying in Sorrento.