Sunday, July 12, 2009

Back from Sorrento and a quick drive on the Amalfi coast

We spent a quick two nights in Sorrento with Pio's son, daughter-in-law and grandson. They went to Pompeii one day, we mostly hung out by the pool (which at the Hilton Sorrento Palace was easy to do, with six of them, connected by small waterfalls!) We always ate well, but our last evening was memorable.

Pio saw a little tin sign on a stone wall near our hotel. He decided then and there that we weren't going to eat at a "recommended restaurant" again as we had our first evening, (I check Slowtalk, of course!) but instead at this little "hole-in-the-wall" place that was near our hotel.

Well, we followed a very narrow road up and up, turning here, then there, always following the signs. We envisioned a cheap, home-cooked authentic meal awaited us around every bend. Then we thought maybe the lady closed up shop, went out of business. Where was this restaurant? We continued on after a local lady assured us it was up ahead and the food was good.

Finally--we arrived, only to find that DONNA SOFIA's wasn't a cheap, home-cooking place, but rather a rather well-known place with high prices, fancy dishes and tiny portions. We persevered. The food was quite good. The prices too high (8 Euros for a tiny, tiny plate of penne with tomato sauce for fact, he easily ate two of them for 16Euros. )
If you're a foodie and have a special ocassion to celebrate while in Sorrento (or money is no object) than the restaurant, dedicated to Sofia Loren, is worth it. The owner will also pick you up and/or drop you off back at your hotel for free, because in the dark it would be hard to find your way.

The next morning we decided to take the long way home, driving along the Amalfi coast. The road was crowded with cars and buses, but I noticed they now have people with 2-way radios communicating ahead if a bus is coming--cars are stopped so that buses can negotiate the hairpin curves with a little more ease. That was a definite improvement! I'd love to stay in Positano or one of the other small towns clinging to the cliffs, but I'm not sure how relaxing it would be with all that traffic! Would I ever leave the hotel? How would I get there and leave?

In fact, the 2-way radio system isn't perfect and we had to stop on one downhill, hairpin curve so that a bus could negotiate it from the opposite direction (I won't mention all the cars that were parked on both sides, willy nilly). Suddenly a man on a racing bike slammed into the back of our car! OK, maybe slammed is too stong a word, but he hit us. We, of course, were concerned about how he was, but he picked himself up and said he was fine. Luckily his friends were ahead, just around the bend, already putting their bikes on the car to head home and were heading back to help him. No doubt he had some aches, pains and bruises that night.