After we returned to the harbour on Capri it was time to get the coach back to the other side of the island and take the return journey to Sorrento. We left the Marina Grande and looked back on the island that some claim to be the most beautiful in the world. It was very nice but I certainly wouldn’t rate it above many of the Greek islands that I have visited since.
It was late afternoon and as we sailed to Sorrento the sun made a belated appearance and by the time we returned to the harbour the sky was blue and the sun was shining at last. The coach was there to meet us but we declined the ride back and chose instead to return along the cliff tops until we arrived at what was quickly becoming our favourite café bar and we had our afternoon ice cream and today once again the portion was a little more generous than the day before.
In the evening we had our evening meal and chatted some more to the fellow guests and compared our chosen itineries. There were a lot of people from London and the south at the hotel who would insist on calling Pompeii, Pompey and this amused dad who kept reminding them that that was Portsmouth and the ruins were a two thousand year old Roman antiquity, which were two very different places indeed. There were also a lot of ex-soldiers who were visiting Sorrento so that they could make a pilgrimage to the Second-World-War battlefield of Monte Casino, which was one trip that we hadn’t signed up for and we began to regret that now.
We had settled into a nice routine by now, one day out on a trip, the next spent in and around Sorrento and on the next day we had a second day in the town. We were nicely relaxed and getting much more adventurous and we started to explore the back streets and secluded courtyards of the town. I wanted to find the photo opportunities to get the pictures that were in the guidebooks but as usual this proved illusive. I think in 1976 I actually believed that the brochure photographs were actually genuine but I know better now.
We went into little shops where because the currency was so devalued they would give change in a handful of sweets or a post card or two, which was unusual; dad struggled to understand the difference between sparkling and still bottled water and thought that shaking the bottles would provide the solution. The horrified shopkeeper stopped him and tried to explain the difference by repeating over and over the word ‘gassoso’ until we finally understood. As dad had vigorously shaken all of the sparkling water bottles we made our purchase and left as soon as we could before one of them exploded behind us.
And then we did the same things all over again, went back for lunch, went to the pool and watched Maria sunbathing, went for ice cream and had our evening meal. As usual we finished the day at the bar opposite and while I drank some beer and dad had a coffee we watched the sun drop over the horizon and the sleeping giant Vesuvius finally slipped from view. We were enjoying ourselves here.