Day 11: From the Hills... to the Ocean


Today I spent about 5 hours travelling. Maybe more.

My friend Enzo picked me up at 10 am and I checked into the hotel in Sorrento at 4pm. It was a long day of travelling.... on a range of trains for sure. But I'll get to that.

Last night after much talk and deliberation, I decided to shorten my trip a bit. So this morning I woke up with a renewed spirit to tackle the last week - which meant cutting out Assisi and Orvieto. That's fine. I'l do those when I come back with someone and we can get a car because taking the train to all these small hill town is exhausting ... and it turns out they are like 30-45 minutes from each other... but it takes like an hour plus by train not including cabs.

Given that I was giving up a few days, I headed straight for the ocean in Sorrento. Something about it just felt like the right place to decompress and soak in the last week of Italy.

I was completely right. From the minute I got off the train and into the hotel, I knew I could spend several days just sitting in one spot. Tuscany was beautiful and for some people maybe that would be where they could sit - but for me, it's the ocean... and the ocean is in Sorrento.

I actually sat down to right this blog post at about 7pm and now its 10 pm... and the reason it's taken this long is because I've been busy. I've been drinking champagne, eating prosciutto, and talking to Germans.

Bye Cortona
I had about 2 hours in Cortona between breakfast and when Enzo was taking me to the train station. I made great use of it by sitting in the terrace garden and drinking espresso and eating croisants. Seriously, I ate three. I figure it would all even out when I sat on the train for several hours. The Hotel Villa Marsilli puts out an insane spread for breakfast and I can only imagine my dad and brother going bananas there.

So, instead of strolling the town one more time I took pictures of all the amazing flowers in their gardens and basking in the view. It made sense to me.


And I'm sorry, but this view will just never get old... and just imagine the moon rising in the trelace covered in vine. Go ahead. Imagine it.

Hello trains
Cute little Joanna told me someone would be at the train station to sell me a ticket - and they weren't. I only cared because about 3 days ago my Amex card stopped working in the train station ticket machines (but works everywhere else). Thankfully I had downloaded a picture of an ATM pinpad so I could use my Debit card to make the ticket purchase.

Cue the following train tickets:
(1) Cortona to Rome (approx 2 hrs, 10 minutes)
(2) Rome to Naples (approx 1 hr, 10 minutes)
(3) Naples to Sorrento (approx 1 hr, 5 minutes)

It's amazing how the view changes from Tuscany to Sorrento. It's rolling hills to Rome then all of a sudden its the Ocean and it's amazing. To be clear, the Circumvesuviana is not the most amazing train I've ever been on. I am pretty sure my Mom would have called a town car on the spot... and I'd be lying if I wasn't googling them for the return trip. But after about 2/3rds of the trip, it becomes more "manageable" and less graffiti and "challenging neighborhoods".

This is what I look like and how excited I am after 0 hours of this trip:
Also if any of you were concerned about me falling in love while I was here. Let me introduce you to the first person (besides my tour guide Fred) who adorably flirted with me and told me I was cute. He had a friend in green farming boots and I was smitten from the start. 

 After getting off in Sorrento, I thought about walking to the Hilton and then found a nice cab driver who quoted me about 10 Euros less than the dummies right outside the station. Lesson learned, walk a block (if it's safe).


Giving in.
Like I mentioned yesterday (or maybe the day before), I've been booking things the day of for hotels. Up until I was in the cab I hadn't booked my hotel to be honest. The entire ride down I was planning on staying at some place in town that seemed fine and safe, but after the multi hour train adventure, I was just done with it all. I wanted comfort and predictability so I booked the Hilton I knew was a smidge on a hill.

It was a million times over worth it for a bunch of different reasons. One is that I am paying using points and after 10 days in Italy... with a week more to go... I can use the break on my credit card statements. The second is that, I have a room with a balcony and a bed larger than a twin. The third is that, I managed to get access to the Executive Floor through Hilton status.

After spending the afternoon sitting outside reading "Pride and Prejudice", I checked in with the front desk about tours for tomorrow and they alerted me to the change in status. My new friend Guisuipee said "well, this changes everything..." and boy was he right. The Exec lounge has unlimited champagne, prosciutto, an infinity poor, and views to die for. It all feels right.
Funny part? I clearly have spent my fair share of time in a Hilton right? Well, the doors at this Hilton are INSANE. Tomorrow, I'll take a picture so it's on record. But like you have to put the card in a slot outside the door, then push it REAL QUICK to open the door, then you need to put the card in the "energy slot" within a reasonable period of SECONDS or the alarm goes off. It's nuts. The first time, I had to have the doorman come and do it for me. He tried to make me feel better about it by saying he'd have maintenance check on it. Not likely.

Tomorrow? I had asked the hotel about getting on an Amalfi Coast tour ... but surprise surprise they are short on numbers and the guy goes "if only you had a friend". It's like Cortona all over again :) But, given the recommendations of a few other hotel guests and friends, I'm going to head over to Capri for a bit.

Worse case scenario? I spend the entire day on the deck looking at this insane view.

Ciao.

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