When we left Umbria, it was raining heavily, and rain stayed with us until we were virtually in Sorrento. The worst time was a cloud burst on the motorways around Naples, which was quite stressful driving as we watched in amazement, the Italians zooming past us, as though only they had perfect x-ray visability of the road ahead! After clearing the Naples area, the SatNav (GPS) took us on some very twisty narrow roads, all in this heavy downpour. However, as we descended into Sorrento the rain stopped for us, which was a good sign.
We spent three days in a very nice family run hotel, high up in the hills, with stunning views of the Gulf of Naples. The owner of the hotel recommended that we explore the extreme West of the peninsular, following the coastal paths towards the headlands of Punta Penna and Punta della Campella (two kilometres from Capri). Twisty roads took us through the beautiful villages until we got to Nerano which is the closest Italian mainland village to Capri. We put on our hiking boots, packed the rucksack with water and set out to explore a narrow coastal path over the cliffs to the most Westerly point on the peninsular. It was hot and sunny but the slight breeze on the cliffs made it comfortable. With the most stunning views, including that of Capri, we completed the enjoyable circular hike in about three hours. We stopped in the next village of Termini for lunch and ate the best fish we have had since being away, the restaurant was perched on the cliff overlooking the Med, with wonderful views in every direction. Later in the day, we explored Sorrento, which is still a busy holiday destination after supporting tourists for many decades. We were surprised by the large number of Americans in the area – most were on tours, often from cruise ships, but we met a number of very pleasant Americans staying in our hotel who were independent travellers.
The highlight of the second full day was a trip to Capri. We took the local bus to Sorrento town centre with the hand-waving locals, walked down to the harbour and got the ferry to Capri. Arriving in Capri, we decided to start at the top and firstly went to Annacapri which is a quaint area, with lots of lovely shops and restaurants and finally took a chair-lift to the summit of the island. The views were spectacular in all directions, and we soon identified the Italian mainland where we had been hiking the previous day. After an hour at the summit, we descended to Capri town which is beautiful but extremely touristy. The bars and restaurants in the town square are nothing less than a total rip-off, i.e. 10 Euros for a glass of white wine! We escaped on a narrow path West out of the town and were rewarded with some lovely bars and restaurants, more competitively priced, with stunning views of the sea and the rugged vegetation. For us the afternoon, exploring this narrow path, with pleasant architecture and amazing views was the highlight of the day – we were also away from the crowds. Eventually, we back-tracked to Capri town, and descended on foot the twisty path to the harbour. Waiting for our ferry, we sampled some delightful homemade ice-cream. In the evening, we went back into Sorrento town for our last night here, and enjoyed a very nice restaurant sitting outside, and watching the people pass us by. We are now sad to leave, but know that the stunning beauty is about to continue in Amalfi!
This morning we head for the Amalfi Coast, the South side of the peninsular…