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Naples 1: arrival

January 3, 2011

I’m currently taking a midwinter break in Naples with daughter before she goes back to University. Six nights in a hotel by the main railway station which is four star in name but not in ambiance and a chance to play tourist for a week. My son drove us to Gatwick on Sunday night after Eleanor had been “decanted” from various new year revels for a Yotel night before an 0730 flight in the morning. Huw was meant to be on this trip as well but the demands of chemistry degrees and new girl friend mean he is staying in the UK, given text messages he may spend the whole week in the car part at Gatwick mind you trying to find the car. We landed after eleven, found our hire car and set off for Sorrento. The idea was to show Eleanor the coast, find somewhere cheap to have lunch and then book in at the hotel before starting a more strenuous tourist trail on the morrow. Unlike my last trip here I now have a sat nav but it created its own problems wanting to to take me down small back street short cuts rather than follow the motorway but it worked.

Even in Winter parking in Sorrento is not easy if you are used to car parks and space, and we ended up driving on out and up the hill until we spotted what appeared to be an open restaurant, but a little late to stop. It took ten minutes to find somewhere to turn around (I am not yet in Italian driver mode) and coming back the road was deserted to I decided to reverse into the parking slot on my left. A black Mercedes coming round the corner saw me doing that and I swear the driver increased speed to increase the sound of the emergency stop she then had to execute. Italians swear better than most nations, its lyrical in quality. Either way the Restaurant Antico Francischiello was open, it was delightful, we highly recommend it, but it was not cheap! The picture is the view from the table looking out of the windows to Capri, scene of Tiberius’s debauchery and the training of Caligula in perversion; trip by ferry planned for later in the week. Eleanor ordered a muti-fish soup and got a huge platter of multiple fish with a wonderful sauce of which she only managed to eat 40%. Lets just say the English translation in the menu needs some work, or probably one of us should put the effort into learning Italian given how much we love the place.

After that it was back on the Sorrento coast road (with no where to pull off to take pictures) to hit Naples at rush hour and get to the hotel in time for a drink and early to bed. We will have to drive out there again as daughter slept throughout both journeys so my plan to show her the views fell on stony ground. Tomorrow Pompeii.

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