Friday, 2 November 2012

Friday Fill Ins

Friday Fill-Ins

1. I was pleased to see the sunshine when I woke up this morning.
2. My husband says I become a little strange(r) when the moon is full.
3. When we have the chance to be together as a family .....
4. .... during the week it is the best!
5. Underneath it all I am still singing!!
6. Oh! And thanks for the opportunity to spend a lovely day together.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to coming home after Skyfall and a Pizza and reading my book, tomorrow my plans include preparing for work on Monday and Tuesday and having a long walk and Sunday, I want to go to Church, do some work for college and then we go to Prezzo for the end of half term.

Reading Persuasion by Jane Austen

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Torna A Surriento

I am currently writing up my holiday memories for my scrapbook on the holiday so here is the first (long) installment of many to follow.

Return to Sorrento which is exactly what I did this summer, this time with Mike and Jamie too!  Return well I visited Sorrento about 30 years ago, so this was a welcome but long overdue return.  Oh and what a return, we had a truly wonderful, memorable and wholly inspiring holiday – it was utterly joyous for all of us.  I will hopefully, at some point, add some pictures of my original visit to Sorrento.

I am planning to write in some detail about much of the holiday as there is much to write and revel in reliving each and every moment of it.   We left home Monday 30th July, Mike was just finishing a stretch of nights so once we had the final bits packed and loaded into the car – he stretched out in the back seat whilst Jamie and I were in charge in the front.

Jamie and I had dropped Binnie at the kennels first thing Monday morning, which for me is the most dreaded part of any holiday, and we were ready to go spot on our allotted time.  I thoroughly enjoyed the drive to Gatwick which passed without any problems at all, well except for the regular middle lane hogger who seem to be so prevalent on our motorways these days. 

We had decided to make use of one of the drop off services and arrived at departures to find they were ready and waiting to take the car from us and we were free to head into departures.  At only £8 more than a leave your car at a base service this was most definitely worth the little extra as we had no time to wait and left our car a 1 minute walk from departures.

Once into departures we located Thomson check-in and were through that whole process in about 5 minutes – again without the slightest hassle which was wonderful.  So relieved of our baggage we were now free to enjoy our time at the airport, Mike and I quickly downed the cans of Bellini we had in our hand luggage and then we headed to security and to airside.

It was here we had our first minor issue, as Jamie and I got through with our hand baggage only been given the usual checks, Mike sadly didn’t!  Mike had to go through a bit of a process and was requested to remove quite a lot including his shoes.  At one point I was a little concerned that they may take him away for a cavity search but that didn’t happen!!  He was eventually sorted, why they had picked on him we were not sure, but we did hear them mention that a senior manager was lurking around so I guess Mike got the full show for his benefit!!

Once airside we decided that we would head for a bite to eat and got a seat in Garfunkles very quickly and we enjoyed a very leisurely meal – I had ham, egg and chips which was utterly lush and enjoyed a good part of a bottle of Rose which was pretty good too!!  Jamie and Mike indulged in milkshakes and Jamie had lasagne and Mike the long waited for full English breakfast and all were pretty good – if a little pricey but that is to be expected at the airport.

After eating we had a wander around the shops and picked up a couple of bits in duty free, such as aftershave for Mike and some new foundation and powder (Clinque) for me.  It was here we hit our first snag which was Jamie’s ipod was not happy and was refusing to synch or pick up a network (this was, it turned out, to his being overly eager when it was being updated and the updates had not finished).  The advantage of this was that he would have to get stuck into a book whilst waiting for and during the flight – so no bad thing!!

 As I am usually (overly) anxious to ensure we are sat at or very close to the gate so (well) in advance we headed that way – enjoying the travellators en route (they are fab!!)  It really didn’t take us long to get to our gate and we were there in plenty of time but we didn’t seem to have to wait very long either.  It was here that we (or rather me) hit our second snag (although if you think of it really Mike’s chat with security was actually our first so as they say things do come in three’s!!) which was my Kindle had not charged and I was now unable to charge it until we reached our hotel.  This was very annoying as I had charged it all through the night before but clearly something had not synched (again!) – so I too was left reading printed material and listening to my mp3 for the flight.

It seemed quite quickly that our flight was called and boarding happened efficiently and easily – we never rush to get on as i) our seats are pre booked so they are not going anywhere ii) if you wait until the end everyone else is on and settled and you can get to your spot, stash the bags and sit down without others wanting to barge past and iii) once you are on and seated it tends not to be too long before you are on the move and not wedged in cattle class for any longer than is absolutely necessary!!

We boarded in our usual positions – Mike next to the window – because he likes to look out, Jamie in the middle (he gets to look out and be next to both of us) and me on the outside because I like to be near the edge so feel less claustrophobic and more able to people watch!  I handed out the bits – mp3, books, money etc, stowed the bags and settled down.  After buckling up we were taxing!

The flight was a relatively simple affair, we had not ordered food so had a few nibbles with our drinks (rather yummy prosecco – more of which over the next few days!!) which we enjoyed very much, chatted and listened to some music.  I have to say I am not overly impressed with my new mp3 as it is not compatible with Napster which is something they failed to say on the Amazon review but it is only for travelling and when I’m walking or biking so does largely fulfil its brief.

The flight passed without any problems and quickly only just over 2 hours.  We only managed 1 round of drinks as the service was slow – I think next time we will order 2 drinks at the same time.

By the time we landed at Naples airport it was just starting to get dark but we were all very very excited to have arrived.  We got off the plane and into buses quickly and it was HOT (!!) lusciously so.  At 8pm in the evening it outstripped anything we had in the whole of our summer!   
We headed into the airport and to our carousel, where Jamie and I were on grabbing duty whilst Mike was going to stand back and look after hand luggage.  Our bags seemed to take an eternity and we had quite a bit of amusement as the same 3 bags (or parts thereof) kept circling their way around the carousel.  Eventually the bags from our flight started to filter through and we picked ours off, whilst having an enjoyable conversation with a newly married couple waiting for their bags.  Where do these odd bits of baggage come from but it did remind of the brilliant Rhod Gilbert sketch about his baggage in Ireland.

We then headed through to the reps and were despatched towards our coach, on the way to our coach we passed a rep who kind of niggled me but only because of the way he pointed us to our coach when we were heading that way anyway and had it all under control, but more of him in a later instalment.  Seated on the front seats Jamie and I were looking forward to our trip to the hotel and taking in all the sights of Italy we were so looking forward to seeing and the maniacal driving so beloved of the area.  Mike was behind us and he, still catching up on sleep after night shift, fell into another deep sleep.

We got to see a little of what was to greet us the next day and managed to catch a glimpse of Vesuvius in the dark.  We travelled through the tunnels I so vividly remembered from my trip there oh so many years ago.  Our rep on the coach was lovely but had an unfortunate name in translation ‘Tittie’ but she was used to the humour it generated in some of the British tourists – well use to it by now!!  She was very informative and her accent was lovely.  So we reached our hotel in just over an hour from the airport.

There was what appeared an unusual way of doing the drop off – as we were dropped in a coach park – but our hotel was only 1 minute from the coach park so as we later realised it made perfect sense and it also meant our hotel in relation to getting a coach (for trips etc) was ideally suited!!

We walked the minute to our hotel and got ourselves booked in, we were given our voucher for the restaurant and told that we needed to head there quickly to catch it before it closed.  We took our bags up in the tiny lift and then headed to the Restaurant Tasso for the first of many very nice meals!!  Any further impressions of the hotel would have to wait as we had a couple of pressing engagements the first of which was to have some food.

As most of the hotel stays in Italy are half board we were really pleased when the food turned out to be good quality, tasty and offered plenty of choice on the menu.  Jamie was getting quite tired by this point and really didn’t want to think about anything but a pizza and the restaurant was very accommodating as it wasn’t on the menu that night.  Mike also headed for a pizza too, whilst I opted for the vegetable soup to start and a chicken dish with a walnut sauce for main course.  All was very acceptable and I think we all followed the meal with an ice-cream which was of course lovely.

We had been told in the coach from the airport that there was a celebration taking place that evening in Sorrento, it was a celebration for    the patron saint of Marina Grande, one of the three marinas in Sorrento.  So during our meal we heard the celebrations begin.  Mike being utterly shattered headed back to the hotel but Jamie and I invigorated and very excited headed into Piazza Tasso (the main square and central hub of Sorrento) to take in the atmosphere and just generally find out what was going on. 

We weren’t sure exactly where we were heading but just followed the sound, the crowd and the fireworks.  We found a great place to watch the fireworks from and really soaked in the atmosphere.  The rep on the coach to Sorrento had told us about the end of the festival of St Anna, the patron saint of Marina Grande, one of the little harbours of Sorrento.  The fireworks were very colourful and uber loud – much louder than ones from home!

The fireworks went on and on for quite some time, in fact so long we were just beginning to think about heading back, when they were obviously drawing to a close.  We began slowly to make our way back to Piazza Tasso, past shops and buildings which were going to become very familiar over the next few days and made our way back to the central square which was still buzzing, even though it was nearly midnight by this point. 

We headed out of the square on the other side and were not quite sure how far away our hotel was, but in the time it took us to wonder, cross a road, pass a handbag shop we were back at the restaurant and then back at the hotel.  So it seemed the first part of our planning, that we were very close to the centre of Sorrento, was just as we had hoped.  We were literally 30 seconds walk from the main square – it was the perfect position for us – just what we had wanted.

We got back to the hotel, found our room to find Mike had not fallen asleep but had seen most, if not quite all of the fireworks, although without the atmosphere that we had managed.  The hotel room looked pretty much what we were expecting and was clean, tidy and had everything we were going to need.  The hotel is a four star but perhaps more equivalent to an English 3 star but clean and comfortable with everything we needed and a balcony with a sea view and a view of Vesuvius so quite acceptable.

I had a quick look through the hotel information, the information from the holiday reps, dumped my clothes, cleaned my teeth and headed into bed.  The bed was large and looked as though it was going to be pretty comfortable.  I checked out the balcony too and noticed that it was even at this late hour very very warm.  We all were looking forward to what the next day had to offer but were by this point also very very tired.

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