Praiano - trips to Pompeii, Ravello and Sorrento

Trip Start Apr 17, 2009
Trip End May 09, 2010

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
Where I stayed
rented villa

Flag of Italy  , Campania,
Saturday, August 15, 2009

The second week of our stay in Praiano began with John’s 42nd birthday and the arrival of our good friends, Rob and Tyler, from Ohio who stayed with us for the week. Rob and Tyler arrived in the late afternoon of John’s birthday and we enjoyed cocktails on the patio of the house while watching the beautiful sunset. After that, we had a wonderful birthday dinner at Hosteria Pina where we enjoyed a fantastic meal with many courses and paired wines. We even tried sea urchin as part of the meal- it was sour and tangy but not much “meat” for such a big shell.

As we have with all of our guests on our trip, we taught Rob and Tyler how to play Canasta and enjoyed many evenings of wine and Canasta on the patio. Tyler is a great cook and he actually enjoys it. It was great having him make various appetizers and meals for us using local ingredients from the market. He really knows the tricks to making things taste even better than you could imagine.

Of course, it is Italy and fresh tomatoes are everywhere here. We went to a farmer’s market where we bought 18 big Roma tomatoes for just $1.50! On Sunday mornings you would see many families out on their patios working together to peel and prepare tomatoes to be cooked for the sauce that would accompany their big Sunday dinners.

Rob and Tyler adapted to the stairs of Praiano. Rob, underestimated how hard it would be to rush down to the grocery and back one day as we were waiting to catch a bus. He wanted to get some extra wine for the evening and because of the odd store hours (everything closes at 1pm) he needed to get it before we headed out for the day. He made the hike down and back up the stairs in about 30 minutes running with a backpack full of wine, cheese and other grocery items. It took a toll on him and we truly thought he was going to pass out when he got back to the house. However, some water, some food, and some rest cured him.

At some point during the second week our patio and eventually our kitchen was taken over by thousands of tiny ants. We kept the patio swept and hosed off and kept the kitchen spotlessly clean. However, nothing deterred the invasion of the ants. We have never seen so many ants and could not find any way to control them. So we had to surrender the side patio to them for a couple of days and the kitchen for 2 nights. We were not amused and complained to the rental company in charge of the house- they were useless in their response.

Anyway, the four us decided to hire a car to take us to see the ruins of Pompeii. Pompeii was the Roman city that was destroyed by the massive eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79AD. The town was covered in 30 feet of ash which preserved it almost perfectly until excavations began uncovering it in the 1800s. Today, more than 50% of Pompeii has been fully excavated and it is an amazing look at life of the Roman times. It is a large town with many streets where you can walk and see the amazingly well preserved businesses and homes just as they were 2000 years ago. Many still have frescoes preserved on the walls and even shop signs and graffiti from the time are all still visible. It was hot and crowded but there is nothing like Pompeii if you are into history and seeing an almost perfectly preserved ancient town.

Another day we took Rob and Tyler to Ravello to have lunch at Cumpa Cosimo where we had eaten last week. Netta (the owner) was in rare form. She took a liking to Rich and decided to mother (or grandmother him) into embarrassment. She hugged him and then grabbed his cheek repeatedly with her hand (and I mean grabbing till it really hurt!) and saying what a fine young man he was etc. etc. Much laughter was had at the expense of Rich’s swollen cheek.

On Tuesday we rented a boat for the day and motored up and down the coast around our town. Just as in Capri, you really have to see the Amalfi coast from the water to appreciate its beauty. John and Rob served as our captains and did a fine job getting us safely up and down the coast in our little motor boat. The weather was HOT but we had a lot of fun. We even had time for a swim in the beautiful Mediterranean.

At the end of the week it was our turn to celebrate Rob’s birthday. So, we headed back to Hosteria Pina for another excellent birthday dinner accompanied by good wines and great dessert.

Then it was time for Rob and Tyler to head back to Ohio. We had a wonderful time with Rob and Tyler and were sad to see them go. However, it was also time for us to vacate our villa and move down the Italian coast a bit more. Unfortunately, we had not made any plans in advance and did not realize that August 15 (the day we had to leave the villa) was the biggest holiday of the year in Italy. As a result, everything was closed for a long weekend, and we had nowhere to go, no way to get anywhere, and nowhere to stay.

We ended up finding a car service that would take us to Salerno where we found a hotel where we could sit out the rest of the holiday weekend. We could not get anywhere else because we needed a rental car and the agencies were all completely closed for the 3 day holiday. So, we bided our time in Salerno with absolutely nothing to do except read and play Canasta because everything in Salerno was closed for the holiday. It was a ghost town and we have no idea where everybody went - we were often the only people on the streets, and yet Salerno has a population of 130,000. It was strange and boring. However, we learned that while it may sound fun to travel on a whim and not make plans in advance the consequences can result in you being stuck in a shabby hotel in a ghost town with nothing to do for 3 days!

We also learned that Salerno is the heart of the Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese making region. We also learned that buffalo mozzarella actually is made from the milk of buffalos (who knew?). The one or two restaurants we were able to find open in Salerno served everything with the watery, overly soft, and not very flavorful buffalo mozzarella that the area was famous for. We grew very tired of it very quickly after having it with every meal for 3 days. Can’t say buffalo mozzarella is our favorite.
Slideshow Report as Spam

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: