The failure to dock at Naples led to a certain amount of chaos, as Sorrento proved unable easily to manage the tendering of so many passengers. It’s a resort which is largely on a cliff top standing above a very small port. Although we were able to dock in deep water close to the port, and tenders ran frequently and quickly, there was a late start caused by a failure to clear us for immigration (blamed on the Italian authorities by Cunard, but more probably caused by our late anchorage).
Once tenders reached the port we all had to squeeze onto shuttle buses, which were randomly distributed around the typically chaotic and double-parked car park. The shuttles took us to the other side of Sorrento where the coaches for Pompeii and other excursion destinations were parked.
As a result of all this we were an hour late arriving at Pompeii. But it was all worth it.
After the inevitable bathroom break – which afforded us the chance to get a drink and an extortionately priced, but excellent, slice of pizza – we were taken into Pompeii by a commendably brisk guide. She equipped us with receivers and earpieces and we spent about two and a half hours racing around the huge site. It was astonishing.
These are stepping-stones across the main street, which allowed residents to avoid the dirt and moisture of the main road which ran steadily downhill.
This, in one of the largest villas was a remarkably preserved floor mosaic, one of the earliest Beware Of The Dog signs:
These were just two of some of the numerous and beautiful frescoes, which somehow survived the 13 to 30 feet of ash that inundated Pompeii in AD79.
This was part of the public baths:
Most dramatically, this was one of the plaster casts of one of the 11,000 victims, a girl of about fourteen, and caught in the moment of her death:
It was all remarkable. And although one could spend a couple of days there, the two and a half hours were enough for an introductory visit. There’s quite a bit of clambering to do and a certain amount of pushing and shoving necessary to see the various highlights.
We were dropped in central Sorrento where the shuttle buses to return us to the ship were parked. But we decided to have a wander and find our own way down the cliff to the port (which was very easy). We had intentionally missed breakfast so as to enjoy a lunch. We found a tiny place down a side street with a handful of tables outside but under a canopy, important as rain threatened and later fell. The meal was simple (beef carpaccio and parmesan followed by a Pizza Napoli with lots of anchovies for me, and a lasagne for Jan. With beer and small carafe of house white, the bill was only 40 Euros.
Sorrento is a much more attractive town than nearby Amalfi or Positano (which are drastically over populated by Limoncello and Pottery shops) although it’s almost as expensive. But we had a pleasant wander, particularly as the clouds disappeared as the day turned into a sunny evening. We found our own way back to the port where a tender waited. It had been another excellent day.