We enjoyed a three-hour luxury bus ride atop of the upper deck from Bari into Naples for an overnighter where we did enjoy a Naples pizza; but the next 5 days were spent touring a large area of the Campania coastal region while staying in Sorrento, Italy (highly recommended). The pizza in this region was often times different than the pizza we ate in other regions. Perhaps we liked it more because it was more American like . . . or something like that.
On our last tour along areas of the Adriatic Sea, we were told to be on the lookout for a rum-soaked sponge type cake called ‘il Baba or just Baba. The Baba were often shaped like a face-down half muffin, of varying cake-like consistencies and served after soaking in various dilutions of rum. We began to anticipate them as we had began to anticipate our gelatos, World Cup matches, Lemon cello and relaxing by the pool each afternoon. I didn’t think to ask about the origin of the rums.
After a quick trip from Naples on the ‘graffiti train’ (that was a little sketchy, but not so bad), we found Sorento to be a wonderful smaller province in which we based our touring of the Campania region.
While touring places like Pompeii, Capri, Positano and the Amalfi coastline, it was nice to come home (home for now) to an afternoon dip in the pool, strolls and shopping through Sorrento and grabbing a gelato in the somewhat tolerable July heat. Sorento was also our first decision of our trip thus far, to vere from the everyday Italian cuisine and try some Japanese cuisine . . . twice, Both were good, and from what we were able to ascertain, there may only be two in all of Sorrento.
Once getting settled into our very accommodating hotel, our adventures for the area were mostly unknown. We got through the first legs of our tour and somehow successfully ended up where we had collectively agreed to stay in Sorrento versus staying in Naples. It was definitely a very good decision because of the amount of pure relaxation we had experienced in this entire region. The only thing missing was perhaps a message . . . and we had thought about that as well.
Every morning we had an English Breakfast which was as close to an “American Breakfast” as we had been entertained by; then again, I don’t quite know if an American breakfast even exists . . . or what exactly the difference would have been, since the only real difference, we had seen was that the English breakfast always included baked beans of some sort. There’s also a thing that we have also come to realize was the “American Coffee”, which I’m gathering is just more water poured over the espresso grind. Seems to have worked for me. Yes, we also got into the shots of espresso at or around every corner . . . everywhere. This was also about the time we had been realizing the regional cuisine differences and what you see along the streets is consistent with what is know for the regions. Here in the Campania region we were getting a crash-course in Limoncello about now; and was funny because we didn’t buy anything lemon until we had got to the airport in Rome to fly back home.
Sorrento was an area or township what I had considered to be like the La Jolla of Italy, and Capri like Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California; but we have been touring by bus or van the wonderful treasures along this amazing coastline, only to return each day to some more afternoon pool lounging and continued walks into the Sorrento evening . . . usually ending up at a 300 foot bluff bar area overlooking one of the largest of three harbors in this city. Speaking of bars. It seems to be a standard of serving nuts and other small edibles at the bars around Italy, where the servers will often times wait until you have ordered to bring them out.
Since we started this trip with just two weeks notice and having not much of the trip planned before being immersed in everything Italy, we had started with planning our first few days hotel stay once in Rome . . . in little Argentina of Rome (I did somehow pull that one off) and how we were going to get there from the airport. The tours while in Rome were purchased by my wife from the local tourist sales and information shop just around the corner from our hotel, and those tours also get you head-of-the line privileges at those locations; however, head-of-the-line waiting time is also very dependent on the tour and the touring time of year, but for the most part our time awaiting was swift and was worth the value spent on those tours.
The local tourist sales office along the streets is how we had planned the remainder of our traveling while here in Italy. All of the travel internet sites in Italy seemed to all be in Italian and so we found that the local tourist offices along the street usually had an English speaking representative. The best part is that they only charged like five Euro per train ticket to help us book our travel, our tours and our hotel stays . . . with translation, and we really had no detrimental tour experiences from using these services. Highly recommended.
Much of the cuisine we had experienced in this region was either during our tours, and being subjected to the convenience of local establishments along or in the direct path of the tours we had signed up for. When the van stopped, we would get out and begin walking around and have an hour or so to shop and eat, then back in the van for another leg our tour. Other than the brief stops and visits that only enabled a couple of pictures and grabbing a cold bottle of water, many of our meals were the anticipated “Italian” foods associated with the particular region we were visiting. It was no different here, as much of our cuisine was possibly a charcuterie platter, a pizza, pasta or salad. It wasn’t until the evenings while in Italy that we would identify menu items that we had yet to try, and when we actually got back into Sorrento is where we indulged ourselves into Japanese cuisine for two of our meals; and both were very good, worthy of a positive Yelp review.
Of the Italian cuisine in this area, we found several opportunities for eating dried pasta with several options for topping including clams with Linguini (my personal selection) and fresh pasta called Scialatielli, shaped into stout strands and tossed with those wonderful Italian tomatoes and just the right amount of olive oil. I had recently heard a chef on our local television explain his dish to a customer saying, “the pasta is served with . . . tomatoes, because tomatoes are . . . what is available”; and they were abundant and available everywhere. It seemed like the fresh tomatoes were the choice selection almost everywhere we visited in Italy.
Of all of the areas visited while in Italy, we were very glad to have changed our minds for touring this area and staying in Naples, to better have spent our money and have stayed here in Sorrento instead. A wise choice.