But neither of these were my favourite experience of the day for that would come later in the evening.
As some of you may know, Pompeii is of historical and modern day tourist significance due to the carnage the town and its people saw over 2000 years ago. I say modern day but really this has been a tourist attraction for over 200 years and of course it is now a UNESCO World heritage site. So in case you didn't know, Pompeii was buried in meters of ash and soot after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. It is reported that the vast majority of the people fled and escaped but still over 3000 people were killed.
Kate and I mutually agreed it was probably something we should see as we had seen all the other popular towns in relatively close proximity. Besides, it was 25 minutes away by train and so I could leave the car at our place of residence. Didn't want to tempt fate any further and drive unnecessarily.
Upon exiting the train station you are immediately immersed into potential tourist traps. The most popular is the walking tour of the infamous city. This costs 12 euros but that doesn't cover the 11 euro fee to enter the site itself. That's a total of 23 euros per person for not a lot!
Top tip: A frugal, well-researched tourist would not require this large group tour offering but would hire a tour listening device for 5 euros (per person) for over half the 12 euro price. A super-frugal tourist would opt for a single listening device between him and his companion using standard headphones and/or a splitter for dual audio. Thus, a combined 46 euros can easily be achieved for 27 euros! Go with that latter!
Kate and I walked in and around the city for no more than a couple of hours before accepting we had seen enough. We can appreciate that super-keen historians and folk alike could stay there for most of the day but two hours was more than enough for us as it would be the majority of you I reckon. Anyhow, I took some images but don't expect the photos to rival my Rome, and in particular my Athens images.
The booklet/map we had used to navigate around the protected city was also advertising a variety of other tours. Number 1 was the walking tour (seriously!?) and number 4 was Capri which we had also done on our own. Granted not a separate boat tour of the Blue Grotto as we couldn't quite stretch our euros to that. Kate and I took some satisfaction when we saw number 3 advertising the Amalfi coast tour that we had undertaken by ourselves except we did it for considerably less than the 75 euros per person being requested here! Granted, that price included lunch but still. Number 2 however caught our eye. Strangely it was completely impromptu for both of us as neither of us had expressed an interest in this before seeing it in the brochure:
A visit to the only active but dormant (oxymoron?) volcano in mainland Europe! (I believe Mount Etna is another too but on the island of Sicily - the largest island in the Med). We thought this could be pretty awesome experience and at an affordable price so we indulged in our first purchased tour. Disappointingly thought, and like on Capri island, it was overcast so high up but despite it being nice and bright on ground level. As such, these pictures don't do the height, distance and view from the mountain justice:
If you're wondering how high we would go - the tour took us to the actual summit of Mount Vesuvius! (We had to walk the last 20 minutes). This is the view into the crater!
It was seriously blustery up here as you'll see from Kate transitioning from... 'Think I should don my pretty rain jacket' to 'I think I want to live in this' :-)
We returned back after 5pm and needed extra long in our respective showers due to the amount of dirt that had ingrained itself deep in our clothes, hair and everywhere else. Yuk.
So would I recommend these two 'to do' attractions? Well, this really depends on what you like and whether you're interested in saying 'you've done them'. My parents came to Sorrento in the last couple of years and didn't do either and having now done them myself, I am confident they made the right decision. Even the volcano tour required a stern stomach (and body) due to how rough the terrain was driving up (and down) the mountain. Seriously, seriously bumpy and uncomfortable despite how impressive these things look!
Sadly this is Kate's last day and night and so for our last proper evening we wanted to go back to Sorrento but for some decent cuisine. Speaking of which she found us a cracking restaurant down one of the side-streets and we enjoyed what would be my favourite meal by far since my travels began - and probably much further back before then! This consisted of two pasta dishes to start with of course. How could we not! Kate had a lemon and herb based source with baby prawns and I had baby squid, potato on some kind of pasta I've not heard of and can't remember its name! For main course I had fresh fish and Kate had perfectly cooked Tuna covered in sesame seeds. Naturally we shared our dishes and so combined, we experienced four incredibly tasty meals.
Again, these pictures don't do the meal proper justice and neither does my very average description! What can I say, I was just enjoying the moment too much to have made some notes.
Not unique or unheard of ingredients then but the seasoning and whatever else it is that makes a dish look and taste perfect, well it had all this and in abundance. It really was fantastic. That wasn't all. Come Tuesday 19th of May it's my birthday folks! This then was Kate's birthday treat to me. Kate - I continue to be honoured and humbled by your kindness. Thank you SO much #mysuperexgirlfriend. LOL.