Thursday, October 9, 2014

Italy Day 1: Pompei

While I loved the apartment we booked on Airbnb, there was one inconvenience of not booking a hotel. We got into Sorrento too early to check in and there wasn't a reception desk to hold our bags for us, so we had to lug our stuff around as we wandered around looking for breakfast. Luckily for us, Bar Veneruso was across the street from the apartment and open fairly early on a Saturday morning, with pizza and pasta dishes available all day! We really wanted a more savory, substantial meal so we ordered a couple of pizzas. To be honest, the pizzas weren't awesome but it was a good place to chill as we fought fatigue and waited for check-in. As we were eating, we saw locals and tourists coming in for their morning espresso and pastry - a much more typical Italian breakfast.

(photo credit: Virtual Tourist)

Once we finished up, we made our way over to the apartment to meet our Airbnb host and drop off our bags. Our apartment was still being cleaned since the previous guests had just checked out so we couldn't take a shower and nap like we so desperately wanted to - but that was for the best because it forced us to go out and explore.

We decided on Pompei as our destination of the day, so we walked the 10 minutes to the station to board the Circumvesuviana train. Even though Sorrento is the first stop, we never managed to get a seat so we stood for most of the 40 minute ride to the Pompei Scavi stop. Loud musicians and pushy panhandlers are a regular part of the train ride experience. At some point, there were a few rude teens puffing away on their cigarettes, despite all the no smoking signs. I had been warned about pickpockets on the train, so I was vigilant about keeping my bag close to me at all times. This whole experience made me grateful that we didn't take the train from the airport.

The last time I went to Pompei was 16 years ago - and it was just as hot and dusty as I remember! Pompei can be a bit overwhelming, as there's so much to see and the site layout and audio guide don't do a very good job of guiding you to all the highlights. It didn't help that we were incredibly jetlagged, so I lost the motivation to explore as much as we probably should have. Still, it's expansive and impressive, and seeing the plaster casts of the people that perished was still pretty powerful. I've already posted some pictures from this visit in this post so I don't want to be to repetitive or redundant.

We spent a few hours wandering Pompei before heading back to Sorrento. We went to the Inn Bufalito for dinner, per our friend Nicole's recommendation. The buffalo mozzarella and the pasta were both amazing - this was probably our favorite meal in Sorrento. We noticed that restaurant prices in general for both Sorrento and Naples were much lower than the prices we saw in northern Italy in 2011. It helps that the dollar is stronger now - not sure if there are any other contributing factors to the price discrepancy. Either way, we're not complaining!

(photo credit: Inn Bufalito)

After dinner, we passed by the shops in the side streets and admired all the beautiful scarves, leather, ceramics, and lemon-themed goods. We knew we wanted to bring home some souvenirs but we didn't have the energy to shop that very first night so we ambled our way back to our apartment, took our desperately needed showers, and crawled into bed after a long 30 hour day!


  1. it's definitely one of my goals to visit Pompei one day!

    cute & little

    1. It's a pretty amazing site to see! I'd also recommend the Herculaneum - smaller, lesser-known, but much better preserved.