What can you do in Italy for a week? We needed to rest, we were feeling a little tired but with only a week here that can't happen so we made a few plans.
Let's take a leisurely coach trip to Sorrento, pop into Pompeii, cruise across to Capri and finally enjoy the Amalfi Coast. "Yes, let's" said the bloke.
So we were up at the crack of dawn, waiting for our hotel "pick up"..........well eventually we found our coach down at the end of our street. Ten minutes later we were told to change buses to an English speaking one..... Oh no not this bus, that's coming back to Rome tonight, try this one or maybe that one!!
OK, we've changed buses , now to enjoy the trip.
A stop at Naples will be nice, quickly hop off the bus, change tour guide to a local one, she speaks German very well, that's because she is German.
Walk smartly all you tourists, look left, look right, now back into the bus. What had we let ourselves in for?
Pompeii will be fun, i've read a lot about it, remembering bits from school lessons. I remembered the loaves of bread at the baker's store, the dog, the horses all frozen in time buried by ash from Versuvius. I'm looking forward to seeing all of this. Oh no, that's not going to happen, the signs of life have all been removed to Museums in Naples. Not that we were shown them or even told about them when we were actually in Naples.
What we did see was very orderly and well reproduced, if reproduction is what you wanted to see! Pompeii is a large place, the sun was warm, the roads rose and fell, cobble stones and stepping stones showed you just how people got around in those days. Some of us needed to sit on the stones and catch our breath.
I think we changed buses again, I can't quite remember that but we now have another new tour guide, this one is from Sorrento.
Our hotel in this town was beautiful, set into the side of the hill, with an amazingly complex arrangement of steps, stairs, ramps and elevators to access the pool, lobby and restaurants. Lots of walking and climbing essential. Not a lot of resting.
The next day was celebrated with a trip to Capri, we met our next new guide, a rather delicious looking young man with a good sense of humour. This day was going to be great.
We messed about in boats, drank Limoncello, ate Gelati, spent a lot of time waiting at La Grotto Azzurre with another new guide, the boat specialist, then we had to get into a tiny rowboat to enter the grotto with yet a different guide, the singing oarsman.
Capri was gorgeous but on closer inspection of our tour details we realised that the trip along the Amalfi Coast was just a suggestion of what we could do on our free day!
Free day? We had booked a three day tour, or so we thought but you can't argue with Italians, suddenly it's "non capisci".
So Day 3 saw us walking the length of Sorrento to the Termini and boarding yet another bus for the drive to Amalfi.
We had decded to take the local bus for the reasonable price of €7.40 each. A car and driver would have set us back €215 for the 70km return trip. Good value and so much fun sitting with the locals.
Well, except the locals filled the bus to overflowing, I was lucky to get the last seat, jammed between the small children from several families.
No giving up your seat for adults on this bus. The bloke was left to swing on a strap until we finally got half way along and the families disembarked for their day at the beach.
It was all worth it, the winding road, the amazing views, the gloriousness of it all.
We were far from rested, nothing was restful about the hairbrained driving, the narrowness of the streets, the endless walking, the mountain climbing, the constant changing of buses and the very limited Italian we speak but we will always have the memory of this beautiful, beautiful place.
Now that we have survived it all we need to go back to Rome tomorrow and see if we enjoy that too.
But first a rest..............