Thursday, September 16, 2010

To Sorrento!

If you are planning on a France-Italy trip without the aid of a travel agent or outside of a package tour, compare prices. I was surprised to know it was cheaper to fly out of Paris to Naples than to take the train between these two cities. Our Paris-Naples flight on EasyJet cost us $155 US each for a flight that took a couple of hours. The train ride would have cost us $210 US each and 18 hours of travel with a change of train in Rome.

Depending on your itinerary, the France-Italy rail pass might suit you better if you plan to take a lot of train rides. This is what my son Gino and I did in 2007, but this time, it was not the practical or cheaper way. Compare, compare, compare.

The only downside in taking a small plane was that it had a smaller baggage limitation than regular international flights. Our airline was very strict with the one carry-on policy. We tried to fit smaller bags into bigger ones, but hubby and I still ended up paying €22 for an extra bag because my bulky shoulder bag couldn't fit anywhere. Even with that additional cost, the plane ride to Naples was still cheaper than the train ride.

Napoli Airport is the closest major airport to Sorrento, which we planned to make our base in Southern Italy. From the airport, you can take the public bus, commuter train or hydrofoil to Sorrento unless you are renting your own car. We took the bus that was conveniently stationed just in front of the airport and paid €10 per person. It was a comfortable drive on a winding road that passed through several coastal towns. We were in Sorrento in about 1.5 hours.

Piazza Tasso, Sorrento city centre

We got off at the Sorrento train terminal near the city square and took a cab to our hotel. The cab driver charged us €5 per person, or €35 for all 7 of us, which we thought was a good deal. We learned later from the hotel manager it was overpriced. She could get us a taxi for €20. Oh well... Next time, tell the driver to use the metre. 

Finally we were at our hotel about a 10-minute drive from the city centre. It was on a mountainside overlooking the Gulf of Sorrento, and from our hotel room balcony, we could see the tranquil water, mountains, greenery, limestone rocks, and the city. Lovely!  Even if our hotel was an old villa that could use some sprucing up, I think the view made up for it.

Our room had an awesome view. The skies were gray at this time.

With only three full days in Sorrento, we were eager to have a head start that evening and immediately go sightseeing. Alas, the light rains we had been experiencing since arriving in Naples suddenly turned into a strong downpour. It felt like a tropical storm reminiscent of typhoons in the Philippines. The young ones, Nikki, April and Warren, braved the wind and rain and went to the city anyway.

The oldies went back to the hotel.

No comments: