—2 May 2012—
Our first private tour. Addition to the morning routine was to buy euros for cash for the driver, lunch and entry to Pompeii. We were in good time for our 8:30 departure, having left on foot and walked through the passenger terminal. Our driver, Paolo, and his cohort, Tony, were waiting with signs bearing the name of our CruiseCritic tour organizer, Barbara (Barb) Pinamonte.
We were driven through the city of Naples, 8 in one van and 7 in the other, to Pompeii, about 20 minutes from the ship. There was no line for tickets (11€) or the audio tour (2 for 10€). We quickly realized that our 2 hours would be inadequate to cover the entire area, which was much larger than I had envisioned. But we had plenty of time to get the feel of the place and see a few key sites before returning to our vans (and a place to sit down!).
We drove toward Sorrento, with 2-3 stops for photos, and then on to Positano, where we ate at a wonderful family restaurant, Fattoria La Tagliata, with stunning views from about 1200 feet above the sea. We dine royally – 3 courses starting with antipasti (beans, garbanzo beans, eggplant and tomato, rice and tomato, salad, ham (prosciutto), fresh mozzarella and another soft spreadable cheese, spinach, broccoli, and bread), pasta (ravioli, gnocchi, “Mama’s pasta – no name), and finally wonderful plates of mixed pastries and sweetened strawberries for dessert. The family was warm and friendly. This was the highlight of the day.
We drove at some length along the beautiful Amalfi coast, with Paolo pointing out this or that (homes of Enrico Caruso and Sophia Loren). We stopped at Amalfi for 30 minutes. One couple toured the church, others shopped, we enjoyed the sun in the harbor. We followed a different route back to Naples and the ship that was mostly overland. All roads were windy and steep. We were back at the terminal and happy to be out of the van. 🙂 Pooped!!!
We paused briefly in our stateroom and then headed to deck 12 for a drink and the intent to hook up with the CruiseCritics for their daily social. Got the drink, never found the CC;s. We sat on deck near the pool and enjoyed our departure from the port of Naples. Weather was beautiful! Given our large mid-day meal, I just went to the buffet and loaded a plate of mostly finger foods for two and took it back on deck.
Since we were going to be passing Capri to our port side – our balcony side – we returned to our cabin with our wine to watch Capri approach and pass until it got too cool and too dark. We got ready and climbed into bed, me to write and watch Sherlock Holmes II on close circuit, Jerry to sleep (for about 11 hours!!!j) after setting our clocks forward to Eastern Mediterranean time (Greece and Turkey). There was a reminder card on the bed so we didn’t forget.