Sept 24 continued
Now that I am in a car with a local Napolitan, I am certain the rest of today will be a fun time. With Tina, from Discover Napoli Destinations at the wheel, I feel relieved and comfortable with this person I am meeting for the first time. She maneuvers her car out of Pompeii and quickly finds the road to Sorrento, thinking nothing of leaning her head out the window and saying something in Italian to another driver.
We click immediately, and start conversing as though we had known each other already. Tina has a friendly smile and piercing blue eyes and blonde hair. Of course, she is thin, too, unlike me. Maybe I should move to Italia to manage a bella figura!
As we ride toward Sorrento, I feel as if I have my own personal tour guide. Tina points out all the interesting villas along the way, and the towns we pass on the Sorrentine peninsula. Now I can say that I know the birthplace of Captain Schettino from the Costa Concordia. Tina explains that Castellammare di Stabia is well-known for a number of famous sailing men over the years. She is so knowledgeable about the area’s history, having lived here for such a long time. Her passion for what she does is quite obvious and she is a natural travel guide and more.
Better than what I might expect on an arranged tour, Tina happily stops the car several times so I can admire the view and capture it with my camera. This drive along the coast is so awesome, one of the prettiest in Italy, and the weather is perfect today. I have long forgotten the unpleasantness from the Pompeii train station on this unplanned adventure.
Once we arrive in Sorrento Tina parks and escorts me to one of her favorite haunts only the locals know, Pizzeria da Franco.
I now know know that saltimbocca in Sorrento is a specialty item and is a panini made with pizza dough in a coal-fired oven. So much for making one when I return to the States! Mine was with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. Mmmm. I loved it! Tina would not allow me to pay for lunch. I owe you, Tina. Grazie.
Afterward we walked to Bar Pollio, also known as Pasticceria Pollio on Corso Italia. Tina introduced me to Signor Pollio who has been here forever.
Signor Pollio wrapped them up and then Tina bought some smaller ones. I was invited to go upstairs and have a look at this well-appointed establishment, and I could only wonder about the history of this place.
We walked through Sorrento and made our way to the shopping area as I had an agenda to purchase a few of the intarsio wooden music boxes. I remembered that they were on or near the famous shopping street of via San Cesareo and Tina found the place for me. The price was good and I purchased three to bring home.
I knew I had to get back soon and Tina advised that I take the SITA bus along the Amalfi Coast. So we drove to the Circumvesuviana station, and outside of it is an umbrella where two men sell bus tickets.
Very sophisticated. It works though and for €7.60 I bought a bus ticket that would take me all the way to Salerno on two buses. I hugged Tina goodbye and thanked her for a wonderful day that I could never have hoped to plan on my own. She sent me back with a souvenir, a calendar from Naples.
I promise to return, Tina, and let you show me the best of Napoli. Until now I was always fearful to go there, but I know that you will show me the beauty of your city. Ciao, my new friend, and grazie mille.