An Idiot’s (me) Guide to Sorrento (the one in Italy)

ImageAs travelled through, round, over, above (which is almost the same) and beyond (which could be everywhere else) by our team (of one, hardly a team) of intrepid explorer (hardly in the Dr. Stanley Livingstone category) who have left no unturned stone unturned back in their efforts to find out everything you really do need to know about a place that is what Cleethorpes is to England. Local delicacies have been tasted and local wines also tasted in a search for (oblivion) the best that can be found for you, so that you just don’t have to take the time taste a lot of the, err… um… well, not palatable to those with far fewer…, well, you know, those who can’t really afford the more expensive, less available (unless you’re in the know) wines of distinction that we like


AN (Author’s Note) I thought that I would give you my outlook on the ‘Unseen Sorrento.’ So ‘blind-folded, off I traipsed…

04-05-2012 – Hotel la Vue D’Or, Sorrento

There Be Dragons!

Well, lizards, at any rate.

Within 20 minutes of my arrival, there were two green lizards having a contra-temp – or its Italian equivalent – just outside my balcony wall. I managed to get a shot of one (who I had snapped earlier) but, whilst downloading my camera memory disc and charging its battery; I found the two of them having a right set-to. Have seen a further two lizards alongside the original slim one, whilst the plumper one has not re-appeared. It’s a lizard haven outside my window and balcony.

Had a lovely meal of pasta ribbons and ham, tomato, etc. (I didn’t take too much notice of exactly what I was having as hadn’t eaten since Costa’s, Gatwick Nth. approx. early morning – and that was only a slice of Caramel slice). Then I had a similar sized meal of very thin and very tasty beef with broccoli and sautéed potato cubes. Ah! Starters, then main. I get the idea. Accompanied by a bottle of still water {2-50 – you pay for extras} (and I’ll become more used to putting the Italian terms to make it seem a bit more exotic, or erotic, whichever. Fruit (frutta – froo-ta) to follow, which consisted of sliced aranja (orange), sliced apple and white powder (of the sugar variety, I hasten to add).






Tables Turned!


Notwithstanding the time changes, be it 7, 6, or 8 o’clock, I rush down (actually a leisurely go up) to ‘prima colazione or pc’ – breakfast.

It is a waiter-overseen ‘help yourself to whatever-it-is buffet’. I glance around and decide upon a table per una – which is a table for quattro with nobody at it. I choose spremuta d’arancia (fresh orange juice) and cereal [cnfIw4t =could not find Italian word for this] a type of muesli with additional sunflower hearts [it = I think]. At this point of my ‘pc’ two ladies arrive at my table in a bit of a tiz as their number is upon this table. After last night where I seemed to be put at random on a table that didn’t have my number on it, I happily was moved to another table which also didn’t have my number on it. Managed to eat for Britain to get me through the day from the buffet, and, as coffee machine being temporarily temperamento (not Italian, but should be) waiter-assisted coffee arrived at my table; quickly followed by two apologetic ladies who were ever so sorry about earlier misunderstanding. Had part of meal with typical Welsh couple (nuff said) and was shown where my table ‘might’ be in the evening – we shall see.

A little walk

Out of the Hotel La Vue D’Or entrance you are immediately upon one of the hair-pin bends that wind their way up / down the mountain face. I must remember that the traffic travels on the wrong side of the road here, mostly. I walk downwards (as it’s easier, and towards Sorrento) passing a few lanes (Via Li Schisani and Via S, Maria Del Toro – to name them both) and sensing a slight amount of repetition in hair-pin bends down the side of a mountain, I returned to Via S. Maria Del Toro and descended the narrow lane (narrow, but wide enough for scooters and cars to come up at varying rates of low gear enthusiasm. Narrow enough for a scooter and me to pass comfortably, but not wide enough for avoiding action being required for me and anything else to pass safely, luckily they are all happy to ‘toot! toot!’ for every bend and we all avoided the potential delay of picking a daft tourist off of their bonnets.


Segnore Seicento quincenta uno! (6-5-1!) – That’s not mi chiamo!

Walking down one of the narrow lanes / highways of Sorrento about one o’clock (it’s always one o’clock somewhere in the world, it may have just been that time here!) when all, or most, of the shops close up for lunch and après-lunch recovery time (lunch or pranzo {masc.} – pran-dzo –  is the Italians main meal of the dia {day} and takes from about 12.30pm to 4.30-5.00pm and includes many courses and the required recovery time, making a dia’s work include quite a lot of rest and play.) I think early starts (!) and continuing from late afternoon – ‘Buonasera!’ – until mid-evening avoids the hottest part of the dia and still seems to work for them. Unless you are part of the ristoranti {ree-sto-ran-ti} trade which supplies tourists with inordinate amounts (lots) of food and drink, gelato and pasta – which is pasta the cakes and not pasta the pasta… don’t ask!

Anyway, back to walking down the lanes when Neil from same table at meal / different table, different room, but same hotel / different table, same room, same hotel – so far (!) called out ‘hi! 6-5-1! (I had checked to see whether there was a room 6-6-6, but sadly not in this hotel; there is al cane {al ka-ne, masc. – the dog} who sleeps at the front of the hotel, but he is old, grouchy and always unpleased {non piacere – non pya-che-re} to meet me.

Back once more to the lanes and being greeted: Neil and Julie from Canterbury, Kent, UK – I’m sam dure it’s Julie; Neil and Jill would be too, too much [Nill and Jeel?] – were sat outside a lovely ristorante emptying plates and glasses – nice work if you can get it – after their meet&greet session with the Thomson representative – which I had missed due to an unforeseen – by me – differential in the local time-zones (I was on GMT +2, -2 or +1 depending on which time-keeping-piece I referred to I was on: Camera-Time {CT} I-pod-Time {IPT} or keep-mobile-turned-off-because-it-may-cost-me-a-small-fortuna-Time (kmtobimcmasfT}. Neil, momentarily forgetting my name, but remembering my room number (mmm!?) called out ‘6-5-1!’ or ‘Six-five-one!’ – not sure which, not that it matters, and halted me in my perambulations (I wasn’t in some prams, but I have to use the extremes of my vocabulary or what was the point of my getting an education; and, here I ask, when is it okay ‘not’ to use an exclamation mark?). This, I suppose, proves that I am not ‘invisible’, or perhaps that I stick out like a sore finger when all around is light and airy – well I had started out wearing my big duffel-coat and scarf as it had been windy and cloudy earlier (see pictures)


Conversation carried out, I took my leave and continued on.


Grand Marina

or ‘Making It Up As You Go Along.’

As you may be able to see from the pictures, the Grande Marina (gran-dee ma-ree-na – Big Marina) was being smartened up and more ‘beach-huts / changing rooms were being added as I watched. Green and yellow ‘verdi e giallo’ striped huts were being constructed in the sunshine. They seemed to have a decent production line going and I’ll take another picture ‘domani {do-ma-nee – tomorrow} to see roughly how long it takes for a steam train travelling to Glasgow from Stockholm to break down (which will require an equation or due {doo-e – two} so bring paper and a comb and we’ll hum a tune instead.

Large empty spaces big enough to house the Albert Hall… allegedly!

Having walked up, then down the cliff face from the hotel, past the invisible, but probably there, S. Agata, and reached the outskirts of Sorrento (believe me it took longer  than that – as I will describe elsewhere) I saw to my left what appeared to be – and was- a deep ravine. The sound of running water appropriately reached my ears and I perceived the sound was emanating (UMV – Using My Vocabulary) from the very bottom of the very deep ravine. Looking down into the depths, I could see what looked like a mill-building sat alongside the watercourse. Ancient or relatively recent? When I find out I’ll let you know. But, a bit of a clue, possibly, it was called the Antico/a Mure {an-tee-ko/moo-ree).

BTW as I go I will look things up (or look up at things) and I have just found out that the Italian for ‘muesli’ is… (drum roll, sound of trumpets…) … ‘muesli’. So now you know. I will, of course, be testing you later on so please bear in mind these little nuggets / gems of informazioni – een-for-ma-tsyo-nee – information, as if you hadn’t guessed}. EBTW






Double Bracket: ‘Che ora é, Eccles?

No Time Like The Past


‘A watch, a watch, my time-keeping for a watch!’ which is to paraphrase and parodise Shakespeare’s Richard III. As alluded to earlier, I do not have a watch – haven’t for… (check wrist) …years – and therefore much of the time I don’t know the time. This is not a problem when in UK with switched-on mobile (glad something is switched-on) which serves dual / multi-purpose of watch / camera / recording studio / notebook and sometimes it makes a ringing noise.

However, due to possible / probable high cost of turning phone on in a foreign country, I have decided to limit operation of mobile to a few minutes a couple of times a dia.

This will, hopefully, keep next month’s mobile bill in double figures.

Back to the story (not much plot, but plenty of story) of keeping track of che ora {ke o-ra – what time} it is. Easiest to hand for telling the time is my camera (not ‘room’ – ‘camera’ in IT is room – think ‘chamber’) which has a clock feature whereby, having eventually changed it to Central European Time (CET) and being self-assured that it was correct, if you take a picture then it records on the picture (on the camera, but not on the print) what time the picture was taken. Excellent, to tell the time all I had to do was to take a picture, review the picture and ‘voila’ sorry, ‘Uei!’ {way – Hey!}

BTW ‘Italics’ or ‘Italics’ are a way of individualising words or sentences, but based on my being in Italy, Italics are all well and good, but I just used ‘voila’ in italics – shouldn’t I have used ‘Frantics’ for that?



Domani, y domain, y domain – Spanish, I know, but it’s all part of the work process

Checked on my Kindle (in uno spare momento) that the Macbeth ‘Tomorrow x3’ speech was the same in the Spanish version of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth (Espethial Editiano) – NT [Not True – as per mi}. Obviously, it wasn’t, so I may have to do a rewrite of my ‘Manana (Always Comes A Day Too Late For Me)’ song lyrics – or just keep with the half-learnt phrases I already have.




English-Type Weather Imported Especially For You!

Bit of rain to dampen the spirits? Nah, just reminds me of home for about a nano-second, then I realise that home is nothing like this, there’s no Vesuvius for starters! I’m not saying that it’s gone – are you really paying attention? – There’s no Vesuvius at home. And at home it’s raining and in single figures, whilst here it’s a light showering of rain and still 20 degrees or thereabouts (which requires some sort of humidity reference, but I’m no meteorologist – more a meteorologist, which is a play on my metering occupation of work).

It’s not as windy today as it was yesterday, but it will get dryer and warmer very soon (and as I’m typing this up later, I know that was the case).

BTW – in the hotel I have just heard an elderly gentleman introducing himself to another guest: “Mi chiamo Nemo!” Make your own observations here. EBTW


TAWC (Time and Weather Check) Sunday 6th – 12.43pm CET (allegedly) wind has picked up, rain has packed up, sun is shining and what am I doing sat here typing up this… waffle? Perhaps avoiding the midday sun, perhaps avoiding the temptation of a walk down into Sorrento, we’ll see how well I can avoid temptation.

NB Provide Oscar Wilde reference to how well he could avoid temptation.



EN (Editorial Note) – I am typing up from notes taken and memories recollected from previously – rather than make up stuff and hope it happens – so it all adds up to a random creation process, but bear with it as it can only get bet- okay, I won’t tempt fate. Enjoy!


BTW – we Brits are rubbish at languages. I mean I swotted up on all the things that I could say in Italian to get a room for Hollie, my daughter, for a room for five nights, half-board in the hotel, arriving on Sunday 13th May and leaving Friday 18th May. Which conversation should have gone something like this:

G:                      Buongiorno

Receptionist:   Buongiorno

G:                      Avete una camera singola per mi figlia per cinque notti, per favore?

R                       Quando, signore?  

G                       La settimana: Dal tredici Maggio al diciotto Maggio?


R                       Si, signore.

G                       Quanto costa?

And so on…


And did it go like that? As I say us Brits (or is it just mi) are rubbish at languages – and it doesn’t help that everybody else speaks English – so, let’s collectively hold our heads in shame. I did try, but still I should be dealing with the basics of ‘left, right, left, right’ when walking and not be trying to translate the Bible into Italian.

End of BTW

Text Box: Orange – but not oranges







Seeing the above (unless it’s now below, or alongside, or missing altogether – in which case you’ve got little chance of following this) diagram, it requires that I give you some form of explanation

BTW exclaim becomes exclamation; reclaim becomes reclamation, and maintain becomes maintenance, so where do all these rules come from? Updates later. End of BTW


Well, it’s like this: my mind takes a simple idea and makes it into a mind-numbingly, or mind-curdlingly, strange and difficult-to-get-to-grips-with conundrum, baked inside an enigma, served with a puzzle type of something, followed by large amounts of alcohol, a lie (or lay) down, recuperation and, ultimately, therapy.

So. I’m walking down the pleasant and leafy lanes of the mountain-side. As the mountain-side goes at about 60 degrees (of separation? Sorry!) from horizontal, they made a path from way up top to way down to the town in a standardised zigzag way. Trying to reduce the length of the path (and consequently increasing the degree) the zigzags come in at about 25-35 degrees (I didn’t have my protractor with me – I knew at school that eventually I would find a use for it; calculating acute angles of footpaths in the Campania region of Italy being it so far).

Anyway, alongside the footpaths, and famed throughout… places, are some extensive orange and lemon groves (usually separately, but not always). Growing alongside these are many olive groves (but as olives are out of season at the moment – and less visually attractive due to their not being oranges or lemons, or orange or yellow, we’ll concentrate on the oranges and lemons).

The thought came into my mind (hurrah, at last! I hear) that: is it the case that all oranges are orange? Obviously all that is not orange are not oranges, but are all oranges… orange? If it is an orange, but not coloured orange, is it accurate to call it an orange? Lemons are yellow, but the colour lemon is used to describe things that are the colour of lemons (BWM – Bear With Me) yet lemons are not described as lemon, they are described as yellow. If I bring ‘greens’ as ‘eat your greens!’ into the equation (but not the diagram… yet) does this further confuse my inquisition (can I mention ‘an’ ‘inquisition’ as long as it’s not ‘the’ ‘inquisition’; and having just mentioned ‘the’ ‘inquisition’ am I liable to being in trouble? – perhaps I should use the term ‘inquiry’ – although the Spanish Inquiry would never have made the impact in history that the Sp***** Inq********* did).

NB don’t mention the fact that I was thinking of a Spinach Inquisition.

BTW How many ways are there of actually fitting a key card into the key mechanism outside your room (making sure it is ‘your’ room)? Well, let’s consider it. The card is rectangular (I haven’t seen any square ones – as that ‘would’ increase the difficulty to… anyway, where was I) rectangular, so there are really only four ways of inserting it. 3 incorrect and one correct, but you could insert the card the incorrect way a number of times – if you were silly, or blind, in which case the cards would hopefully be marked with a braille type of mark to assist correct insertion. I seem to manage on the second attempt, having tried once wrongly, I take the time to look at the instructions and the card and combine the knowledge thereby gained – usually, but not always, that is the key (sorry) to success. I mean to say, why did they stop using actual ‘keys’? did you ever try to insert a key in backwards or upside down? Well, I suppose ‘upside down, maybe, but there’s progress in action for you, or progress ‘inaction’. See what I did there? EBTW






Useful Italian Phrases (Well, you never know!)


Che ora e (Eccles)? – ke-o-ra e (e-kul-tsa)? What time is it, (Eccles)?

Ha venti anni! – a ven-tee a-nee! – She is twenty years old!

Ho finito! – (o fee-nee-to!) – I’ve finished!

Il conto – eel con-to – the bill

Non bevo! – non be-vo! – I don’t drink alcohol!


3 responses to “An Idiot’s (me) Guide to Sorrento (the one in Italy)

  1. LOL! Bravissimo … molto divertente ho riso tanto … la prossima volta, prova a visitare la mia regione: Trentino Alto Adige … avvendo le Prealpi e Dolomiti rende molto più divertente calcolare le pendenzei!

    • Thank you – only learnt enough Italian to get me through my Sorrento / Naples / Rome / Capri holiday – Ciao! Ciao! I still use when delivering to Carluccino’s in Oxford – they tend to look at me a bit weird (I think they are from the far north of Italy, near Kiev). Though, I did get a Ciao! there last week. I remembered my Prego and had a smile on that. G:)

      • Ah … the Italians from Kiev … we’ve got a few here too! Actually when I went back to the States I was surprised that many of the Italians there spoke some obscure Italian dialect from like 1870 or something, very few knew what I was babbling about. I did love your post though, it reminded me of when I first arrived here some 45 years ago and just knew how to say: Ciao and spaghetti 😉

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