Sorrento by Day

This morning we headed for the lift once more. This time the drains smell was unadulterated. Once up in the lift we headed over to look down at rock edged rectangles of the Lido far below. From here it looked idyllic, arrays of sunbeds and people swimming and floating about on airbeds. We retired to one of the cafes looking out over the Bay and sipped cappuccinos to the accompaniment of the O Solo Mio on the accordion. Lara is counting how many times we hear it today and so far is up to three, including the lift music on our way up.

Our first stop was to visit the church, imposingly high, filled with the standard painted and plaster saints. Lara and I went down into the lower chapel, which housed arrays of small silver plaques cast in the shape of people, infants and, rather oddly, legs from below the knee. They were presented on the walls around the alter behind glass panels, like a display of medals. Some of the figures wore classic draperies and others fifties style clothing. We assumed they were memorials, chosen from prototypes fashionable at one time or other. We rejoined John and went outside to look in the cloister. It was a lovely peaceful space, but a wedding was in progress, so we did not linger. Outside the church a small white horse and carriage stood waiting in the shade to spirit the happy couple away. Already guests of the next wedding were arriving in a large open topped car, which was not allowed to wait, so the driver roared off down the street after dropping them off. Next we retraced our steps of last night and explored the old town with Lara fearlessly photographing the goods on display. Stopped in our tracks by a waterfall of molten chocolate in one window we went in and were given samples of delicious sweets and tiny biscuits with soft centers. We bought some traditional limonchella sweets and a box of mixed biscuits as they reminded me of the ones we had at Aigues Morte last year. Lara fancied some cherries, but we decided they were best bought on our way back.

We emerged from the old town near the cliffs on the way down to the old harbour. None of us could face the trek down to explore further, so we sat on a form in the shade. The wedding pony and trap arrived and did a natty reverse park, which caused the driver to praise his little steed and blow kisses. The horse put his best foot forward and bow. Neither of them could see us watching from above. Just as they were settled the tourist train came by and the horse and carriage had to pull forward to let the train turn. Next on the scene were the bride and groom, trailing their photographer, who had a great time capturing the veil billowing about in front of the view. The photo shoot ended with the couple in the carriage, stowing such yards of lace and veil there was little room for the groom. They set off at a trot with the photographer jogging alongside. We sat a moment longer and then went for a walk along the front. We called back for Lara’s cherries and I think the shop man remembered her and was all smiles that she had returned. On our way back to the lift we passed a roof top restaurant away from all the crowds and so had a light lunch amongst the bougainvilleas.

We were having a post lunch siesta on Lyra, when the sound of a brass band caused me to sit up from where I was lounging in the cockpit and look around. Sure enough a uniformed band of young people were marching along the dock from the ferry. They carried banners and were accompanied by smartly dressed adults, naval officers in whites and a handful of nuns. I called to John and Lara, who were resting below. John came up the companionway stairs and Lara popped up from her hatch and we watched them march up the steps and head into town, waved on by a clown on stilts. A second band from Pompeii brought up the rear with more banners and supporters. They all trouped back about an hour later, when they had gained a group of cheerleaders with glittering pom-poms, but had lost the nuns. They marched back onto the ferry like children following the Pied Piper.

Do not think our lunch out stopped us returning to the garden restaurant for another evening of their glorious food. This time we had reserved a table over the phone, but were pleased to be given the same table and the same waiter, who seemed happy to see us too. This time our table was adorned with an arrangement of coral roses; they put out flowers to denote the reserved tables, a clever strategy in such a large space, but how on earth did they know we were us? This time I had lamb chops and fabulous mushrooms, but was sure to leave room for desert and managed a pear and ricotta baked cheesecake with some of Lara’s strawberries. Heaven.

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