It's nice to sleep in, but it would have been more beneficial had the night yielded more sleep. After having hung the wash on the traveller's clothesline (in the bathroom, to minimize scrutiny by hotel management), I wanted to maintain as much airflow through the room as possible. Thus, we left the windows open. Mistake! By evening, Corso d'Italia becomes a pedestrian area -- which is an improvement over the car and truck traffic, by all means. However, on a Friday night, not everyone is quietly strolling the street. There's hollering and laughing and yakking. There's someone who just has to try out his electronic bullhorn, including the siren feature! And then, a bunch of fireworks goes off in the town square, 1/2 block away. The street re-fills with noisy vehicles by 4 AM. Though we got to bed early and woke up late, we probably got a little less sleep than usual, all told. Tonight, we'll use the A/C.
After a late breakfast, at which we find at least 8 or more tour members who have decided to give Capri a pass, we venture off into town. The "Lemon Garden" is pretty much just that. A bunch of (not terribly well kept) lemon trees. The young lady in charge of dispensing samples of the local products (various liqueurs including limoncello, olive oil, etc.) has not yet finished setting up her table, even though it's 20 minutes past opening time. This isn't Switzerland, after all.
We take the opportunity to do some window shopping. Brig stops at many jewelry stores. I stop at most pasticcerias and bakeries. We sample a few more liqueurs along the way. In particular, we encounter a store that is selling wild strawberry liqueur, complete with something like half the bottle filled with strawberries. We're standing around, trying to decide whether we want to take a small bottle, when an elderly gentleman comes over and points out a small sign, indicating that patrons can ask to sample any liqueur for free. Would we like to try some wild strawberry liqueur? We make it ourselves, he indicates, and it is only sold here. (No doubt, only this store sells the liqueur that they make -- I'm pretty sure I've noticed this same concoction elsewhere, though not with this many berries in it.) Certainly! We're each handed a cup. The aroma is heavenly. We're hooked. The big bottle for us. He also points out a blueberry liqueur, and a "red blueberry" liqueur. ("red blueberry" == currant, though the gentleman insists it is not) We ask for a taste of each. They are both very good. We buy a small bottle of each. And that, I hope, will do it for fragile souvenirs that can threaten our baggage if mishandled!
Sorrento is also famous for its inlaid woodwork. After the liquor/liqueur stores, the second most numerous kind of store is the inlaid wood store. We look through some truly beautiful stuff, including an elegant music box (€50), before deciding to pass on it. We already have plenty of undisplayed souvenirs of previous trips at home, tucked away in closets and drawers.
While at the inlay store, the owner mentions a beautiful cloister (depicted in an inlay piece they're selling on consignment) as well as a huge inlaid door at the church. We find the cloister -- it's not really much to see, though the inlay artwork makes it look a lot nicer. While searching for the church door, we stumble upon a wedding in progress.
We return to one of the bakeries to pick up some items for lunch. A nice slice of escarole pie; a fritter with potato, ham, and cheese; and a rice arancia (orange), also with some meat and cheese and vegetables in it. The latter item is described as an "orange" because of its size and shape. It's apparent, after biting in, that it's been colored orange, too, before being brought to a golden brown by deep-frying. (€6.40)
We lay out our feast, along with an apple from yesterday and some fresh figs (4 perfectly ripe purple figs, €0.70). We also break out the cheese and wine left over from yesterday. The hotel balcony makes the perfect place to savor our booty.
Erin and Brenda turn up as we finish our meal, enjoying some gelato. We chat a bit, and then take a siesta.
We stroll the Corso Italia for a little last minute window-shopping, before joining the group for dinner at Pizzeria Giardiniello for a pizza dinner. The meal begins with a simple tomato and greens salad in a vinaigrette. The tomatoes are very tasty -- not the orange baseballs served in the U.S. And there are black olives and the usual good italian bread. Everyone orders their own pizza, and these are the equivalent of a "small" pizza for each person! That's way too much. I usually make that size pizza for dinner for Brigid and me, and there's usually a couple of pieces left over for lunch! Anyway, after some confusion with people not recognizing what they ordered, everyone has their pizza. I get the seafood pizza, with squid, mussels, and clams. The bivalves come complete with shells! Bits of mussel and clam shell flake off into the pizza, but I'm able to fish most of them out. It's pretty good pizza, but leaving the shells on? That's just silly. When I employ Alton Brown's recipe, my pizza usually turns out the same or better. Brigid gets a cheese and sausage pizza, with "rocket", which seems to be arugala, or a similar green leafy. Also pretty good.
Everyone orders their own drinks as well. This ends up boiling down to half or full liters of vino rosso or bianco. There's more confusion getting those orders straight, of course. And acqua gassata o non gassata. In the end, the water and wine gets bundled into the main bill (it's usually supposed to be billed individually, but that generally requires above-and-beyond organization by guides, as waiters just don't want to deal with it. No matter -- this just impacts the overall for-everyone discretionary budget. There'll probably be one less "included" meal, or a reduced end-of-tour party...
Dessert is at the gelateria beneath our hotel window. Brigid gets a cone with limone de Sorrento and pistachio. I get a cup with pistachio and caprese (a chocolate concoction). Here's a hint for you: Although a cup of gelato yields a more leisurely and civilized experience, you get much more gelato if you buy a cone!
Anyway, it looks like we can sleep in again tomorrow. We're not meeting until 9:45. The A/C is on and the windows are closed. It's MUCH quieter. Perhaps I can catch up on sleep tonight!