I wonder how, I wonder why?Fool’s Garden
Yesterday you told me ’bout the blue, blue sky,
And all that I could see
Was just another lemon tree.
This morning we got up at 8.00am once again, and eagerly went out onto our balcony to have a look around. The Pursuit was at anchor again, this time off the famous and picturesque Amalfi coastline, with the town of Sorrento on top of a steep cliff. We had never been to Sorrento before and we couldn’t wait to explore. We didn’t have any excursions booked as we had heard there was a lot to do and see in the town. In any case, most of the excursions took you away from Sorrento, to the neighbouring towns of Naples or Pompeii or the Isle of Capri, all of which we had been to before.
We partook of a leisurely breakfast as usual in the Windows Café, and afterwards walked out onto the rear deck. The tables in the Windows Café extend onto the decks through sliding glass doors, one at each side of the ship. In the gorgeous mid-may Mediterranean climate, the tables were nearly always occupied you had to be up early to enjoy an al fresco breakfast.
We then returned to 6062 and collected what we’d need to go ashore, including the necessary photo ID and proof of vaccination (not that anyone had thus far asked to see them). Then we went along to The Den to collect a tender ticket, but were advised that one was not needed today, so we just made our way to Deck 3 and the short queue for the liberty boat.
Once again we enjoyed an exhilarating ride across, but we were sitting on the wrong side of the boat to get any good views of the Pursuit at anchor. In any case, I hoped to be able to get some photos across the Bay of Naples once we reached the centre of Sorrento on the cliff top.
Alighting at the other side, we walked along in the already-hot sunshine towards the base of the cliff; we had seen signs advising that there was a lift to the top. On the way, we passed a sign saying “Peter’s Beach” and saw a long, man-made pebbly strand containing sun-loungers and umbrellas for hire, as well as a small landing stage from which ferries sailed to Capri and small pleasure craft moored. The water was crystal clear and very inviting. Tempting though it would have been to bring our towels and cossies, we really wanted to spend the time exploring; after all, if you’re just going to sunbathe and swim, you can do that anywhere, including at the pool deck on the ship.
We continued towards the lift and went through a short tunnel to a barrier, next to which was a glass booth and a surly man issuing the tickets for the lift. They were only a couple of euros each and there wasn’t any queue, so we took our places for the short ascent to the top of the cliff. We looked forward to the views and were not disappointed.
After taking in the breathtaking views across the Bay of Naples we walked for a short way before coming to a large church; a sign outside proclaimed it to be the Church of Saint Frances. We were too close to it to get a good photo of the outside, but managed to take a couple of the calm interior and its amazingly ornate altar.
As we continued strolling slowly along, there was not a cloud in the blue, blue sky as we walked over the cobbled streets and took in the sights, scents and colours of Sorrento.
As I needed the loo, we decided a cold beer was in order so we could have a drink and use the restrooms afterwards. We therefore spotted a lively pavement bar and, sitting at a table ordered ourselves a Peroni each, which was served to us along with a small bowl of locally-grown olives – yum yum. 🙂
There were lots of shops selling souvenirs, bright clothing, lace, marquetry (for which Sorrento is famed) flowers and fruit and vegetables, and of course one of its most famous products, limoncello, as well as (of course) Italian ice cream. As we walked along we spotted a sign saying I Giardini di Cataldo which had a board up outside in both Italian and English inviting you to take a tour around the lemon grove; entry was free.
The colours! I have never seen a more colourful place, predominantly yellows and oranges, pinks and purples and blue. Oranges and lemons grew everywhere, and beautiful vivid flowers burst forth from trees and shrubs. The bright colours had a very cheering effect; I would imagine you could never stay depressed or sad in Sorrento for long. The oranges and lemons were huge, in some cases the lemons dwarfed the plump juicy oranges; there were also mandarins growing in the green leafy shades. What a wonderful place!
Of course, with the place having its own lemon grove it was able to produce food, drink and other souvenirs made from the abundant fruit and juice. There was a small limoncello-making and bottling plant as well as jars of home-made marmalade and lemon-scented soaps and creams, as well as a variety of lemon-flavoured confectionary. The scent in the air was gorgeous. You could taste the limoncello before buying; in fact they made other liqueurs as well, from the oranges and mandarins. As I am not too much of a fan of limoncello (it reminds me of cold Lemsip!) I tried the mandarin liqueur which was exquisite. We ended up purchasing three of the medium-sized bottles of limoncello to take back home as gifts for the family.
As we came out of the lemon grove and walked towards the pedestrianised main street, the bright yellow and orange colour theme continued as we passed the beautifully decorated and ornate shops. I loved the fruit stalls the best; the size of the lemons had to be seen to believed! In this photo, the oranges and pomegranates are of typical size, so look at the lemons in comparison!! 🙂
Passing through the sunny streets, we spotted a stall selling Aperol Spritz, so we each ordered one; it was full of ice and its bright orange colour was decorared with a slice of fresh orange and a cherry; it was cold and delicious and refreshing as we walked along.
Around 1.00pm, we decided to make our unhurried way back to the Pursuit, but this time we would go down the zizagging path to the beach instead of taking the lift. It allowed me to get some more photos of the ship in the bay, as well as use the impressive zoom on my phone camera to zoom right into the Pursuit.
What a thoroughly enjoyable morning we had had; we could understand why the Amalfi coast was so popular and why people came to visit Sorrento; I could certainly spend a week here, no problem. 🙂
Back at the harbour, we joined the short queue for the liberty boat back to the ship; in fact, we could see one making its way towards us. Once back on board, we dumped our stuff in 6062 and went up to the Windows Café for lunch, where I enjoyed a plate of crisp salad vegetables with Caesar dressing, washed down with a chilled glass of prosecco before going along to the pool deck.
The sun was very hot and the pool deck was fairly quiet, as a lot of people would still be ashore. We thought it would be a good time to have a leisurely swim, so we returned to our cabin, donned our swimsuits under our clothes, then went back to the pool deck where we procured a sunlounger each, spread our towels out, divested ourselves of our clothes and headed to the pool. The decking underfoot was unbearably hot, and we had to do an ungainly hopping dance before plunging into the delightfully-cool water. It was bliss! 🙂
We swam a few lengths and just glided along, enjoying the feel of the water. It was a salt water pool so it felt very buoyant, and swimming was not too much of an effort. We had to be careful not to stay out in the hot afternoon sun for too long, particularly as we hadn’t applied any sun screen. We therefore spent about 20 minutes in the pool before climbing out, wrapping ourselves in our large towels and ordering a frozen margherita each from a passing waiter. 🙂
After enjoying a second drink, we returned to 6062 where I got showered, washed and blow-dried my hair, changed into clean clothes then had a cheeky power nap. Afterwards we just spent the time in the usual pleasantly relaxing way, reading, watching TV, looking out on the balcony etc. until it was time to start getting ready for dinner, which we enjoyed in the Windows Café once again. Soon after seven o’clock, the Azamara Pursuit weighed anchor and we were on our way again.
As we returned to cabin 6062 afterwards and went out onto the balcony, hoping to catch the sunset in about 20 minutes’ time, when Trevor said “there’s something out there, in the sea”. At the same time we noticed that the Pursuit had turned in a large, sweeping circle, as was evidenced by the remains of her wake on the surface. Trevor, staring intently out to sea, said he thought it looked like an upturned boat! I got the binoculars and had a look and, sure enough, spotted the twin hulls of a catamaran that appeared to have turned turtle! Was somebody in trouble?
As we watched in consternation, the Pursuit slowed right down until she was barely moving, as Captain Mikael’s voice announced over the PA that they would sending three crew members out on the rescue boat to see if anyone was there and needed help. We watched the boat was lowered, the three crew members in their high-vis suits and hard hats, and it then sped towards the stricken boat, while we looked on. Arriving at the vessel, the crew spent a few minutes examining it, before returning to the ship. Evidently there was no-one around, and this was confirmed by another announcement from the captain who said that the Italian coastguard had been informed, along with the co-ordinates of the catamaran. Shortly afterwards, the Azamara Pursuit picked up speed and continued on her way. We were then rewarded by another amazing sunset.
Now that all the excitement was over (and, happily, no-one had been in any trouble) we went along to The Den to have a drink while we waited for the showlounge doors to open. This time we were able to sit in our usual seats, and we enjoyed a colourful all-singing, all-dancing performance called “A Million Dreams” by the Signature Singers and Dancers. As ever, it was an excellent and highly-enjoyable show by some really talented performers.
We finished the evening by going, as usual, to the Living Room, but it was fairly quiet up there and we didn’t see any of the ‘regulars’, so we just had a couple of drinks and returned to The Den for a nightcap. We were back in our cabin by about 11.20pm, very early for us when we are on holiday, but we had an early start tomorrow as we were due to go on an all-day excursion, and we wanted to wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
Once again, we slept very well after a wonderful and interesting day. 🙂