Where’s Mamma Mia?

We had a very early morning flight from Athens to Naples (via Rome), and we were set to meet Mama Farmer and her traveling buddy Candy at the airport, as they were arriving a couple hours after us – so we thought.

Our flights went flawlessly, and we sat around and had paninis while we waited. But as we stood outside customs watching the last passengers from their flight exit through sliding doors, we started to wonder if they’d made it. Finally I caught the attention of someone who looked like a tarmac worker with an orange vest, and thought it became clear that he only spoke Italian, he got the picture of what I was asking: “Is there anyone left back there?”

Unfortunately the answer was “no.” So we boarded the Curreri bus for Sorrento without them, hoping they would get us a message somehow. Clearly they weren’t coming right away.

We enjoyed the scenic drive, which at times hugged the coast. We finally reached Sorrento, where the bus dropped us at the train station and we grabbed a cab to Hotel Desiree’ on the outskirts of town.

Sorrento is most situated on the top of cliff that drops straight down to the sea. Our hotel was small and quaint – could almost be called spartan. But it was clean, fresh and had the main things we were looking for: a bed, an ocean view and breakfast. Oh yeah, nice staff. So nice, in fact, that they were waiting with a message from Mama Farmer that they had missed their flight in Paris and would be arriving on the same flight the next day.

It was pretty chilly (given that it was January and we were on the water), but we ventured the mile or so into town on foot to explore. Our overall takeaway: it’s a Christmas tourist hub! Lights and decorations everywhere, along with lots of Italians strolling the streets, popping in and out of a mix of high-end shops and tourist-grade specialty boutiques hawking purses, scarves and lemoncello. The main square had a huge Christmas tree of lights. All very festive.

I was especially enamored with one of the purse boutiques, but refrained as usual from buying anything since our packing space was at a premium.

We walked the main streets, then down a side street to an overlook of the sea.

We about froze – it was cold, damp and windy. The good news was that we saw a cute pizza place and made a mental note to come back later for dinner. Our final stop en route back to the hotel was a low-end cafe that appeared to have internet access – except we had to have our passports in order to use it, which we didn’t have along. So we settled for coffee and a pastry.

Later we walked back downtown for dinner, and it didn’t disappoint. It was one of our favorite restaurants in Italy, and the pizza, salad, wine and cozy casual atmosphere were just what we needed. Then it was off to bed.

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