I’m sitting on a sea blue tiled sundeck on the top floor of the Hotel del Mare in Marina Grande which is a tiny village near Sorrento, Italy. It can be reached by car, or by walking down the winding steps from Sorrento that are wedged between tall buildings and lead through the ancient gate. Laundry hangs from windows, shutters are thrown open, and curtains are ruffling in the ocean breeze.
It’s late, but the sky is still a lovely blue, and I know that up the hill, “the stroll” hasn’t quite begun on the streets that will close to the incessant motor scooters, and vendors are spreading out their offerings of limoncello, and pottery, scarves, and hats. Restauranteurs are handing out flyers of their menus, hoping that passersby will consider coming back for an evening meal.
The sun has finally dipped behind the cliff that rises sharply above our little hotel, giving us relief from the sun which has been so relentless. Across the bay, Vesuvius is still shrouded in the haze that has kept it hidden since we’ve arrived, but that hasn’t stopped me from wondering what it must have been like more than 2,000 years ago to have one’s life so rudely interrupted.
For us, Sorrento has been the ice pack one might apply to sore muscles. Rome was so hot, and so enormous, so amazing, we had to have walked at least to Africa and back while we were there. Exhaustion was impending. Okay, so maybe a few more things caused that which I’ll tell later. But now, it’s all about sitting on this deck, detecting the hint of something — anything with garlic — waft up from the restaurants below, listening to the little church of the something having to do with virgins bell ring every fifteen minutes, and gazing at people on the road high above on the cliff staring down over the rail, most likely wondering how they might get down to this lovely place instead of where they are.
We swam today. Nothing could have been more perfect than dipping into the warm water to wash off the persistent sweat that will not have any effect on the numbers my scale reports to me at the end of this vacation. But no matter. The water was a calm, deep teal, and so buoyant. Or maybe that was my Reubenesqueness keeping me afloat. Who knows? But the last time I was in the Mediterranean was when I was 12 and my family was living in Spain. I don’t remember it being this lovely, ever. I also don’t remember anyone having to pay to swim. I’ll spare you the pain of what our wanting to rid ourselves from heat and humidity cost us. You’d only consider us idiots. And that’s okay, because we know it was completely worth it. Ahhhhh…..
My head is full. There are so many sights and sounds, tastes, and aromas, I’m not sure where I can keep them all. I love this place.
We’re off to Florence tomorrow. I’ll miss this little place by the ocean that seems so different than the ocean I live very near to. But vacations are like that, aren’t they?