Saturday 20 August 2005. We walk from our hotel in St Agnello into Sorrento as we have booked a boat trip to the Isle of Capri.
The first sight of the harbour makes us blink a bit as it is a long way down a very steep street, that has to double back on itself a couple of times in order to get down the cliff. Our guide meets us at the bottom and ushers us onto a boat, sticking a small badge onto everybody. His name his Gino. The badges say Gino. "Hey-a you are all-a Gino today, yes?" he laughs.
The view from the water gives the best idea of the height of the cliffs. But more than that, it gives some idea of the sheer (whoops was that a pun?) beauty of the place. Before we arrived we had no idea of what Sorrento was like apart from it being where it was, on the Bay of Naples. Had it been the most horrendous place on earth, it would still have been a great location as a base for exploring the region.
To come, during this week are trips to Capri, which we are now setting off towards, to the Roman ruins of Pompeii and Vesuvius, a wild careening bus ride to Positano along the mountainous and beautiful Amalfi Drive, and Amalfi itself.
But for now, aaaay... it's-a Gino, introducing himself as our guide for the day's trip to Capri. Mum's already singing Gracie Fields songs and wallowing in nostalgia of "Ow-er Gracie" and already our fellow passengers are starting to edge away from us... Surreptitiously I hear the French girl next to me ask Gino whether the Captain has a plank that he could run out from the side... but there is no time, Toulouse, we are on our way out of the harbour!
The lazy beggars on the tall ship haven't even got the sails up yet as we round the harbour wall and sail down past a more romantic way of sailing. Ok... Capri, here we come...
We settle down to enjoy the trip with the sun beating down on us and my new trusty hat adorning my noble brow. "Are you going to wear that all week?" asks Fran worriedly...
Once clear of the harbour we turn along the Sorrento peninsula and towards Capri which can be seen, four miles from the mainland. Mum was humming Gracie Fields songs already. It's going to be a long day... Join us for the next exciting episode to see if she survives.