Dreaming of some Southern Sunshine

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OK, I admit it. I kind of cheated on this one. I’ve been dying to write another post, but with a week filled with job interviews and tasks, as well as catching a cold, I haven’t found time to do much stuff besides sleeping; you and me both know that’s not worth a ‘gram. So under a grey sky and snow looming in Paris, I decided to take full advantage of #flashbackfriday to reminisce on my break to southern Italy in November.

Our trip got off to a very stressful start. We made the mistake of taking an Uber Pool to the airport and so arrived just as check-in was closing for our flight. In the run-up to our break, my weather app had promised sunny days and unheard of temperatures for late November. However, as our luck would have it, when we landed in Naples, the rain was pouring down on the city. Trying not to let this dampen our spirits, we headed into the historic centre for some pizza. After believing we were in a disarrayed queue for a good 20 minutes, we realised we had to give the waiter our name for a table. My boyfriend and I were starting to believe we had been cursed with all the bad luck we were having.

This all changed when the food arrived. As we were in the home of the pizza, it would have been rude not to head to Sorbillo – one of the most famed pizzerias in the city. We both chose the speck, mushroom and mozzarella pizza and a glass of red wine. Now, I don’t know what the French had been serving me all these years with mozzarella di bufala as this was out of this world. I’d never tasted anything so good! Feeling much more relaxed than a few hours beforehand, we spent the rest of the day walking around the historic centre of Naples. We were slightly disappointed by Naples as each beautiful building was ruined by scrawls of graffiti. Despite this, we managed to eat ourselves into a food-induced coma with the variety of complimentary apéro snacks and copious amount of pasta on offer in their bars and restaurants.

The next day, as the sun came out, we decided to explore further afield. After grabbing an early lunch (we had learnt our lesson from the day before) with a pizza in one of the oldest pizzerias in Naples, Da Michele, we took a train to Pompeii to visit the ruins of the ancient city engulfed by volcanic ash in the 79 AD eruption of neighbouring Mount Vesuvius. Before visiting, I’d only seen a few photographs of the people who lived here buried in volcanic ash, so I was taken aback by the size of this city, the level of preservation that exists here and the sight of the volcano, looking deceivingly peaceful in the distance.

Earlier in Naples, we had taken a ride with a chatty taxi driver who advised us to visit Sorrento, as he said it was the most beautiful spot in southern Italy. And so, after grabbing some well-deserved gelato, we hopped on another train to see what all the fuss was about.

Our luck had definitely shifted as we arrived on the opening night of their famed Christmas illuminations. Sorrento was a different world – there was an authentic and picturesque feeling to the city, which was the polar opposite of the graffitied streets we’d strolled around in Naples. After we’d worked up an appetite admiring the colourful architecture, we decided on Da Gigino; a cute restaurant hidden in a side street. We started with some parma ham and mozzarella di bufala (of course) followed by the best carbonara I had ever tasted and a mushroom risotto, all finished off with lambrusco, an Italian sparkling red wine. I would return to this romantic spot in a heartbeat, so if you’re in Sorrento, be sure to check this place out.

We had an early afternoon flight back to Paris the following day, so after enjoying breakfast on the rooftop terrace and a cheeky final pizza, we headed to the airport, not wanting to risk a repeat of our taxi fiasco a few days earlier. The surreal view of the volcano in the distance as we were preparing for take-off on the runway was the perfect ending to our weekend exploring the delights of Southern Italy. With this on my mind, I plan to spend the remainder of my Friday planning out our next mini-adventure at the end of the month to Budapest. It’s a hard life I lead, am I right?!

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