Memories of a Sorrento Sunset

Smile for an Ice Cream

This photo is of my daughter, Jacqueline, on the quayside above the beach in Sorrento, Italy. It was taken during on the first day of a family holiday in July 2005.

Jackie in Sorrento

Part of the reason for her huge smile was that we had just found a little cafe that sold chicken nuggets and chips – probably especially for fussy English children – and ice cream!

We had just been to a lovely little restaurant for dinner. My husband, Greg, and I had really enjoyed the rich flavours of the freshly-cooked Italian food and, although we had ordered plain chicken, plain potatoes and plain vegetables for Jacqueline, she had pushed her food around her plate and refused to eat it. We were treated to a full-scale pouty, scowly face that only a 9 year old girl can muster up, when presented with new food she has decided she is not even going to try.

We went for a walk along the harbour, just as the first glimmers of this stunning sunset were starting to appear. Jacqueline suddenly brightened up as she spotted the cafe, selling her two favourite foods. Guess where we ate for the rest of the holiday!

The sunset developed into this flaming red and orange display that spread right across the whole Bay of Naples.

Jacqueline agreed to have her photo taken with the sunset behind her, once she had got her Dad to promise to buy her an ice-cream!

From talking to people around it seems that spectacular sunsets are quite common in July in this area. The following evening, Greg decided to bring his tripod and full photographic equipment to capture what he called some “really good shots” of the sunset. Unfortunately nature was not playing ball and none of the other sunsets quite matched this one.

Trek up Mount Vesuvius

On this particular day, we had got up at 3am to travel from the Midlands to Manchester Airport for an early morning flight, which arrived in Naples at 10am and then collected the hire car to drive to Sorrento.

We had flown in over the vast, sprawling mass of land that is Mount Vesuvius. It is an awesome sight and I felt quite a sense of vulnerability, knowing that this volcano is technically classed as “dormant,” meaning it could erupt at any time!

As we drove along the bottom of Mount Vesuvius, Jacqueline suddenly became aware of cars and coaches turning off the main road and decided that was wanted to go up to the top of the mountain.

We drove up as far as we could, which was about half way and then followed the well-trodden path to the top. At the bottom, there was an old couple offering walking sticks to the pilgrims and travellers. There was no charge for this service, however a donation seemed to be appreciated. We offered them 5 euros and Jacqueline was given a little statue of Mount Vesuvius made from the rock lava – and a big smile from those wise faces.

Walking up that mountain in the blazing sunshine at 11 o’clock on Mediterranean Summer’s day made me realise just how unfit I was. Jacqueline heroically marched ahead, with the occasional glance over her shoulder and the expression on her face that said “Keep up, Mother!”

When we got to the top, one of the first things we saw was the remnants of the old mountain railway track that had once made light work of that calf-burning hike we had just undertaken. It appears that during World War II, fighter planes had thrown bombs at the Volcano. This, quite naturally, incurred the wrath of the Lady Vesuvius, so she spat hot lava back at them. Apparently her angry shaking broke up the railway tracks to the point where they were deemed to be beyond repair, meaning tourists now have to walk!

The view from the top was well worth the effort. We could see for miles, including looking down on the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, which were destroyed when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79AD.

All of this we packed into the first day, so it was lovely to sit by the harbour, sipping a coffee and watching this glorious sunset fill the skies. It was the perfect end to a very interesting day.

Amanda Goldston

This is my entry to the Olympic Holidays #SnapASunset competition.

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