Halftime in Sorrento


I’m about half way through my time in Sorrento as of today, and I’ll jump right into the cool stuff this time – this past week, I had the chance to visit the triple combo of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Mount Vesuvius – check out some pics:

The streets of Pompeii (bonus snap chat filter)
Pompeii Amphitheater
Overlook of Herculaneum

It was very interesting to compare the huge city of Pompeii to the smaller city of Herculaneum, and then to visit the volcano that preserved both of these cities in history. One thing I found interesting in Pompeii was the Amphitheater that still remains there – one of the oldest Roman arenas that predates the Coliseum in Rome by 140 years (although it’s much smaller of course, but it was very interesting to put it in perspective like this, since I have seen the Coliseum in person as well.) The ruins in Herculaneum, on the other hand, are actually even better preserved than those of Pompeii, and it was also really interesting to see the ruins of Herculaneum sitting alongside the modern city of Herculaneum today. The most fun for me ended up being the journey up to the top of Mount Vesuvius. A bus took us almost all the way to the top, and then we hiked the rest of the way to get a great view overlooking the city of Naples, as well as getting to see the crater of Mount Vesuvius itself.

View of Naples from Mount Vesuvius
Mount Vesuvius crater

To make this site seeing possible, I’ve had to find my way along the train system in the Sorrento area as well, and I’m definitely getting more comfortable with the public transport. The trip to Pompeii was interesting because there was a train strike that day (a common occurrence apparently), so we had to fit our trip in about a 4-hour time slot while the trains were still running. I’m also still enjoying my “quick Italian-speaking moments” throughout my travel experiences, like ordering my train tickets, or asking some questions to the bus driver for my Mount Vesuvius trip – it always depends who I’m talking to, but whenever I leave those short conversations without either sides having to say anything in English, I get pretty excited.

Also this week, I watched the World Cup final with some friends from school in town on Sunday. I’m a big sports fan and of course I have been watching many of the games up to this point, but I have also been enjoying listening to the Italian commentary of each match and picking up on whatever I can understand – for instance, “un gioco pericoloso” when a player makes a dangerous play, which is often followed by “gialla per lui” as the referee shows the yellow card. Back in week 1 when I spent the day in Rome with Francesca’s family, I also realized that the word for a “soccer goal” in Italian – “porta” – is also the same word to mean a “door”. We were talking about soccer, and they kept referring to “the door” as they explained something in English, as if I would know exactly what they meant, but it took me a minute to realize they were just describing the goal. It is always interesting to find fun little differences between our languages like that!

Lastly, one example of a local experience I am trying to do regularly now is visiting with the local summer camp for kids that I was introduced to last week. I got to visit again just briefly this week, and I’m slowly getting better at jumping into conversation when I can. It was a little easier at least when I got to talk with some of the younger kids, maybe 11 or 12 years old, at the camp this past visit. And it’s funny to hear how they are interested in things just like any American kid would be – they asked me things like who my favorite soccer team is (they were disappointed I am not a Napoli fan), and or if I like to play the video game Fortnite (according to one of the girls I met, there isn’t a single boy she knows that doesn’t play Fortnite, which sounds a lot like America to me). I’ve also picked up a few tips about the local dialect – one thing one of the camp counselors shared with me was that a common way to say the word “now” (which I learned as “ora” or “adesso” in Italian) is to say “mo” instead; then, if you want to say “right now”, you just repeat it and say “mo mo”. There’s even a restaurant in Sorrento with that name, and now I know what it means!

Hopefully the second half of my stay in Sorrento will be even better, (and maybe I will improve on my picture taking quality too), but until next time, ciao!