The day we left Capri it was overcast and threatening rain. I climbed Monte Solaro one last time and got some views with clouds. The atmosphere presented a brooding mood. It gave me a whole new perspective.
The ferry carried us to Sorrento in less than half the time it took from Naples. We stayed in a B & B in Sant’Agnello, the next town east of Sorrento on the way to Naples. There is a convenient and useful commuter line, The Curcumvesuviana , that runs into the heart of Naples with a stop at Pompeii . We planned three nights in Sant’Agnello which effectively gave us two full days. One for Pompeii and the other for a tour of the Amalfi Coast. Alas, the best laid plans —-.
Our B & B served us well, even if it was somewhat nondescript. The breakfast and coffee were good and our hostess helpful. She advised us to go to Pompeii the next day as it was a national holiday and the entrance would be free. We set out for Pompeii with great expectations of a day of discovery and wonder. When we arrived at the gates, they were closed. It seems the Italians who worked there decided they deserved a holiday too. These kind of events are common in Italy and include spur of the moment rail strikes.
Plan B was to travel back towards Sorrento and get off at Castallammare di Stabia where a cable car was to whisk up to Monte Faito . The mountain offers hiking and spectacular views of the Bay Naples as well as both sides of the Sorrento Peninsula.
We were packed and stacked on the Circumvesuviana mostly with a large group of Slavs. To me, all their languages sound almost the same. Upon getting off the train, I felt relieved to be free of the crowd. The platform was almost empty when I started down the steps that led to the underpass of the tracks. I heard a voice from above asking me in English if I could help him out. He was standing on the platform with his wife and toddler in a stroller. So I started up the steps and when I arrived he explained to me that there were two thugs waiting below to mug us.
Since I was facing the young man, I didn’t see them when they appeared at the bottom of the steps cursing the lot of us. My wife saw them gesturing. Yikes!! We missed a very bad time by seconds. If that guy and his family hadn’t been there, we would have lost all our valuables and been roughed up badly. The young Italian explained that these guys were drug addicts who hung around the station waiting to prey on unsuspecting tourists. He said they had been in and out prison.
We got on the next train with the young family and rode all the way to Sorrento marveling at our good fortune. and breathing sighs of relief. Plan C was to wander around with the holiday crowds in Sorrento. We visited the Giardini di Cafaldo, a wonderfully restful and relaxing orange and lemon grove which produces lemon liquors – Limoncellos.
As we were stepping off a curb in the middle of Sorrento, my wife Ada stumbled and started to fall backward, only to be caught by the wife of the young man who had rescued us from our near mugging. Upon righting Ada, she said in Italian “How many times do I have to rescue you. That day we truly had some guardian angels.