44 Mechanical misery and making the most of it

World famous and a popular holiday destination since the belle epoque; Sorrento is a place we didn’t want to skip. When approached from the gulf of Naples the town looks like a fairytale lying on top of the steep rocks surrounded by lush greenery and spring flowers. These flowers spread a wonderful scent as we can smell once we climb the steep road to the town. Orange flowers and wisteria take turns in filling our noses with the delicious perfumes of the Italian spring. The place lives up to its reputation and we enjoy walking around in its interesting streets, churches and cloisters while admiring the wide views of the gulf.

“There is some oil under the engine” Bob said. My thoughts went back to the old Kabaal and it was as if I could smell its oil perfumed interior again. Oh no, not again! A Yanmar mechanic was consulted and the verdict was passed. Kabaal had to be hauled out of the water to check the saildrive.

A place was found in Torre Annunziata, a small derelict town not far from Pompeii. In Italy it is not allowed to stay on your boat when it is on the hard, so we found a very nice and new place to stay next to an old belltower.

A visit to Pompeii clearly was on our bucket list and could be crossed off.
Unfortunately the work lasted somewhat longer and we had to leave our pretty apartment. We found a place not so far away in Stabia which was a bit more authentic so to say. The bed just hold out for two nights when we decided to leave the not so clean place and found ourselves a real cave dwelling with a beautiful view on mount vesuvius.

It is fascinating to walk in the footsteps of the Romans in Pompeii and Herculaneum. The high level of civilisation of the era is illustrated by the incredible sewer system, the luxurious houses with beautiful fresci and the organised street system and entertainment on offer.

Il sentero degli dei or the path of the gods is a hike which leads you over the mountains on the Sorrento peninsula and treats you to eye-catching views. We chose a day with fog and as it turned out it was a public holiday in Italy as well. The hike wasn’t easy but on its narrow paths we passed long queues of rowdy Italians carrying tiny dogs and towing along the entire family including grandmothers with walking sticks. All of them defying the rolling stones and slippery roots of trees and all of them of an indestructible good mood making jokes and eating and drinking on the way.

After the public holiday our Kabaal was finally fixed and happily we set sail again to explore the gulf of Naples. The wind brought us to Ischia and we spent a night at anchor before we had to seek shelter for strong winds in the harbour. In the meantime Napoli soccer team was the declared winner of the Italian championship and we could hear the enthusiastic supporters in the village enjoying the match.

Of course having seen all the treasures of this part of Italy we didn’t want to skip Capri and it didn’t dissapoint us in the least. The weather was great again as we visited this romantic island. Beautiful walks were made and interesting sights visited and everything leisurely discussed with an aperitivo in the square.

Worth to mention was the villa of Axel Munthe, a Swedish doctor who had worked in Paris and Rome before settling on Capri where he surrounded himself with many old treasures and a lot of dogs and even a monkey.

You can read the story of this unusual man in his book, the story of san Michele.

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