Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Here are just a few of the problems we had attempting to bike from Pompeii to Sorrento:
  • It was cold and windy in all directions.
  • The GPS shut off on its own.  When it came back to life, it rerouted us back to Naples.  Mark didn't notice for four miles.
  • Mark got a flat tire (the first of many).  He pumped up the tire on the side of the road, but it didn't stay full.  He tried to patch it, but failed (his patch kit was full of dried-out glue). For some reason, he couldn't find his spare.  It was hidden at the bottom of one of Leaf's panniers.
  • All the delays (extra packing time in Pompeii, flat tire, going the wrong direction, being forced to walk up steep hills) meant night was coming.
Mark and Leaf coming up STEEEEP driveway
We were outside a little town called Torre Del Greco when Mark gave up patching his tire  We walked to a restaurant and asked a woman about a taxi that would carry bikes.  "This is impossible."  How about a bus?  "This is also impossible."  We felt doomed and considered looking for a nearby hotel until the lady said, "There is a train." A what?  "A train."  Here, in the middle of nowhere?  "Si, the station down the street.  It goes to Sorrento."  It does!  Perfecto. How soon?  "Soon."  Soon?  "Soon." Okay, soon.  Perfecto. We're going. Thank you, signora.  Grazie!  "Prego."

The station was (amazingly) only a few blocks away, but the platform was elevated at least 30 steps, covered in graffiti and looking like something out of a zombie movie.  A shady character with facial tattoos, buzzed hair, a leather jacket, and smoking a cigarette was up on the platform. "Go ask him when the next train comes," said Mark.  "Me?" said Monet.  "Yeah, you're cuter than me. I'll stay down here with Leaf and the bikes. What's the worse that can happen?"  Monet nodded. "Right."  So she ran up the steps and started talking with the guy.  He didn't speak English, but Monet used pidgin Spanish to figure out the train would come in five minutes.  "Five minutes!" she yelled down.  "Five minutes!  Oh crap."  So we had five minutes to get three extremely heavy bikes onto an elevated train platform.  It was like a game show contest. Mark carried two of them up (Leaf's and his own).  And the shady character (who wasn't shady at all) carried the third, Monet's bike loaded with panniers.  What a nice guy! Once on the train, he even told us what station to get off at.

By the time we reached Sorrento, it was dark and miserably cold and we called the farm where we were staying and asked them to pick us up.  "No problemo."  We were met at the station by Peppino and Kaylee.  Below is a photo we later took in their kitchen.  Peppino turned out to be a master of fitting bicycles into small cars.

The next morning, this was our view

Vesuvius and the Naples Bay

The farm was an old olive oil farm.  They had a bad year because it didn't get cold enough for a good crop.  Also, it was very hard to sell olive oil now.  Much of the business was controlled by certain families and many small farms were bought up by the church or by corporations, and they had strict rules on what could be considered real Italian olive oil.  We tasted some of the farm's olive oil.  It was very fresh and light, much better than what we get at home. Peppino could only shake his head and laugh.

We stayed for two days and three nights at Peppino's farm.  They cooked for us.  All the food was local and the dishes were homemade.  We ate together on New Years and they shared their family with us.  (The fireworks across the Bay of Naples were incredible). They had dogs and cats.  We felt very safe and at home.

Leaf devouring the delicious rations of our hosts.

The yolks were the color of a beautiful sunset

It wasn't hard to capture Leaf with a smile on his face here.

One day it even snowed.

We reached -8C and the lowest anyone had seen previously was -4C.  We were cold but happy.

Monet's Mileage Count:

  • We went maybe 11 miles before we gave up biking.
  • Train Torre del Greco to Sorrento Train station 24.5 miles
  • Pepino fit our bikes in his car! Train Station to Sorrento Agriturisimo approx 3 miles

Travel Tip:

To find cool farms to stay at in Italy, check out,  All the cool stay-at-farms are not on this site, but many are.


Walking to Positano and water demons on the Amalfi Coast.

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