I’ve been piecing together ruminations and reflections of my time in Italy, but this is going to sound like a dry recitation of events if I just sit here typing “and then, and then, and then…” So I’ll just hurl out a series of impressions of my time away, and slowly, slowly, the picture should come into focus.
I reckon that it takes a good three days to settle into a holiday, to finally shake off the kinks and tics of normal, regimented, day-to-day life, and I can remember the exact moment in Sorrento when that happened. I had just drained off the last swallow from my still icy bottle of Peroni, looked up, and framed against the crisp blue sky, there was Mount Vesuvius, resting peacefully itself, enjoying a well-deserved break from those pesky eruptions, just sitting there bathing in the calm, azure waters of the Mediterranean.
That was when I knew that I was on holiday.
I certainly didn’t feel like I was on holiday on the coach ride from Naples airport over to Sorrento. And it wasn’t just because Italian drivers are crazy, dangerous motherfuckers behind the wheel. My restive mood was partially down to the jarring sight of a piece of clumsy graffiti spray-painted onto a coastal wall. The words read: “WEMBLEY PUB”.
I was in a different damn time zone, and there were those words right up in my face, like my own personal Bad Wolf following me around.
Nevertheless, it was still a Good Friday. Which meant that we were racing against the sun to get to the hotel. You see, the Italians take their Easter seriously. And the moment of sunset on Good Friday is the moment that a swarm of black-hooded penitents choose to chant and walk through the streets in celebration. Which means all the roads close temporarily. For how long? For as long as it takes. Which would mean our coach wouldn’t be going anywhere.
Guess what? We couldn’t beat the sun…
To be continued…